Making the Best Choice for Outdoor Shade
Retractable awnings for decks, porches, and patios offer an ideal solution for outdoor shade. Screened-in enclosures, on the other hand, while they provide much desired protection from sun and many weather conditions, do not offer the kind of flexibility that many homeowners seek. Retractable awnings allow you to choose how much sun exposure or shade you'd like, and adjusting them is usually fast and easy. Knowing a little more about them can help you make the best decision when it's time to purchase.
Retractable awnings are either manually operated or motorized. One of the more obvious advantages of manually operated awnings is that they require no electricity to operate. If an electrical outlet is not conveniently located near the awning, it doesn't matter. These awnings come with a hand crank that should allow you to fully open the awning quietly and smoothly in less than a minute. Motorized awnings, on the other hand, come with a specialized motor and remote control which allows you to easily open and close the awning from the comfort of your seat or even from inside your home. They plug into any standard outlet, so a visit from the electrician is not required if an outlet is located close by. The clear advantage of motorized awnings is that they offer convenience, but they may also be a better choice for homeowners who have physical limitations that would prevent them from using a hand crank.
In general, retractable awnings, whether manually operated or motorized, should be able to attach to most types of siding, including wood, masonry, stucco, brick, aluminum, and vinyl. They should also be able to attach to either the outside wall of your home or to an eave or overhang. While retractable awnings can be installed by the handy homeowner, it may be preferable to hire someone with prior experience to complete the installation. This will cost a little more, of course, but the extra cost will most likely save you a significant amount of hassle and frustration.
Also important to consider is the fabric that comes standard with retractable awnings. Insist on only the best quality, durable outdoor fabric with the ability to protect you from damaging UVA and UVB rays. Additionally, awning fabric should be waterproof, resistant to mildew, and easy to clean. Settling for cheaper fabrics initially will inevitably turn out to be a regretable decision because poor quality fabrics tend to fade and wear quickly and are expensive to replace.
Finally, accessories for retractable awnings, while they may not come standard with the awning, should be available to purchase so that you can customize your awning for additional comfort and protection. A wireless wind sensor is one handy accessory to consider for motorized awnings if you happen to live in an area that experiences occasional high winds. The sensor will automatically close the awning if winds become strong enough to potentially damage it. Another helpful accessory is a screen panel that can be attached to the side or front of manually operated or motorized awnings to create even more protection from sun, wind, rain, or other weather conditions. Yet another practical accessory is an awning cover that protects retractable awnings when they are closed and not in use. The cover helps keep awnings clean and free of dirt, cobwebs, leaves, and other debris.
A little knowledge goes a long way when it comes to making significant purchases for your home. Even though retractable awnings offer superior outdoor shade for much less money and effort than a screened-in enclosure, it is still important to take some time to understand the product before buying. Knowing what to look for and what to insist upon in retractable awnings will allow you to make the best possible choice. When a decision is made with care, the choice you make is always the right one.
Last Updated: 01/01/2017 12:32 PM - ID:5167