Adding an awning to your patio creates the perfect shady oasis for enjoying your yard this summer. When shopping for retractable awnings, there are a few decisions you will need to make.
1. Control Options
A motorized awning is by far the better choice over manual operation, although it is helpful to choose a motorized awning that also allows for manual operation in the event of a power outage. Choose awnings with enclosed motors so that you don't have to worry about debris gumming up the works. Enclosed motors tend to need less maintenance over less expensive open-housing models.
Further, consider an awning that has controls that can be integrated into a smart home system or controlled by a phone app. This way you can operate and manage the awning from anywhere, such as if you forget to retract it before leaving the house. You can also have rain or wind sensors installed on the awning, which will retract it in the event bad weather events are detected.
2. Fabric Types
The best awning materials are typically acrylic or nylon based synthetic materials. Unlike natural materials, like cotton canvas, these materials are less prone to rotting or developing mildew. They can also be impregnated with coatings during manufacturing that will prevent mold growth and protect the fabric from UV damage. Any fabric you choose should be rated as mold and UV resistant.
Color also plays a role in your awning choice. Awning with a light-colored exterior surface will reflect sunlight and will be less prone to noticeable fading. Darker colors absorb heat from the sun, resulting in a hotter patio area, and the colors are more likely to fade. It's also important to choose awning fabric that has the color dyed into the fabric, not simply painted onto the surface.
3. Frame Materials
Retractable awning frames can contain metal or plastic components. The lower cost options typically consist of aluminum and plastic together, with aluminum making up some of the main structural pieces and plastic being used for end caps and other small components that aren't under stress during operation.
The more durable option is to upgrade to an all-metal frame. Aluminum frames are lightweight, rust resistant, and still relatively cost effective. They generally require little maintenance beyond lubricating the moving parts. There are also sturdier frame options, such as galvanized steel. These frames are heavier and more expensive, but they are less prone to wind damage compared to lightweight aluminum.
Contact a motorized retractable awning dealer to learn more about the available options.