Deck awnings are a great way to take back your backyard from the oppressive heat and glare of the sun. With temperatures as much as 20 degrees cooler under an awning, they also serve to protect you, your family, friends and pets from potentially harmful ultraviolet rays.
With unsurpassed sun shading capabilities, deck awnings and patios also serve the dual purpose of shielding you from unexpected rain, ensuring that your outdoor activities and fun are uninterrupted by an unanticipated spring shower. The superior coverage provided by deck awnings eliminates the problems of wet chair seats and annoying drips that other alternatives, like patio umbrellas, may suffer from.
Styles: A typical awning for a deck will mount on the side of your house and extend over the deck. They may or may not have vertical supports. These are permanent fixtures, and while they can be an attractive addition to any home not everyone wants their awning to be on display year round. Deck awnings also come in retractable models, that allow the sunshade portion to easily retract into it’s mount at any time. Retractable awnings come in both manual and motorized versions. For people whose deck sits away from their house, there are also freestanding awnings that can be adapted to a variety of circumstances and work quite well.
Materials: Deck awnings come in a wide range of colors, patterns, materials and sizes. They generally are between 7 and 20 feet wide. The two most common materials for an awning are fabric and metal.
Fabrics can be canvas, woven acrylic, or laminated. Note that if you do decide to get a fabric awning, be sure to check that the material is rated to block all or most of the sun’s UV rays.
The most common metal for an awning is aluminum, with the best quality kind being rust proof and never needing to be painted. Deck awnings may also come in vinyl and other materials.
A good awning manufacturer will offer at least a dozen different colors and patterns for your to choose from, with most of them also giving you a choice on the style of valance (material that hangs down around the edges.)
Installation: Deck awnings are designed to simply attach to the siding of your home, whether it is brick, wood, stucco, aluminum siding, masonry or vinyl. Almost all of them are considered to be self-installation (meaning you can easily do it yourself) with complete, easy-to-read instructions for installation. If you’re not very experienced with home-improvement type tasks, this is where it can be beneficial to purchase your awning from an established, reputable company.
Most bigger awning dealerships will include a how-to DVD with video instructions to help simplify the process, and if that doesn’t work they provide a toll-free number to give you tips and advice. If all else fails, the company should be able to help locate a handyman or independent contractor near you to get everything squared away. On a side note, electric powered motorized awnings do not require an electrician or any special installation, simply a nearby standard outdoor outlet.
Cost: It is worth it to invest in a good quality awning that will withstand the elements and excessive weathering. You don’t want the beautiful bright colors of your brand new awning to fade after only a few weeks in the bright sun, or to bleed the first time they’re exposed to rain or moisture. Steady winds can also quickly tatter a poorly made awning and reduce its valances to unsightly shreds.
In addition to being a source of comfort and beauty, an attractive, high quality awning will also add value to your home. This says nothing for the energy it will end up saving you and the decrease it will make in your energy costs. The American Society of Heating and Air Conditioning Engineers conducted a study that determined that around 20% of the load on an air conditioner is caused by solar radiation through glass, such as sliding doors and windows. Outdoor shading devices, such as deck awnings, block the solar rays from the glass altogether and substantially increase energy savings. A fabric awning can reduce heat gain by as much as 50 – 60%. That’s enormous!