The major benefit of shade over windows and doors dates back many centuries to a time when the awnings were made of woven mats. We’ve come a long way baby!! Now awnings are retractable to close them when they are not in use and they are made in many different styles and colors to suit any homeowner or business’s needs.
The Basics of Retractable Awnings
Retractable awnings create shade and a cooler environment for homes and businesses alike. They also give you an area that is out of the elements such as rain for your comfort in any situation. You have many types and styles from which to choose that will match perfectly with your home or business’s architecture and blend in perfectly in any situation.
What are Retractable Awnings?
Retractable awnings are super versatile and they offer the benefits of the comfort and shade as a roof does, but they are even more convenient than a roof, because it’s an adjustable extension on a building, residential, mobile home or motor home that can be opened or closed. When open you reap the benefits of shade without the sun’s harsh rays beating down on you and retractable awnings also provide a cooling factor for any windows or doors that they are over by preventing the heat from entering into your home or business at the same time. If you decide you want to soak up some sun on days that are not particularly hot, you can always simply retract your awning to do so. Retractable awnings allow owners of homes of all types and businesses and guests to enjoy their outdoor spaces comfortably and safely without the need to build an expensive permanent structure.
Where are The Best Areas for Retractable Awnings?
The short answer to this question is wherever you want to reap the benefits makes a great area for a retractable awning. For commercial properties, you may decide to place a retractable awning over outdoor dining areas to give you more area for patrons to dine and eat when it’s warm or drizzling rain. You can then close the awning in the evening after your business closes. For residential use, retractable awnings are most often seen over a patio, a deck, a pool area, or a play area close to a structure. Retractable awnings are mounted to a structure, which is most commonly a building or a home to make them a securely installed product and work as they should.
How Much Do Retractable Awnings Cost?
Retractable awnings vary greatly in their cost. Typically, they are used over patios and decks as well as outdoor dining areas. You can extend it to provide shelter when it’s necessary or retract it to protect the fabric when it’s not in use. There are a variety of items to consider also. You can have a manual system in which your retractable awning operates with a hand crank, or it can be an electrically controlled system with a motor that operates with a switch, button, or app on a smart device. There are also versions that operate automatically and they are controlled by the wind speed, sun or rain sensors so they close when the programmed items are triggered.
Another item in the cost factor for retractable awnings is the size. Clearly, a larger custom awning will be more expensive than a smaller one because of the added materials for the framework, roller mechanism, and fabric on it. Larger retractable awnings also take longer to install on a home, business or structure.
You can also choose exciting options to make your retractable awning useful in any situation, such as LED lighting, fans, and Bluetooth speakers as well.
Adding logos and specialty graphics for a commercial awning will also add some cost to your final project.
With all of these factors in mind, the cost of a retractable awning can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $11,500 and up depending on all of the factors and options that you want. Extra-large awnings that are up to 40 feet wide for commercial spaces will increase the cost too.
How Do You Install a Retractable Awning?
Retractable awning installation is a quite involved process. A simplified version to mount a retractable awning on a wood framed home or mobile home with wood or vinyl siding has a standard procedure.
For this example, it is wall-mounted and a manual gear operation. You need to determine the height on the wall that you will mount it to. Usually, this is about 6 to 7 feet from the deck or patio to the top of the mounting brackets.
You will then need to select your mounting area and find all of the studs in the wall. Measure the width of the awning and transfer the measurement onto the wall marking both ends of the horizontal bar. Locate all your studs between the two measurements and mark those also. Measure the distance from the two horizontal ends of the awning to the center of the bolts that fit on the square bar and mark these measurements on the wall as well as where the arms are located. Locate the studs closest to the arm marks with about 1 1/2 inch on each side of the arm marks. You can then install the mounting brackets while making sure that all lag bolts are mounted into the studs. Some adjustments may be necessary.
Next, you will place the awning into the mounting brackets and note that this step takes two to three people. You will lift the awning and slide the square bar into the mounting brackets with the gear loop at the bottom of the awning. Secure the bar to the mounting bracket with the clamping bolts and make sure the mounting bar is seated flush with the back of the bracket.
Slide the clamping bolts up through the bottom of the bracket and thread them into the top hole. Make sure to tighten them completely so the locking lip on the inside of the mounting bracket is locked securely.
Common Issues with a Retractable Awning and How to Fix Them
There are a few common issues with retractable awnings that a homeowner or business owner may run into. There are five different items that can commonly cause your awning not to operate as it should. They are:
- Low-quality awning motors
- Faulty electric weather sensors
- Rusty, sticky or bent tracks
- Degraded or faded awning fabric
- Awning damaged by wind
Low-Quality Awning Motors
When your retractable awning motor becomes faulty, it can move in jerky motions or it can stop altogether and not budge so you can’t open, close or change the position of your awning. Sometimes this can happen when your system has a short in the wiring making the power connection unstable. It could be because the motor is already worn out. Electric awnings depend on an override system to prevent overheating, so allow your motor to cool down for about 15 minutes and try to use it again. You should also check that your remote control and all your wall switches are in working order. If this doesn’t’ help and your awning still isn’t opening and closing as it should, you should call a professional to be able to make repairs or to replace the motor if necessary.
Faulty Electric Weather Sensors
If your retractable awning has electric weather sensors, they may be the culprit of it not operating as it should. The sensors are like the heart of your awning because they are vital for automatic operations. The sensors sense light and temperature as well as factors such as motion, rain, sun and wind. The sensors don’t just make your awning work automatically, but they serve a much greater purpose of closing your awning automatically to keep it from being harmed by the weather. A temporary power outage will not allow your sensors to work and you will need to open, close or reposition your retractable awning by hand with the crank. At times, a power surge may actually render your sensors unable to work and they may go bad. Other reasons for your sensors not working include breaking down due to normal wear and tear or they may just need to be recalibrated in order to function properly. The good news is that having your sensors repaired professionally comes with a low cost and it won’t mean changing any other parts along with it.
Rusty Sticky or Bent Tracks
An essential part of a retractable awning is the tracks. If your awning is having problems moving, it could be the tracks at fault. The tracks need to have proper retractable awning lubrication to move smoothly. Debris build-up can clog your awning tracts or make them sticky. If you notice any of these items with your tracks, they should be cleaned and lubricated by spraying lubricant at the end of the roller tube and all other moving parts with a dry silicone lubricant. Tracks are made of metal, so they can actually warp or rust in areas of high humidity near the coastlines. In this case, you should call a professional to replace your tracks.
Degraded or Faded Awning Material
Retractable awnings are made of different types of fabric, some of which last much longer than others last and keep their vibrant color longer too. Older fabrics can become moldy and start to rot at a fast rate from constant exposure to all outside elements, even the sun. You should also wash your awning regularly with a quality awning cleaner to help preserve the fabric much longer. If the fabric is deteriorating, it’s time to get new fabric for it.
Awning Damages by Wind
Awnings can be damaged by wind and even more so if it’s on the side of your home or business that gets a lot of wind from storms. If your awning is closed when strong gusts arrive, then you are much more susceptible to having wind damage to the frame by twisting it and then not allowing it to close anymore.
Why Choose an Awning Professional?
There are several reasons why you should only trust a professional for your retractable awning needs. A local manufacturer can make certain that your retractable awning is made to the correct specifications and installed correctly for you. Improperly installed awnings can be very dangerous if they happen to fall on someone underneath them. They can secure any permits necessary from the city that are required in order not to incur fines whether it’s for commercial property or a residential property. Awning professionals will apply for a building permit or to your homeowner’s association before they begin work in order to comply with ordinances.
The professional awning companies have a lot of experience and can install your retractable awning in several different areas on a fixed structure. Their installers can look at your home or building and know which installation method will work the best and allow your awning to be fully operational.
Custom retractable awnings also include trash and debris removal of the packaging materials after your awning is secured to save you the time and the hassle of dealing with the bulky debris that comes with an awning.
Professionals will offer you not only a product warranty but also a labor warranty for their products that they will stand behind.
Custom awnings include better quality products than a one-size-fits-all big box item. The fabrics will be treated and last much longer and the motors will be of the highest quality for a long-lasting product.
If you are considering a retractable awning, make sure and choose a custom model so it will fit properly in the area you want it, function properly and last for many years to come as an investment in your home or business.