5 Different Types of Awnings to Cover Your Deck

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20 July 2021 - 16:52, by , in Awning and Canopy, No comments

Awnings to Cover Your Deck are essential and popular. However, many people still cannot distinguish the types of awnings to be able to install as well as understand the uses of each type.

While there are many options for a covered deck or covered patio, one very popular option is adding and on as a cover to your deck or patio.

But, as with all things home related these days you have many options for your awning system.

Main Types of Awnings

This article focuses on the different types of awnings for decks and patios. It does not get into awning options for windows and doors and does not discuss waterfall awnings.

1. Retractable Awning

The retractable awning is one that can extend to provide shelter or retract so you enjoy the sun. Not only do they offer outdoor covering options, but you also protect your awning when not using it.

Retractable awnings can be operated manually via a hand crank or extend/retract on it’s own with a motor. If motorized, it can be triggered with a button, remote control or sensor. Sensor-triggered awnings can be programmed to extend when various events occur such as the sun beaming down, rain. Alternatively it can be programmed to retract when it gets windy.

The sensor-triggered retractable awning offers the most convenience, but it’s costly.

2. Fixed Awning (Wall-Mounted)

The fixed awning is wall-mounted and provides constant shelter. It often, but not always, has additional support poles at the end of the extension for greater durability.

The fixed awning is great if you want to permanently shelter a portion of your deck or patio. You don’t have to fiddle around with any retractable unit; instead it’s often durable and strong providing 24/7 shelter.

3. Portable (Freestanding)

There are several portable or freestanding awning options. The 3 main types are:

a. Umbrella

b. Canopy

c. Freestanding awning

Portable awnings give you the option to move it around your deck, but they typically won’t provide as much shelter as a wall-mounted awning.

FYI, we have two umbrellas on our patio, which do the job, but inevitably someone at the patio dining table is stuck in the sun. They’re the least expensive deck covering option by far though so if you have limited funds, one, two or three umbrellas will do or you can opt for a canopy.

Retractable awning parts and components

There are 4 main components to a retractable awning. They are:

1. The Cover

You definitely want a durable fabric or material that forms the cover. Ideally, the covering will offer the following benefits:

  • Durability
  • Dirt-resistant
  • UV protection
  • Color retention (i.e. colours stay vibrant for a long time)

If you want more shade, consider getting an awning with a dropshade. Here’s an example – notice how the fabric drops down almost enclosing the space under the awning.

2. Frame

The frame supports the awning. Most are made of aluminum or galvanized steel. Aluminum is lighter and won’t corrode, but galvanized steel is stronger.

There are 2 main types of frames

  1. Round tubing which is bolted together: Good if store the cover frequently.
  2. Square or rectangular tubing which is welded together. Good if keep up year-around

3. Cassette

The cassette is the covering around the motor and holds the covering when retracted. It’a the part mounted to the wall.

There are 3 types of cassettes

  1. Full (closed) cassette: When awning retracted it’s fully protected.
  2. Semi cassette: Provide some protection to the covering.
  3. Open cassette: Retracted awning remains exposed.

4. Motor

When it comes to the motor consideration, you want one that is:

  • Durable
  • Quiet
  • Maintenance free

If using an awning company to provide and install your awning, ask about the type of motor being used and whether it’s durable, quiet and whether it requires maintenance.

Awning Materials

Main awning materials include:

  • Polyester (Vinyl-coated): Polyester is ideal for larger awnings because it offers “rebound” behaviour to prevent sagging in the long term (Source: Weinor.com). The vinyl-coated option is resistant to UV light, mildew and water. Good for high humidity areas.
  • Solution-dyed acrylic (Canvas): Best for frequent use because the colours remain vibrant longer.
  • Acrylic-coated polyester
  • Metal (aluminum): While durable and relatively low maintenance, metal awnings can rust and/or dent (Source: ColumbusRetractableAwnings.com).

Note: many awning companies have trademarked names for their fabrics which don’t really tell you anything. Therefore, when discussing your awning purchase with a company ask about the material of each “model” and then inquire about the pros and cons.

Sewn vs. Glued Awning Cover

Another recommendation is to opt for a sewn awning instead of a glued awning. Sewn awnings are more reliable.

Waterproof vs. Water Resistant

Laminated fabrics (i.e. vinyl-coated polyester) will be waterproof but woven fabrics like acrylic fabrics may over time end up only water resistant.

If you plan on using your awning for shelter from rain, you definitely want a covering material that is rated “waterproof”.

Typical Retractable Deck Awning Sizes

Unless you buy an awning from a retailer which offers a variety of sizes, your awning can be any size. In other words, it can be custom fit for the amount of covering you seek. This is a huge benefit of hiring an awning company to create and install your awning.

The dimensions you need to know are the width and extension length.

Additional Features to Consider

  • App/mobile device control: If you have a smartphone or tablet, you can now get motorized awnings that are controlled via app. While I think this is cool, I think I’d want a backup remote control or some button available to control the awning.
  • Lighting integrated: Don’t forget to check out integrated lighting in your awning. This is a way to kill two birds with one stone… i.e. shelter and lighting.
  • Heating system integrated: You can also get awnings that come with built-in heaters that project heat to the covered area. This is great in cooler climates where it can get chilly at night.
  • Skylights: You can also get awnings that are a series of retractable windows which provides plenty of light and air. The downside with the “glass” awning is that you don’t get shade… it merely protects agains rain.

How long do awnings last?

It depends on the quality of awning you get, your climate and how often you have it extended. Your awning could last a measly 5 years or 15 years of enjoyment. Most quality frames will last a long time; it’s the fabric that needs to be replaced so at least when the fabric needs to be replaced, it won’t cost as much as the full set up.

You can extend the life of your awning fabric by retracting it during winter months and being diligent about maintenance.

What should you choose?

You have a lot of decisions to make, but it boils down to this.

Settle for a low-cost, install it yourself model or research and hire what you think is the best awning company in your area to provide something more robust.

If you sit outside frequently and like shade/protection from the elements, it’s hard to suggest anything but hiring an awning company to get you something that will last, is set up properly and includes all the features you want. Yes, it costs more money, but it will serve you well for many years.

Schedule your next Awning and Canopy project in Singapore with our service. Our specialist in making your building safer. With our experience, we know the right materials and how to apply them correctly with the price is very attractive. Contact us online or call us at +65 8333 7667 for a free quote.

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