An Introduction to Awnings

Awnings can be used not only to give a little extra aesthetic appeal to the outside of a home or mobile home, but also as a way to avoid even the harshest of the elements. By providing shade, an awning can protect from excessive heat, and it can also hold off the rain and give some protection from the wind. Awnings also give a surprising level of protection from the heat of the sun indoors. Facing in the right direction, your awning could lower solar heat gain by around 70 percent.

Types of Awnings

Awnings of every description can give shelter without detracting from the overall view. It is quite possible to convert an outdoor space like a balcony or a section of decking into something more akin to an outdoor room. Freestanding, stationary, and retractable or folding awnings can be purchased depending on the situation, its use, and your own personal preference. All of thee varieties are available in different materials and a wide range of colors.

Stationary and Freestanding Awnings
Stationary awnings still protect your home and your family, but will remain in the position where they are installed. With no mechanism to move them, they are still an ideal choice for certain areas of the garden.

Some gardens and buildings simply don’t have the space to attach a stationary awning. Freestanding awnings provide just the solution. These too are stationary in that they can’t be retracted or extended, but some of the lighter models can be moved at will.

Retractable Awnings
Retractable awnings are sometimes referred to as folding awnings, and give the ultimate in control. You can decide whether you want to bask in the sun or shelter in the shade, and with a simple alteration of the awning mechanism you get the result you want. These are the luxurious models that are perfect for use directly at the rear of your home to cover a deck or patio. In addition to being able to decide on how far you wish to extend or retract the awning itself, it is also possible to alter the angle of the awning, giving you increased protection when you need it or more air when required.

Deluxe Awnings
One step further than retractable awnings are motorized awnings. These use a motor in order to power the mechanism, giving you quick and simple one-touch control over your new awning. Some models come complete with an outdoor switch that is quick and easy to install. Other models will require a trained and qualified electrician to fit the indoor switch. For those that love their gadgets or require a little less control without sacrificing ease, a remote control and heat and light sensors are available.


Traditionally, awnings were available only in canvas, and this still remains the most popular option because of its flexibility and durability. Another advantage of canvas awnings over the more modern metal awnings is that they come in such a vast choice of colors, patterns, and designs. You can easily match any color in your garden or the paintwork on your house. Alternatively it is possible to turn your outdoor room into a fun area and go really outlandish with the design.

General Care and Maintenance

Awning care and maintenance isn’t that difficult a task either. You will need a ladder to reach the top of the awning and a long handle brush to sweep off any fallen debris. Over time, this debris collects and pools of rainwater collect in the hollows. The valance can be scrubbed with a soft wire brush to remove any weather stains. Use gentle soap and not bleach, because the chlorine contained in bleach will eventually rot down the awning. Because awning care is a simple task, you should attempt to do it as often as you can and certainly when you notice any debris that has fallen.

Is an Awning for You?

Awnings can provide shelter and brighten up the outside of your home. They also help to reduce heat indoors during the hot summer months and subsequently reduce the cost of air conditioning. Various styles, types, and designs are available, with the majority of people choosing canvas awnings because of their flexibility, ease of care, and durability. Awning care is a simple task as long as you are comfortable on a ladder and should be done as often as you see any debris has fallen onto the roof of your awning. By regularly maintaining an awning you can keep it looking fresh and performing properly for many years to come.

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