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  • How to Choose an Awning

    residential awningsConsiderations for Choosing an Awning

    If you’re looking for a way to beat the Sacramento summer heat, an awning can be a great investment. When installed onto the exterior of a home or commercial building, an awning helps reduce indoor temperatures by keeping sunlight off of windows and doors. Likewise, when situated over an outdoor deck or patio, an awning can increase the area’s usefulness on both sunny and rainy days.

    When choosing an awning, you’ll want to find one that not only provides the aforementioned functional benefits but also complements your home. Here are some aspects to consider when making your choice:

    Design style

    When choosing awnings for their homes or businesses, most people get design ideas by referencing examples they’ve seen online or around town. However, it’s important to realize that some awning styles work better on certain applications than others. One example of this is dome-style awnings. While this type of awning works well with certain architectural elements, it would look out of place if installed on a flat wall or the back of a home; in these instances, an angular (“spear point”) awning would be a more suitable choice. Likewise, if your home has a specific architectural style, be sure to choose a product that complements, rather than clashes with, that style.

    Functionality

    In addition to choosing an awning that’s aesthetically appropriate for your home or commercial building, it’s important to pick one that’s functionally appropriate. For example, you need to make sure your awning will cast a shade pattern that fully covers the window, door or general area you’re targeting for shade. Furthermore, depending on the application, you may want either a retractable awning or a fixed awning. Fixed awnings work well for front porches or storefronts where shade is consistently desired, whereas retractable awnings are good for backyard patios, outdoor living spaces and similar areas where full sunlight may be intermittently preferred.

    Color

    Choosing an awning color isn’t as simple as it may seem. Besides referencing the colors of your house paint and trim, it’s good to consider the hues found in your yard and landscape. You should also consider the shape and architectural character of your home. For instance, if your home has a rounded feel, you’re probably better off choosing a solid color, whereas if your home has a modern, angular design, a striped pattern may provide a nice complement.

    Believe it or not, awning color isn’t only about aesthetics—it also has a functional impact. For example, an awning’s hue is a determining factor (along with material type) of how much light is able to penetrate, a characteristic that can affect the interior ambience of your home or business. Furthermore, while light-colored awnings generally allow more sunlight to penetrate, they’re more effective at reflecting UV rays than dark-colored ones, which tend to absorb sunlight. So, be sure to consider the practical aspects of your awning color choice as well as the aesthetic impact.

    Material

    Today, there are numerous awning materials available for residential and commercial use. The most common option is fabric. In the past, most fabric awnings were made from canvas, and this material is still used today. However, as an awning material, canvas has a few drawbacks. Since they’re susceptible to mold and mildew, canvas awnings must be cleaned often, and they generally aren’t fire-resistant. Fortunately, there are better choices like acrylic- and vinyl-coated synthetic fabrics that offer an optimal combination of softness, durability, and weather-/fire-resistance.

    For a non-fabric awning, materials like aluminum and fiberglass provide increased stability and durability. If the latter is a priority for you, a good option to consider is a standing seam metal awning. Constructed of heavy duty material and completely sealed against the elements, a standing seam metal awning is virtually bulletproof. You may spend a little more money, but you’ll do it once, not twice.

    All in all, choosing the right awning is a complicated task that requires you to take several attributes into account. By working together with a knowledgeable designer, you’ll be able to choose an awning that both complements your structure and provides the functional benefits you’re looking for.

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  • Tip Sheet

    red retractable awning in backyardHow to Clean a Fabric Awning

    If you have one or more fabric awnings on your Sacramento home or commercial property, make sure you’re cleaning them on a routine basis. Use the following procedure for cleaning your acrylic or vinyl fabric awnings.

     

    1. Displace any loose dirt with a soft bristle brush.
    1. Prepare a cleaning solution of 1/4 cup of dishwashing liquid to 1 gallon of water. If your awnings have a lot of stains, add a small amount of bleach or ammonia to the mixture to get some extra cleaning power.
    1. Using a sponge or soft bristle brush, gently apply your cleaning solution. When scrubbing, be especially cautious around the stitch line, which sits on top of the fabric. If scrubbed too vigorously, the threading can break, so be extra gentle or go around it.
    1. Following application, allow the cleaning solution to soak in the fabric for several minutes.
    1. Thoroughly rinse the fabric with water. Do not use a pressure washer—this can be too harsh and potentially cause damage.
    1. Allow the fabric to air-dry completely before returning it to its frame.

    This procedure should effectively remove most mild stains and bird droppings. However, in the case of heavy stains like tree sap, you can use the following procedure:

    1. Apply cornstarch to the stained area—this will act as an absorbent.
    1. Use a utility knife or straight razor to carefully scrape off the excess material.
    1. Apply the above-mentioned cleaning procedure.

     

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  • Retractable Awning Features

    retractable awning patio4 Innovative Features for Retractable Awnings

    A retractable awning is a convenient shade solution that can be opened, closed or custom-adjusted as desired. While retractable awnings have been around for quite a while, technological innovations have culminated in products that optimize convenience and functionality. Here are a few cutting-edge features worth investing in for your retractable awnings:

    Automated weather sensors

    One of the perks of retractable awnings is that you can close them in anticipation of harsh weather. Unfortunately, it’s easy to forget to do this, which can leave your awnings at risk of damage. Automated sensors take care of this for you by prompting your awnings to retract in rainy or windy conditions. They can also prompt your awnings to extend in warm, sunny conditions, so you’ll be covered in any type of weather.

    Automatic timers

    Harsh weather aside, having to manually open or close your retractable awnings each day can be a hassle. That’s why it’s worthwhile to invest in an automatic awning timer. By prompting your awnings to automatically open and close based on a programmed schedule, an automatic timer will alleviate your daily schedule and give you greater peace of mind.

    Remote controls

    Remote control technology allows you to open or close your awnings on demand without having to leave the room you’re in. You can even operate your awnings with your smartphone via a handy app.

    Wireless wall switches

    Manufacturers like Somfy offer awning control consoles that will plug directly into any standard electrical outlet. That way, you don’t have to hire an electrician to install your awning control system.

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  • Shade Options

    striped awningShade Solutions for Sacramento Homes and Businesses

    From awnings to sunshades, there are several options available for providing shade to your Sacramento home or commercial property. Here are four popular shade solutions to consider:

    Awnings

    Awnings provide shade protection for windows and doors, as well as sun and rain protection for entryways and outdoor decks/patios. Typically installed onto a wall or roof overhang, an awning may be either fixed or retractable (able to be opened or closed as desired).

    Canopies

    A canopy is a type of awning that extends a far distance from a home or building. Since they can cover larger areas, canopies are ideal for commercial entrances, boat and RV covers, pools, patios, and decks. As with awnings, canopies can be installed as a stationary or retractable feature.

    Shade sails

    Custom, tension-suspended shade sails provide a modern and visually engaging alternative to traditional awnings. Their open, geometric designs can be configured in many ways to accommodate large areas without obstructing traffic or requiring a building attachment for support.

    Sunshades

    Vertical roll-up window shades are a good choice for limited space areas or windows where exterior shade isn’t needed. Solar shades provide excellent thermal protection and can be motorized or manually operated.

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