Considerations 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. In fact, According to research conducted by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), when in direct sunlight, a fabric awning can cut a south-facing window’s solar heat gain by more than half and a west-facing window’s solar heat gain by as much as 75 percent. Furthermore, 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:
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.
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.
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.
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.Read moreRead less