If you've just moved into a new house and you want to buy an awning to provide shade for your patio or deck, you should make sure you understand as much as you can about awnings before you make your purchase. So to help you firm up your knowledge about this shading fixture, here are some important things you should know.
RETRACTABLE OR FIXED?
One of the key characteristics of an awning is whether it is retractable or fixed. A retractable awning is one that can contract when not in use, which means you get to control how much or how little light falls on your patio or deck. Retractable awnings may also help extend the life of your awning, because they are not constantly exposed to the elements, but because they are retractable, they aren't built with the same level of durability as a fixed awning.
A fixed awning cannot retract and is built as a permanent shading. Because fixed awnings are constantly exposed to the elements, they are usually built with galvanized steel or high-grade aluminum for greater durability than retractable awnings that are typically made from fiberglass.
If rain is a constant where you live, you may want to consider buying awning covers that are waterproof. Standard awning covers are made from cotton and are porous, which means they will not provide protection from water when it rains. But there are several types of awning covers that are effective against rain, including vinyl covers and aluminum awnings. Vinyl is a hard, waterproof material that is thicker than fabric such as cotton or polyester and gives you the option of sitting outdoors even during a storm. Aluminum awnings feature a hard cover without fabric that not only prevents water from spoiling your relaxation, but are also powder coated to resist rust.
If you're not worried about rain and want an awning with a fabric cover, you have to decide what style best suits your needs. Some awning covers are made from cotton, which has great breathability, meaning the fabric won't retain as much dust, dirt and debris as a polyester fabric cover, which is less breathable and more likely to attract dirt, but also stronger than cotton. If you want more visibility through the awning cover, you can opt for a mesh fabric, which is see-through and allows a breeze to flow through the material. For a more distinct and interesting look, acrylic fabrics are becoming increasingly popular, especially because their colors won't fade as quickly as with cotton or polyester fabrics.