How To Choose Awnings For Your Home or Business

By: John Morris

Before, awnings just served as protection from the sun and rain for houses. But now, awnings are included as part of a house's or building's architecture not only for its primary purpose, but also to add charm and create a statement.

If you are still unconvinced about the architectural beauty of awnings, you might want to have them installed for the following reasons:

* It protects the window frames from the rain, sun and snow. Most window frames and windowpanes are made of wood. We all know how wood responds to environmental changes. Even with sufficient wood coating and polish, wood deteriorates faster when exposed to the harshness of the weather conditions.

* Your house may have a porch or a patio and you have some furniture there, where you relax as you read a book or have a cup of coffee with your friends. Such furniture, regardless of the material, wears out faster when exposed to the sun and rain.

* When it's raining, you normally keep your windows shut, blocking fresh air from coming in through the windows. If your house has awnings, during rain showers, you can keep your windows open and still prevent rainwater from getting in.

* When you are watching TV or using the computer, you usually have the windows shut, or the curtains or blinds down to reduce the glare. If awnings were fitted, you wouldn't need to block natural light from the rest of the room since the awnings will reduce the glare on the monitors positioned near the windows.

* A major effect of having awnings, according to a study, is that it can reduce summer heat increase by 65% for windows facing south, and 77% for windows facing east and west.

So if you are now convinced that you would like your house or your building to have awnings, don't just go out there and get one. There are things that you need to consider.

* Material

The most commonly used materials for awnings are outdoor fabric and aluminum. Those made of outdoor fabric come in a variety of color and shapes; however, these require more maintenance than aluminum ones.

Those made of aluminum are sturdy and require less maintenance. These awnings, however, have limited design and color options.

* Angle

It is recommended that for windows facing east or west, the size of the drop should be 65-75% for the best efficiency. For a window facing south, the drop can just be 45-60% since less coverage is needed, as the sun has a higher angle from this direction.

* Side panels

Side panels may alter the architectural feel of the awnings. Side panels are also beneficial in adding coverage in a different direction.

* Stationary, Retractable or Freestanding

Roll-up and retractable awnings allow you to permit the sun to shine into the house during winter.

Retractable awnings are also good for patios or decks. These awnings have a mechanism that allows it to be extended as far as necessary.

Retractable awnings can also have motors and switches for ease in retraction. Some also have sun and wind sensors to automate the retraction.

Retractable awnings are not for heavy rains, high winds and snow, though. So make sure these are properly protected from such weather conditions.

Freestanding awnings may also be used for patios, decks or terraces. Business establishments, as these also double as an advertisement, usually use these.

* Size

Small awnings are used for their decorative effect. If you would like to maximize the protective function of awnings, choose the bigger ones.

* Style

The most popular styles are traditional with closed sides, traditional with open sides, dome style, double bar standard, waterfall, quarter barrel, gable walkway and semi-circular entrance.

To check the most applicable style for your house design and the direction of your windows, consult an architect.

* Color

Apart from considering what color goes well with your house or establishment, if possible, choose a light-colored awning since it does not only block direct sunlight light other awnings, but this also reflects sunlight. By doing so, it lessens the amount of heat that comes in.

Also to minimize the heat that comes into the house, make sure that there is a gap between the side of the house and the top of the awning to prevent the heat on the awning to be transferred to the house.

Keep these tips in mind when consulting your architect while designing your house or business establishment.

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