Why Retractable Awnings May Be the Perfect Option for Your Patio

If you spend any amount of time outdoors enjoying your patio, you’ll undoubtedly appreciate an awning. Having an awning overhead significantly increases your enjoyment time, especially when exposure to the elements becomes uncomfortable or unbearable. An awning is a perfect solution to protect you, your family and your friends from nature’s extremes.

By no means are awnings a recent invention. The Egyptians, Greeks and Romans cleverly constructed these structures to screen themselves from the sun’s scorch and the rain’s dampness. These ancient artisans built massive awnings out of many materials, some of which have lasted thousands of years.

But, there are times when an awning can be a hindrance in blocking moderate sunlight. It can also be at risk of damage from wind, snow, hail or heavy rain. A quality awning is a considerable home improvement investment, and you don’t want it working against you or have it ruined. There are certain times when you don’t want your awning exposed. That’s why retractable awnings may be the perfect option for your patio.

Retractable Awnings: Have Fun While Not In the Sun

With a retractable awning, you can have shade when you need it and sun when you want it. Investing in an awning for your patio gives you the best of both worlds. A retractable awning lets you have fun in or out of the sun. It’s your choice, and you’re totally in control of whether to extend or retract your awning.

You’re not alone if you purchase a retractable awning to enhance your outdoor recreation and family gathering time. According to Allied Market Research, worldwide awning sales reached over $6.7 billion in 2017, and are projected to hit $11 billion by 2025. That’s a compounded annual growth rate of 6.2 percent.

Many of these sales were in the United States. You’d think most sales of awnings would be for consumers in hot Southern climates, but that’s not entirely true. People living in Toledo, Ohio, and surrounding area also benefit from retractable awnings. Quality awnings do a remarkable job of protecting you when you’re not in the sun, such as on rainy and windy days.

The benefits of a retractable awning make this addition to your patio area completely worthwhile. Of course, buying a retractable awning is a sizable outlay, but you’ll get a return in no time. Consider these significant benefits of installing a retractable awning over your patio area.

  • Protection from UV rays: Prolonged sunlight exposure is a leading cause of skin cancer. Basal cell carcinoma and melanoma result from the ultraviolet radiation the sun delivers. A retractable awning reliably blocks UV rays even from continued exposure when the clouds set in.
  • Energy savings: Retractable awnings act as shields against solar gain inside your home that heats up the indoors. Awnings also help reduce heat loss escaping to the outside. Studies by the Professional Awning Manufacturers Association determine a quality awning can reduce your cooling costs by more than 25 percent.
  • Property value: Besides decreasing your home’s energy costs, a retractable awning can enhance your property value. Awnings begin to pay for themselves right away and enhance the perception of your property’s value. They also give excellent protection to other home valuables like patio furniture and indoor flooring.
  • Improved aesthetics: A properly installed retractable awning looks appealing. When fully extended, your awning gives a pleasing aesthetic boost to your patio area. And when you retract your awning, the housing and drive mechanism blends in with the surroundings instead of being an eyesore.

Perfect for the Hostess at Heart

Another tangible benefit of a retractable awning is the additional time you get from your outdoor living space. Retractable awnings are perfect for the hostess at heart who enjoys entertaining family members and guests on her patio. Awnings are ideal for covering a crowd.

Retractable awnings allow entertainment to start earlier in the year when the air is cool. The awning provides a protective blanket over a patio heater. In mid-summer, a retractable awning lets you and your friends comfortably stay outside in the heat of the day. When fall rolls around, you can host everyone late in the year regardless if there’s a threat of rain or frost.

Outdoor kitchens are hugely popular these days. For a home chef hosting a special occasion, a retractable awning guarantees a successful outside event, no matter what the weather decides to bring to the party. That reason alone makes the hostess at heart appreciate every dollar invested in a high-quality awning that lasts for years.

If you’re seriously considering investing in a retractable awning, it’s helpful to know a few details. Awnings do cost a fair amount, but it’s always true that you get what you pay for. As with most significant purchases, it’s worthwhile to spend a bit extra to get a high-quality product. You also need to decide between these two types of retractable awnings.

  • Manual retractable awnings: The most basic and least expensive retractable awnings require manual operation. This design uses hand power to crank a retractable awning open and closed, which isn’t a bad option for smaller and lightweight awnings. A bigger awning, however, might be a bit much to operate by hand.
  • Mechanized retractable awnings: Most large and higher-end retractable awnings have an electric motor operating the winding mechanism. A small motor connected to household electricity powers the awning open and shut. Many modern mechanized awnings come with a remote control that activates the power. Some advanced models are even smartphone-compatible, so you can control the mechanism from afar.

No Commitment Necessary

With a retractable awning, there’s no permanent commitment to your outdoor living area. You have complete flexibility to decide if you want your patio covered or open to the sun and stars. It’s your choice, and you can change your mind in an instant.

Unlike a solid roof or hard-surfaced canopy, a retractable awning isn’t a permanent fixture. Retractable awnings are highly versatile. They’re front and center when required, but out of sight when not needed.

Retractable awnings are also far more economical than fixed structures. Pergolas and arbors are timeless pieces, and they do an excellent job of providing shade and wind control. However, permanent structures are expensive to build, and once they’re in place, they’re not meant to budge.

Solid structures also require maintenance. Depending on the material, periodic staining or painting is necessary. Modern retractable awnings are very low-maintenance. The fabrics and metal components need nothing more than occasional cleaning and rinsing with soap and water.

Something else to consider about choosing a retractable awning vs. a fixed structure is permitting and allowances. Most authorities require building permits for a fixed structure. Some regulations like homeowner associations may not even allow them. Because retractable awnings aren’t permanent attachments, you don’t need permits or approvals. You also won’t get an increase in property taxes that come with the addition of new permanent structures.

If you’re considering adding an awning to your home, you’re probably weighing the pros and cons of retractable awnings. That is natural and a prudent approach to making a home improvement investment. Here are the primary pros and cons to ponder.

  • Pro: Retractable awnings quickly pay for themselves in energy savings.
  • Pro: They protect you, your family and your pets from harsh elements.
  • Pro: Retractable awnings add aesthetic appeal and value to your home.
  • Pro: They significantly extend your outdoor use time.
  • Pro: Top-quality retractable awnings have a longer service life.
  • Pro: They are virtually trouble-free and require minimal maintenance.
  • Con: Retractable awnings are expensive, but you get your money’s worth.
  • Con: They require installation time, but you might be able to do it yourself.
  • Con: Retractable awnings have moving parts, but they also have warranties.

Reduces Energy Costs

Without question, installing a retractable awning on your patio will reduce your home’s energy costs. United States Department of Energy studies and independent business assessments back up this proven statement. Awnings reduce energy from air conditioning equipment in the summer, and they reduce energy heating systems consume in the colder seasons.

Retractable awnings protect you and your home from sun, wind, rain, sleet, snow and hail. And they do this while decreasing your energy expenses. You can verify this energy-saving information on the Professional Awning Manufacturers Association website and in their excellent publication, “All About Fabric Awnings.” Here are some energy-saving facts from these sources:

  • Awnings save at least 25 percent on cooling energy costs.
  • Some homeowners save more than $200 annually with an awning.
  • Typical homes use 56 percent of energy on heating and cooling.
  • Awnings reduce total solar heat gain by between 55 and 77 percent.
  • Awnings reduce south-facing window heat gain by 55 to 65 percent.
  • Awnings reduce west-facing window heat gain by 72 to 77 percent.

The All About Fabric Awnings document qualifies these figures by stating variances depend on the type of fabric used in the awning. That includes the awning shape, placement and style. Awning colors also play a significant role in energy savings. Light colors reflect the heat, while darker awnings tend to absorb high temperatures.

Non-Intrusive Addition to Your Home’s Market Value

Installing a retractable awning is a non-intrusive addition to your home’s market value. With an awning, you have indisputable evidence of its energy-saving performance. That, alone, adds value to your home’s assessed value. You might even have before-and-after energy bills to assure a prospective buyer of your awning’s improvement to the household budget.

There’s more than just documented proof of money saving and actual value increase for a retractable awning installation. There’s perceived value, and that’s not something easy to place a price tag on. When you have your awning fully extended, a prospect can’t miss it. It’s there to appreciate and enjoy.

An extended awning over your patio area is impressive, and never intrusive. Today’s awning manufacturers use materials that withstand sun, rain, wind and cold. They are mechanically strong and stay put when extended.

Awnings are also unobtrusive when retracted. In fact, most people barely notice a retracted awning when it’s rolled up and out of the way. Awning housings can blend in with your existing fascia, eaves and roofing materials. As well, with professionally installed mechanized awnings, all service connections disappear from sight.

No matter if your awning is on duty or off shift, it does nothing to impede your lifestyle. It only serves as a major convenience when it’s out and overhead. In the offseason, a retractable awning stays tucked away. It’s out of sight and discreetly out of mind.

The Options Are Endless

You have several choices when selecting a retractable awning. The options are nearly endless, and that might be the most significant decision when buying a retractable awning. It’s not whether to invest in an awning. It’s what kind to buy.

The first parameter you need to address is whether to install a manual awning or a motorized model. If you have a more restrictive budget, a mechanical design might be your best choice. This option has its limitations, though. A large awning will be more difficult to operate by hand. It’s likely most manufacturers won’t produce a big hand-cranked product.

Motorized retractable awnings have a strong market share. They’re also extremely reliable and come with stellar warranties. If you can afford the extra electrical components and have the power source readily available, by all means, go for a motor-driven model.

Awning fabrics are another essential choice. Here, too, you have an endless color selection and a wide material choice. These are the main awning fabrics you’ll have to choose from:

  • 100 percent solution-dyed acrylic
  • 100 percent woven acrylic
  • Expanded polytetrafluoroethylene
  • Acrylic-, vinyl- or resin-coated polyester or polyester-cotton
  • Acrylic painted cotton or polyester-cotton
  • Vinyl-coated cotton or polyester-cotton
  • Vinyl-laminated polyester
  • Vinyl-laminated or coated mesh
  • Vinyl-coated polyester

Here’s a final note on metal components. Most retractable awning manufacturers use lightweight frames to support their fabrics. Common materials are aluminum pipe and tubing. Some large and heavy-duty models implement steel frames to support their weight.

Now that you’re convinced to invest in a retractable awning, your next step is to source a reputable supplier in your area. You want a business that’s been around for a while and has a proven reputation for excellent customer service, as well as completing first-rate awning installations. Nothing less should do.

If you’re shopping for a retractable awning in the Toledo, Ohio, region, it’s imperative to consider Quality Overhead Door. In addition to garage systems, we also sell and install retractable awnings.

Since 1982, Quality Overhead Door has served northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan with a dedication to excellence in garage and entry door systems. During that time, we extended our value-added line to include fireplaces and awnings. Today, we carry endless options in retractable awnings to protect all things around your patio.

For more information on how Quality Overhead Door can help you enjoy the outdoors with a retractable awning, call us today at 419-578-8700. Request an estimate today on having your retractable awning installed.

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