Buying and installing a retractable awning is a decision thousands of homeowners make. Because the consumer demand in the US is significant, there are a lot of vendors and companies offering various retractable products differing in the model, style and design, price, mounting, etc.
Considering how easy it is to purchase any product online and have it delivered to your house, you must know how to choose a retractable awning that is right for you and suitable for your home.
This page will discuss various considerations when choosing retractable awnings for home, including size, color options, additional features, custom awnings and different vendors.
How to Choose a Retractable Patio Awning
When choosing home retractable awnings, you need to take a few crucial steps before deciding. These steps are listed below in order of priority.
Start looking exclusively for certified residential retractable awnings
When you begin your online search, it is essential to narrow it down by looking for certified residential retractable awnings. By certified, I am referring to:
- Beaufort wind load certifications
- TÜV (the German Technical Inspection Association)
- CE Mark (meets high safety, health, and environmental protection requirements)
- Qualicoat (powder-coated aluminum comprehensive quality requirements)
Otherwise, you risk wasting your hard-earned $ on poor-quality products.
Specify the weather conditions you need the awning to handle
When choosing deck and patio awnings, you need to keep in mind the weather conditions. That means considering your geographical location and seasonal weather patterns such as excessive sunlight, heavy storms and rain, snow load, hail, wind, etc.
What do you need your retractable awning to protect you from? Does it need to handle large amounts of snow (they do not), or will you use it to create shade during hot summer days? Does it need to withstand the light or strong winds while fully extended? Answering these questions can narrow down your search and save you time.
Decide on installation and mounting type
Various retractable products are available that differ in installation and their mounting type. Take a look at your property and decide if you want to install the awning attached to the building or create a separate recreational space in your yard.
If the area of coverage is adjacent to the building, you should consider where you want to mount the awning – on a wall, eaves/soffit/overhang, roof, rafters or fascia. On the other hand, if you’re going to cover a more distant outdoor area, you should consider a freestanding pergola awning or a portable retractable awning.
Retractable Awning Sizing Options
The next important step to picking the perfect retractable awning for your home is selecting the right size cover. It might be a little time-consuming, but reading this awning buying guide will help you.
Width and projection
First, you need to remember that sizes differ greatly. When speaking about awnings, there are two critical measurements: width of the awning, measured from side to side (left to right), and projection, measured from back to front. The correct width and projection for your retractable awning will help protect the area you need to cover.
Other measurements include mounting height (distance from the floor to the attachment location), clearance height (the overhead space under the awning when fully extended), a roof’s rise or pitch, and the spacing between rafters.
How to choose the right size?
To choose the right size for your retractable awning, first, you need to measure the size of the area you want to shade and protect. Decide how much room you want to have free under the front moving bar when the awning is fully extended.
Since you already went through choosing an installation type, check the space where you want to mount it. Are there any obstructions? If yes, can they be removed, and shimmed or do you need to choose a larger or a smaller sized awning?
When choosing the awning’s size, the questions you need to answer are:
- What size is the area you want the awning to cover?
- How much-uncovered area do you want to leave (if any) when you completely extend the awning?
- What kind of activities would you perform under the awning on a typical day?
- Are there any barriers or obstacles in the area, such as trees, chimneys, lamps, downspouts, gutters etc.?
Overall, folding lateral arm retractable awning width can be anywhere from 1 to 52 feet, 6 inches wide, while their projection can reach up to 16 feet. The size greatly depends on your preference and the considerations mentioned above. For example, if you want to add an awning to a deck to cover a large dining table or a lounge area, you would need a much larger size than if you were adding an awning to a shed to provide shade when you work in the yard.
Retractable Awning Color Selections
We reached what some consider the most challenging step of all – selecting the right color for your deck awning systems. While for some, this is the most enjoyable part of the process, for others, it might be a daunting task, requiring design skills, an artistic eye and plenty of spent time looking at colorful awning fabric samples.
The reality is there are thousands of awning colors and combinations to choose from – light, dark, solid, striped, patterns, tweeds and more. In the next section, you can read more about how to narrow down your color choices and pick the perfect fabric for your retractable house awning.
Color affects the awning’s function
You probably already know or have heard of how colors absorb or reflect sunlight. If you haven’t, you should consider the difference between light and dark colors.
White, beige, pastels and other light colors have better sun reflection qualities than dark colors such as gray, black, brown, etc. Generally, soft color palettes are better for “sun retractable awnings,” meaning those are mainly used during the hot summer days to decrease heat. Dark colors absorb more sunlight and can “trap” the heat.
While this is the general rule, remember that you still need to choose something that will suit your overall design aesthetics. Also, if you invest in high-quality material awnings, such as breathable solution-dyed acrylic fabric like Para Tempotest from Italy, you don’t have to worry about the fabric heating up.
Consider exterior and interior furniture/decor colors
The next step to choosing the perfect color for your retractable awning for decks or patios is to look at all the colors you already have in your design.
Make a list of primary and accent colors of all your exterior and interior furniture and decor, including:
- Outside walls
- Exterior furniture
- Interior furniture
Having a list of these colors will help you narrow down your choices to only those that go with your current design and complement it. Choosing one or combining those colors will create a stylish and seamless flow from the exterior to the house’s interior.
Color resistance and stain visibility
After you already have an idea of which colors are appropriate for your home, it’s time to get practical. Consider how prone to fading your favorite colors are.
Will you need to replace them only after a year or two? If any stains occur, will they be too visible? Will you have to clean them regularly just to keep them good-looking?
On the one hand, as mentioned above, light colors reflect sunlight better than dark tones. Thus they can be more resistant to fading. On the other hand, stains in light colors are way more visible than those in dark colors, but it depends on the nature of the stain.
Choosing a high-quality fabric for your awning will save you effort and money from replacing it due to fading. Regular awning maintenance and cleaning are essential for keeping dirt off and making the fabric look fresh and spotless.
Other things to consider
Other things that you might want to consider when picking the right color for your new awning are:
- The property’s architectural style (traditional, modern, colonial, etc.)
- Color wheel combinations (monochrome, complementary, analogous, etc.)
- The overall feel you want to create
- The size of the property
- Stripes or solids
- Scalloped edges for the valance
- Accent colors
- Valance size from top to bottom
- Valance type
- Thread color
Additional Retractable Awning Features
When choosing a retractable awning for your yard, consider you might be able to include additional features. These features vary depending on the brand and the model.
They might include:
- Electric motor
- Backup manual override (in case of loss of electricity)
- LED lights
- Weather sensors including sun, wind and rain
- MP3 speakers
- Remote controls
- Mobile apps for both iOS and Android
- Integration with smart home systems
- Motion sensors
- Cassette type
- Weather protector cover (hood).
What If You Are Looking for a Custom Retractable Awning?
While thousands of awning options are available online, I highly recommend that you purchase a custom-made awning to meet your specific needs. Many online vendors allow you to customize their current models to a certain extent – modifying colors, choosing threads, full cassette types, manual or motorized versions, etc.
If you want to purchase a custom-made awning, you can expect a higher initial investment, much, much higher quality and a longer production time. You can choose mounting type, width and projection, fabrics, etc.
How to Choose the right Retractable Awning Company
Choosing the right awning company for you with so many available options might be challenging. First off, make sure the company offers lots of information on their website regarding their products. Do thorough research on all companies to select the one worth your investment.
You can find the essential aspects listed below :
- What is the warranty period the vendor offers on the frame, fabric, sewing thread, motors and controls?
- Are there any reviews online, and are customers satisfied?
- Does the vendor sell factory direct or only through dealers at a higher cost?
- Does the vendor offer installation services (if needed)?
- What production materials do they use, and where do they come from (US, Europe or China)?
- Does the vendor offer customer support?
- Can they customize the awning for you?
- What is the production period?
- Do they meet all your requirements?