Motorized Retractable Awnings
Retractable awnings are without a doubt one of the best possible improvements for your outdoor living space. Modern covers come in various colors and are easy to operate and maintain.
Motorized retractable awnings are movable shading systems sometimes made of high-quality production materials. You can easily control and adjust them. Ensuring superior protection from harmful UV rays, heat, glare and light rain, they transform your outdoor area into a beautiful recreational space. It enlarges your inside living space by moving it outdoors and keeping you safe and dry.
Definition and characteristics
A folding arm retractable awning is a fully adjustable extension product that you can attach to a wall, fascia, beam, rafter or a roof. You can use it to cover outdoor areas such as a patio, a deck, a hot tub or a pool.
The term “retractable” refers to the functional movement. Unlike a traditional fixed awning, you can open and close a retractable awning to any point you want when extending or retracting.
When choosing your shading system, you will encounter variations in the mechanism. There are manual retractable awnings and motorized (electric) ones. Motorized awnings are equipped with a fully automated motor mechanism offering outstanding ease of use. The motor is compact and invisible as it is located inside the roller tube, quick, and if high quality, silent.
With a motorized retractable pergola, you can adjust the shade in seconds, according to your preference. Control options include:
- A simple outdoor or indoor switch
- A remote control
- A mobile app including timers for your smartphone and/or tablet using either iOS or Android.
The longevity and functionality of such awnings heavily depend on the production materials of the fabric, frames, and the motor itself.
In over 40 years of experience, I concluded that European products are a more significant initial investment. However, they are preferable to low-quality Chinese fabrics, motors, sewing thread and frames and pay off in the long run.
The four crucial elements of motorized retractable awnings are:
- The motor
- The fabrics
- The frame
- The sewing thread.
Standard materials used to produce retractable awnings include vinyl, canvas, cotton, polyester, and acrylic fabric. I have found that if you need a waterproof patio cover, you must go for vinyl-based fabrics. They have outstanding waterproof qualities but cannot be used on a folding arm retractable awning as they are too heavy. They can only be used on retractable pergolas. Solution-dyed acrylics are water-resistant, fade-resistant, and offer excellent protection from UV rays. Solution-dyed acrylic fabrics such as Para and Dickson are the recommended choice for folding lateral arm awnings.
Another thing to consider when choosing a motorized retractable awning is fabric durability. It needs to last through sun, rain, fog, and other weather conditions. Treated sSolution-dyed acrylic fabrics have a lower chance of molding, fading, or tearing, making them far easierr to maintain the awning.
Typically, the production of retractable awning frames involves aluminum extrusions. Extrusions made of such production materials are robust. They can withstand strong wind and keep your retractable patio awning in place. I recommend that all arm parts under stress are made of forged 6063 aluminum, including the shoulder, elbow, and arm components. Forged 6063 aluminum arm components including castings and extrusions are superior and much stronger than all die castings and extrusions, resulting in a significantly stronger retractable awning against the elements. All components used for assembly should be marine grade 316 stainless steel.
The built-in electric motor may be wireless or wired. Wired motors were commonly used with older models but are currently outdated and require an electrician to hardwire. Having this in mind, I advise considering the wireless option where no electrician is required.
Self-lubricating, torque-sensing European motors such as Somfy or Simu last a long and have outstanding performance that come with a 5 year warranty. They should be engineered explicitly for the awning canopy according to its size (width x projection), weight, and frame style.
Benefits and advantages
The motorized retractable awning mechanism allows you to adjust your shade in any way you want. You can stop it at any point you wish – when it’s fully extended, fully retracted, or mid-way.
This shading system blocks harmful UV rays and creates a refreshing outdoor area to enjoy. It also cools down the inside of your house. It is a fantastic way to outsmart the weather, decrease air conditioning usage, and reduce your electric bills.
If you choose an awning with an electric motor, you can forget about manually operating the awning and enjoy complete and easy sun control. You can withdraw the cover in seconds to enjoy the warm sun or stretch it out if it gets sweltering hot.
You can mount the awning virtually anywhere – the roof side, over a balcony, extending from a beam or wall, on a soffit, or over a patio area. Additional wind or motion detection and sun and rain sensors are available for automatic retraction or extension as needed.
Who are they appropriate for?
Visually appealing and coming in numerous color variations, a motorized retractable awning will bring style and comfort to your home or business.
Motorized retractable awnings have a wide range of applications. They can be mounted almost anywhere and on any surface, meaning they are excellent for:
- Lounge areas
- Outdoor venues
- Commercial buildings
- RV/mobile homes
- Outdoor office spaces
- Sports arenas.
The electrical motor is perfect for retracting large-sized and heavy covers. It closes the awning in seconds. Some models offer an additional detachable hand crank or manual override motor, useful in case of a power outage. By using a manual override motor, you will be able to close the awning if a storm is approaching, or you have no electricity from a power outage or for some other reason.
Depending on the fabric, motorized retractable awnings can protect you from various elements such as light rain and sun, making them perfect for every climate zone.
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