An awning is a cover hanging on a building's external wall, usually over doors and windows. It can be made of different kinds of materials like acrylic canvas, vinyl or polyester and stretched over steel, aluminum or wooden frames. Awnings are mainly used for shade, to break rains or strong winds and some may even be built out of steel or other strong materials to provide shelter during winter season. They are also as decorative as they are practical, as some homeowners employ awnings in colorful designs to beautify their homes.
Today, awnings come in different selections of models, sizes and fabrics for different uses. While some houses employ the use of light colored and sturdy awnings for their windows and outdoor areas for shading and decoration purposes, some stores, restaurants and other commercial areas use awnings both for shelter and advertising purposes, choosing those that are sturdy, foldable and illuminated with bright colors and their company names or logos on the material. Here are the kinds of awnings available in the market today:
- Stationary Awnings:
These awnings are usually welded into a sturdy steel frame permanently attached to the wall. They are considerably cheaper than the other types of awnings, but they cannot be stored away and could be more prone to damage than the other types.
- Retractable Awnings:
These kinds of awnings are mounted on walls and can extend to provide shade for a patio or deck. They can then be retracted or folded up when not in use, either through a manual handle or crank(winding brace), or via a push of a bottom (motorized).
- Automatic Awnings:
Automatic awnings work by using electric motors to slide the material up or down a specific guide for further storage convenience. You can also install sensors on these awnings to monitor the weather so that the awning can automatically be retracted during windy season and rolled out during sunny days.
- Fixed Guide Awnings:
In fixed guide awnings, the awning itself is like a blind which can be rolled over a permanently fixed guide frame made of sturdy materials so that the frame can remain visible under any weather condition. These awnings are commonly used in upper storey houses or units.
- Verandah Awnings:
Verandah awnings are colorful shades mounted on the roof edge of a patio, deck or an roofed outdoor area. They employ pulleys and ropes to adjust the level of shading according to the position of the sun and also afford protection against light rain. A similar variant to this is the Straight Drop awning, which has the same function but instead uses either a spring loaded or a geared mechanism to pull down the awning when it is needed.
- Drop Arm Awnings:
This kind of awningcan stretched over a window or door for up to 90 degrees. The material is stretched so that it staystaut even when the awning is lowered. They can be manually operated with cranks or automatically operated with motors or a gearbox.
- Portable Awnings:
An awning of this kind is built for convenience and travel purposes. Also called as freestanding awnings, they can easily be moved around to be used at any place where a good shade is needed. This is mainly used when holding outdoor social events.
Just remember that in choosing an awning, each type has a different set of advantages and disadvantages over each other. Always consider where you will use the awning and for what purpose before settling down on a final choice.