It may be obvious that awnings can help out when they’re over windows by blocking the sun’s rays from getting into those windows. But did you know they can also be helpful over your outdoor living space?
Using awnings of any kind to cover your outdoor living space can make the air feel 10° – 15° cooler there. Awnings that are placed against your house can also help cool off the area and protect it from the solar energy that can make your air conditioning work overtime.
So, what goes into getting an awning for your own house? Will it be worth the investment? Let’s find out.
Do Retractable Awnings Help Cool an Outdoor Space?
Any sort of awning is an investment in energy efficiency. When your home has an awning on it, part of that home is then shaded, keeping your air conditioning from having to work as hard.
“It’s been proven that awnings can save cooling energy by 33% in hot climate zones and at least 26% in temperate climate zones.” – treehugger.com
For the outdoor living space, awnings that block the sun’s UV rays keep people safe while they enjoy the outdoors. The radiant heat in the air will diminish by 10° to 15° in the area beneath an awning. This comes in handy during those hot summer days.
Which Awning Material Is Best for Me?
If you want the strongest and longest-lasting material, that would be metal. Awnings that are permanent tend to be made of metal and aluminum. They can act not only as a cover for a patio but also as a carport or an add-on pavilion to a home. Awnings used in areas where a lot of snow is normal tend to be made of metal.
In places with high winds, aluminum may be used for the frame but canvas might be used for the canopy, and in areas prone to destructive winds, these will most likely be retractable. You can have frames made of synthetics and wood but have a canopy made of metal. The metal, especially if it’s taken care of and painted, can last for decades.
Canvas or heavy-duty fabric awning canopies are easier to install. The material usually just needs to be tacked or tied in place on their framing. Metal and aluminum will need to be welded into place or bolted and screwed. And remember, metal is permanent. If you want your awning t to be retractable – it will need to be fabric.
Metal doesn’t take as much care as fabric, but to be fair, fabric canopies for an awning are not so difficult to clean either.
Are Retractable Awnings Easy to Install?
Retractable awnings seem easy to install, however, these things have a lot of moving parts that need to be precision fitted. Whether you have a manual awning system or an automatic retractable awning, these things can be complicated. One mistake can throw everything off course.
Awnings can be as long as the customer needs them to be up to 18ft (5.4m) and can be measured down from that. As far as the extension, these awnings generally will only be at a maximum of 14ft (4.3m).
Even stationary awnings will need to be made to measure and installed by a professional. The good news is, that most installations only take around 2 hours to accomplish. Everything must be handled according to local building codes. This is another reason for getting a professional.
Putting in an awning as a DIY project can be done, but it usually takes more than one man (often more than 2) and it takes a lot longer than the normal 2 – 3 hours to handle. Also, the slop of the canopy needs to be taken into consideration. All permits will be your responsibility.
Usually, there should be at least 6 inches (15cm) of clearance above and below the fastening point of a canopy onto a wall. And you also want to be sure there is plenty of clearance at the endpoint of a canopy. Otherwise, people will be constantly hitting their heads on it.
How Much Do Awnings Cost?
Awnings can be any number of prices depending on the materials, or whether the awning is stationary or retractable. An awning canopy can be made from sun-resistant fabric, fiberglass, or even aluminum or metal. The awning frame likewise can be made of several different materials.
Installation generally can run from $600 to more than $4000 depending on how large the awning is and if it is retractable. On average the cost is around $2500. Each awning manufacturer will provide its own hardware, brackets, and accessories. So this should not be an extra charge.
If you’re interested in getting an awning to help cool down your outdoor living space, it’s best to get in touch with local distributors and contractors who specialize in installations. Prices can vary significantly from state to state or country to country.
I loved having an awning on the front porch. It kept the bright afternoon sun from heating up our living room floors during the spring, summer, and what we southern U.S. people refer to as the 2nd summer (early fall). It allowed us to go outside and relax while there was a downpour. It kept us cool when we wanted to be outside, but the heat was nearly unbearable.
If you decide you want an awning, get your estimates from reputable places. If you decide on a DIY project, be very careful and sure that you and your family or friends can handle such a project. If you think this might be a bit much for you to handle, or you feel it is too expensive to pay for a professional installation, maybe you should check out my article on the best ways to keep your outdoor living space cool.