We spend a lot of time dressing up our windows. Shades, curtains, drapes, and blinds almost feel like a requirement in terms of interior design. But what about the outside? The exterior remains completely undressed and vulnerable, preventing the home from living up to its full potential. Why not take the decorating outdoors? Window awnings are a great way to add some aesthetic value to the home’s exterior. They’re like outdoor window treatments that highlight your entryways. Less permanent and cumbersome than shutters, these canopies can offer shade without obstructing the view, and if they overhang a patio or balcony, it can create a feel of an airy outdoor room.
Except for insect screens, most people don’t have protection for their home’s exterior. However, the greatest threat comes not from flies and mosquitoes but from the weather. The sun can heat up doorways or filter through windowpanes, significantly warming up a house. This is why window awnings are such a functional addition to any exterior.
- Energy Costs: These non-evasive shades reduce indoor temperatures by 15 degrees, cutting down on your utility bills. Plus, they come with small holes or slits in their covers to increase ventilation in order to avoid trapping unnecessary hot air around entryways.
- UV Rays: They block harmful UV rays before they enter the home. This unseen light could fade furniture, drapes, and carpets. Plus, a door awning can help prevent paint fade. And for aluminum doorways, they help to reduce dangerous metallic heat buildup.
- Rain Shelter: Not only do they cut down on solar penetration, since they’re sealed in a water-resistant coating, they also protect patios, planters, and hot tubs from the rain.
- Snow Shedding: Door awnings divert snow from the front porch, which provides convenience and safety by clearing away those icy concrete slabs.
Types of Window Awnings
Awnings come in many different forms, some permanent while other are more maneuverable.
- Stationary: These units are a permanent part of your home’s exterior, making them sturdy, simple to operate, and virtually maintenance-free.
- Freestanding: These movable models can be relocated at will, allowing for more options in terms of installation and positioning.
- Retractable: A very popular form, these canvas window awnings are the convertibles of the house. They can quickly roll up when not needed or they can just as quickly be reinstated to create shade for your window or an enclosure for your porch.
- Motorized: If you don’t like cranking it back and forth, some retractable models can be motorized as well: a touch of a button and the chore is done for you.
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Size, Style, and Shape
Before buying, you may want to check out the varieties that are available:
- Size: First off, you need to decide where it will be installed. Measure your window or entryway: the projection of the window awning should be half the height of the windowpane.
- Style: They’re available in a couple different materials. Metal is sturdy but it can get hot and rusty. Canvas is durable and flexible, but make sure it’s tightly woven and taut. And though you can get them in any design, lighter colors tend to reflect more light.
- Shape: They can be sloped, rounded, straight, or domed. Hooded models come with shades on the sides and provides optimal blockage from the sun. Venetian units come without sides making it more vulnerable, but it also allows them to adjust at any pitch.
Installation and Maintenance
If you don’t know how to install them make sure to call a professional: they’re heavy and you don’t want them falling off. Plus, you want them properly located on the house so they can block the sun. Door awnings are easy to maintain though. Just keep stuff off it—especially snow and water which can stretch the fabric and strain the frame. Keep it clean to avoid rusting, mildewing, or health issues (from built-up bird feces). Wash it regularly: no need for detergent because it may hurt water-resistant surface; just warm water will do. But make sure it’s dry before storing or retracting. And inspect annually for rust on the frame, repairs to the canvas, or any possible repainting to the metal.