Add An Awning for the Ultimate Outdoor Space

Create the ultimate outdoor space with a retractable awning. Here are a few things you should consider before adding one to your home.

For many of us, our back deck becomes the most popular “room” in our homes during the summertime. To make those backyard barbecues and lazy summer afternoons even more enjoyable there is one addition that will make your patio the ultimate summer space: a retractable awning.

Here we’ll let you know a few of the benefits to adding an awning to your home as well as 7 things to consider when selecting and installing.

Why add an awning? It’s Shady!

The shade an awning creates can offer relief up to 20 degrees cooler than direct sunlight. So even during sweltering summer months, you can still enjoy your outdoor space.

An awning also provides added sun protection for your skin, blocking 99% of harmful UV rays with a rated SPF of over 50. In fact, the Skin Cancer Foundation recognizes some awning fabrics as effective UVA and UVB ray protectants.

An awning can also be effective in preventing fading of indoor rugs, drapes, and furniture as well as keeping energy costs down. Retractable awnings allow you to save energy all year round, unlike a fixed awning or roof which only saves energy in the summer. The additional shade cuts air conditioning costs in the summer and when retracted in the winter, the sun will heat up your home.

What to consider when adding an awning?

1. Location, Location, Location – The famous real estate mantra applies here. Consider the best spot for an awning. Is your seating area close to the house? Can the awning be installed on the wall of the house?  Should I consider a free-standing retractable awning?

2. DIY or Do-It-For-Me? – If you’re handy, you can install an awning in 2-3 hours using step-by-step instructions (and even DVDs) from the manufacturer. Or, if you prefer to have a professional handle installation, most manufacturers have a network of authorized dealers that can ensure quick and proper installation. Most awnings can be installed on any wall surface, including wood, brick, stucco, aluminum and vinyl siding.  Either way, be sure to consult an expert before starting the project.

3. Measure Up – When measuring for an awning on your home, you’ll need to consider 3 measurements: the minimum mounting height, the width along the wall, and the projection from the house. Keep in mind that the awning does not need to cover the whole deck. You should focus on making sure your main seating area is fully shaded. SunSetter offers a great tool that allows you to see what an awning would look like on your home.

4. Fabric Options – Keep in mind that there are typically two types of fabric to choose from: woven acrylic fabrics and laminated fabrics. Woven acrylic fabrics are solution dyed, so the color goes all the way through each strand, which prevents fading over time and allows for detailed stripe designs, giving the awning a richer look. Woven acrylic fabrics also should have a protective coating on the top and bottom that improve longevity under UV conditions and makes the fabric water resistant. Laminated fabrics have printed colors on both sides with a protective coating to make the fabric 100% water proof.

5. Motorization – Retractable awnings can also be motorized and controlled with a remote. You can even program a timer so that the awning extends at sunrise and retracts at sunset.  Some motorized awnings are plug-in, requiring only an outdoor outlet and no special wiring. You may also want to consider adding a wind sensor so the awning will automatically retract if wind gusts reach a certain speed. This feature is particularly helpful for those that live in regions with frequent inclement weather.

6. What will it cost? – The cost to add an awning can range from $500 to $5,000, averaging about $2,600. Price varies depending on projection from the house, width, type of fabric and motorization.

7. Warranty – Before purchasing an awning, find out about the manufacturer’s warranty against defects. How long does the warranty cover? Does it cover the frame, fabric and motor? And is there an option for weather damage coverage?

With these 7 things to consider, you should be ready to start shopping.  Best of all, adding an awning to your deck or patio makes the space more usable and therefore can add value for resale.

Featured Image Source: SunSetter Retractable Awnings 

Victoria Keichinger is the Director, Brand Marketing for Coldwell Banker Real Estate. When she's not managing national media and advertising for the Coldwell Banker brand at work, she finds herself most at home in Jersey City, NJ with her pre-school crush turned spouse (and baby on the way). A true francophile, she loves to travel and will go anywhere there are ski slopes.

Subscribe to Blue Matter and get the latest updates

Is Your Grill Ready to Sizzle This Summer?
How to Choose the Best Garage Door For Your Home