What is an Awning?
An awning – also known as an overhang or canopy – is a hanging stretch of material extending from a wall or window of a property that is designed to act as an external shade barrier. Most awnings are made from a stretch of canvas (such as cotton, acrylic or polyester yarn) that is drawn across a light metal base or plate, usually made of something strong such as steel, aluminium or iron. These frames are designed to keep the canvas in place while adding some extra sturdiness to the awning installation.
Although awnings are traditionally associated with public or commercial buildings such as bars, hotels and restaurants, a number of manufacturers and retailers have more recently been branching out into the domestic sector, and there are a number of awning models on the market that are suitable for almost kind of home.
Types of awnings
- Manually operated models are controlled by hand and cost less than their motorised counterparts. Support arms give extra stability, which is necessary in windy conditions.
- Motorised models operate using retracting lateral arms controlled by an electric motor. Either a wireless remote or wall-mounted switch operates this with ease (wind sensors can even be installed to automatically retract in certain conditions). However, the awning will need to be connected to an electrical source, so an electrician would need to safely install your motorised awning.
Aside from this, awnings are most commonly made using canvas, woven acrylic, polyester fabric or cotton. These materials are stretched over aluminium, steel or iron structures designed to be light and durable.
Benefits of Exterior Awning
There are a number of benefits to having awning installed on the exterior of your home, either in the front or back garden, including the following:
* Awning helps you keep cool during the midday sun and those scorching heat-waves that pepper the UK summer, helping you and your family to reduce the risk of burns or sunstroke.
* If it’s installed with side bars the awning can also give the illusion of extra outdoor space, as you won’t have to worry about the weather when you want to go outside – it more or less acts as a whole new room!
* Awning can be easily adjusted to any kind of patio or decking, and fitted onto almost any kind of building too – so you won’t have to worry about any steep or unsuspecting labour costs during installation.
* If awning is installed directly above a window or glass door the extra shade can help prevent your carpets, curtains and other fabrics usually doused in sunlight from fading over time – keeping their colours bright and as good as new.
* By keeping indoors cool you could even save extra money on reduced air conditioning costs too – as the awning will be blocking out the sun wherever it’s placed.
* Awnings also come in a wide range of styles, sizes, fabrics, colours and materials, so no matter what kind of external building you have there’s one out there to suit any kind of home decor and/or personal taste.
* An added awning can also add a bit of glamour and style to your social gatherings, turning an ordinary barbeque into a sophisticated lounging area.
* …and finally, awnings can add significant value to your property, especially if they have been installed correctly and come with a five to ten year warranty – so you might even see a return on your original investment!
How much does an awning cost?
Installing an awning is not a difficult process, although hiring a professional will ensure that it is local authority approved. A professional awning company can also successfully provide a size suitable for your property whilst offering an extensive range of advice as to which is most appropriate for your needs. You might also need to hire an electrician if you opt for a motorised awning. The cost of an awning is entirely dependent on the size, type and materials you choose. Roughly though, you could spend around £150 to £300 on a manual awnings and £300 to £500 on a motorised model.
Hire A Professional Awning Installer
Because exterior awning sometimes involves structural work, it’s always advisable to leave the installation work to a certified professional, who will have the experience and training necessary to get the job done on time and according to all the UK health and safety regulations regarding structural work; even the most practised DIY handyman shouldn’t attempt to mess around with brickwork and take the whole building apart! Make sure your chosen contractor is accredited with the British Blind and Shutter Association, and don’t be afraid to ask to see references and portfolio work before signing on a dotted line either. Take the time to shop around for your perfect awning, figuring out where you want it on the property (presumably within the vicinity of a suntrap or similar area) and asking friends and family for advice on the size, material and style of awning that would be best suited to your home – only then are you guaranteed to make a worthwhile investment that you won’t regret!