If you’re like other people without awnings, you probably spend a good deal of the hot summer days under a patio umbrella — wishing your umbrella was bigger. There’s a way to drastically increase the size and function of your patio umbrella. And that’s by installing an awning.
For starters, not only is an awning larger to offer a lot more shade, an awning is more durable and can be constructed and designed to meet your home’s unique configuration. While patio umbrellas are fast and easy to install and use, they’re not as sturdy as an awning. Patio umbrellas are very susceptible to wind damage and are a highly known flight risk.
Now that you’ve decided to install a professional awning, you may be wondering just how to take care of it. Like everything seasonal, maintenance is critical. It’s important to always check for natural wear and tear, especially for holes and mildew. If you see any damage, make sure to have the fabric repaired before your awning is put away for the winter. It’s also important to take a close look at the braid along the front edge of the valance. If it’s been frayed, you’ll need to replace it.
While you can spray from a distance, it’s best to hand-wash your awning to keep it clean. At season’s end, consider having it washed professionally. A major difference between hand-washing it yourself and having it professionally maintained is the waterproofing. A professional will wash your awning with a mild detergent then reapply the water-proofing solution, which not only keeps your patio dry in wet weather, but also helps to extend the life of your fabric.
To ensure proper maintenance of your awning, you’ll want to inspect other areas such as the joints, welds, cables and fasteners as well as the contact points where the frame is mounted against your home. Look for signs of wear and tear, corrosion or rust. If you see any of these things, you’ll need to clean and recoat the area. If you opt for a fixed-frame awning, it’s a good idea to replace the lacings each year.
With good maintenance and a good location (away from smoke, tree sap and constant sun), a well-cared for awning can last anywhere from 15-20 years. The hardware usually has a limited lifetime warranty but can often be reused if you decide to add new fabric. A good choice for fabric for retractable awnings is from either Sunbrella or Dickson and they come with a 10 year warranty.