Your home patio provides an outdoor space for you to relax, dine or entertain. If you find yourself not using your patio very often because it becomes uncomfortably hot from the sun, a patio awning may provide a practical solution. There are various styles of patio awnings to choose from, including the popular retractable, stationary or pergola models. These points will hopefully help you decide what you need for your home.
There are various types of patio awnings to choose from, and depending upon your home's structure and your personal preference, you may select a motorized or manually operated model that retracts, a stationary style or the freestanding option. Consider these popular designs of patio awnings to decide which suits you best:
- Retractable Awning: Retractable awnings offer a sleek and modern design with a motorized or manual operation. You may operate the motorized feature with a remote control or it may be opened and closed manually. If you prefer the effortless operation of a remote, choose the motorized version.
- Manual Retractable Awning: If you're on a budget and don't mind using a hand crank to utilize your patio awning, the manual model might be the way to go due to its versatility. On hot days, extend your awning to provide shade from the sun. When the weather is somewhat chilly or you'd prefer the warmth of the sun, you can retract it by drawing it back in.
- Stationary Awning: This option is more budget-friendly. As the name implies, the awning will not move, so it will remain usable at all times. Similar to a canopy, the stationary patio awning will typically have an elongated dome-shaped cover that installs to the patio wall, and may come partially assembled. Some fabric models include a decorative valance as well.
- Pergola Awning: A pergola is a freestanding model, and you may also use one for your walkway in addition to your patio or garden. These designs are best for larger, open spaces. If you have a large patio, this option may be ideal. Many pergola patio awnings also feature built-in rain gutters to dispense moisture. Some feature roll down insect screens or zippered screens.
When choosing your patio awning, the fabric is an important consideration. Fabrics should be resistant to fading from the sun. In addition to providing ultraviolet (UV) protection, the fabric should be wind, rain and mildew resistant.
Fabrics may be available in striped patterns or solid colors. Choose a color option that complements your outdoor decor. Awning fabrics are generally replaceable, although your fabric should include a warranty against defects.
A patio awning can be pre-fabricated and purchased from a dealer or home improvement center. Alternatively, you may have a patio awning custom made to your specifications. Before you set out to purchase your patio awning, take measurements of your patio space. You'll need to measure the height of your patio wall as well. Also consider how far you'd prefer your awning to protrude from the building.
In addition, there are other aspects to consider when purchasing your patio awning. Keep the following in mind:
- Permit Requirements: Check your township's building codes. Some townships require permits for assembling patio awnings, pergolas and carports on residential property.
- DIY or Professional Installation: Are you comfortable with installing your patio awning? If so, you could save money by doing it yourself. If you're inexperienced or lack the handyman skills, you might prefer to have your patio awning set up and installed for an additional fee.
- Hardware and Tools: Be sure your patio awning includes the necessary hardware and brackets for mounting. If you plan on installing the awning yourself, you'll want to be sure you have the necessary tools on hand. This may include a power drill, wrench and screwdrivers.