Nothing beats awnings if you are looking to add style and elegance to your home's exterior, while creating an outdoor haven. They can be defined as a roof-like covering over a window or door, or above the area of a sidewalk. It serves as a shelter, and is often made of canvas or plastic that is tightly stretched over a light structure of aluminum, iron or steel and sometimes wood


Sometimes, with the addition of columns, they are able to stretch from a building to an entryway, for example, an entrance to a restaurant or hotel. They help to provide shade from the sun, a shield from strong winds, as well as protection during rains and snow.

These woven mats date back to Egyptian and Syrian civilizations where they were used to shade market stalls and homes. They went on to become rather common in America in the 19th century, and iron plumbing pipes which were used for the awning frames became widely available and affordable. What's more, because these pipes could be easily bent and threaded together, it made it possible to produce a range of different shapes and sizes. The material used for making them was usually canvas, and although its lifespan was limited, the low cost made it an attractive choice.

They products that are made of aluminum or materials other than fabric tend to be more durable, as they do not deteriorate or rip in the winter, under the weight of the snow. Furthermore, while light colored ones allow light to penetrate and give an airy atmosphere, the fact that more sunlight comes through, makes it less economical.

The most popular style is the retractable ones, which include a variety such as the lateral arm type which can provide shade to a patio, and can be retracted with either a motor or manually to let the sun in. The side arm types are used to shade windows, and the tension shade helps to shade sunrooms.

In order to get the full benefit of them, you need to ensure that the fabric is cleaned, the debris brushed off and all parts are washed at least once a month. As it is an outdoor product and is exposed to natural elements, it needs to be taken care of in order to preserve its good looks and service life.

By Susan Fielding

Visit Awnings Guide for further detailed information.

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