With spring and summer right around the corner, our thoughts turn to those warm sunny days in our backyards. What better way to lull the hours away than under the comfort and shade of a retractable awning.
You can comfortably enjoy time on your patio during the warm summer months because an awning can provide maximum protection from the heat of the scorching sun. Adding an awning to your exterior space is a very inexpensive way to extend your outdoor living area.
Awnings offer both protection and beauty to any patio while helping to reduce energy costs. They can add charm and personality to your home and transform a plain façade into something special. Awnings can increase the value of your home because they set your home apart from the rest.
In addition to their attractiveness, awnings keep your home cooler during the summer months. They help reduce air conditioning costs by decreasing the amount of heat that infiltrates the inside of your home by as much as 77%. Awnings protect the interior furnishings from bleaching out by the sun’s rays and reduce sunlight glare through your windows by 94%.
Even with these advances in technology and material, extreme weather including sun, rain and wind can wreak havoc with your awning’s longevity, so caring for your awning canopy is important. Here are a few tips to help you along the way.
Cleaning the Awning
You want to make sure that the fabric is cleaned, looking fresh and dry before retracting the awning. With a gentle spray from the hose, or a broom, remove any leftover loose debris on the awning and begin cleaning the awning from the bottom up. Wash all parts of the awning before tackling the cleaning of the fabric.
If there is dirt on the awning, use warm water and a soft bristled brush along with a mild soap, like Ivory Flakes, but be certain that the water is just warm, not hot, and no more than 37 degrees Celsius. Stay away from any harsh detergents because this can damage the fabric of the awning.
Once the cleaning is completed, rinse thoroughly to remove any residue on the fabric since leftover soap will leave marks and a chalky appearance. You will also see any missed spots once it’s dried. Always allow the awning to dry out naturally and completely before retracting it.
Cleaning the Frame
To prolong the life of the frame, you first want to wipe it down with a soft cloth after washing it down and before retracting. Be sure to check that the bolts and nuts are not loose in any way from their use during the summer months. By checking the mechanics, you will have an awning ready to properly extend the following spring.
Since the gear operation (aluminum components) has a durable finish and the joints are self-lubricating, there is no requirement to lubricate; however, lubricating the moving parts yearly with a silicone lubricant is a good idea for maintaining a quiet operation. The common spot for lubrication is at the end of the roller tube and opposite of the motor.
Since the valance has the ability to flap around during windy, inclement winter weather conditions and tear over time, some homeowners tie down the valance to prevent this from happening. There is also the option to purchase an accessory called The Sunboot. As its name implies, it is a cover that encloses the entire retracted awning. The cover protects the awning from nasty weather conditions, keeping it clean and dry until you’re ready to use it again.
An awning can last for many years if properly cleaned, lubricated and protected. They are designed for durability so that you can enjoy their beauty and protection from the sun’s harsh summer rays. With a little time and maintenance care at the end of each season, your awning will perform flawlessly and to your highest expectations.