Does the hot sun keep you from enjoying your favourite summer spot around the house? Are you tired of drying the patio furniture on your deck after a passing shower?  The solution maybe to install a retractable awning.

Retractable awnings are basically a metal framework covered with shade fabric. The framework can be installed directly on the side of your house, inside of a sunroom, and some of the new free-standing retractable awning systems work very well inside existing pergola structures. Some models have diagonal support arms, others have hidden “lateral” arms and more modern styles offer vertical and horizontal tracking systems. You can open and retract the awning either manually with a hand crank, with a motorized system or choose an automated system that opens and closes when stimulated by wind, rain or sun.

Retractable awnings can provide instant shade when you want it or quickly roll away when you don’t need them. You don’t have to take them apart or remove them in the winter months; just cover them and wait until spring. Many models offer vertical screens that you can attach to the extended awning to block the sun when it’s low in the sky, while others have insect screening you can attach to keep out unwanted pests.

More elaborate retractable awnings offer wind sensors that automatically retract your awnings so strong winds do not damage the awning framework. And nearly all motorized retractable awning manufacturers now offer remote controls so extending and retracting your awning is a one click process.

Simple, outdoor retractable awnings can be installed on any type of siding. The brackets must be mounted to framing members to support the weight of the awning. You’ll need to make certain you have the appropriate clearance between your deck or patio and the eave, gutter or overhang (usually a minimum of about 7 ft.).  And be sure to consider the clearance you’ll need from light fixtures and electrical outlets. More elaborate indoor and free-standing awnings systems are best installed by your contractor. In fact, we don’t recommend installation as a do-it-yourself project, as the awnings are too heavy to set in place by yourself and correct installation is critical for hassle-free usage.

Awnings can be custom made to match any indoor or outdoor decor. If you can imagine a colour or pattern, it can be created in an awning. Popular choices are primary colours with contrasting stripes (think 1970s beach umbrella). More modern looks are offered in subtle earth tones and, most recently, sheer materials are being used to diffuse the sun’s harsh rays while allowing the light in.

When you open up to retractable awnings in your living space, you’ll find yourself spending more time enjoying the outdoors and less time worrying about the weather.