A high-quality awning is an asset to any home or business, providing cooling shade in the summer sun and protection from rain and wind in less comfortable weather. But even the best awnings lose their appeal as they age, Investing in a new, modern awning is a fast and affordable way to increase the curb appeal of your home or storefront. Here's what you need to know about choosing the design direction for your property.
Types of Modern Awnings
When it comes to modern awnings, homeowners have quite a few options to choose from. While awnings can come in various sizes and materials, there are six main types to choose from, each with its pros and cons.
As the name suggests, fixed awnings provide permanent shade over windows, doors, a storefront, or even a patio. As they have no moving parts, fixed awnings tend to be more economical to buy and install than more complex awning types.
However, the lower initial cost is offset by a shorter lifetime as fixed awnings are permanently in place, they suffer from higher amounts of weathering and usually need replacing sooner than retractable awnings.
Retractable awnings are convenient and versatile, providing shade and shelter when needed and then folding away to save space at other times. The main downside to retractable awnings is that, by their nature, they’re a little less sturdy and durable than fixed designs and are more likely to be damaged in heavy weather.
Gabled awnings are made of two slanted roof parts meeting at the center in an inverted ‘V’ shape. This design offers several benefits:
- A gabled awning makes an impressive addition to a building’s outline, creating an architectural feature as well as providing essential shade.
- The extra height of the gabled roof makes the area under the awning feel more spacious.
- The warm air under a gabled awning naturally rises to the highest point under the roof, leaving the space below feeling comfortably cooler.
If you think a modern awning style isn’t the right fit for your property, there are also a number of classic awning options you can choose from.
Classic awnings are a traditional and versatile option and are relatively inexpensive to install. A typical classic awning is made from a solid roof, either slanted forward or on the level, supported by brackets at the sides.
Smaller classic awnings provide shade over windows and doorways, while larger awnings can cover a part of a sidewalk or walkway leading to your storefront.
Juliet awnings are based on the same basic structure as classic designs but raise the elegance factor with a curved roof to give an ornate, antique feel that suits older or more elaborate building designs. Juliet awnings are often fitted with sculpted or wrought-iron side brackets to take their attractive looks even further.
Slanted awnings have a forward-sloping roof that provides a greater shade while channeling rain away from the building it’s installed upon. On the downside, a slanted awning takes up more space than a regular one and needs to be fixed higher up on the building’s facade to ensure a comfortable amount of headroom below.
It’s Important To Consider Materials When Making A Selection
Modern awnings are available in various materials, offering varying balances between cost, durability, and versatility. Each material has its pros and cons, so your best bet is to select materials that will be the strongest and most durable in your environment. Here are the most commonly used materials in awnings today.
Canvas & Vinyl
Canvas is a very popular material for modern awnings due to its strength, durability, and affordability. It’s important to verify that your awning builder is using high-quality canvas materials that have been treated to mitigate mold and fading.
A more modern and durable option is to choose a canvas awning treated with a waterproofing substance to increase its durability. For example, an acrylic coating makes an awning slower to fade in the sun and also gives it a higher level of rainproofing without increasing its weight by too much.
A vinyl coating makes for an even tougher and more weather-resistant awning but at the expense of being both heavier and costlier to buy and install.
Aluminum & Steel
Metal awnings are tough, weatherproof, and can be painted in a color to match the rest of your home.
Most metal awnings are made of steel or aluminum, with steel providing the highest durability so long as it’s regularly maintained to prevent rust. Aluminum is less expensive, lighter, and easier to install but is more easily damaged with dents and scratches.
Fiberglass awnings offer much of the durability of steel ones but at a lighter weight and a lower cost to install. They’re generally molded to shape rather than needing assembly and are available in either fully opaque designs for maximum shade or slightly translucent to allow a little sunlight through.
But while fiberglass awnings are durable and highly weatherproof, they won’t last forever. Over several years, they can become brittle and prone to cracking, so they will need replacing sooner than the more expensive metal options.
Modern Awning Inspiration For Homes
Whichever style and material of awning you choose, the key point is to match its size and design with your home so that it blends in appealingly. However, certain awning styles are better suited to particular situations.
Classic awnings are perfect over windows or doors, offering cooling shade when the sun is at its highest. Choosing a classic awning with attachments for hanging baskets or other decorations is an easy way to add to the looks of your home, even if the awning itself is relatively straightforward in design.
Juliet awnings make an attractive and dramatic option for the main entrance, although their effect might become too much if they’re used over every door and window of your home. Try using an ornate Juliet awning where it’ll have the most impact, backed up by simpler classic awnings in the same color and material for other doors and windows.
Gabled awnings provide an even more dramatic appearance and adequate shade for the main entrance while offering a small porch area that you can decorate to make your home feel warm and welcoming whenever you return.
Retractable awnings make a good choice for patio areas or poolsides, giving you the option of shade when you need it while freeing up space when you don’t. Retractable awnings can also be large enough to cover seating and dining areas, making them an excellent choice for outdoor living spaces.
Modern Awnings Ideas For Storefronts
The choice of awning type for a storefront is slightly different than for a home. For example, you’ll probably want to have your store’s name or logo included in the finish. This will likely be less expensive when printed on a standard canvas awning rather than manufacturing a custom fiberglass design.
On the other hand, a metal or fiberglass awning will usually last longer than canvas, so it could make a better long-term business investment in areas with strong sun or high humidity.
Here are a few other factors to consider when looking at storefront awning options.
- A retractable awning can provide welcome shade in the daytime, helping to draw customers toward your door, but rolled back after business hours to slow down its weathering.
- If your awning has customers seated below it, for example, in an eatery, then an awning with in-built lighting, loudspeakers, or fans can significantly enhance their experience.
- Awnings with side walls offer additional protection from wind, making them an attractive option in coastal or exposed areas.
- A larger slanted awning will give the greatest amount of shade, but be sure to check your local laws and zoning rules before installing, as there’s often an upper size limit for awnings in commercial districts.
Contact Us Today To Discuss Your Awning Project
If your awning is fading with age and you’re ready for an upgrade, the shade pros at Valrose are here to help. We can help with every step of the process, from design and planning to installation and inspection.
Give us a call or email us to get started with one of our experts. We are standing by to book your site visit.