Awnings are used for creating shaded, fresh and enjoyable areas, so to be able to live the outdoor even in the most scorching summer. Thanks to them, terraces, balconies and backyards become spaces where to relax and have fun even in the hottest hours. Besides protecting from the hottest sun rays, they can play as a decorative element for a façade. Mandatory accessories in the urban contexts, they are also useful and performing in the countryside, at the sea and in a mountain area. They are the best choice for any house and can be installed as in the backyard, as on terraces and balconies. They play a decisive role in improving visual comfort, since direct sun rays can be quite an annoyance for the eyes, and help protecting a building from the heat. As for the materials the awning is made of, it is fundamental that the fabric be resistant to atmospheric agents, as well as to UV rays.
Characteristics and functions of awnings
Awnings can come in a variety of shapes, sizes, materials and colors, each one having a specific function, so to adjust to any necessity. Freestanding awnings are independent from the building and offer plenty of shading possibilities. Motorized awnings work with the same mechanisms as awnings with arms, but, differently from the ordinary ones which are operated manually, integrate special motors that allow to ease opening and closure by means of a fully automatic system. The roller tube where the awning is winded up is contained in a cassette generally made of aluminum, that not only hides the canvas once closed, but also protects it from bad weather conditions, preserving also its electric parts.
Awnings with guide systems (also known as attic awnings), on the other hand, are an ideal solution to protect larger areas. They can be equipped with the classic side guides or with guides that are placed above the fabric so to create the so-called “weave effect”. As for sliding awnings, the traditional opening and closing mechanism, a manual system that enables it to slide along the side guides, is ever more leaving the pace to automatized or motorized devices that can be also remotely operated by means of a remote controller. There are also new generation awnings: equipped with LED lights so to enjoy gardens and terraces even at night, or with sensors that can detect the rain and strong wind to then command the automatic instant closure to the motorized control unit.
Typologies of awnings
In order for the outdoor space to look elegant and well-finished to the tiniest detail, it is important for the awning you choose to be in line with the architectonic context. Each awning is carefully conceived and designed for a specific kind of outdoor space, be it a balcony, a terrace or a window. Basket awnings are by definition the most classic awning. Very showy as far as the aesthetics, they are used to cover windows, glass walls or wickets, just like a retractable door canopy. They have a round shape and the canvas is sewed onto a curved arched frame that activates by means a rope recall. The most used for balconies are awnings with arms. Here the cantilever opening allows to open the canvas by means of the two extensible arms that are hooked onto an upper bar, on top of which a roller with the winded canopy is fixed. Outdoor roller blinds fall vertically, flush with the façade and offer a front and side protection to balconies or glass walls. Eventually, shade sails, commonly used in gardens, are very much sought after as they create an outdoor separated living space that can be used for many hours during the day and in different seasons. For them to be functional, the sails need to be kept taut. This is made possible by means of rods and eyelets that allow to adjust the traction.
How to choose the awning materials
No need to say that the most used materials awnings are made of is fabric. Awnings in synthetic fiber or in acrylic fiber are normally the most suited for the exterior, as they are more resistant to atmospheric agents and to the action of UV rays on colors. The fibers of such specific fabrics undergo special resin-based and Teflon treatments that make them compact and water and oil resistant. With regards to the frame design, the choice ranges from metals to wood and plastic. An aluminum awning, for instance, is a guarantee of resistance and solidity and is therefore considered appropriate to furnish gardens. Shade sails in aluminum are indeed a preferred solution when furnishing large outdoor areas. Awnings in PVC are also quite resistant. As a matter of fact, this material protects from the rain thanks to its impermeability, hence creating a shaded area that shelters both from the sun and the rain.