Most awning designs feature a metal frame with fabric covering. With appropriate structural design and material selection, your awning can reliably withstand almost any weather your location may encounter.
What “weather” will your awning have to endure?
Moisture is the enemy of every awning. Coastal locations tend to have continuous breeze that can be strong or gusty at times. And coastal air is moist and salty. Gritty sand doesn’t quite qualify as “weather,” but combined with wind, it can cause significant abrasion. Urban grit and grime cause similar problems in some areas, and debris such as dirt and leaves can stain or encourage mold and mildew.
New synthetic fabrics are engineered to offer far greater resistance to these problems. Choosing awning designs that incorporate these specialty fabrics helps ensure your awning will, indeed, be weather resistant.
Orientation to the sun matters, too. If you’re located in NYC and surrounded by very tall buildings, your awning may never see direct sunlight. But if you’re located in other parts of the City, or you’
re in a suburb, the amount of sun that shines on your awning can affect its weather resistance. There are two things to think about here: the sun is stronger if your awning faces south or west, and the angle at which sunlight hits your awning also affects its heat reduction properties. The sun’s ultraviolet light can cause fading, too, although newer fabrics are designed to be more colorfast.
Steel versus aluminum.
Under certain circumstances, your commercial awning company may recommend steel framing for your awning rather than aluminum. While steel is sturdier for some applications, it also requires more maintenance – regular sanding and painting, to avoid rust.
If your budget allows, you could commission a unique wrought-iron frame for your awning, giving it a fabric covering and perhaps a skirt, or valance. Wrought iron is ultra-durable and it can be beautifully rendered by a forger with talent. It also requires some maintenance.
For the worst conditions, you may want all-metal awning designs. That’s no problem, because Mapes awnings can serve many great-looking aesthetic purposes while delivering top-of-the-line strength and durability. They’re fabricated of aluminum, which provides exceptional strength at less weight than steel and requires little maintenance.
Cleanliness is important.
No matter what you choose in the way of awning designs, keeping your awning clean is the most important thing you can do to prolong your awning’s life, good looks and to ensure top performance. Remove dirt and debris right away. And give your awning an annual inspection to find any tiny weather-related problems you can fix before they grow into something more expensive and frustrating.
What matters most is balance.
Awning designs that are too flimsy for the application are obviously a poor choice. They may seem OK at first, but the first wave of unfavorable weather will reveal their weaknesses. Flimsiness can come from choosing the wrong structural design or materials, but it can also come from choosing less-than-top-quality fabrics. Know what you’re buying.
Getting a “good deal” on something cheaper that comes from who-knows-where is unlikely to be a good deal in reality. It’s cheaper for a reason, and that’s usually poor quality. What you save up front will come back to haunt you in greater expense as you deal with premature repairs and replacement. That’s a headache no business or building owner needs.
On the other hand, overly stout awnings are simply a waste of money, and the added weight may also cause installation problems. Remember, your façade has to support your awning without undue strain.
Knowing the weather and environmental conditions your awning will have to face enables you to choose awning designs that will serve you well, with minimal hassle, for many years to come.