4 year old chinese imported awning
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4 year old chinese imported awning

Problems with retractable awnings

Problems with retractable awnings is a question a lot of awning suppliers try to avoid.

I believe in being honest and upfront as retractable awnings can be expensive and you need to know all of the pros and cons before spending your money.

An awning can be a great addition for your home for a number of reasons.

  • An awning provides a shady place to sit or entertain during the summer months.
  • It will keep the inside of your home cooler.
  • An awning will stop your furniture and flooring from fading.

But awnings also have their problems and the ones below are the most common I’ve come across over the last 30 years.

Problems with retractable awnings…. Fitting

This is a big one. Having a retractable awning is like fitting a giant sail on your home.

It is not the physical weight of the awning. It is the wind loading on the awning fixing brackets that can be huge so not all areas are suitable.

Traditional brick built homes are perfect.

We are coming across more and more new homes and extensions that are made from blocks rather than brick. Blocks are just not strong enough to support an awning.

Timber frames can also be an issue depending on how secure the frame is.

So your wall is strong enough to have an awning now it is about fixings to use.

I would always recommend your awning be installed by a professional company, but even that can go wrong.

problems with retractable awnings

The image above is an awning that we were asked to look at that had recently been ‘professionally’ fitted (not by us) and had fallen.

The reason it had fallen was it was fitted by a garage door company who used the same fixings for fitting the awning as they did with the garage doors.

awning poor fixing screws

Picture above shows the fixings they used by the garage door company (top 2) compared to the ones we use.

The fixings would be enough to support a garage door and were enough to hold the awning to the wall but nowhere near enough to cope with the wind.

Problems with retractable awnings…. weather

This problem comes down to common sense.

Retractable awnings are designed for sun protection and that’s how they should be used.

They are not designed to be used in strong wind, heavy rain or snow (shopkeepers).

Rain showers are fine as long as your awning has a good slope to allow the water to run off.

We would have a minimum of 300mm per metre projection. So an awning with a 2 metre projection will have a fixing height of 2600mm.

Anything less than that and the water will start collecting in the cover and the extra weight could brake the support arms or pull the awning off the wall (I have seen both).

Problems with retractable awnings…. the sun

Sun??? I know that sounds strange but around 30% of the homes I survey an awning would be a waste of money.

The reason is the direction the sun moves around your home.

Perfect are south facing gardens where the sun is directly facing the awning for a good part of the day.

The 30% are where the sun is on the side of the home for most of the day. Meaning the sun will come under the side of the awning providing little shade until very late in the day.

Problems with retractable awnings…. cheap imports

As my grandad always said ‘ you get what you pay for’ and that is the case with awnings.

We have a number of requests each year to look at awnings that we did not install.

If it is a fixing issue generally we can sort it (as with the garage door company), if it is a repair issue there is nothing we can do.

4 year old chinese imported awning

The awning above was only 4 years old. A good quality awning should last 15 years plus as long as they are used sensibly.

We are able to get hold of spares for most UK and German made awnings but can’t get any for these imports. So when something fails then throw it away.

We get asked regularly to replace awning covers that are 15 – 20 years old with the awning hardware still in really good condition.

If you would like to get an idea of costs for a retractable awning please read our guide https://www.barlowblinds.com/how-much-are-patio-awnings

A retractable awning can be a great addition for your home and I hope this information helps.

If you are in Leicestershire and would like more advice or to arrange a home visit please call 0116 2769771 or complete our contact form and we will call you back https://www.barlowblinds.com/contact

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