Beautify Your Home with Awnings
When the outdoor temperature is 102 and climbing, just looking out a window can make you sweat. Install an awning, and you can reduce the amount of heat that comes through that window by up to 77 percent.
Likewise, you can subdue the sizzle on a patio by shading with a durable fabric awning that blocks the sun’s harmful rays and transforms your outdoor living space into a comfortable oasis.
Choosing the right awnings for your home is getting easier. Most awning stores can feed a digital photo of your home into a computer program that lets you visually try on awnings in different sizes, shapes and colors. Sales reps will come to your home with catalogs full of photos of dome awnings, mansard awnings, canopy awnings, box awnings and swoop awnings. They’ll measure for a perfect fit, then install the awnings.
First, you’ll need to make decisions about the style and location of your awnings.
Are you buying awnings to make your home more beautiful or to shield it from the sun? Either way, you’ll find that an awning can do both.
There’s no need to put awnings on every window. Most Arizona homeowners put awnings only on windows where the sun is most punishing – and that’s not necessarily on the home’s south side, which is typically the warmest. Instead, most cover east-facing windows, a bull’s-eye for the bright morning sun, or west-side panes that can take a beating as the sun slips toward the horizon each evening.
The U.S. Department of Energy says south-, west- and east-facing awnings are the most-energy-efficient choices. You can reduce solar-heat gain on the hottest days by up to 65 percent on south-facing windows and by 77 percent on west-facing windows by covering them with awnings.
Awnings will cost you about $400 to $1,500 per window, depending on whether they are retractable or stationary. You can save on labor if you install them yourself. Either way, the fabric part of the awning should last at least seven years; the metal frame will last longer.
If you buy retractable awnings, invest in a metal hood to cover the exposed part of the retracted awning. Left uncovered, that slice will be weakened by constant sun exposure faster than the rest of the awning.
Aluminum awnings are hardier than fabric, and their price tag can run into the thousands for a patio cover because of their longevity. An insulated aluminum awning can be cut to almost any size or shape, including the popular “grand piano” shape of so many concrete patios.
Before sinking a fortune into an aluminum window or patio awning, check with your neighborhood or homeowners association. Some consider metal awnings an eyesore and do not allow them. Run your choice of fabric awnings by the board while you’re at it: In many new-home communities, homeowners associations have put the kibosh on striped awnings, fearing they will clash with the landscape.
Best bet: Consider the architecture of your home and unadorned earth-tone designs for your new awnings so they will subtly enhance your home’s appearance as they protect it from the damaging rays and punishing heat.
Rosie Romero has been in the Arizona home-building and remodeling industry for 35 years. He has a radio program from 8 to 11 a.m. Saturdays on KTAR-FM (92.3) in the Valley and from 10 a.m. to noon Saturdays on KNST-AM (790) in Tucson. For more do-it-yourself tips, go to http://www.rosieonthehouse.com.