Awnings and the Importance of Sun Protection

Silver Awning

Summer is upon us, and with it comes an intense heatwave, which means higher home cooling expenditures. To beat the heat, it's tempting to turn on the air conditioner or sit in front of the nearest fan, but doing so might be expensive in the long run. Instead of hiding from the heat, embrace it by improving your ability to cool off outside by installing patio awnings.

If you haven’t already done some lockdown-inspired home renovations, now is a great time to consider improving your backyard or patio space. One of the best investments you can make in keeping you and your home cool is an awning. Whether a strategically placed stationary awning or a completely retractable unit, investing in the shade is a real bang for your buck this season.

 

What are UV Rays?

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), Ultraviolet (UV) radiation is non-ionizing radiation emitted by the sun and artificial sources, such as tanning beds. While it has some benefits for people, including creating Vitamin D, it can also cause health risks.

Ultraviolet light has several positive benefits, including vitamin D synthesis, which is essential for human health. Vitamin D aids bone growth by assisting the body in absorbing calcium and phosphorus from dietary nutrition. The World Health Organization (WHO) suggests getting out in the sun for 5 to 15 minutes two to three times each week. When doing so, it is vital to protect yourself from overexposure adequately.

 

The Not-So-Bright-Side of Too Much Sun Exposure

Sunburn develops after prolonged, unprotected sun exposure. Tender skin, headaches, blisters, fever, and nausea are all possible symptoms. After several days of unprotected sun exposure mixed with a lack of water, heat exhaustion can result. The body loses too much water and is unable to regulate its temperature. It can progress to heatstroke, which can be fatal if not addressed.

Skin cancer, melanoma, wrinkles, and prematurely aged skin are some of the long-term adverse effects of too much sun. Taking preventative measures to secure your skin against the sun's ultraviolet rays is an investment in your future. Take it from us; these are things you want you and your family to avoid.

You can take steps to protect yourself and your family from the harmful effects of excessive sun exposure. Sunscreen is essential and should be worn whenever you go outside. Installing, for example, a roll up awning around your home is another excellent method to safeguard your family.

 

Protecting Your Family and Self

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, skin cancer is the most prevalent type of cancer in the United States. This stat applies to both the overall number of instances (about 5.4 million) and the total number of patients (approximately 5.4 million) (3.3 million). Skin cancer survivors outnumber those who have survived all other malignancies put together.

Skin cancer is so frequent that you undoubtedly know someone who has been diagnosed and treated for it. Skin cancer affects half of all people over the age of 65, but the consequences of years of sun exposure are cumulative.

Man with sun burn

Even though total skin cancer mortality has increased by nearly 20% since 2009, males are now diagnosed with and die from melanoma at a higher rate than other demographics. The good news is that skin cancer is nearly avoidable. Excessive sun exposure is responsible for about 90% of instances. Those who tan acquire skin cancer at a higher rate than those who smoke develop lung cancer.

Retractable awnings create far more sufficient protection from the sun for outdoor spaces.

The Skin Cancer Foundation awarded Sunbrella textiles a Seal of Recommendation in 2005 after a series of lab tests showed that its solution-dyed acrylic fabrics protected up to 98 percent of UV radiation. When shopping for an awning, you can't go wrong with anything that comes partnered with a Sunbrella fabric.

 

Protecting Your Pets

Now that your family is protected, it is essential not to forget that our furry family members need protection. Our pets are similarly at risk for sun-related ailments, including sunburns, heatstroke, and sadly enough, skin cancer, including melanoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Make sure to keep enough freshwater around for your pets to stay hydrated during the hot months.

As with humans, you can protect your animal companions in similar ways. Believe it or not, they make sunscreen for dogs and cats that you can purchase for extended outdoor adventures. Look for a sunscreen that protects against both UVA and UVB radiation while searching for pet sunblock. Sunscreens with a "wide spectrum" protect against sunburn and skin cancer (for humans and pets).

Golden retriever laying in front yard

It's crucial to remember that you can't just spray sunscreen on your pet since some sunscreens designed for people might make them sick. Zinc oxide sunscreens, for example, are harmful to dogs and can induce anemia. Salicylates in sunscreen should also be avoided since they might cause redness and irritation on your pets' skin. Check with your veterinarian or look for sunscreens manufactured for pets to ensure you're using safe sunscreen.

Products like sunscreen are great, but nothing beats good old-fashioned shade when it comes to protecting your pets. Awnings produce shade cost-effectively and efficiently. Awnings give UV protection from the sun's rays, and the shelter of an awning may feel up to 15 degrees cooler. Humans and animals may avoid sunburn, skin damage, and heatstroke by blocking those scorching rays and providing a more relaxed resting spot. Awnings also give additional comfort and allow you and your pets to spend more time outside.

 

Protecting Your Property

Another important consideration is your outdoor property, such as your patio furniture and outdoor accessories. These products are built to withstand exposure to the elements, but even the toughest protectants will wear away under the constant battery of the sun. Investing in outdoor furniture, a custom patio canopy, quality barbecue grills, fire pits, etc., are generally not cheap endeavors, and as such, warrant your effort to try and protect them.

Purchase higher-quality outdoor furniture with waterproof and UV-resistant materials as a preventive step. When shopping for outdoor furniture, look for pieces made of materials that can withstand dampness and UV radiation. These pieces have the appearance and feel of many sofas or settees seen in homes, but they are built to endure longer outside. Natural sealants capable of protecting against mildews, UV damage, and rust are generally pre-coated on higher-quality furniture.

striped awning

When it comes to outdoor furniture, you could opt for any number of protectant sprays and sealers to help weatherproof your property. You could also go in for some custom protective covers to drape over your furniture, but this is often a hassle to deal with when you want to use your backyard. Some people who purchase covers report a decreased use of their yard because of the extra hassle involved with covering and storing these when in use.

A comprehensive solution for protecting your furniture, grills, or other backyard features is an awning. Retractable or stationary, an awning can do the job of a cover with no effort or upkeep. Maintaining a good amount of shade over outdoor living space is essential not just for the health of your furnishings but also for your comfort. Pergolas and other shade structures offer an enclosed environment that allows fans, TVs, and other accessories to create an outdoor living room. A retractable canopy attached to the above structure will enable you to select how much sun or shade you want on a bright day. On a rainy day, retractable canopies will also protect your outdoor living space and its accessories.

Man maintaining awning

Awnings are the Answer

Hosting an outdoor party is the ideal opportunity to install a custom awning to protect your guests. Awnings supply ample protection for the sun’s harmful UV rays, making outdoor time safe and fun for families of all ages. Awnings are also an excellent investment during the upcoming non-sunny months, especially as we get past the coronavirus pandemic. For those reconnecting with relatives and friends, hosting a backyard party is the perfect reason to get together.

While you can find quality standard-sized awnings, the final product will always look better if you have a custom awning built for your specific space and needs. Custom awnings provide shade and protection from inclement weather to all types of outdoor areas. You can customize awnings for all kinds of spaces, such as room enclosures, carports, poolside cabanas, extended balcony covers, decks, island barbeque covers, entrances, restaurants, and many more.

Some people don't know that awnings are not just meant for use in the backyard, and they do more than shade people from mother nature. When strategically placed around your home and property, awnings can have several beneficial effects. Awnings can lower the indoor temperature of your home by about 15 to 20 degrees! That is huge in terms of energy savings. If you do the math, the reduction in energy cost will pay for your custom awning in roughly three to five years. That is a solid short-term investment for long-term benefits.

Call Accent Awnings to discuss awnings for your home in San Diego or Orange County, CA today.