What to Look for When Buying Motorized Retractable Awning
Retractable awnings are an all-around good investment for your property and can be a smart addition to your home. Not only are retractable awnings visually appealing, but they can also add a bit of classy decor to the outside of your home. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, patterns, and colors to choose from, giving you ultimate design control. Retractable awnings can be customized and crafted to match your taste, decor, and budget.
During this year of the pandemic, more and more people have been upgrading their patio and backyard spaces to make their extended periods at home feel more spacious. During the summer months, a retractable awning can go a long way to protecting you and your outdoor furniture from the sun’s harmful rays. Retracting the awning during the winter months allows for the warmth and light to offset colder temperatures.
A retractable awning can also help with indoor living conditions as well. If you have any west-facing windows in your home, you know how hot the afternoon sun can be. A strategically placed awning can eliminate that problem and also help reduce air conditioner energy-related costs.
Now, before you go off and invest in a retractable awning, there are several factors to consider. In this article, we are going to cover the most important considerations to give you the best foot forward. Let’s start off by covering the reasons to invest in a motorized retractable awning over a manual retractable awning.
Manual vs. Remote Control
The difference between these two types of awnings is pretty clear by the name: one has an internal motor that opens and closes the awning, whereas the other requires you to manually crank it open and closed. Both of these awnings offer the same basic functions of protecting you from the damaging effects of the sun & heat, but this is about where the similarities stop.
Manually retractable awnings require that you hand-crank them to open and close. As you can imagine, this means it will require more time and effort to operate than if you were to simply press a button. Manual models also lack the ability to add on extra features such as remotes, wind sensors, motion sensors, etc.
On the other hand, motorized retractable awnings offer a level of comfort and sophistication that you won't get from a manual awning. With a motorized retractable awning, opening and closing your awning is as simple as pressing a button. Several models even allow you to extend the awning to a custom degree so you can adjust your shade with the shifting sun.
If you are interested in a retractable awning for the internal home benefits, you shouldn’t settle for anything other than motorized. If you’re within range of a motorized awning, you can grab your optional remote control and lower the awning to immediately start shading the warm side of the house.
The next two factors to consider go hand-in-hand with each other. Keep that in mind as you begin to explore the quality and prices for motorized retractable awnings.
When it comes to the quality of a motorized retractable awning, there are several components to consider. An awning has many parts and can be customized and upgraded to your heart’s content. The overall quality of your awning will be determined by what parts you choose to invest in.
The first factor to consider is the quality of the fabric to use for your awning. This is arguably the most important factor as it will be the main barrier between you and the sun’s rays. Simply put, a piece of high-quality fabric is made of better-quality materials. You can look for these fabrics by looking for certain features they offer. Try to pick a fabric that is water resistant, has a high-rating for UV protection, is coated in a material that makes it easy to clean, and is resistant to fading. Note: Some awning companies are actually selling polyester fabrics with just a six-month warranty.
Another factor that can affect the quality (and therefore price) is the metal frame you choose for the awning. Some awning companies offer plastic extrusions in their frames instead of structural aluminum frames. Consider where you live and what your regular weather conditions are like before you choose a frame. If you live in a very windy city, you might need to consider investing in a heavy-duty frame and extra secure mounting options. Aluminum is one of the most popular choices for awnings as it is lightweight, strong, doesn’t rust, and is fairly affordable.
As we said above, price and quality are connected when making your awning selection. As it stands to reason, the better the quality of the retractable awning, the higher the final price will be. In the United States, the average retractable awning price is between $1,500 and $3,000. You can easily spend more than $3,500 if you want to go all out on your awning. It’s good to know these average prices so you can budget accordingly for this upgrade. It is also smart to prepare for the occasional maintenance and repair bill for your awning. Some parts will require more maintenance or replacement than others (such as the fabrics).
Don’t forget, a retractable awning is an investment and should be treated as such. Not only will you save money on electricity costs and protect your furniture, but a retractable awning can add to the resale value of your home.
The look of your awning is important. You definitely want to love the way your home and backyard look with an awning, but you might also need to consider association requirements. Some communities require that external home additions meet certain size, color, and pattern restrictions. Don’t make the mistake of investing in an awning that is only going to get you in trouble with the neighbors.
Make sure that you choose an awning that you enjoy looking at, and that suits the style of your home. There are generally two types of retractable awnings – the ‘classic’ style, and the hip roof style. Each style has its benefits for different homes, with different conditions. Remember that you will have to look at it every day, so choose the look of your retractable awning with careful consideration.
Most quality awnings manufacturers offer awnings with acrylic fabrics and that is dyed in a special solution prior to the fabric being woven, giving you hundreds of color options to choose from. More often than not you can get the right color for your home’s exterior.
Remote Control Options
One of the most attractive features of a motorized retractable awning is the optional ability to control it remotely. Whether to adjust the awning while lounging in the backyard or to lower it from inside to block the setting sun, a remote is the epitome of luxury. Look for an awning that has an optional remote that offers all the features you care about, such as the ability to incrementally adjust the awning to your desired level. Look for a manufacturer that offers retractable awning remote control replacement units or parts as well. Other considerations would be for a remote that can control external additions, such as lights, audio systems, or heaters.
What would a piece of technology be in today’s world if it didn’t have the option of being controlled by a smartphone or tablet? Not a very good one, I think. Luckily, most awning motor manufacturers have developed compatible apps to control your motorized retractable awning and its accessories. Somfy® Systems offers the MyLink accessory that can be added to any awning ordered with a remote. These apps also allow you to schedule certain actions for different times of the day so you are always in the shade without ever having to think about it.
One of the components that can really affect the quality of living with your motorized retractable awning is sensors. There are sensors available that can measure wind, rain, and the sun and adjust the settings of your awning accordingly. Not only do they make awning ownership somewhat mindless, but they also protect you from unexpected visits from mother nature.
High winds can cause damage to an awning that has been left open. If you live in an area that frequently has high winds, consider getting a wind sensor installed on your awning. These sensors can detect when the winds are too strong and will automatically retract the awning to safety. The cost of the sensor is significantly cheaper than replacing your awning fabric or mounting, trust us.
For heavy rain, invest in a sensor that can detect when water begins to pool on top of the awning like the Somfy Ondeis Wire-Free RTS Rain Sensor. Most patio awnings aren’t strong enough to support a large body of water and this type of sensor will prevent that from ever happening. For sunshine, a sensor can be used to know when to deploy the shade. These sensors will allow you to go about your day without having to worry about lowering your device manually, and they keep the temperature of your home at bay and your electric bill low. Sensors also allow you to set seasonal preferences, and they can operate on solar-powered energy. They do all the work so you don’t have to.