Questions to Ask as a First-Time Patio Awning Buyer
Patio awnings are a practical addition to your home. They can also be an investment in your property value if installed correctly. If you consider upgrading your outdoor patio space with an awning, you’ll need to come to the sales table equipped with the best knowledge to get the right awning for your home. This article will cover the most critical questions to consider and ask as you purchase an awning. Let’s dive in.
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF
There are some questions that only you have the answer to when it comes to choosing an awning. Here are some essential things to consider before contacting your local awning retailer.
QUESTION: WHICH WOULD SUIT YOUR NEEDS BETTER, A RETRACTABLE AWNING OR A STATIONARY AWNING?
There are two primary types of awnings, stationary and retractable units. A fixed covering is one that permanently affixes to the exterior of your home and does not move. In contrast, a retractable awning is a mechanical device that can extend and retract the cover in the face of inclement weather. There are pros and cons to both options, and your budget will be a significant factor in which type you choose.
In a nutshell, stationary units are more affordable and cost-friendly than retractable awnings, going for several thousands of dollars. Stationary units are often lighter in weight compared to the heavy machinery of a retractable model. If you are considering adding several awnings, stationary units are probably your best bet. A retractable awning is most commonly used in the backyard area and can be customized to your budget and feature preferences. If you can afford it, we highly recommend a retractable awning. See here for more information on the pros and cons of retractable awnings vs. stationary awnings.
QUESTION: WHICH MANUFACTURER OR RETAILER SHOULD YOU BUY FROM?
This question is the part of the purchasing process that falls on your shoulders. We live in a world where all information is at our fingertips. Use the resources available to you to do your market research on the awning manufacturers you are considering. Don’t shortcut this process either; this is a sizeable investment and deserves your time and attention to make the right decision.
One sign of a quality product is a company that advertises United States-made products. Extensive market research indicates that awnings built locally are on average higher quality than ones purchased from overseas manufacturers. A common problem with products manufactured outside of the United States is the use of materials and chemicals that do not stand up to the type of weather we experience here. Unless you want to weatherproof your awning on your own, strongly consider purchasing a domestic product, or at the very least, one made with mostly domestic components.
As you do your research, consider sources such as the Better Business Bureau to learn about the company. You can also check online review sites like Yelp!, Google, or Angie’s List to see what other customers thought of their experience with a manufacturer. Doing your due diligence ahead of time can save you headaches and money.
QUESTION: WHERE WILL YOU BE INSTALLING THE AWNING(S)?
Most people will be installing their awning in the backyard or patio area. Consider where in the backyard you will be putting the awning and the available supports that can be used to mount it. Not all outdoor spaces are created equally, and the awning you like may not fit the space you have. Awnings are often mounted to exterior walls, roofs above gutters, or soffit eaves.
Ensure that you measure the area you want to cover to provide those measurements to the manufacturer. These measurements will affect your awning’s final height and help get the perfect pitch for maximum shade coverage. These numbers are doubly important if you are having a fully customized awning built.
If you are looking into stationary awnings, consider your home areas that will benefit most from the additional shade. Fixed awnings can help reduce sun exposure in your home and lower your overall indoor temperatures. This reduction can add up to some significant savings on your air conditioning bills in the warmer summer months.
QUESTIONS TO ASK THE MANUFACTURER OR RETAILER
No matter how much you Google awning models, manufacturers, and reviews, there are just some questions best answered by a professional. Here are some questions to consider asking the manufacturer or salesperson during the purchasing process.
QUESTION: ONCE YOU’VE SELECTED AN AWNING, HOW WILL IT BE MOUNTED?
Considering most retractable awnings weigh somewhere around 150 to 400 pounds, it’s essential to consider how the manufacturer will be mounting this device that rests above you and your families’ heads. Confirm that your installer is using shaft lag screws that are at least ⅜” wide. The goal for your awning installation is to reach the middle of the house’s framework after all exterior materials are removed that can be compressed, such as vinyl siding or foam board.
Pro Tip: When comparing manufacturers, look for a company that performs and guarantees their installations. Some retailers will outsource the installation process to subcontractors, leading to inconsistent or improperly installed awnings. Considering the financial investment, not to mention your loved ones’ safety, is at stake, this is an important detail not to be overlooked. In almost all cases, amateur installation is not recommended. This work is not a do-it-yourself type of project.
QUESTION: WHAT FABRICS ARE OFFERED FOR THE AWNING COVER?
Awning covers come in a wide array of colors and patterns. The fabric chosen for your awning will not only decide the aesthetics of your outdoor space but will also determine how long it might withstand constant exposure to the elements. Generally speaking, you want to look for a cover made of high-quality acrylics and yarn-like fibers.
These breathable materials are designed to wick away moisture, withstand exposure to the sun’s rays, stand steadfast against high winds, and hold steady in the snow. Quality awning fabrics should be antimicrobial and bacteria-resistant. Look for covers that advertise their color stability, durability, and ease to clean.
QUESTION: DOES YOUR MANUFACTURER OFFER SERVICE, REPAIRS, OR CLEANING?
If your retailer offers installation services, it is likely they also provide maintenance or repair services. We advise that you stick with one source for installation and service or repairs. Hiring a different company to maintain your awning than the one who installed it can cause damage to your awning or result in an improperly maintained structure. If you happen to have outsourced the installation to a subcontractor, ask them to make specific recommendations for service and repairs.
QUESTION: IS THE ORIGINAL QUOTE AN ESTIMATE OR A FIXED PRICE?
This question is important, especially if working with a subcontractor. Too often, homeowners will find themselves with an original quote that fits their budget, only to end up with a bill full of unexpected costs and additions. It is not uncommon to get a statement that is double or even triple the original quote. Quotes often cover an expected amount of work time, but over time can drive up the final costs. Make sure to negotiate with your subcontractor in a way that guarantees the quote covers potential extra hours. Try to get a fixed price wherever possible.
Following these steps, you will find yourself relaxing in the cool shade of your new awning in no time!
QUESTION: DOES OUR CONTRACT CHANGE BECAUSE OF COVID-19 REGARDING ORDERING AWNINGS OR CUSTOM FABRIC?
Yes, this is a question that we are getting a lot at Accent Awnings, and are happy to explain how we are doing business during this challenging time.
Once you place an order with us, we typically have a 3-week production window: Estimated Time of Delivery is 4 to 7 weeks and this can change seasonally to be up to 6 to 9 weeks.
Because the pandemic has created some back orders, we suggest customers select two different fabric colors just in case their first selection is on backorder. In addition, we let our buyers know that there can sometimes be additional delays due to COVID-19 shipping times.
Should a customer decide they no longer wish to wait for their fabric selection in the case of extensive back orders, we will fully refund your deposit.
Once your product is manufactured and quality control is tested in our factory, we will notify you within an hour and supply a 2-hour window of arrival on a day of the customer’s choice. At Accent Awnings we are working very hard to make sure you get your patio awnings exactly the way you want for your home during these challenging times.