Phrases like semi cassette and multi channel remote controls can seem like a different language while, confusingly, not all awnings on patios are patio awnings. We’ll shed some light on your options when it comes to awning types.
When you think of an awning, you probably have a wall mounted design in mind. These are fixed to the exterior of your wall and extend outwards over a seating or smoking area. They’re sometimes called patio awnings.
A freestanding awning gives you more freedom with positioning. They don’t need to be wall mounted as they have vertical support posts, which are either fixed deep into the ground or supported by heavy concrete blocks.
Freestanding models don’t tend to be referred to as patio awnings, simply because they’re not restricted to patio areas next to a wall. They are popular in open spaces, and their extra sturdy construction means they can cover large spaces like restaurants, poolside areas and lawns.
Butterfly awnings are a type of freestanding awning, named after their winged design with two covers centred on a horizontal support post. Others, like the Markilux Planet, are more like a parasol with a single awning and one vertical post.
The covers are usually sold separately, so be aware advertised prices may not include both the structure and the awning part for freestanding designs.
If your outdoor space is exposed to the elements, additional support can add extra peace of mind. You may be able to purchase front support posts to keep a retractable patio awning sturdy, or fix one side of a butterfly awning to a wall. A professional surveyor will assess whether the installation will be secure and let you know your options.
Conservatory awnings have a unique framework which is mounted to the roof structure. They can either be installed externally (overglass) or internally (underglass). The opportunity to block sun rays before they hit the glass and options like remote control operation make them a great alternative to conservatory blinds.
Vertical Blinds / Window Awnings
These are a type of external blind, protecting your windows from outside. They can be made to measure, and are often operated electronically for the ultimate in convenience. Some benefit from a drop-arm design, which means they can be moved outwards at the bottom, for the perfect angle of shading.
Sometimes called side awnings or side blinds, these retractable protective screens are usually used in conjunction with a wall mounted awning. They add extra privacy, block side breezes and provide shading from low-lying sun.
Domestic vs Commercial
There is no distinction between an awning for the home and one for a restaurant dining area or shop front. Customisable sizes, designs and customisation options give anyone the option to tailor a perfect installation.
Cassette and Protection Types
A full cassette is sometimes called a closed cassette. This means when the awning is retracted the roller, fabric and arms are all stored away inside a built-in casing. These designs offer the highest level of protection from rain, wind, frost and snow, as well as dirt and vandalism.
A full cassette isn’t always necessary, since most gardens offer a little protection in the form of fences to block side winds or roof overhang above the installation. If you don’t need the protection, you’ll probably find yourself with more options by choosing a semi cassette or open awning.
A middle ground between open and full cassette designs. These awnings provide some protection from the elements, usually from above and the sides. The underside of the awning will remain open when retracted, but the installation will still be well protected from rain, wind and snow.
An open awning doesn’t have a cassette enclosure. It’ll roll neatly away using its barrel, but it will then remain exposed. If your garden already offers adequate protection, an open awning gives a lightweight appearance.
Some manufacturers offer optional accessories to protect open awnings when they’re retracted. Coverboards are usually fixed to the wall above the awning, acting as a roof overhang if you don’t already have one. Sometimes coverboards are fitted to the awning instead.
Awning Cover Bags
Removable cover bags add an element of all-round protection. They’re inexpensive but only really suitable if you’re not planning on using your awning for some time, since they can be a hassle to put on and remove regularly. Some require you to remove the cover from the awning first, then store it away in a shed or building.
Nearly all awnings are retractable. This means they can be opened and closed when required, with the arms folding away and the cover winding onto a barrel. Different operation types are available, and can sometimes be combined for maximum flexibility.
An electric awning is a preferable choice for most people. A hardwired motor makes operating the installation effortless. You may be able to choose from push button, remote control and mobile phone app control. Remote controls sometimes have multiple channels, so you can adjust accessories like lighting and heating from them too.
Let your awning take care of itself with a sun and/or wind sensor. Sun sensors will extend the awning so it’s always ready for you on a beautiful day, while wind sensors will retract it to prevent the mechanism from getting damaged. The best manufacturers are now providing a built-in wind vibration sensor as standard with their awnings.
Some sensors are solar powered, while others are hardwired into your electricity supply.
Manual operation is suitable for awnings which aren’t anywhere near an electricity supply, but it’s also commonly available on budget DIY wall mounted designs. They’re operated using a winding handle, which many people find inconvenient and strenuous compared to an electric model. They also won’t benefit from protective sensors. Manual is only really necessary for freestanding awnings in open spaces.
A few manufacturers offer fixed awnings, although most commonly they’re canopies. These designs are always open, meaning they are at risk from wind damage.
For more information on your awning options, speak to a member of the Roché team.