Awnings are external devices or fittings that are used to give protection from the sun or bad weather. Usually it is positioned over outer doors or windows. It can be made of metal or other kinds of heavy duty materials. In fact, sometimes larger varieties are used to cover up patio areas or maybe at the backside of a house.
Awnings were used as early as the 19th century. Those days, a simple flat construction made of metal would be angled over a window. That sheeting would provide protection from rain or direct sunlight. Also those were the days of no air conditioners. In such situations, these awnings would also provide a crosscurrent of air flow. The best part was that these awnings became more decorative and creative with designs.
Window awnings are a great way to keep the furniture from fading because of the sun. It also keeps your house cooler. You could also put up awnings around the house and save on the energy costs. If you have retractable awnings then you can adjust it according to the kind of weather. On cooler days, you could raise it to let the sunrays in and can be lowered during those pouring days. You can use awnings for your porches, patios and decks.
Now depending on the position of your windows you can decide what kind of window awnings to get:
In South facing windows the solar heat is reduced by almost 65% by the use of awnings. This part is easy to protect. You could use an awning that has no sides for all the possible sunlight and the least winter sun. But in hotter climates you can make the awning wider or install ones with sides so as to block the midday sun.
Windows that are north facing can also use awnings without sides. This is mainly because during summer the sun is piercing only in the early mornings or in the afternoon.
East & West Facing–
In east and west facing windows the solar heat and the direct glare from the sun can be lowered by 77% by using awnings with sides. The sun can be quite low in the mid mornings and the afternoons and thus can come underneath the awning. This can be avoided with those sides.
Now let us look at the different kinds of awnings:
We have already discussed about Window Awnings above.
These are made in such a way that your home and your doorway whether you have a sliding door or a French one; are protected from the weather. Door awnings are usually non retractable and these are made in a way that the door can open outwards.
These days retractable patio awnings create a hi-fi look and give you an outdoor living room. It is the perfect way to entertain guests or just simply have some nice family time. It is almost like another room added to your house in a cost efficient way. And since these are retractable it gives you flexibility too.
Porch Roller Curtains-
These are made in a way that you have shade as well as your privacy. These roller curtains are usually made of canvas and these are convenient as it uses a rope and pulley system and so it is versatile again. You can use lower it to any level that you please. It is a simple and yet elegant solution for your porch.
Valances not only give your porch that lovely look but also do not obstruct your view. These are also usually made of canvas. In fact, these can be custom made to suit your porch; of any length or width and are mostly hung from the underside of the ceiling.