Sonya Awning April 29th, 2018 - 11:00:35
Awnings have been common for more than 2000 years; retractable awnings have been around for almost 150 years. While the history of using awnings stretches far back in Europe and retractable awnings are commonly used there today, theyre rare in the United States - despite the fact that retractable awnings were invented in the US. This uneven adoption has led to an exposure of design options in Europe - intricate frames, new types of retractable frames, bold colors, and luscious patterns - while America, treating awnings as a practical afterthought, has stayed more conservative. A Quick History Some form of awnings has been around for millennia, starting in Egypt and the Middle East and spreading across the Roman Empire. Most of those were fixed canopies of mats, skins, or fabric bolts hung over poles. In the mid-1800s, shop owners began using movable awnings, which simply bunched up the fabric when it was taken down. In the latter part of the century, they began rolling awnings on a tube, cleanly retracting them and keeping the fabric safe. With minor variation, this is the same basic design used today on lateral arm retractable awnings.
How easy an awning is to maintain depends a lot on how it is made, and there are differences between retractable awnings. The fabric on low-quality awnings, particularly cheaper fabrics like canvas and vinyl, is the component most vulnerable to damage: rotting or mildew from rain and humidity, sun exposure, frayed seams, cracking, and fading. Quality retractable awning companies use solution-dyed acrylic, a chemical fiber with the color embedded into it. Solution-dyed acrylic is a woven fabric, so it dries quickly, avoiding mold or mildew. Since is a synthetic fiber, it doesnt rot. And, since the color is part of the fiber itself, it lasts as long as 15 years before being replaced.
Bettering the Customer Experience Retractable awnings can create a more pleasant outdoor experience. This has subtle but tangible effects on customers. The area around entrances is cooler and shaded, protected from rain, and generally more pleasant to be in. The primary function of a better customer experience is better foot traffic. The stylishness of the awning makes customers want to browse, and the glare, heat, and rain protection makes it more comfortable for them to do so. The sun protection has a dual utility, though. The UV protection (since suns rays never reach the interior) preserves window displays and interior furnishings and prevents fading. Even the inside of the store is more appealing for customers, and the heavy investment in signs and merchandise is protected from passive sun damage.
UV rays, high wind, gusts, and rain - basically, normal weather - cause the most damage to awnings. Fading, molding, and tearing fabric. Twisting fixed frames from high wind damage or the weight of snow or pooling rain. In only two or three years, fixed awnings and canopies already show substantial wear, which is why the lifetime of most fixed awnings and canopies is only five or six years before the awning need to be replaced. Retractable awnings are closed when not in use, which cuts weather damage. That makes the maintenance much easier on retractable awnings compared to permanent awnings and canopies - there is no need to hunt down replacement parts, replace fabric every couple of years, or attempt to wrangle awnings down and into storage for winter.