Sonya Awning April 29th, 2018 - 11:49:18
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.
That is starting to change, though. More and more American consumers are asking about vibrant colors or patterns - like florals and even paisleys - when they look at awning fabrics, and more exotic designs are starting to come over from Europe, at least for high-end use. As energy efficiency becomes more common, it could become more natural to look for stylish, as well as functional, solutions, which will broaden the retractable awning market even more. What the Future Holds As energy efficiency continues to be a growing issue for American homeowners, retractable awnings will be a new opportunity to explore. Based on the experiences and widespread effectiveness observed in Europe, there are exciting changes in store for American markets in the next few years: new architectural design integration with new construction, wildly expanding fabric choices and styles, new retractable awning designs, and natural energy efficiency.
Consider whether the additional cost for a high end retractable awning is worth the additional quality. The functional distinctions between high and low quality retractable awnings are significant: - Commercial (high quality) awnings have non-prorated frame warranties of 25 years and fabric lifetimes as long as 12-15 years, while residential (budget) lines have frame warranties and fabric lifetimes of five years or less. - Commercial grade retractable awnings come in custom sizes, down to an inch measurement, while many residential lines have only a few standard sizes. - Commercial retractable awnings have hundreds of fabrics available, while budget lines usually have much fewer color and pattern options. Additionally, high quality awnings use a woven fabric called solution-dyed acrylic which resists fading, mildew, and rot, while budget awnings use cheap materials such as canvas (which fades quickly) or vinyl (which absorbs the heat and does not breathe).
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.