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Sonya Awning April 28th, 2018 - 11:44:12
Retractable awnings were quick to catch on in Europe, from open air markets to apartments and homes. In fact, the classic lateral arm awning is called a California Style Awning in Europe - and a European Style Awning in the US. Now, the retractable awning market is decidedly driven by Europe. Millions of retractable awnings are sold there annually and are found on the majority of homes and businesses, even being considered in the architectural design process. The highest quality manufacturers, most innovative new designs, and emerging trends are coming from European companies. By comparison, the awning market in America has been limited to mainly commercial buildings. Substantially fewer awnings are sold in the United States yearly - less than 50,000 - so the market, according to the Industrial Fabric Association International, is only about 2% saturated. Theres room for a change.
There are dozens of styles of retractable awnings, determined mainly by the frame shape: Lateral arm awning - the most common, and oldest, retractable awning style, consisting simply of two or more arms, the front bar, mounting bar and the fabric. This is the most popular style for homes and commercial buildings; this is also the most scalable style, extending (projecting) as far as 17 feet without external supports. Dome - an awning with curved ribs, which forms a rounded shape when fully extended; these tend to have a significantly shorter extension (projection) than lateral arm awnings, extending only about five feet out maximum from the mount point. An elongated dome can have a longer projection than a standard dome style, almost double. Dome awnings are common for commercial properties and for window and door awnings. Drop screen - a kind of retractable awning which is mounted vertically so it extends downward. This style of awning has the mounting bar and fabric, but no arms since it simply "drops" down. This is mainly used to screen patios, gazebos, and other outdoor areas from glare, heat, rain, UV rays, direct sun, mosquitoes, and pollen.
Retractable awnings are getting attention. From green initiatives to historical renovations to downtown retail centers, property owners are hearing that retractable awnings are a terrific, inexpensive method to save money on energy and create a striking exterior feature. The rise in popularity for retractable awnings in the US means that there is a flood of new retractable awning options available, both in new styles and in new companies. Its tempting to look for the best deal alone, but there is such a variance in quality that customers can end up losing much more with short-lived and poor-performing awnings than they save upfront. It is possible to ascertain the quality of a retractable awning in a surprisingly succinct way: find out where it was made.
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.