Sonya Awning April 06th, 2018 - 13:05:30
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.
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.
Specifically for retractable awnings, most Asian-produced lines are imitative rather than original, meaning they use standard designs done on the cheap without any engineering design or engineering drawings. In addition, almost all Asian vendors lacks TÜV or Eurolab certifications. Thats not to say that every budget line is bad. Obviously, price is a factor (though it becomes less of a factor when the usable life of a budget awning is about a quarter of a commercial/high-end awning). Also, a few companies focusing on residential lines put the effort in meeting with Asian manufacturers at trade shows, even touring their facilities. Even with budget lines, the quality of the company is reflected in their service agreements, return policies, and customer service.
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.