Sonya Awning April 23rd, 2018 - 11:17:12
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.
PVC - a hard polymer also used to make plumbing pipes; this tends to be brittle. Kevlar® - the polymer used to make bulletproof vests; Kevlar® straps in the arms instead of cables are extremely strong and durable and cant rust. Cables - braided metal strands which are used in the arms; these are usually steel, which rusts, leading the cables to discolor the fabric and eventually break. Cables cannot be replaced because they are internal to the arm and inaccessible. Terms: Installation Understanding a few terms about the positioning and installation of the awning can help determine the appropriate size and installation location for your awning: o Mount - what way or location the awning is affixed to the home or building, such as a wall mount, eave mount, soffit, or roof mount. Pitch - the angle that the awning comes down from the mount point to the front bar. Some lateral arm retractable awnings have an adjustable pitch. Projection - how far out from the wall the awning can extend. Load - the stress put on the awning, from wind, snow, even the weight of the awning itself (dead load). Good quality retractable awnings can sustain wind speeds up to approximately 35mph Pooling - water buildup on the canopy which can cause the fabric to sag and stretch.
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.
Usually, then, when a company advertises a "residential awning," theyre signaling that this is a budget line, while "commercial grade awnings" represent high-end lines. Manufacturing Regions and Differences in Quality here are three important manufacturing regions for retractable awnings: Europe, North America, and Asia (mainly China). Each of these manufacturing regions corresponds almost directly to the awning quality: The highest quality retractable awnings are manufactured in Europe, midrange awnings in America, and budget lower quality awnings in China. Most awning companies in the USA sell either commercial awnings from Europe or budget lines from China.