Awnings for Decks – Is Cloth or Metal Right for You?

The right awnings for decks can make a huge difference in the livability of your home and yard. By creating a gentle transition between the indoors and out, you make sure that there’s an environment for every taste and time of year.

Awnings have some advantages over other types of shade structures. A pergola for instance doesn’t provide the protection from the sun and rain like an awning can. While the pergola has it’s own strengths, such as creating a beautiful eye-catching feature for your home, and demarcating a more open outdoor area, in most cases awnings have an advantage over sheer functionality.

This functionality is most prevalent when dealing with retractable deck awnings. Other types of deck and patio awnings provide a steady level of protection, even though the weather is never going to be the same. With an adjustable awning for your deck, you can ensure that when you want the sky to be open it’s open, and when you need the shelter from the elements you can have that too. It’s the best of both worlds!

Types of Awnings for Decks

Most awnings that are used on decks are going to attach to the wall of the house. Because of this, many times you can mimic some of the same energy saving effects as window awnings for homes can provide. This is due to the ability to block the warming rays of the sun from entering through windows. This means less load on your air conditioning in the summer months.

Fabric Awnings for Decks

An Awning Covers a Poolside Patio Set

A Beautiful Awning Completes a Pool Patio

How you go about blocking that sunlight can make for a lot of interesting decisions though. Lightweight fabrics are great at giving you a cheap and easy means to provide some shade. However, they will wear out more quickly and need to be replaced more often. This can add up to more work over time. Also you will have to take the awning down over the winter, as these shade cloth fabrics can’t stand up to heavy snow or icicles.

One of the main benefits with fabric awnings is how they allow hot air to pass through the canopy. As this heated air wants to go up, it can get trapped underneath the awning if not allowed through. This benefit is less on fabrics which have been coated.

Canvas Awnings

Canvas is one of the more popular materials for awnings. It is a relatively durable fabric that has a nice natural look and feel to it. Canvas comes in many different weights, and so provides a good range of options for how much shade you want to provide. Lighter weight fabrics can be more like shade sails, diffusing the light more than blocking it. Heavier canvas materials can provide more shade for a cooler environment below.

The problems with canvas come from damage from UV rays and moisture. Both of these environmental pressures can cause damage to your awnings if they aren’t protected properly. UV light will cause canvas to become hard and brittle over time, and can lead to cracks. Moisture can cause mold and rot, especially when the awning is rolled up or in storage.

Fabric Awning Shading a Deck

Shaded Patio Courtesy of a Fabric Awning

Retractable Awnings for Decks

Awnings are great to have around when the sun is too hot to be comfortable out on the deck. However, sometimes you want that warmth from the sun and an awning might just be getting in the way. Rather than having to take down the awning and put it up when the need arises, retractable awnings allow you to easily adapt to the weather.

Manual Awnings

The least expensive and simplest retractable awnings are those that are manual. These generally are just roll-up awnings, though sometimes there is a crank you can turn to extend the awning along tracks.

Electric Motorized Awnings

Retractable awnings which have motors can be pretty expensive. They are also more difficult to install as you have to connect the awning to the electrical system. The benefits of electric awnings are that you can adjust to the weather with just the push of a button. This can lead to spending more time outdoors since it’s so easy to ensure that you’ll be comfortable on your deck!

Metal Awnings for Decks

More durable metal awnings for decks can make for a much longer term hassle free shade structure. They can provide shelter year round, as they are able to stand up to the harsher weather conditions throughout the winter.

The main problems with metal awnings are related to venting hot air and potentially corrosion. Using metals which are corrosion resistant is a good idea for any outdoor structure.

Aluminum Awnings

Unlike a lot of other metals, aluminum makes for a great awning material. It is very strong for it’s weight, which makes more lithe and open structures possible. At the same time it offers great resistance to damage from ultraviolet light or water. It is truely an all weather material and can help you avoid a lot of the hassles that would be involved with keeping steel awnings protected from rusting.