Here comes autumn, a beautiful season in Australia, when we are finally free from the scorching summer heat!
While most people know awnings are useful in summer to protect homes against heat or glare, awnings are beneficial the whole year round — especially in autumn when the weather can be unpredictable.
Outdoor shade systems
Awnings have always been popular in Australia as Alfresco dining is a huge part of our lifestyle. Referred to in other countries as outdoor shade systems, awnings are designed to protect verandahs, balconies and courtyards from the Sun’s glare & UV rays. They can also protect you from rain, ensuring added comfort for your family and guests.
Often talked about from a functional perspective, awnings can also give the exterior of your home a “makeover” that can significantly improve the appearance & value of your property. This applies to commercial buildings as well – awnings are not only for residential use – you can find awnings in restaurants, retail stores, cafes, offices, and other business spaces.
Here’s a quick guide on the different types of awnings, to help you decide which would best suit your home and lifestyle.
Types of awnings
Alfresco awnings help add shade and keep you cool as you enjoy your outdoor space. Highly functional and aesthetically non-disruptive, alfresco awnings shield outdoor living spaces from Australia’s harsh weather. Alfresco awnings come in different styles, including:
- Verandah straight-drop awnings. This type of awning is still popular after hundreds of years and is commonly seen in verandahs or patios. They use a rope and pulley system to operate.
- Cable guide straight-drop awnings. This type of awning can be secured in a variety of ways and can be motorised, crank-operated, or even solar-powered operation systems.
- Multi-stop channel guide awnings. These channels are normally made from powder-coated aluminium, which are sturdy enough to withstand Australia’s harsh, fickle weather and will give you long-lasting performance.
- Cord and reel awnings. Cord and reel awnings can be operated using a rope, winch, or gearbox. The fabric rolls up around a tube, which is fitted into a hood or mounting brackets.
- Spring-loaded straight-drop awnings. This type of awning is often installed between verandah posts. They are spring-operated, with a tube that keeps constant tension in the fabric, for ease of use while also maintaining quality for long term durability.
- High-performance straight-drop awnings. High-performance straight-drop awnings screen the entire perimeter, not just your house. This allows you to close off your outdoor living areas completely, giving you more room to relax & entertain!
Like alfresco awnings, pivot arm awnings are great for sun protection and ideal for areas with intermittent sun rays or moderate winds. As the name suggests, pivot arm awnings have arms that pivot to extend or retract. The best part is that you can opt to control the awning from the inside, so they are perfect for high windows.
Convertible awnings are known for their simplicity and ease of operation at relatively low costs. They are versatile and suitable for any window type. When fully extended, a convertible awning can cover the entire window and provide sun protection from any angle.
Retractable roof awnings are awnings stretched on a frame. They present effective solutions for sun or rain control as well as building insulation. Retractable roof awnings are often used to shade doorways, alfresco areas, decks, windows, or even a storefront. Being retractable means you can enjoy the view of the morning or night sky. When closed, they can help reduce temperatures. Retractable roof awnings use a fully automated system and are extremely easy to use.
The benefits of awnings in autumn
From sun protection to wind protection, retractable awnings have a wide range of uses, especially in autumn.
1. Sun protection
Although temperatures drop after summer, autumn can still be warm and sunny. As people lounge around their verandahs, they sometimes forget the dangers of too much sun exposure. Awnings protect you from harmful UV rays during warmer days. You get to enjoy your outdoor view, while still being protected from the sun’s rays. You can extend or retract the awning, depending on how much light you want to let in.
2. Rain and wind protection
Autumn nights can start to get chilly and occasionally see rain. With retractable awnings, you can comfortably sit on your veranda and enjoy the sights, scents and sounds of cooler evenings, or even the rain without getting wet. In addition, you get to protect your outdoor furniture. If the winds get too strong, you can always retract your awning to keep it from being damaged.
3. Furniture protection
Given how much you’ve invested in your outdoor furniture, you would naturally want to protect it from the harsh weather. Over time, the colour of your furniture is expected to fade due to direct sun exposure. Heavy rains, strong winds and freezing temperatures are likely to accelerate furniture deterioration. Retractable awnings can effectively protect your outdoor assets.
4. Electricity savings
Large windows capture lots of sun, which can increase the inside temperature of your home – and there are still some really hot days in autumn. Closing your blinds could be an option, but then you wouldn’t get to enjoy the view outside, would you? Alternatively, you can turn on your air conditioning, but that can result in skyrocketing electricity bills. Awnings are the perfect shade solution as they block UV rays without impeding your view. By not turning on the air conditioner, you reduce your carbon footprint and save money.
5. Maximises outdoor space
Whether you hold intimate or large gatherings, you will likely use every possible space in your home — your deck, porch, and verandah included. Retractable awnings help extend your living space as comfortably as possible, providing you with sun or rain protection any time of the day for all occasions.