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Retractable awnings can be a great addition to your outdoor living area allowing you the option of both shade and sunshine, as they can be expanded and retracted with the simple push of a button. The weather in the Triangle is perfect for the flexibility of retractable awnings. In the Summer, it is too hot to use sun exposed patios and decks without shade. In the Spring and Fall, it can be too cool to enjoy without the warmth of the sun. Retractable awnings are offered in any width of patio or deck, and expand to sizes up to 15’0” out from the wall. Plus, since retractable awnings are easily rolled up and encased for protection from storms and winter weather, they have a much longer life than fabric awnings that remain out all year long.
When looking to buy a retractable awning, there are several items to consider from an industry perspective.
Brand & Warranty – When it comes to retractable awnings, there are a lot of brands that seem to offer the same things at many different prices. The two main reasons for the big price swing is due to the variances in quality of fabric and frame construction. A poor quality fabric cover will fade, mold and rip earlier than a quality fabric. A poor quality frame will move more in light winds, and break well before a quality frame. My advice to consumers would be to find a retractable awning brand that has been manufacturing for over 30 years. The other criteria would be a warranty over 15 years. This would eliminate most brands that offer low quality products.
Retailer / Installer / Future Service – In combination with the brand selection is your local retailer and installer. A trustworthy retailer will help you in selecting the correct product and options that would be best suited for your home. This is also the person/company that will be servicing your product should the unexpected happen. My advice to consumers would be to find a retailer that has been in business selling and installing the same retractable awning brand for over 20 years. This will confirm that they have been selling and installing the brand longer than that manufacturer’s warranty. This will also confirm that the retailer services this brand and does not switch brands regularly due to poor quality products.
Fabric, Motor, Hood, Sensors, Extras – Once you have selected the brand and the retailer, it is time to customize the features of your retractable awning. The first thing to decide is, motorized or hand-crank. I tell customers, over the next 15+ years of enjoying your purchase, at some time you are probably going to wish you had purchased the motor. From a time, effort, and cost perspective having your retractable awning motorized is well worth it. The next option you should look at is fabric and thread. A woven acrylic like Sunbrella will last the longest, hold color, and can be easily cleaned. Just make sure the stitching will last as long as the fabric, so thread rot doesn’t ruin your investment. Lastly will be all the additional features and options including protective hoods, wind sensors, heaters, smart phone integration and more. A trustworthy retailer will speak about all the options and when these options would be advisable given your outdoor living area.
About the Author – I, Geoff Brantley, am president of DAC Awnings, Inc founded in 1942 and is a third generation family business. As a manufacturer of custom architectural fabric and metal canopies, we only resale the highest quality of products. In fact, we have been selling Sunesta Retractable Products since 1981 and proudly support the quality and long performance of their products. Sunesta Retractable Awnings are also the only retractable awnings in the United States to receive the Miami-Dade wind speed rating approval. When installed correctly by our fully insured staff, you will know your outdoor living space will be well equipped for many years to come.
To learn more about DAC Awnings and Sunesta, please feel free to reach us at 919-309-4444 or on the web at dacawnings.com and sunesta.com.