Awnings provide a distinctive accent to any building exterior, and are available in a variety of styles and materials. But they also offer more functional uses, including protecting those using the doorway from UV rays, harsh winds, rain and snow. In addition, awnings provide a barrier between the door and the sun, decreasing the amount of thermal energy that enters the building and, in turn, lowering the building's dependence on air conditioning. Finally, awnings shield expensive or historic woodwork and finishes around door frames from the elements. From high-tech polycarbonate to more traditional aluminum, awnings are available to suit almost any type of building and climate.
The sturdiest option and the easiest to maintain, aluminum awnings wear extremely well against rain and heavy snow. Though not available in as many colors and patterns as textiles or plastics, aluminum units with baked-on enamel finishes will last many years without fading or chipping. Some models even feature built-in rain gutters to accommodate run-off.
Textiles can be easily customized to a building's aesthetic -- or a company's logo -- and are inexpensive to install. However, because they don't protect as well from the elements, it's important to look for innovative synthetic fibers that are able to stand up against the rain, like polyvinyl laminates, or offer resistance against sun deterioration, like textiles with fluropolymer.
Polycarbonate, PVC and Acrylic Options
Plastic awnings are virtually indestructible and hard wearing against UV rays. They can be ordered in a large variety of colors and sizes. A more durable alternative to glass, these units are lightweight and can often be installed without the need for a contractor.
For more customized protection against the sun, retractable awnings are available in many different materials. An arm crank usually operates manual units, while automatic versions expand at the touch of a button. Many automatic awnings come with remote controls, which allow the user to change or close the awning from a distance. These types of awnings are especially useful with fabric units that are less-suited to heavy snowfall, as they can be retracted in inclement weather.
Solar Panel Awnings
Photovoltaic awning systems use solar panels to shade the doorway while collecting valuable thermal energy. While such units aren't readily available on the market as of early 2011, prototypes of this nature are in development.
- Photo Credit brick building with blue awnings image by dav820 from Fotolia.com
Ideas for Over Basement Steps to Keep Rain Out
Ideas for Over Basement Steps to Keep Rain Out. ... and the doors fitted over the frame cover the stairs completely. Bulkhead...
How to Keep Rain Out of a Screened Porch
Drain cover; Rain gutter; Show More ... but it provides excellent rain protection. ... Porch screens are effective at providing ventilation while...
How to Build a Door Awning
Free Awning Ideas for a Home's Entry Door Cover. Before air conditioning, awnings were often employed to block the sun and ......
How to Make Your Own Awning for an Entry Door
Installing an awning over the entry door will provide sun and rain protection. ... Adding a dome awning over a front door...
How to Replace Yellowed Plastic Molding on an Exterior Door
Plastic moldings are used on many exterior doors as window surrounds. The plastic will not rot like wood moldings and will last...
Door Awning Do it Yourself Projects
Retractable awnings can be built using PVC pipe ... Plan to construct a patio awning from either a wood or metal ......
How to Build a Wood Door Awning
How to Build a Wood Door Awning. ... How to Add an Awning Over a Back Door; How to Design the Exterior...