Spring is just around the corner, meaning summer is going to be here before you know it. That means long, warm months of sunshine, cookouts, blue skies and open windows. Most importantly, though, it means lazy days relaxing at your beach house.

You and your family treasure your beach house, so it’s essential to maintain it properly and keep it looking its very best. You want to do things like cleaning it thoroughly, making any necessary repairs and replacing anything broken. But you should also make sure everything is safe, up-to-date and looks great.

While you might think this advice only applies to things like doors and windows, you might not initially consider how it might apply to your beach house awnings. Retractable beach house awnings are often a huge part of the charm and function of your property. They provide you with a place to sit outside and enjoy the weather while still staying cool in the shade.

If your beachfront home’s awning could use replacing, there’s no need to worry. We’re here with the ultimate guide to beach house awnings. And if you’ve never had an awning at your beach house before, now is the perfect time to learn about them. We’ll talk about things like different models and features, weather considerations and much, much more.

Ready? Let’s jump right in.

Things to Consider Before Shopping

Get a Consultation

With any job, there is always the DIY option. If you’re up against a task you’ve never done before, you can always do some research on the Internet, watch a couple of YouTube videos and try to tackle it yourself. However, there’s also something to be said for getting an expert’s opinion. Experts are in the position they’re in for a reason — they’ve spent years learning about something, and they have a ton of knowledge to offer on the subject.

So when it comes to planning what awning to outfit your beach house in New Jersey or elsewhere with, it’s worth it to gain an expert’s opinion. Schedule a consultation, bring an expert out to the house and ask them what they think. They’ll be able to give you some pointers, explain some important things to look for and get you started. Depending on the level of involvement you want, they can recommend specific awnings, or they can just give you some guidance as you start your search.

Either way, this is a valuable step in the awning-selection process that’s worth doing.

Which Space to Cover

Before you can begin your shopping process in earnest, you need to make a few initial decisions. One of the biggest of these decisions is: Which space are you planning to cover?

There are several different spaces people commonly choose to cover with an awning. Some people feel it’s important to cover a deck or patio space where they will be spending lots of time outdoors. Others prefer to have a little extra shade over windows or doors.

It doesn’t matter what space you’re choosing to install an awning over, or even if you’re choosing to cover more than one area. What is important is deciding up front, so you can use this decision to inform the rest of your shopping process.

Measure Your Space

No matter which space you’ve decided to cover, you’re going to need to grab the measurements for it. These are a crucial element to shopping and planning for your new awning.

Start by measuring the width of the space you want to cover. If that’s a window or a door, your job will be easy. If it’s the length of a deck, you’ll need to recruit a partner to hold the other end of the tape measure while you mark off the necessary amount of space.

Next, measure the length of the space you’re trying to shade. This measurement is a little more nebulous than the first one, as it is essentially a measurement of how far out you want the awning to extend. While the width of the awning is set in stone, you have a little more freedom when it comes to deciding the length. You can opt for a shorter awning or a longer one. It’s entirely up to you.

Weather Conditions

Before you begin your shopping, it’s also important to take a minute to consider the kind of weather conditions your new awning will need to resist. Will your new awning be expected to stand up to any of the following?

  • Wind: Any beach home owner knows the winds on the New Jersey beaches can be strong. Strong enough wind can easily snap a flimsy or delicate awning. If you live in an area that frequently experiences strong windstorms, you’ll want to invest in a more heavy-duty model.
  • Rain: Even though we want every day at our beach house to be sunshine and paradise, rain is a weather reality when it comes to getting an awning. Make sure to choose an awning made of a material that won’t be affected by water damage.
  • Snow: We don’t often think of snow when talking about beach home awnings, but to ensure your awning stands the test of time, it is important to consider all weather factors. Snow can pile up on an awning, creating a heavy load that’s more than capable of causing the awning to collapse. If snow is a concern, think about purchasing a retractable awning.

Figure out Your Extension and Drop Requirements

Extension = awning length to cover exposed area + 12 to 18 inches to ensure complete coverage

Drop = the height difference from the mounting point to the front bar when fully extended (also referred to as the angle of the awning)

Since you’ve done your measurements, you should have a decent idea of how big the space you want to cover is, and how big you want your awning to be. When trying to figure out how far you’ll want your awning to extend, however, take the space you measured and add an extra 12 to 18 inches onto those measurements.

These extra inches will give a buffer for when the sun isn’t directly overhead, allowing you to be shaded even in those moments.

The second concern here is called “drop.” This term refers to the vertical distance between the awning’s mounting point and the front bar when the awning is fully extended. This is another measurement you’ll want to consider — how steep of an angle do you want this drop to be? Or would you prefer to have no angle? Maybe you’d rather have just a vertical shade. Your space limits your options, so you’ll have to work within the area you have.

According the the California Energy Commission, the  ideal angle for an awning is 45 degrees.  This decision on the angle or drop is based both on your aesthetic considerations and coverage area. If you are unsure about the desired angle of your awning talk with one of our experts to get a better idea what may look and work best for your home.

Additional Features to Consider

Manual or Motorized?

This question refers to the differences in the way your awning is stored in its cassette. In a manual awning, you’ll retract it by hand, typically with a handle or crank of some variety. By turning the handle, the awning will slowly extend and retract. Motorized retractable awnings, on the other hand, operate differently. When you turn on the motor, the awning will automatically retract back into its cassette, and extend again the next day.

It’s not hard to see the advantages of the motorized awning. It requires much less manual labor on your part to extend the awning, as the motor does most of the work. They provide an extra level of convenience manual awnings cannot match. However, manual awnings have advantages in other situations. If you have a setting where you might only need an awning once or twice a year, it might not be worth it to invest in a motorized awning. In cases like these, a manual awning might be just the thing for the job.

Full Cassette or Half Cassette?

This question refers to the amount of your awning that is covered when it’s fully retracted into the cassette. In a full cassette, the entire awning is rolled up and tucked away, with the bar at the front of the extended awning forming a seal on the cassette as it retracts. In a half cassette, the front valance hangs down even when the awning is fully retracted.

When it comes to deciding which is better for you, keep a few things in mind. Firstly, think about dirt and weather concerns. Will heavy winds, snow, ice and rain frequently blast your awning? Is it going to get dirty a lot while retracted? If the answer to any of these questions is “yes,” you may want to consider going with a full cassette. This will give you the additional protection your awning needs.

Another thing to think about is your aesthetic preference. Do you like the look of the valance hanging down to partially cover the metal cassette? Or would you prefer the entire awning hidden and out of sight when you’re not using it? Based on your answers to these questions, you can gain some insight into whether you should choose a full or half cassette.

Valance Style

The valance is the part of the awning that hangs down past the bar at the bottom of the awning. Often, this has a decorative scalloped or similar pattern. It serves to provide a little extra shade, as well as an aesthetic touch, to the awning. These often come in many different designs and styles specific to each awning.

This decision largely comes down to a matter of preference. The style of valance will make very little functional difference to your audience, with the possible exception of a longer valance providing a bit of extra shade. So use your imagination to choose a custom style, or pick one of the standard options you like. For the best visual results, choose something that matches the exterior style of your house. So if your beach house has a very square, geometric design, it may be best to avoid a delicately scalloped pattern, and vice versa. But this decision is all about you and what you think looks most appealing.

The valance is the part of the awning that hangs down past the bar at the bottom of the awning. Often, this has a decorative scalloped or similar pattern. It serves to provide a little extra shade, as well as an aesthetic touch, to the awning. These often come in many different designs and styles specific to each awning.

This decision largely comes down to a matter of preference. The style of valance will make very little functional difference to your audience, with the possible exception of a longer valance providing a bit of extra shade. So use your imagination to choose a custom style, or pick one of the standard options you like. For the best visual results, choose something that matches the exterior style of your house. So if your beach house has a very square, geometric design, it may be best to avoid a delicately scalloped pattern, and vice versa. But this decision is all about you and what you think looks most appealing.

Retractable vs Stationary Awning

While we could divide beachfront home awnings into many different categories, one of the major factors that separates different types of awnings is whether they’re retractable. Let’s look at the difference between the two.

Retractable Awnings

These are awnings that can extend fully, but can also retract when they’re not being used. In the cases of most modern models, this involves retracting into a metal cassette that’s secured to the wall. When the sun is down and the awning isn’t necessary, homeowners can trigger a mechanism that causes the awning to roll up neatly back into the cassette. Not all retractable awnings are motorized, and some require manual retraction, but many popular models do have this extra motor feature.

Stationary Awnings

These awnings do not have the retractable feature and instead remain extended at all times. Depending on which model you choose, you can take them down, but this is usually a time-consuming process you’ll want to complete at the end of the season, rather than at the end of every day.

Finding the Perfect Awning For You

Now that you’ve got things like measurements, potential weather hazards and other concerns figured out, it’s time to put all that information and work to good use and start shopping. Whether you decide to shop in person at a physical location or stick to online shopping, now’s the time to dig in and start looking at awnings.

Begin browsing awnings and looking at different features they offer. Dismiss ones that don’t include the features you need, and remember the ones that look like they have the potential to work well for you and your house. In this way, you can narrow down the many dozens of possibilities that exist out there until you have a few choices lined up.

To help you out in this process, here are just a few of the awnings becoming popular these days. Take a quick look at these models and see if they look like something that might be a good fit for your beach house.

Awning Recommendations for Beach Homes

Aristocrat Manor Retractable Awning

Aristocrat Manor feature descriptions

The Aristocrat Manor Retractable Awnings are an extremely popular choice that is practical and fashionable for beach homes of many different styles. These retractable beach house awnings unfold to protect you from the heat during the middle of the day, even blocking up to 94 percent of the damaging UV rays. Their large area of effect also prevents additional sunlight from streaming in through your windows, potentially saving you money on your AC bill.

Best of all, this awning is completely retractable. When the sun goes down, it retracts and folds up neatly into a secure, extruded aluminum cassette. Here, you can safely store it and keep it protected from the elements until the next time you want to use it.

There are customization options as well, so you can design your awning to fit your home. It comes in three colors — white, earthstone and sandstone. There are also several different available valances to add at the end of the awning, including options with lettering or custom styles. There’s a lifetime of coverage on the awning’s frame, as well as 12 years of coverage on the fabric and five years on the controls and motors.

Aristocrat Estate Retractable Awnings

Aristocrat Manor feature descriptions

The Aristocrat Estate Retractable Awnings have many of the same perks the Aristocrat Manor models do. They offer great shade protection for both you and your house and retract neatly back into their metal cassette. What makes these models so ideal for decks and patios, specifically, is how large they are. They’re perfectly suited to shade areas up to 41 feet wide.

Like the Aristocrat Manor awnings, these also come in three color options, have a variety of available valances and come with great coverage. If you’ve got a large deck, patio or another outdoor area you want to relax in without the sun beating down overhead, this is one of your best options for adding a little shade.

Aristocrat Slim-Fit Awnings

Aristocrat Manor feature descriptions

If you own a condo or are renting an apartment on the beach, you might want all the great features of the Aristocrat Estate awnings. However, because apartments and condos have limited space, there isn’t always room. That’s where the Aristocrat Estate Slim-Fit Retractable Awning comes in.

These awnings combine all the features and perks of the regular Estate Awning, but they do it in a smaller size and a slimmer fit that’s perfect for the narrower space constraints of a condo. They still offer amazing shade protection and retract back into their cassette when not in use. They also come in three standard colors, have multiple valance options and come with the same outstanding coverage as the other awnings we’ve discussed.

Shop for Your Perfect Beach House Awnings in New Jersey Today

If your New Jersey beach house needs an awning for the upcoming summer season, look no further than Liberty Door and Awning. We take pride in our successful garage door and awning operation. Not only do we sell the parts and pieces you need to keep your home in good working order, but we also offer repair and installation services.

We can be there for you through every step of your process. We can guide you through the buying stages, giving you advice on what models might be a good fit for your home and which ones might not be. Once you’ve decided on a model, we can also install it for you, making sure to do it right the first time around. Even after that, we know that sometimes the work isn’t done. That’s why we’re also always available for any repairs as they become necessary. Our office is fully staffed and ready to answer your call at any time, meaning you’ll get a human on the phone instead of an answering machine.

If your beachfront house in NJ is ready to be outfitted with an awning, call us today to get started with your free consultation. Even if your beach house isn’t in New Jersey, you can still find us online. Shop our full selection of awnings today. And if your beach house’s awning is looking a little worse for the wear, or if you have any questions about our services or products, give us a call at (732) 286-3667 or contact us online.