How Retractable Awnings Work

Retractable awnings are becoming a popular outdoor feature for many homes. Why? Because they’re a cost-effective and convenient solution for creating relaxing and comfortable outdoor living spaces that are perfect for relaxing with family members or hosting a large gathering of friends.

But before purchasing a new retractable patio awning for your home, it’s important to understand how these awnings work and the various construction and usability options available. These questions are essential to answer before purchasing a new awning, as the answers may affect your overall buying decisions.

Among the primary benefits of awnings is their flexibility and convenience. They can be easily rolled out when you need a bit of shade on a hot day or retracted into a protective unit during inclement weather conditions. Versatility is what also attracts many homeowners to awnings for their houses, as retractable awnings are available in several styles, materials and colors. Awnings are typically crafted from durable aluminum and high-quality acrylic fabrics for long-lasting vibrancy. Retractable awnings are available in different models to fit your needs and budget, including manual and motorized versions with either telescopic or articulated arms.

What’s the difference between these types of retractable awnings? And which will work best for you?

How It Works

With a retractable awning, you have the ability and convenience to move your awning inside or outside a protective cassette versus a stationary awning that would be permanently extended from the exterior of your home. Awnings can come in manual or motorized systems — either using a hand crank or electric motor to roll the awning open and closed — either in a canvas type or aluminum. Canvas awnings will use spring tension to roll the awning, while aluminum will roll the awning by pushing arms.

Some awnings may utilize poles or posts to keep the awning aloft and other models may have support arms that hold the weight of the awning. Typically, support arm models are safer for most homeowners to prevent people, especially children, from running into them.

Motorized vs. Manual

When choosing your retractable awning, you’ll have to choose whether you’d prefer a model that is motorized or manual. A manual awning uses a crank or handle to open and close. Motorized, or automatic, models feature a motor for simpler, faster and more convenient operation. While a motorized option seems more useful, it’s important to note they may require more maintenance and higher repair costs.

With an automatic retractable awning, there’s a remote installed on the wall near the awning with buttons to initiate the motor to either open or close the awning. For added convenience and peace of mind, several motorized retractable patio awnings feature special sensors that detect particular weather conditions like rain or sun. In instances of high winds, the awning will detect this and close to prevent damage and others may recognize direct sun and expand to offer shade.

Another benefit of automatic retractable awnings is that they’re also equipped with a manual override in case your home ever loses power and you need to quickly retract your awning.

Articulated vs. Telescopic Arms

When beginning your research on retractable awnings, you may have already heard of models that are motorized or manually operated, but you probably haven’t heard of the terms “articulated” and “telescopic arms.” These features of retractable awnings control how the awning opens and closes.

Articulated arms typically open in stages by extending a pair of spring-loaded arms. After these spring-loaded arms expand, other arms that support the awning extend as well. These arms either automatically extend with the awning or need to be manually extended after the awning is opened, depending on the model and style of the awning.

Telescopic arms use gas-filled cylinders to open and close your retractable awning. Over time and with use, the gas will leak and require refilling. For convenience and ease of use, telescopic arms are typically used on smaller awnings, like patio covers, for example.

For Reliable Retractable Awning Installation, Trust Liberty Door and Awning

When you need an attractive and dependable retractable awning design and installation team, trust the experts at Liberty Door and Awning. We’re a family-owned and -operated company with 50 years of experience serving homeowners throughout the Atlantic, Middlesex and Monmouth, NJ, counties with all of their garage door and retractable awning needs. Our team is proud to offer only the finest retractable awnings available, constructed with high-quality and durable materials designed to resist elemental effects like corrosion and maintain their pristine, vibrant appearance for many years to come.

The awnings at Liberty Door and Awning are available in a variety of styles that are perfect for your home’s deck or patio, or they can even be installed in apartment or condo outside living spaces. Learn more about our manual and automatic retractable awnings today by filling out our online contact form or calling us at (732) 286-3667 to speak to a specialist.

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