What Is A Retractable Awning? Everything You Need To Know

Residential Retractable Awning Melbourne Helioscreen

There are many ways to add value and comfort to the outside of your home, but one of the best ways to achieve this is by installing a retractable awning. Here we take a closer look at retractable awnings with a few frequently asked questions, from what they are and how they work to the various parts that make them.

What is a retractable awning?

An awning is an overhanging covering attached to the outside wall of a building — sometimes residential, sometimes commercial. While traditional awnings have been set in place, it’s becoming increasingly popular for retractable awnings to be used. These types of awnings can be extended or retracted depending on the weather conditions; extend them for cover on scorching hot or rainy days, and retract them to soak up the weather when conditions are perfect.

What are the parts of a retractable awning?

The best retractable awnings are made of aluminium die cast parts and resistant steel cables with articulated arms. Most retractable awnings are motorised with a remote control, but the best modern examples can also be controlled with sun or wind sensors, meaning they can be retracted to suit the conditions even when the homeowner is away. Additionally, the awning fabric should be made of long-lasting, UV-resistant material, and will come in a range of different colours to complement the area where they are being installed.

What is a valance?

A valance is a piece of fabric that is hung from the edge of a canopy for added shade and protection. Many retractable awnings come with an optional vertically-adjustable valance that can be fitted after the awning is installed. These valances are operated with additional hand cranks and can often extend over 1m down from the awning, providing an extra option to block out the sun or rain in extreme Australian weather conditions.

How durable is a retractable awning?

Because they are designed to protect from the elements, retractable awnings are made to be super durable, with the best modern retractable awnings reaching a rating of 6 on the Beaufort Wind Scale. The Beaufort scale is a measure of wind speed split into 13 categories from no wind at all to hurricane conditions. A rating of six protects the awning from conditions where large branches are swaying and umbrellas have become difficult to use.

What are the benefits of a retractable awning?

The biggest benefit of any awning is its ability to protect from the elements. Awnings provide shelter from the oppressive heat of the summer or the unpredictable rainy conditions year-round in Australia. Awnings also have the ability to create an obvious entertaining area in your home for people to gather, as well as being aesthetically pleasing by complementing the features of backyard with a wide range of available fabrics.

How far does a retractable awning extend?

The average retractable awning can project up to a maximum 4m, with a 7m width. As mentioned previously, there is also the option of a retractable valance that can extend over 1m vertically downwards.

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