Awnings: Sun Protection Products

Today we received an email from a committee member of the BBSA (British Blind & Shutter Association) relating to a patio awning installation with the comment ‘the purpose of the awning is all year round’, so we thought we should post this article on what the function of a patio awning (aka folding arm awning) actually is:

Awnings are developed and designed for use as a sun protection product, to provide shade on the terrace from the sun’s heat and to offer protection from damaging ultraviolet rays along with harsh light levels. Additionally awnings will keep the adjoining internal room cool and help prevent furnishings and fixtures from bleaching by the sun along with eliminating glare on tv / computer screens by stopping large amounts of light pooling in one area.

However, if awnings are installed with a pitch of 14 degrees or greater, they may also be used to provide shelter from occasional summer showers, with water simply beading on the fabric and running down and off over the front / to the sides, with the added benefit of helping to clean the material. If an awning is used during a summer shower and the fabric rolled away wet, the awning should be opened up at the next available opportunity to allow the fabric to dry out, to minimise rippling/wavering of the material around the seams and at the edges (hems). Continuous use of an awning in showers will significantly affect the look and appearance of the fabric.

Awnings are NOT designed for use in adverse weather conditions including but not limited to heavy rain, wind, hale, snow (as pictured), frost, thunderstorms, lightening etc. The wind speed capability of MOST good quality awnings available in the UK is Beaufort 5 (upto 24mph) which equates to a fresh breeze: branches of a moderate size move, small trees in leaf begin to sway. As a general rule of thumb if you feel comfortable sitting under an awning (without being blown off your chair or sitting in a windproof jacket), it should be perfectly fine, but if in any doubt always retract your awning away, ideally before adverse weather conditions are expected as even retracting an awning away during high winds or the start of a snow shower can cause damage.

Finally, under no circumstances should anything be hung from an awning (even string lighting, as tempting as it is this time of year) and be sure when retracting your awning away that there are no foreign objects in the way (ie small broken twigs sitting on the fabric) or allowed to roll within the fabric / cassette.

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