How Do Retractable Awnings Work?

Are you looking for a way to add shade to your outdoor space, home windows, balcony, patio, or deck? A retractable awning may be a perfect solution for you! Sunshades provide a convenient, attractive canopy and can be adjusted to suit various needs. You don’t have to wait for the trees to fill in each year – awnings are a source of solid shade and can decrease air temperatures in your outdoor area by up to twenty degrees! Awnings are more versatile than you think – they can be an excellent source of cover during the rain or sunshine! They are a useful all-season, adjustable hardscape to add to your outdoor space. 

Selecting a retractable awning requires a few big decisions. First is the almighty aesthetic – choose a canopy that matches your outdoor decor. Second, you must decide whether to install a manual or motorized awning. Although these two styles of shades provide the same ultimate function – protection from the sun and elements – they go about it differently! This article contains everything you need to know about how these types of awnings works and the benefits and drawbacks of each!

automatic awning retractability

What are Manual Patio Awnings? 

Manual patio awnings are the traditional sunshade, also called articulated arms. You must manually wind the articulated arms open and closed to unroll the canopy over your outdoor space. The first set of arms is spring-loaded and helps the shade to unfurl and retract. The user cranks the awning shaft to extend or retract the articulated arms by winding a pole clockwise or counterclockwise, which unrolls or rolls up the shade. 

What are Motorized Patio Awnings? 

Motorized retractable patio shades perform a similar process to their manual counterparts without the physical labor. These units use telescopic arms that contain gas-filled cylinders. These push the canopy out and pull it in instead of the cranking and unfurling process. Most motorized units are mobilized with a simple push of a button to provide shade. When you have reached your desired level of shade, you can press the button again to stop the shade in its tracks! 

Manual Patio Awnings: The Benefits and Drawbacks

The most significant benefit of a manual sunshade is its simplicity. The traditional crankshaft is an easily constructed mechanism that is very low-maintenance. Without a motor, this uncomplicated piece of equipment is both easy to operate and repair if it should be damaged. This brings down the initial investment cost of your shade, as well as any possible ongoing maintenance expenses. A manual awning puts the control entirely in your hands! 

The biggest drawback of a manual awning is almost self-explanatory – it comes with manual labor. It can be tiresome to crank the shade whenever you want to roll it in and out. Manual arms force you to adjust it yourself each time you want to change the position of the awning; getting up each time breaks up conversations or relaxation!

Motorized Patio Awnings: The Pros and Cons

A benefit of motorized shades is that they do not require physical labor during the process. This means unrolling or rolling up your canopy is a stress-free process – you don’t have to get up from your lounging or interrupt your socializing to adjust your awning. They take any sweat out of the process and have no learning curve as long as you know how to press a button! This can make life easier and more peaceful when trying to relax outdoors.

manual retractable awnings installation

Motorized arms are made of the strongest, most durable material for retractable awnings on the market. They are more likely to withstand higher wind speeds than manual arms due to their tougher construction. Equipping a motorized awning with a wind sensor provides the best protection possible! 

Motorized awnings have a more complex construction than their manual counterparts. Subsequently, they have an increased number of potential points of failure. This construction and the motorized component require more frequent maintenance than a manual arm, and when they break, it is usually more expensive and time-consuming to fix. Frequently, calling a professional patio cover specialist is necessary to complete repairs on motorized arms due to their complicated nature. A gas leak is a common issue with a motorized arm awning, which requires patching and refilling to continue rolling or unrolling your unit. Another potential breaking point is the motor, which could need replacement every few years depending on the quality of your shade. 

The Takeaway on Retractable Awnings

A retractable shade for your patio or yard is the optimal way to personalize your space and increase your comfort and use of your yard or balcony. If you don’t mind putting in a little bit of elbow grease and want a less expensive unit, then a manual arm shade is the best way to go. However, if you want a more robust shade that moves without any effort from you and can withstand more severe weather, you should look into motorized arms instead. No matter which type of canopy you select, adding one or two shades to your home will help you relax, stay out of the elements, and can even add to your aesthetic. To learn more about how retractable shades work, and explore specific brands and options, contact a local patio cover professional!

retractable awning install

How Patio Covers Unlimited NW Can Help

Are you searching for the perfect structure to add shade to your outdoor living spaces? Patio Covers Unlimited NW is here to help! We have years of experience designing, installing, and maintaining a variety of hardscapes for homes across the region. If you are looking for a manual or motorized retractable awning, we have just the products for you! Our team of experts will be able to help guide you in the best direction for your home based on your aesthetic, budget, and needs. Visit our website to learn more about our awning offerings and hardscape products, or contact us to start on your journey toward your shady yard!

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