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The Value of Awnings

Oh the power of the simple awning!

Did we say simple? Today's awnings can be simple, true. . . Subtle, plain, understated. But they can also be elaborate, bold and daring. An awning has always been a good way to give you shade on patios, porches and decks, as well as protection from the elements. But addition to shielding you from a hot sun and the rainy weather, an awning just makes a house's porches and patios look nicer. And besides all that, you can even enhance the appearance of the home's windows by putting mini-awnings over each of them. There is lots of potential for enhancing the beauty of your house with the not-always-so-simple awning.

Here are some facts to consider. By some estimates, it's been said that during an especially hot summer, a family can save 60 or 65 percent on their energy bill with south-facing windows, and even as much as 77 percent with windows that face the east and west. So if you think you can't afford the luxury of window awnings, it might be that you can't afford to be without them!

There are other benefits to awnings. An awning on your window can do a noteworthy job of protecting the beauty of the woodwork surrounding the window. Without some sort of protection, the sun, rain and sun can cause this wood to become warped, and even to decay. An awning helps shield the wood and prevent this from happening.

Speaking of protection, an awning over your patio or porch protects not just you or even the house. It also protects your outdoor furniture. With a top-quality awning, you can open the windows on your outdoor deck, even during a spring thunder storm, and your furniture will be shielded. And let's face it, a patio decked out with a nice awning will help you feel better about your house as you welcome visitors and might eventually increase the home's re-sale value.

We assume now that you're convinced of the benefits that awnings can bring to your home. Now you just have to consider what sort of awning you want. First you must consider the material. There are two main materials from which awnings are made: aluminum and various kinds of fabric. The fabric awning has the advantage of coming in a wider variety of vibrant colors and shapes. However, the aluminum awning appeals to those who don't want to spend much time with maintenance, since fabric awnings much be cleaned often. Aluminum also gives the patio or window a more nostalgic, traditional look.

Either fabric or aluminum does a fine job of protecting the premises from the ravages of weather. However, many people have found that fabric awnings, because they're more flexible, withstand high-powered winds much better.

One last consideration in buying an awning is energy savings. For maximum savings, if you place an awning on an eastward or westward facing window, you need a drop of about 70 percent. However, for windows facing southward, the drop will only be about 45 to 60 percent.

And finally, when you're shopping for awnings, ask about roll-up or retractable awnings. These are highly flexible, regardless of whether the weather is hot or cold. In the summer months, they do a good job of blocking the sun's rays, while in the winter, they allow those same rays to shine in and warm up the patio or windows.

There are few things you can do to you house that bring as many simultaneous benefits as installing a patio. With this one project, that will take just a day or two to complete, you can improve your home's appearance, protect it from the elements and make your patio or porch a more enjoyable place to be.

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