Homebuyers and those building their dream homes often specifically seek sun exposure on outdoor decks, patios, terraces, balconies, and windows. After a few very hot and sunny days however, one quickly realizes that the sun’s penetration – while beautifully cheerful – can raise cooling bills, cause eye problems and headaches through direct exposure or glares, and increases risk for skin cancer to a degree that may not have been expected at first glance. The deck or patio constructed specifically for enjoyment may even become unattractive due to physical discomfort from the sun’s rays and even completely unusable during rainy days.

An easy solution as protective shelter from the sun’s heat, glares, cancer causing rays, and also during rain is roll up awnings. Also sometimes called retractable awnings, these cost-effective barriers create refreshing shade and weather protection without blocking fresh air or the scents, sounds, and other pleasures of the outdoors. Able to reduce the temperature of the shaded premises by up to 20 degrees, easily installed roll up awnings can be used as needed, then retracted quickly without much effort when more exposure to the outdoors is desired.

A huge benefit of opting for retractable awnings versus fixed ones is that when retracted the awnings are fully protected from the elements such as wind, rain, ice, snow, and even sun. This extends the awnings’ life expectancy. Further, it keeps them in great shape for a longer period of time, saving money that would typically be needed for replacement.

Roll up awnings are primarily available in a multitude of sizes or through a custom fit for either horizontal or vertical positioning. Generally constructed of a durable canvas or woven fabric, horizontal roll up awnings extend from under roof lines or eaves outward over a deck or patio, much like a temporary ceiling. These provide shade to all that is beneath them.

Vertical roll up awnings are often used on outdoor settings, balconies or large windows to block glares, shield from direct sunlight, or to promote privacy. Vertical awnings roll up like a window shade to just under an eave, overhang, or at the top of a window, door, or other opening. Some manufacturers of roll up awnings offer vertical attachments to be easily affixed to horizontal awnings and to extend their functionality during use. They may be constructed of the same material as a horizontal retractable one, or even comprised of netting to screen out insects without blocking views, fresh breezes, or light.

Roll up awnings can be quickly pulled out into position through a manual crank or mechanical switch. The manual crank only takes a few moments for full extension of the awning. Mechanical awnings may be rolled up through use of a motorized, wall-mounted switch or by means of a remote control. Many of the retractable mechanical awnings offer different degrees of pitch to vary the slant of the awning and thus to control appearance and the direction of shading.

Installation of manual retractable awnings is fairly simple, depending upon the home construction and placement. Either a professional installer or the homeowner can apply the roll up awning to the area of need. However, mechanically operated roll up awnings may be more safely installed by a professional or someone with electrical experience. Installation of either type – manual or mechanical – generally requires only about one hour of labor.

Cost for 6 foot extension, 10 foot wide, manual roll up awnings generally starts around $350 to $400 for a low quality version which will require replacement after a few years or heavy use, to $1500 or more for longer lasting, more durable, and permanent quality awnings. Mechanical retractable awnings of the same dimensions from a reputable, high quality provider cost about $2400. Prices vary widely depending upon quality and craftsmanship, so the buyer must determine whether a permanent awning for limited use is most desirable, or if longevity and high quality are worth greater initial cost. Regardless of cost, properly installed patio awnings add value and usability to your home.

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