Have it Made in the Shade With the Right Window Awnings
If you’re looking to cut energy costs and increase curb appeal, consider window awnings.
Did you know that up to 40 percent of the heat in your home comes in through your windows? Shade can cut the temperature in your home by as much as 20 degrees on a hot summer day.
Typically made of fabric or metal, awnings are attached to the top of the window so that they block – and if they’re light in color – also reflect sunlight.
If the awning is made of a solid material, make sure there’s a small gap between the awning and the house so that heat can escape from under the awning. And if you live in a cold climate, remove awnings for winter, to prevent snow accumulation and take advantage of winter sunlight.
In tropical or seaside climates, window awnings are slatted covers on hinges that shield the entire window during storms. The slats also maximize air flow and create a variety of “open” options for the window and transom – both open, one open or both closed.
How Much to Cover
On the north and south sides of the window, awnings should cover 45 to 60 percent of the window, because the sun’s angle is higher. On the ease or west sides, the window awning should cover as much as 75 percent.
If you’d prefer not to remove and install window awnings each year, consider retractable awnings. Not only do they allow you to “remove” the awning during winter months, you can also open or close the awning during the day based on sun exposure.
Cleaning Window Awnings
Windows awnings are simple to clean. Simply hose them down, give them a squirt of mild cleaning solution or dishwashing liquid (Dawn and Woolite are great) and scrub them with a soft-bristle brush. Allow the solution to penetrate the fabric or work on the metal and then rinse.
Cleaning awnings twice a year, in spring and winter, will not only keep your house looking fresh it will make the window awnings last longer.
Choosing the Style and Material
First, determine whether you want your awnings to be a focal point or blend into the home. Ask your contractor for a portfolio so you can see what works on houses similar in style to yours. If your home is traditional, stick with straight-lined awnings; save the scallops or notches for contemporary or modern homes.
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