Awnings have been playing a major role in society dating as far back as the Roman Empire, protecting the people from the scorching heat and sunlight. These sun awnings were used by merchants and were even used in the Colosseum. However, there is no proof of it being used for protection against strong winds and rain. Perhaps it was only in the latter part of history that people have come to realise the need for rain awnings in order to protect their goods, homes, and so on from the harshest of weathers.
As different as the sun is from the rain, so are also the materials used in things that protect you from them. Alright, maybe not that different. But they do have their individual special requirements.
The main concern regarding sun protection is finding the right balance between the heat and sunlight you are getting. No one really wants to stay completely inside their homes when there’s a beautiful weather outside. Fortunately, the awning manufacturers have come up with fantastic awning solutions for the ultimate sun protection.
Heat causes materials to stretch and so it’s best to use fabrics that are stretch-resistant such as acrylic-coated polyester.
Exposure to UV is both harmful to you and your furnishings as they cause them to fade. The vinyl-laminated polyester material is perfect for that purpose. A woven polyester fabric without laminates and coatings provides shade with excellent heat-filtering, too. Solution dyeing protects the fabric from fading and deterioration caused by UV exposure. However, some stretch in hot weather, while some shrink in cold weather. Modacrylic, while having some similar characteristics as that of acrylic, is more flame-resistant and heat-sensitive.
Fabrics with cotton base (opaque fabrics) are alright for sun protection but are not recommended for use in areas that experience constant high humidity. Samples of these are vinyl-coated polyester/cotton and painted polyester/cotton, although they both have water/UV/mildew-resistance properties.
Bear in mind that lighter-coloured fabrics repel slightly more heat than darker ones – excellent for the summer season.
Awnings constantly exposed to rain, high humidity, and strong winds need sturdier materials. Aside from strength properties, resistance to water and mildew is the main problem during the rainy season. Awning fabric manufacturers have come up with special fabrics exactly for this purpose.
An example of an awning fabric that does not leak is acrylic-coated polyester. A solution-dyed woven acrylic is weather-proof, too, perfect for rainy regions. The vinyl-laminated polyester is resistant to mildew and is fitting for humid areas. Another great mildew-resistant fabric is the PVC-coated woven polyester material. Likewise, the vinyl-coated polyester material is breathable and suited for areas that have rainy and humid climates, resisting mould and mildew growth.
Although canvas awnings naturally repel water and moisture due to the construction of the material, most manufacturers apply a vinyl or acrylic coating to increase water resistance.
Metal awnings are durable and can withstand strong winds, snow, sleet, hail, and rain. They do not rust and only require minimum or no maintenance at all. On the other hand, aluminium awnings require waterproofing treatment to prevent rust when you’re going to expose it to rain. Both metal and aluminium awnings will never bow, stretch, or warp.
Awning manufacturers offer awning gutters to control rainwater drainage.
PROTECTION FROM BOTH SUN AND RAIN
Fabrics like vinyl-coated polyester and acrylic-coated polyester are translucent depending on their colour, and are resistant to UV light, water, and mildew. They can be used for both sun and rain protection. Acrylic is an ideal awning fabric, too, as it has a cotton-like aesthetic but resistant to UV light, water, and mildew. Its weaving makes it immensely breathable, avoiding trapping any hot air and moisture.
When purchasing your next awning, assess your area’s climate and weather situation. There are several other awning materials out there to choose from. Not to mention, various awning types that are suited to every person’s needs. Decide on whether you will be using it for longer periods of time or for occasional uses only to determine the right durability and lifespan of your awning. Happy awning!