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Fixed Awnings for Terraces: Make the Most of Your Outdoor Space

Awning in tissu
Awning in tissu

Fixed Awnings for Terraces: Make the Most of Your Outdoor Space

Exterior renovationsFixed Awnings for Terraces: Make the Most of Your Outdoor Space

A fixed terrace awning can transform the outdoor space of your home into a true haven of peace by shielding you from prying eyes. This guide will help you better understand the various types of awnings, as well as their advantages and disadvantages. Whether retractable, permanent, or suitable for all four seasons, an awning can be a valuable addition to your home, especially in Quebec where seasons can be extreme. Ready for an outdoor transformation? Read on!

How Does a Fixed Terrace Awning Work?

Awning tissus

Source: canva

Also known as a stationary awning, a fixed terrace awning is a welded and assembled aluminum structure that is then sealed to the wall of your home. It is also possible to opt for a freestanding awning.

This structure is typically covered with one of the following fabrics:

  • Acrylic fabric;

  • Vinyl fabric.

Both are UV-resistant and treated to be:

  • Waterproof;

  • Antifungal;

  • Rot-resistant;

  • Capable of retaining their colors.

However, while fabric roofs are perfect for sunny or rainy weather during the summer, they are not designed to withstand the weight of snow. Therefore, you should remove the fabric in the fall unless you have opted for a retractable awning.

What's the Difference Between a Fixed Awning and a Retractable Awning?

Put simply, fixed awnings are stationary, requiring only one installation, and provide constant shade. Retractable awnings, on the other hand, are adjustable and can be extended or retracted as needed.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Type of awning
Cheaper than retractable awnings; Easy assembly and installation (kit); No maintenance required; Solid.
The fabric tears in windy or hail conditions; Inevitable fading over time; Lifespan of 2 or 3 years.
Easier to use than the fixed awning; Protects the fabric from fading; Prevents tears (if fabric is rolled up during windy or hail episodes).
Expensive  Subject to mold if left retracted while damp.

In addition, fabric awnings do not protect against heavy rains. Only a more traditional roof, with a gutter system, can handle heavy downpours. This is precisely the case with awnings equipped not with fabric, but with polycarbonate panels.

The Different Types of Fixed Awnings for Outdoors

Fixed awning

Source: Canva

In general, there are five different types of awnings for outdoors:

  • Fixed awning on a building;

  • Window awning;

  • Terrace awning;

  • Pergola awning;

  • Gable or round marquee awning.

Prices and Sizes

The vast majority of awning structures are made of aluminum or steel, and their prices range from $1,500 to $15,500. But why such a difference when purchasing an awning?

Let's take the example of a $1,500 awning. Here are its characteristics:

  • Dimensions: 7.5 ft. X 7.5 ft.;

  • Number of columns: two;

  • Open faces;

  • Roof type: polycarbonate panels (6 mm thick);

  • Integrated gutters.

On the other hand, the $15,500 awning has other advantages:

  • Dimensions: 10 ft. X 18 ft.;

  • Number of columns: nine;

  • Closed faces;

  • Three sliding doors;

  • Roof type: polycarbonate (8 mm thick);

  • Acrylic wall system (resistant to strong impacts).

Between these two extremes, it is possible to find fixed awnings for around $5,000, which already meet significant needs:

  • Resistance to strong winds;

  • Ability to support snow loads;

  • 16 mm thick polycarbonate panels;

  • Resistance to impacts (hail);

  • Galvanized steel connectors;

  • Easy installation for amateur DIYers.

Obviously, with this type of awning, you are already closer to a pergola or a patio than to an awning in the strictest sense of the term, meaning a fabric that protects from the elements.

What about fixed awnings equipped with simple fabric? The fabric itself costs less than $200 for a length of 7 ⅘ ft. For the structure itself, it often costs less than $500. However, it all depends on its dimensions.

Choosing a Permanent Awning for Your Terrace

Fixed awning

Source: canva

The most important point to pay attention to the wide range of fabrics. The most well-known fabric brands include:

  • Glen Raven;

  • Sunbrella;

  • Dickson;

  • Herculite.

For quality, the fabric must have certain characteristics, such as being:

  • Flame retardant;

  • Rot-resistant;

  • Waterproof;

  • Antifungal;

  • Resistant to UV-rays.

In addition, it must also have dimensional stability, meaning its ability to maintain its shape when stretched over a large surface.

Next comes the material part. You may be tempted to build your awning yourself. In this case, know that some companies offer all the materials for sale, such as:

  • Rails;

  • Head rods;

  • Tubes (round or square);

  • Head rod clamps;

  • Hinges;

  • Etc.

Of course, you can also purchase the tools necessary for awning fabrication, such as crimping dies, eyelets, cutting punches, and shears.

Finally, know that your awning can contain decorative elements or elements that provide better support to the fabric, such as:

  • Braids;

  • Cords.

Now that we know it is possible to build it yourself, how do you assemble this awning?

Installation of a Fixed Awning for the Home

Although you can assemble an awning from A to Z yourself, what you will most often buy in stores are kits. Inside these are instructions for assembly. You must follow them scrupulously.

To give you an idea of what to expect, here are the main steps to follow:

Step 1: Check the Walls and the Ground

In the kit, you will find screws and anchors suitable for a certain type of support. This could be tile or concrete. Therefore, they may not be compatible with your house wall.

Regarding the ground, it should be solid, flat, and allow the structure to form a 90° angle with the supporting wall. Also, revisit your house plan to ensure there are no pipes passing through the areas that will serve as anchor points for the awning columns.

Step 2: Ensure Your Safety

Wear gloves, goggles, safety shoes, and check that there are no overhead cables above your work area. Depending on the size of the chosen awning, you may risk touching the cables with the aluminum profiles.

Similarly, if the day you've chosen to install the awning is windy or rainy, postpone your work to a more favorable day.

Lastly, one thing that is generally overlooked: dispose of the packaging immediately. Children could play with it, posing a choking hazard that needs to be addressed before starting work.

Step 3: Prepare Your Site

Start by getting a bowl to place all the screws and other small elements. Remove the components from the packages and lay them on the ground, on a soft surface, and in a sunny area far from trees. This step will help you better visualize the assembly process and check that you have all the parts.

Gather the tools needed for assembly. They generally include:

  • A screwdriver;

  • A mallet;

  • A drill/driver and its bits;

  • A tape measure;

  • A pencil;

  • A utility knife;

  • A ladder;

  • A level.

Step 4: Follow the Assembly Instructions

Each awning kit comes with its own assembly instructions. For the simplest ones, you'll just need to slide an aluminum profile onto the back and front of a polycarbonate panel. Then, you can add the supports on each side to form the structure.

This structure will then be screwed onto the panel and onto the support wall through the holes you drilled with your equipment. The screws and anchors are provided, but again, ensure they are compatible with your type of wall.

However, some awnings are much more delicate to install. It's not uncommon for you to also need to ensure the watertightness of your awning. How? By applying silicone above the beams and on the outer edges of certain parts.

Furthermore, as mentioned earlier, some awnings, especially those with polycarbonate panel roofs, must be equipped with a gutter. Therefore, it is necessary to install it by adjusting the angle of its head.

Step 5: Know the Maximum Snow Load

This is particularly important in Quebec. If you've chosen a fixed awning with a polycarbonate panel roof, carefully read the manufacturer's specifications to determine the snow height the roof can withstand.

Some models can withstand up to 1.4 feet of snow, while others support much less. Therefore, occasional sweeping may be necessary during heavy snow episodes.

All-Season Awning: Year-Round Protection

An all-season awning can be a great solution to add a room to your house, provided you choose the right material. The best advice we can give you is not to choose a fabric awning. The reason is simple: it's too fragile.

Since it will remain in place throughout the year, the risk of hail or strong winds is too high. Therefore, an awning with a polycarbonate panel roof is the safest solution for all seasons.

Depending on the panel thickness, they resist both the weight of snow (up to a certain weight specified in the manufacturer's manual) and that of ice and hail impacts, typical of the summer season.

Often, these awnings are also closed on the sides, allowing you to fully enjoy them in all seasons.

Read More About Awnings Here:

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Last modified 2024-05-10

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