A retractable awning is a significant financial investment for most house owners. On average, people can expect to spend between $4000 to $10,000 for a custom-made unit.
Before you part with your hard-earned money, there are a number of elements that you need to consider. Due diligence and a fair amount of research can conserve you time and money as well as prevent most problems that may occur down the road.
Consider the following questions that you would want to ask before making your decision:
Who are you buying the awnings from?
With this size financial investment, you want to take a look at your regional dealer(s) and ask for referrals from other buyers in the area. No matter how good the item is, your choice of whom to do business with is just as important.
Will they help in installing the awnings?
Does the dealership support their setups or do they pass it on to a subcontractor? Do they guarantee the installation for an amount of time and will it include a warranty for future work?
Keep in mind that retractable awnings are inherently more complex than blinds and shutters and will require some technical expertise to install and maintain properly.
What sort of fasteners are they using to secure the retractable awning?
A set of retractable patio awnings can weigh up to 400 lbs or more so you would want to pay extra attention to what features are in place that keeps them from toppling over.
With today’s building and products continuously changing, make sure your installer is utilising a minimum of 3/8″ large shaft lag screw. Depending upon the product the contractor is installing, length of the lag screws is also an essential aspect. The objective is to anchor the awnings from deep within the structure which ensures that there is no chance of the awning coming loose which can potentially cause serious damage and injuries.
Is the fabric 100% acrylic?
Many acrylics will not rot mildew or exceedingly fade and are the same colour/pattern on both sides. Some awning manufacturers will carry private label materials which are produced in Europe or Asia.
A 100% acrylic material sewn with heat and moisture resistant threads can last 8 to 12 years with regular cleaning.
What kind of service warranties are on offer?
Some businesses online only provide prorated guarantees while others will offer full coverage. Why does it matter you ask?
Retractable awnings with a full warranty tend to be more expensive but are often well worth it. In case of future claims for defects and such, owners will not have to worry about out-of-pocket expenses.
How is the retractable awning operated?
Initially, the cost of a motorised unit may be too high as compared to a manual, hand crank operation generally included in the unit cost. With a motor, you usually operate the awning with a hand-held remote or wall switch.
If you see yourself adjusting the awning for more than ten times a day, a motorised retractable awning makes a sensible investment.
Where is the retractable awning made? Where are the components sourced?
Many quality awnings are put together locally in Australia. They are custom-made and takes a few weeks to assemble.
Beware of companies that may try to cut cost by importing low-quality materials from China. Just like the majority of outdoor products, lots of Chinese made products are not designed for the Australian climate and do not last for very long.
With retractable awnings, you generally get your money’s worth. Thus, it is often a good idea to pay a bit more if only to avoid the frustration brought about by poor quality and short service life. Carefully review the factors mentioned above and you are more likely to end up with a set of quality retractable awnings that will serve you well for many years to come.