There’s no escaping it — with winter just around the corner, it’s time to prepare your home or business for the cold and wet season ahead. If you’ve recently purchased an outdoor awning, you may be wondering how to properly care for it now that the cooler months have set in. While a quality retractable awning offers adequate protection from inclement weather, extreme conditions could potentially damage it if it’s not properly cared for (depending on which type you own).
As a home or business owner, you’ve probably asked yourself if your retractable awning should be kept opened or closed during winter, or unmounted altogether. Read on to find out what the best winter shading options are and how to protect your awning (and your patio!) during the cooler months.
Best shading structures for winter
1- Retractable awnings
Retractable awnings provide outdoor shelter and ultimate protection from winter inclements. Long lasting and durable, they can be used three-seasons or year-round (depending on the type of awning). Four-season awnings give you the option of keeping your awning retracted or extended year-round, thereby leaving your patio or deck clear of snow. Their sturdy aluminum structure and slanted roof are built to withstand winds and prevent the snow from accumulating and weighing down on the canvas. Moreover, they are equipped with a waterproof vinyl or acrylic fabric canvas, which can safely be used in the winter.
However, during severe storms, we recommend retracting your awning to fully protect it from potential damage from heavy snowfalls, gushing winds or ice storms.
2- Fixed retractable awnings
The advantage of fixed retractable awnings (such as the Attico model) is that they require little to no seasonal maintenance: they’re designed to help you get the most out of your outdoor living space, even under unfavorable weather. They provide more coverage than other retractable awning options, so you can benefit from your patio all throughout winter, hassle-free.
Uniquely designed to withstand harsh climates, fixed retractable awnings’ sturdy aluminum and stainless steel foundation feature a wind blocker and a revolutionary gutter system to keep your patio dry all year long. In addition, their slanted slope allows snow or rain to slip off easily, preventing any buildup caused by precipitation or snowfall.
3- Suspended wall awnings
Suspended awnings such as wall pergolas or window awnings provide shade and shelter from outdoor elements without the need for columns or structures. They are securely attached to an exterior fixture (wall, ceiling or roof) and can be placed over a window frame, door or entryway, and do not require any handling in winter. The mounted fixture can be kept in place year-round; however, we highly recommend rolling back the canvas when not in use, which is stored in an aluminum protective casing attached to the wall.
4- Other terrace awnings
Terrace awnings such as the Capriccio retractable awning are endowed with a sleek and modern design that many homeowners find appealing. Although they can withstand light to medium rain showers, they must be closed during the winter months to avoid the added weight of snow accumulation. The structure can be left as is without any problem.
The Capriccio awning closes like an accordion and is retracted into an aluminum protective casing. It is motorized and controlled with a remote control.
How to protect your awning: 5 winter care tips
Protecting your retractable awning during the winter doesn’t necessarily mean you have to store it away! Here are 5 tips to prep your patio for the colder months:
1- Keep your canvas retracted when not in use. Keeping it covered and out of reach of snow, wind, and ice will help prolong its lifespan.
2- Ensure the fabric is fully dry before it is tucked into its protective hood. A wet fabric can cause mold and mildew and other types of damage.
3- If you decide to keep your awning extended, always clear off heavy snow and ice buildup from the roof cover or hood.
4- Snow removal should be done from the outside (avoiding pushing it out from the inside so as not to damage the fabric).
5- If you need to store your awning for the winter, always check for natural wear and tear, especially for holes and mildew. If you see any damage, make sure to have the fabric repaired and cleaned beforehand.
Retractable awnings are a great addition and long-term investment to any home or business. We suggest taking the above steps to keep them in the best condition to bring longevity and years of enjoyment. Whether you have a terrace awning or fixed retractable awning, you’ll find they will outlast the harsh winters when properly cared for.