Adding an awning: What to look for, what to avoid

Part 2 of Sheryl Novak's series on awnings delves into the mechanics and hardware

Choose carefully when selecting an awning for your home in Mexico. Photo: Courtesy
Choose carefully when selecting an awning for your home in Mexico. Photo: Courtesy

Last week, we covered the many benefits of adding an awning to your home in Mexico. To recap, it will increase the amount of livable space in your home or condo since you can use the area outside during the hours of direct sun. It can reduce the cost of your CFE bills by keeping your interiors cooler without having to use your air conditioners or fans as much. And it will most likely increase the aesthetics and resale value of your home.

We also covered the different types of awnings available, from vertical to retractable.

Now we will focus on what to look for when selecting the frame, motor and cassette.

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Many types of awnings can be operated manually by crank or automatically with a motor. Motorized awnings are raised and lowered with a button or remote control or even by a sensor. The most expensive option is sensor-trigger, which detects the sun’s rays. The benefits though are worth considering. You can program your awning to retract when it gets windy and to extend when in direct sun or light rain.

Check to ensure the mechanism and frame (which supports the awning) are a material that does not rust. Aluminum is a great solution but has the downside of being lighter in weight than galvanized steel. If you live in a windy area, you may be better off with steel, even though it has a higher likelihood to corrode.

If you go with a motor, ask the type. Ensure that it is durable, requires little and easy maintenance, and is quiet. If you have the advantage of hearing it in operation, it will ensure you do not end up with one that is noisier than you expect.

Ask about the types of cassettes available. A cassette houses the motor and fabric when the awning is in the retracted position. If possible, opt for a full (closed) cassette instead of a semi or open cassette. This protection will ensure your awning lasts longer.

With all the smart technology available today, you can program your awnings to work via an app on your smartphone or through a virtual home assistant. Other options available include integrated lighting, heating systems and skylights.

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The different segments of awnings usually have separate warranties. It is always a good idea to review and understand the terms of the warranty before finalizing your awning purchase. Make sure to get it in writing, and in Spanish, so that you have a better chance of having it honored here in Mexico

Next week we will tackle the cover. With hundreds of patterns and colors available, if you want to get the most from your awning investment, I will share which ones are your best bet.

Interested in an awning? Contact sa.novak@solutionsmexico.com and to get connected with some companies in Mexico. Sheryl Novak is an expat from Canada who sells furniture at solutionsmexico.com.

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