Retractable Awnings

(ARA) - Ask any realtor what turns a home into a hot property, and a deck or patio is almost always close to the top of the list. And no wonder. A deck or patio is a wonderful haven for relaxing far away from all the stresses of modern living. And who can resist the call of the barbeque and festive outdoor entertaining when the weather gets warm.

All in all, having a deck or patio can be one of the most satisfying parts of being a homeowner. Unfortunately, due to uncooperative weather that can be too hot or too wet, that satisfaction isn’t always guaranteed -- unless you protect your investment with a retractable awning.

Retractable Awnings Save the Day

With a retractable awning, homeowners have the flexibility to enjoy their deck or patio on their own terms. When the sun gets too hot or a passing shower threatens, they simply extend their awning for near-instant protection for themselves, their guests and their furniture. When they want to enjoy the sunshine, they simply roll the awning back up for inconspicuous storage against the house. In addition, retractable awnings can help keep indoor temperatures lower as well, helping to reduce costly air-conditioning bills. Less direct sun can also help prevent carpets and furniture from fading. With all the advantages of a retractable awning, you’d think that everyone would have one. Unfortunately, most people have misconceptions about affordability and ease of operation.

Comfort and Convenience Don’t Have to Be Costly

“A quality retractable awning is one of the best investments a homeowner can make for outdoor comfort and value” says Jonathan Hershberg, president of SunSetter Awnings, the largest manufacturer of home awnings in the United States. “Unfortunately, most people believe they can’t afford a top-quality awning” he adds. “Which is a shame, because you can get a top-of-the-line, manually-operated retractable awning for just a few hundred dollars, and a motorized awning with push-button convenience for just a little more.”

Hershberg goes on to say that another myth involves horror stories about installation and operation difficulties. “Nothing could be farther from the truth,” he says. “In fact, 87 percent of the people who buy our awnings install them themselves on stucco, brick, siding and virtually every other surface in just a few short hours using ordinary tools. And operating them can be as easy as turning a crank or even just pushing a button!”

All Awnings Are Not Created Equal -- What to Check for Before You Buy

Quality Touches. The best awnings don’t automatically cost the most. Use common sense. If an awning feels flimsy in the showroom, it probably won’t stand up to the elements. Look for aircraft-quality aluminum construction and enamel paint finishes, if possible, for lasting value.

Fabric, Fabric, Fabric! Many fabrics like canvas are not 100 percent waterproof and coatings are important to consider. You should also look for an awning that blocks at least 99 percent of all ultraviolet rays.

Do Your Homework. Before you buy, shop around. Home and garden shows are a great place to get lots of information. So is the Internet. Try to evaluate similar options on different models to ensure the best cost comparison.

Price. If possible, look for factory-direct buying or shipping. This can often translate into savings of up to hundreds of dollars.

Ease of Installation, Use and Maintenance. Does the awning come with easy installation instructions? Is there a help line for assistance? How many people and how long does it take to set up and operate? Look for manufacturers who offer testimonials from satisfied customers. Also, once the awning is up, how easy is it to maintain? Ordinary woven cloth awnings are often susceptible to discoloring and mold. Again, quality fabrics are always a prime consideration
Electric Motors. Somfy motors are internationally recognized as the best in the industry for electric powered awnings.

Warranties and Approvals. When it comes to warranties, bigger is always better. Don’t settle for less than five years. You’ll also want to consider the history of the company. How long have they been in business? Are they backed by any well known watchdog organizations? For instance, SunSetter awnings are the only awnings backed by the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval.

Make Sure You Can Try Your Awning “On the House.” If a company expects you to buy their awning at face value without an in-home trial, it’s time to do an about face and walk away. The highest quality awnings come with a no-risk, money-back home trial period -- some as long as three full months.

Service, Service, Service! Before, during and after -- when choosing, installing and maintaining your awning, dependable customer service from trained professionals can provide peace of mind and invaluable assistance. Testimonials can speak volumes about a company’s service commitment.

The Last Word

As with any other significant purchase, it’s essential to do the legwork before your buy. Ask lots of questions. Don’t just settle for information from one source. “We know our customers have lots of options when it comes to choosing an awning,” explains Hershberg. “Whatever information the customer needs, whatever questions they have, we’re more than happy to give them all the assistance they need to help them make the right decision for themselves.” Sound advice indeed.

To learn more about SunSetter Products, visit www.sunsetter.com or call (800) 876-2340 ext. 7699 for a free catalog, price list and video without obligation.

Courtesy of ARA Content

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