The most frequently encountered question when setting up retractable settings are;

“Will it be strong enough to handle the extreme weather such as the scorching heat of the sun or the extremely cold temperature of winter?”

“Can it stand strong winds, sleet and other harsh environmental elements?”

The best answer would be that it depends. It depends on the degree of intensity of the weather; and the protective capability of the awnings. Fortunately, retractable awnings can endure almost any type of weather element.

Why Awnings are Subject to Damage by Weather

Anything found outside the home is subject to structural and functional damage by environmental elements. When finding the ideal retractable awning unit, an important factor to consider would be its ability to resist damage by extreme weather.

Awnings are often fixed in one area of your yard. The fabric material is supported by its frame and stanchions, characterized by inflexibility. This in turn leads to vulnerability in structure. The scorching heat of the sun impairs the structure of the fabric; the frames are weakened by rain and moist; and the posts are damaged by the strong wind.

On the other hand, retractable awnings are fixed only at its base portion; they get support from springs attached in their arms. Frames are superior in quality and are made of aluminum, making it sturdy and long-lasting. Unfortunately, because they don’t have any external support, any external force that exerts weight on the frame can lead to the awning’s collapse.

Retractable awnings have the advantage of being able to retract into a protective hood, protecting it from potential damage.

The Effect of Rain/Snow

Little amounts of rain or snow can’t cause a significant damage on retractable awnings; however, when the snow or rainfall persists for extended periods of time, that’s where the problem sets in. Snow or water can accumulate in large amounts, exerting pressure to the awning’s frame and potentially causing damage.

Rainwater accumulation can cause the fabric to sag, stretch and even tear. To prevent this, you can adjust the pitch of the awning’s arms, in such a way that the angle of the fabric is steep enough to cause the rainwater to fall off the awning. You may also use a rainfall sensor equipped with a motor so that the awning will be automatically retracted when rainwater is detected.

Snow, on the other hand, can exert enough weight to cause significant damage to the awning’s arms or mounting bar. Even if there isn’t such a thing as a snow sensor, you can still use the motor to conveniently retract the awning amidst the freezing weather.

The Effects of Wind and other External Forces

Superior quality retractable awnings are proven and tested to endure winds for up to a speed of 35 mph. Remember that the stronger the wind outside, the more dangerous it is to extend the retractable awning; as it can cause severe damage to the fabric material, as well as wrenching and twisting to the frame.

A standard wind sensor is often used to measure the speed of the wind and automatically retracts the awning when wind the speed exceeds a certain defined value.
A motion sensor can also be used to detect external forces such as sudden movements resulting from a storm, also retracting the awning automatically. These sensors check wind speed from time to time, automatically extending the awning as soon as the wind speed normalizes.

It All Depends on the Awning’s Design

The retractable awning’s structure plays a significant role in resisting adverse environmental conditions. Traditional designs are flat and have a taut stretch of fabric material between the awning’s arms (also known as lateral-arm); while dome retractable awnings are rounded in shape and steep in angle; making it easier for rainwater to run off the awning. They are also wind-resistant; making them suitable for doors and windows.

Retractable awnings can be used in any weather, but for optimal use; make sure you assess your weather and environmental conditions first to make the best use of your awnings.