If you’ve recently made the great decision of investing in an awning, you might be wondering what to do with it during the winter.
Is it possible to use an awning during the winter?
It’s not always advisable to leave your awning out during the wintertime. Inclement weather can damage your awning, so you might not want to leave it out all winter long — especially if the weather channel is predicting heavy snows and winds.
That being said, it is possible to leave it out. If you plan on doing so, you should first check how much weight the awning can handle, since they can all withstand different capacities. If your awning can’t handle enough weight, then the snow might collapse the fabric of your awning or can even damage the frame.
The benefits of using an awning during the winter
Just because the heat is suddenly gone, doesn’t mean that the sun can’t damage your furniture once the light passes through your windows. If your awning can be used during the wintertime, it would be a good idea to leave it extended during the daytime so that your furniture won’t fade. On the other hand, retracting your awning could also help you control the temperature inside your home, reducing the amount of time you need to have your heater on.
Moreover, just because the heat of the summer is gone, doesn’t mean the sun can no longer affect your skin. The sun’s harmful UV rays are still present, even when temperatures drop. An awning can keep you spending time outside while protecting your skin.
When you can use an awning during the winter
Although it is possible to use an awning during the winter, there are certain times in which it should remain retracted. The only times in which it should be extended are on those milder winter days. Occasionally, you’ll have a mild winter with mild temperatures, wind, and snow. On these days, you can leave it extended and spend some time outdoors. You can even host some outdoor winter get-togethers in your backyard in order to avoid the spread of germs and viruses.
Dangers of using an awning during the winter
You might want to consider the risks of using your awning during the wintertime before leaving it extended for prolonged periods of weather. Some of these risks include:
Rust on the metal frame
Though awning are made of sturdy metals like aluminum and stainless steel, these metals are still susceptible to rust due to oxidization. Stainless steel rust will look brown and reddish, and aluminum rust will look like white powdery spots. If you’ve noticed any rusting on your frame, don’t worry — there are things you can do to minimize its appearance or even get rid of it entirely.
Lubrication issues in the joints
Awnings are usually self-lubricating, but sometimes certain weather conditions can strip away that lubrication. This isn’t a big problem — you can lubricate the moving parts with silicone spray. But if neglected, the awning’s lifespan might shorten.
Support arms bending
Because you might see a lot of snowfall during the winter, the weight of it might cause your support arms to start to bend.
Holes or warping in the fabric of your awning
Just like the support arms are susceptible to bending due to heavy weight, you might also find holes and a warping of the fabric of your awning because of the weight of the snow. This is true for all fabrics — acrylic, vinyl, and canvas. However, it absolutely isn’t recommended to leave canvas awnings out during the winter. The fabric is not as resistant as acrylic and vinyl, and leaving them out can lead to mold, mildew, a disintegration of the water resistance, and a general shortening of its lifespan.
How to store your awning for the winter
If you want to avoid having any issues with your awning, it’s advisable that you store it for the winter. There are certain steps you should follow when preparing to store it.
Give it a good once-over
Before you make any move to store it, you should check it for any damage. This could include damage to the frame as well as damage to the awning fabric. This is something you’ll likely want to know about before bringing it back out for the summertime. It’s always best to correct the damage before storing it.
Wash your awning
Evidently, before putting your awning away, you should definitely clean your awning. First, dust the awning off and make sure there isn’t any debris on the fabric. Remove fallen branches, dirt, and other debris on the fabric. This will ensure that there is no risk of tearing to the fabric. After removing the debris, it would be a good idea to do a deep clean. Start by creating a cleaning solution — a mixture of a soft soap (or dish soap) and water. Then, scrub it gently with a soft-bristled brush. Wait for the cleaning solution to penetrate the fabric, and finally, rinse it thoroughly and let it air dry.
Take down the fabric
Make sure your awning is completely dry before you take it down for storing. If you have an awning with fabric that can’t be removed, consider taking down the entire unit. Before attempting to do this yourself for the first time, call a professional to do it for you.
How to care for an awning that isn’t stored for the winter
If you still decide to leave it out during the wintertime, you’ll have to keep an eye on your awning on a regular basis — especially if it snows. If you see any snow on top of the fabric, be sure to sweep it off right away. Even an inch of snow is heavy enough to cause irreparable damage to your awning! Moreover, although you might feel an urge to clean it, avoid using water at all costs. Cleaning it with water can only cause more issues, like freezing the frame and fabric.
If you’re not sure what to do with your awning during the colder months, contact a professional. Your awning professional will let you know what you can do with your favourite outdoor structure so that you can enjoy your awning for many years to come.
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