Articulated vs. Telescopic Arms
There are two types of arms that allow an awning to be retractable: articulated and telescopic arms. Articulated arms essentially open in stages. First, the spring-loaded arms extend. Afterward, the other arms extend. These may extend – and retract – either manually or automatically, depending on the type of awning.
The other type of arms is telescopic arms. Telescopic arms use gas-filled cylinders. Over time, the gas may leak and require refilling. Generally speaking, telescopic arms are restricted to awnings which cover a smaller area of space, such as awnings for small patios.
Motorized vs. Manual
Another key factor in how a retractable awning works is whether or not the awning is motorized or manual. These are important considerations, as motorized awnings provide more convenience, but may also be subject to higher repair costs or increased maintenance.
As indicated by the name, motorized retractable awnings are powered by a motor, making them simple to open and close. They are primarily similar to a remote, in that there’s a button to push to initiate the motor. Similarly to a garage door opener, the remote is typically placed on a wall near the awning. Some motorized retractable awnings will even feature special sensors that can detect weather elements such as rain or sun. For example, the awning may detect strong winds and retract to prevent damage, or detect sun and extend to provide shade.
Retractable Awning Materials
Retractable awnings are typically made with sturdy, weather-resistant materials. This helps to ensure that they’ll continue to work through all conditions – rain or shine, all year long. Depending on the area in which you live, your retractable awning may require more attention for basic maintenance or even repairs. Weather is often a significant indicator of the wear and tear that retractable awnings may face through daily use.