Awnings and New England Winter
January 1, 2019
Awning care needs change during the latter half of the year in New England. Most awnings that are made from fabric or other synthetic materials may need to be retracted or removed and stored. Awning frames may need to be removed or fortified. However, awnings that are made from sturdier materials may be helpful during the colder months.
Protecting Against Winter Weather
While awnings are generally thought of as an item that can help home residents and business owners shade windows from sun, awnings may also be useful during New England winters. New England winters bring residents and business owners ice, snow, freezing rain, and sleet. These conditions can add to workloads and make getting into and out of a home or business both difficult and dangerous. Having a properly installed awning can help to keep entrance areas clear of winter weather.
Safety and Convenience
When a sturdy aluminum or all-weather awning is installed above the entrance to a residence or business, the awning can help to prevent snow, sleet, or freezing rain from falling on the doorstep. By preventing the moisture from falling in front of the door, ice formation may also be prevented to some extent. Depending on the size of the awning, this may give home and business owners a clear pathway or a clear area to begin safely clearing the rest of the pathway. This can be helpful in preventing slips and falls and can also help to minimize the amount of area that needs to be cleared each time winter weather strikes.
Protection for Entrances
In addition to providing a safer and more convenient entrance area for businesses and residences, an awning can also help to protect those entrances from the damaging effects of winter weather. Snow and ice can cause stairs, doorsteps, and decks to become cracked over time. Salt that is used to melt the snow or ice may damage surfaces and paint. If entry stairs or decks are made of wood, the continuous exposure to the elements and moisture can compromise the integrity of the wood over time. Having a sturdy awning that can stand up to winter weather installed can help to save overall maintenance costs on entry areas.
Winter Awning Care
Awnings that are made to withstand heavy snow loads may still need to be cleared after each storm to prevent excessive snow build-up or damage. This should be done with a tool that will clear the snow without damaging the awning. If the awning is retractable, it should never be retracted while there is ice on the frame, as this can cause damage to the motor or other parts of the frame. If an awning is not made to withstand winter weather, it should be removed and stored as soon as possible after the first frost to avoid damage.