Top Six Things to Look for in a Retractable Awning Company

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Retractable awnings are an important investment to the aesthetic landscaping and functionality of a home or commercial establishment by extending outdoor living spaces, lowering energy costs, and improving curb appeal. The biggest factor in the quality of the awning is the reputation of the company selling it. Purchasing from the right company makes the difference in getting the right awning for your house or business, as well as easy installation and long-term service.

Tip 1: Judge Product Quality
Quality awning frames can last more than 25 years, while low-quality awnings last only five years or less. The biggest distinction between good and poor quality is the quality of materials. Look for both the place where the parts are manufactured and the types of materials:
•Look for manufacturers in Europe, which has the biggest awning market and outstanding manufacturer reputations.
•For fabrics, breathable, man-made fabrics such as solution-dyed acrylic resist rot and fading better than natural fibers and last six times longer.
•For frames, look for heavy duty aluminum arms with Kevlar? straps, rather than rust-prone steel cables in the arms.

Tip 2: Look for Certifications and Endorsements
An important tool in quality determination is engineering certifications or endorsements, which mean that each component was tested, independently, to meet international standards.
•Look for frame/arm certifications from TÜV?, Eurolab?, CE? and Istedil?. For example, lateral arm test requirements include opening and closing the frame 11,000 times (equaling 50 years of use) and keep the awning in winds of up to 35mph depending on size.
•For the awning fabric, there are endorsements such as the American Skin Cancer Foundation’s UV-protection approval.
All certifications or endorsements should be noted with the product information.

Tip 3: Browse Their Selection
High-end manufacturers offer a variety of designs which are constructed for specific needs, such as window and door awnings versus patio/deck awnings. Awnings can be custom-designed for width, projection (how far it extends), and pitch (the awning’s slope). There are different kinds of sensors to control awnings according to light, precipitation, motion, or wind levels. There are even hundreds of different fabric options. Cheap, low quality awnings tend to be restricted to a single style, only a few standard sizes with limited fabric or vinyl options and accessories, while high quality dealers will provide multiple styles and custom made sizes from multiple suppliers with many color choices.

Tip 4: Customer Service Comes at the Beginning
A seamless installation process begins with quality planning. Because of the number of different styles available, a good awning company guides buyers through the process of finding an awning. Premiere awning companies provide search databases or render 3D “preview" images based on customer photographs to pinpoint the best awning type, size and color. Pre-sale planning should even cover installation methods, so that the actual installation process is clear and painless. A reputable awning company can recommend repairs and parts if the awning is ever damaged and provide on-line and telephone support installation instructions. Attention to detail from the company is integral to getting excellent support on a worldwide basis.

Tip 5: Ask about Company Longevity
The manufacturer/fabricator is not the same as the retailer. Regardless of the reputation of the “big box" store selling the awning, the manufacturer/ fabricator is key to long-term replacement parts, service, and warranties. The longer the manufacturer/fabricator has been in business, the more likely that it will provide support over the lifetime of the awning.

Tip 6: Check for Repeat Business and Referrals
Repeat business and referrals are big indicators of both service and product quality. Finding out how much business comes from referrals or existing customers can be difficult. No organization tracks return business, although it may be beneficial to track complaints with the Better Business Bureau or trade associations like the Industrial Fabrics Association International. A company should have a large percentage of referral or repeat business, as much as 70%.

The two main issues are product quality and service. Quality shows in the kinds of materials, the certifications or stamps of approval, and the selection. Service shows in the company’s reputation, repeat business, and planning. Retractable awnings are an investment that can greatly enhance the enjoyment you receive from living in your home or working at your office. Investing some research into the awning company up-front will contribute to your long-term satisfaction with your awnings.

Retractable Awnings offers quality patio covers and awnings, which are both reliable and easy to use .