Awnings need maintenance

For homes with large windows that receive a lot of sun, awnings can be a real plus. They block out harsh rays, reducing cooling costs and fading. Many of today’s awnings are made from heavy cotton or synthetic fabric that has been treated to be water resistant. As a result, awnings are much easier to care for than ever.

Because they are outside and prone to the elements, it is essential that homeowners care for their awnings properly. They must keep all leaves, twigs, vines and other debris off the awnings, or it could stain and rot the fabric. Homeowners should also keep the gutters above the awnings clean to prevent roof runoff from damaging the fabric.

Awnings should be cleaned periodically to prevent dirt and debris from lodging into the weave of the fabric. Homeowners should sweep off the awnings, inside and out, with a broom. Then they should get out a soft bristle brush and a pan of warm, soapy water and clean the inside and outside. For awnings with deep stains, it may be necessary to use some type of cleaner. Homeowners should use products recommended for the type of material their awnings are made of and steer clear of all products with chlorine, which could ruin the fabric.

After the initial washing, homeowners should rinse the awnings with a hose and give them ample time to dry. Homeowners should never retract their awnings when wet. The fabric could mildew. Once the awnings are dry, homeowners may apply a water-repellent fabric protector to them for added protection.

From time to time, insects like spiders or wasps may nest in awnings. Homeowners should use a broom to dislodge the nests and remove the insects. They should never use sprays or insecticides, which could damage the fabric and destroy its water resistance.

Homeowners should inspect their awnings regularly for damage and make repairs as necessary. All tears and holes should be mended quickly, while rusted frames should be stripped and repainted. For the best results, homeowners should take down their awnings during the winter and store them in a cool, dry, dark place.

Awnings in general don’t require a lot of care, and the occasional care they do require is offset by the savings in costs. Rooms with windows covered by awnings require less energy to cool and are more comfortable. Coming in a variety of fabrics and colors, awnings make an attractive, energy-efficient addition to any home.