Developing Your Home and Garden

Important Questions to Ask When Choosing Outdoor Blinds and Awnings

Outdoor blinds and awnings can keep your home's exterior space cool and comfortable in the summer, and also keep in the heat from an outdoor heating element during the winter. This can result in a patio or deck area that can be used more often throughout the year, so you get more overall enjoyment from the space. Before you choose any outdoor blinds or awnings, note a few questions to ask and small details to consider, so you know you get the right type for your space in particular.

Ask about wind protection

If you live in a particularly windy area, ask about the amount of wind protection offered by the blinds or awning. Usually this is based on the overall density of the material. A vinyl material may have more protection than a canvas with a loose weave, and this can be good if you live in an area prone to lots of wind; on the other hand, blinds or an awning with high wind protection might also make a small patio or deck area feel very stuffy and uncomfortable. Select what would work best for you, based on your overall comfort levels when outside.

Note if the blinds or awning can be locked in place

It's usually best to invest in blinds or awnings that lock in place, so you know they won't flap or rustle in the wind. This will reduce the nuisance of the shade feature moving around when it's windy outside, and also reduce the risk of the piece actually coming away from its mounting.

 Ask about power backup

If you opt for motorized blinds or roller shades, or a motorized awning, ask about power backup in case your home's power goes out. The piece should have some type of manual crank, or you might have a solar panel attached for very large pieces. A solar panel will ensure there is always adequate power for operating the outdoor shades, even if the home's electricity fails.

Ask about auto shutoff features for motorized pieces

A motorized awning or set of blinds should have an auto shutoff feature if the motor should overheat. This will keep the motor from suffering early wear and tear because of the added corrosion of pieces that are too hot. This is especially important for areas with lots of direct, bright sunlight, as hot sunlight can add to the motor overheating, so ensure you opt for one with an auto shutoff feature if you live in a very sunny area.