Posted by & filed under Awnings, Commercial Awnings, Fixed Aluminum Awnings .

Awnings are becoming increasingly popular, as they provide a great way to make more out of your outdoor space. Because the sunniest spots of your home are usually found on the southern exterior wall, awnings are very often placed over southern windows or doorways. Rather than simply using your awning to create a shaded area, protected from Mother Nature, people have discovered that these awnings present an opportunity to create power, through the installation of solar panels.

Solar energy is radiant light and heat from the sun that can be harnessed through the utilization of solar panels. This type of energy is highly appealing as a source of electricity, because it is so accessible. Either flat or south facing slopes are ideal for solar panel installation. You can install solar panels at home or up at a family cottage on southern facing awnings, and use them as a backup energy source in times of other power failures. The average residential solar electric system will be able to back up power to your fridge and deep freeze along with a couple of lights if you can allocate the energy efficiently.

commercial awningAny person or business can install a solar electric system on their awnings. Most solar panels have a 25 year lifespan to create energy for your home. The cost up front will be paid for depending on how many panels you are able to install on your property. Ideally, 200 square feet can provide an optimal rate of return. This likely requires solar panels on awnings and on the southern facing portion of your rooftop as well.

You can attach solar panels to your awning or rooftop using a variety of methods, but one of the most common is with the use of Fast-Rack systems. This system is perfect for fixed aluminum awnings or commercial awnings. These mounting systems secure modules to the roof with low profile brackets covered with anodized trim pieces. They have self-sealing attachments that keep panels secure and watertight.

Another option for residents of Ontario is participating in MicroFIT. This program allows residents to receive payments for solar electricity generated on their property to be delivered to the utility. The Ontario Power Authority will pay the home owner per kilowatt/hour for roof mounted system. You can apply for a MicroFIT contract online via the Ontario Power Authority’s MicroFIT site and includes things like electric and building permits as well as permission to connect from your utility.

Posted by & filed under Awnings, Outdoor Living .

When you installed your awning, you created a space that provides comfort and shelter from the elements. You’ve also created a whole lot of shade. To further beautify your outdoor space, you may want to do a little planting. Low maintenance perennials are the way to go and finding the right mix a foliage will have your comfy space with loads of wonderful plants to look at.

Awning plants


Many properties have a shaded area that will restrict the homeowner in their selection of plants. Awnings are no different. While more sun exposed areas will allow you to plant almost anything, planting under the shade of an awning will require a little more consideration.

Container plants

Vines such as Jacob’s ladder and English ivy will make great fillers for your pots. Excellent grasses that will centre any pot and will tolerate low levels of sunshine might include spider plants. There are many varieties of Hostas available at your local nursery that will fill your awning space nicely. To add colour, consider a lily. The flax, peace and bush lilies will all tolerate shade well and are low maintenance in general. You could also experiment with your favourite plant despite what the experts say. Keep in mind that if your favourite plant fails to bloom or starts growing smaller leaves, you may have to move it to a sunnier location.

Perennial gardens

Looking for a garden that you won’t have to plant each year? Hope you like the colour green. Many of the plants that will appreciate your awning shade are foliage greens. Ferns in many varieties will work well and spread year after year. They require little direct sunlight and less water than many other plants. Like the fern, many other house plants will do well under your awning but need to be brought in for the winter. Generally before the first frost. Lily of the valley is one plant that will thrive in the shade and provide a little colour. Beware as it is an aggressive grower and you could find yourself drowning in it. Another way to add colour if you find your new shade friendly garden is too green for your tastes is in other elements. Colourful pots and seating under your awning will complement any garden, no matter how monotone.

Installing an awning to solve the problem of too much sun and too much heat, doesn’t have to mean you’ve created another problem. With a plan and even a small budget, plants can and will thrive under awnings and indeed, many shady areas.

If you’re interested in installing an awning for your home, or simply have more questions about awnings, contact us today and our team will be ready to help.

Posted by & filed under Awnings .

Every major purchase involving home improvement should be accompanied by research on the product so that you are confident with your choice. Buying an awning for your home is one of these major purchases. It’s important to be sure the awning that you choose is the best one for your home and your family. So it’s natural that you will need to ask questions. Here are ten questions you should ask before buying an awning.

a yellow striped awning

1. Does the dealer also install the awning?

Ask if the dealer does the installation of your new awning or if they hire a subcontractor to carry out the installation. Find out if the installation is covered under warranty and ask if it includes any necessary adjustments or service.

2. Is the awning fabric 100% acrylic?

Acrylic fabric is preferred for awnings because most of them will not rot or fade excessively. They are also the same colour or pattern on both sides. Fabrics that are 100% acrylic and are sewn with UV stable thread have a life expectancy of 8 to 12 years with regular cleaning.

3. What type of fasteners is used to attach the awning?

Awnings are often quite heavy, so it’s important that they are properly secured. The installer should be using a shaft lag screw that is a minimum 3/8″ wide. The length of the lag screws is also important and is dependent upon the type of fabric used. They should reach to the centre of the home’s framework.

4. Is the warranty pro-rated or is it a full warranty?

Having a warranty is good insurance in case of any problems with the awning. Find out what type of warranty is provided with the awning.

5. Is the awning a manual crank or automatic?

There are pros and cons to each type. Be sure to discuss your options with the dealer and decide which one is best for your needs.

6. What creates the spring force in the retractable arms of the awning?

Retractable awnings have a spring loaded folding arm. This arm exerts outward pressure that keeps the fabric tight when opened. The springs apply tension to the awning using three methods; cables, chains or belts. Ask your dealer about how your awning is constructed.

7. Where is the awning manufactured and assembled?

Your best quality awnings will be made in Europe and North America. North American awnings are made to order and are often manufactured and shipped within a few weeks.

8. Is the awning waterproof?

Be sure that the fabric you choose is waterproof. This will provide you with optimum protection against the elements.

9. Should I also purchase a protective hood?

A protective hood is a good idea as it will help protect your awning from harsh weather such as rain, cold and sun. The hood will help to keep your awning clean.

10. What’s the difference between a national brand and a dealers own brand?

Purchasing an awning manufactured and assembled by the retailer can mean that parts may not be available for repair in the future since they often change their product sourcing from year to year based on where they can get the best deal. National brands are consistent from year to year and are able to support repairs or service when required.

If you would prefer to have someone local answer these questions about awnings feel free to contact Jans Awnings and Rollshutters. Located near Ottawa, we can offer you dozens of shade solutions to increase your comfort and decrease your energy bills.

Posted by & filed under Awnings, Outdoor Living .

Awnings are a great addition to any outdoor space. They help create areas for entertaining or lounging by the pool, allowing you to enjoy the warm weather while limiting direct sun exposure. In contrast, awnings can also help provide shelter on rainy days so that outdoor space can be enjoyed at any time. Of course, these are some handy reasons that make awnings a practical addition to outdoor space – but there are other advantages that contribute to the longevity of your home.

awning above staircase

Window awnings can be helpful not only in adding character to the exterior of your home, but they can help protect older windows from letting in cold air or moisture. They can also help guard the inside of your home from excessive sunlight. Many people are attracted to window awnings for these more practical reasons.

Because awnings are fixated directly to your exterior walls, they serve as shelter not only for people but for the most important part of your home; the foundation. Fixed aluminum awnings are the most effective at keeping moisture away from your home. Because the ground surrounding your foundation is exposed to much less rain, snow and other environmental debris, the wear-and-tear on your foundation is significantly less when under an awning.

Your foundation is particularly at risk depending on the grading around your home and the types of plants that live around the edges of your home. Lots of bushes and gardens can be a beautiful exterior feature, but they also attract moisture to your home if they are planted against an external wall. The use of external awnings can help limit the amount of excess moisture that your foundation will be exposed to, especially if your property slopes towards your home (even at a very minimal degree), moisture is likely to draw towards your home with the potential to cause serious damage.

Water always finds a way in your house, and there are lots of opportunities for water to leak into your home.  One problem spot is the gap between a raised garden bed and your house.  Typically, there is a stone or brick barrier between the soil and the siding of your house, as a raised garden bed will higher than the concrete foundation. Your eaves will keep most of the water out of this gap; however, a heavy storm or wind can funnel water into that gap, and straight into your basement. A fixed aluminum awning provides an additional measurement in keeping the ground dry as it is closer to the ground than your eaves and extends out much further.

In the picture above, there is an awning above the back door.  You can see how the awning protects the door from rain water, meaning you can keep the screen open on a rainy day without fear of rain water coming in.  The awning also prevents water from pooling on the concrete.  Concrete can be troublesome if it slants towards your house as it is going to send rain water straight towards your basement.  The awning also keeps your stairs dry, meaning there is less chance of slipping.

Problematic damage can occur when your foundation is exposed to moisture such as:

  • Leaks causing water to seep into your basement through the foundation or window wells
  • Cracks or fractures causing sagging and weakness in your foundation leading to serious foundation problems in the future
  • Mould can build up in the walls of your home, deteriorating the construction materials and creating a potentially unsafe living environment

If you notice sticky windows and doors, uneven or warped floors, cracks or bulges in walls or any signs of water damage, you may be experiencing moisture in your home due to foundation distress.

Fixed aluminum awnings can help keep moisture from getting into your house, particularly in troublesome areas like over garden beds, or improperly graded ground. Awnings also keep your windows at a more consistent temperature, so you’re less likely to get moisture buildup on window frames, which causes rot. If you are in the Ottawa area, contact Jans Awnings and Rollshutters for advice on how aluminum awnings can benefit you.

Posted by & filed under Awnings .

Technology has made many jobs easier in our day-to-day lives. Our outdoor living spaces have improved significantly with the influence of new products and technology available to us.

Outdoor furniture can be quite comfortable and stylish with the use of water-protective materials. Some outdoor spaces have running water with wet bars, outdoor refrigeration and even outdoor televisions – just to name a few of the luxuries that can be found in modern outdoor living spaces! Outdoor wind and sun blinds have also improved significantly with the addition of motorized blinds and awning controls, a perfect complement to a modern outdoor living space.

Jans retractable Awning


With motorized, electric controls, you have the power to arrange your awnings however you like, giving you the convenience of a push-button climate control in your own backyard. This is especially helpful for families with elderly members or members with disabilities. The motorized, electrical controls allow more people to have power over their outdoor space.

All of the awnings, shutters and roll screens can be motorized if this option is appealing to you. One way to apply this feature to your home is with the use of a SOMFY electric motor. These motors are specifically designed for retractable awnings and other “roll up” applications. The design allows for the motor to sit fully contained within the roll tube of the awning, keeping your exterior clean and modern looking without the visible addition of a bulky motor. Some owners appreciate the ability to manually override the motor at any time, as a security feature for added peace of mind.

Not only do automatic awnings and sun blinds provide a labour-free way to unwind or retract your awnings, they allow you to control your outdoor space from outside, inside, and even remotely!

Exterior control: A wall switch is mounted in a convenient, visible outdoor location so that you can modify your outdoor setting at anytime while spending time outside.

Interior control: A wall switch is mounted inside your home, hardwired to the existing electrical system. This is especially convenient if the weather quickly turns, or if you need to adjust your awning late at night.

Remote control: An ultimate feature for convenience and safety, a remote control can be programmed to control your awning from anywhere inside or outside on your property, giving you full access to controlling your awning at any time.

Sun and Wind control: If you are a commercial user, or if you are concerned about the temperature or sun exposure in your home, this control will automatically guard your windows or doors from excessive sun exposure. This awning will have a sensor that can be programmed to suit your exact needs, but can also be manually changed at any time.

If you feel you could benefit from motorized awnings, contact Jans Awnings and Rollshutters.  Located near Ottawa, we can offer you dozens of shade solutions to increase your comfort and decrease your energy bills.

Posted by & filed under Awnings .

There’s no denying it. Winter is just around the corner. Now it’s time to prepare your home for the cold and wet winter season and begin the search for the best awnings for winter. Since we live in an area with four seasons it’s important that we choose products for our home that will withstand these seasons. This includes choosing awnings that will provide plenty of shade and privacy in the mild weather while being durable enough to last through the freezing temperatures and heavy snowfalls of winter.

A town covered in snow

What Is The Best Awning For Winter Time?

The perfect choice to withstand the harshness of winter and provide shade in the summer is to install a retractable awning. These awnings will last year round and will provide outdoor shelter for many years to come. There are several reasons why retractable awnings are the best choice for awning installation in the winter.


Why Choose Retractable Awnings?

Retractable awnings can provide your deck or patio with shelter from the snow. These awnings are built very strong and tough and are able to withstand a mild snowfall. Build your awning with a slope and the snow will run off the awning. This means the weight of the snow won’t weigh down your awing. Having the option to open your awning in the winter will keep your patio or deck clear of snow.

Conversely, there will be times in the winter that you will want to fully retract your awning to protect it from the severe weather of the winter. During heavy snowfall, wind or ice storms its best if you fully retract the awning so that the extreme weight of the heavy snow and ice cannot damage the awning. Severe winds may also cause damage to your awning so it’s best to retract the awning during this type of weather. Having a retractable awning gives you the freedom to choose this option and in doing so provides peace of mind knowing that your awning is protected from the extreme winter weather.


Protecting Your Retractable Awning

You can also prepare your retractable awing for winter by protecting it with a cover. Of course, using a cover means that your awning will remain closed for the duration of the winter season. The type of cover you need depends upon the type of retractable awing that you own. Whether you have an open roll fabric retractable awning, cassette style retractable awing or an open roll awing with a metal hood; there are various types of covers available. Check with the contractor who installed your awing for the best advice on which cover to choose.

Probably the best advantage to owning a retractable awning is that there is virtually no maintenance required. While your neighbour is outside in the freezing cold brushing off snow from their non-retractable awning, you will be inside toasty and warm, knowing that your retractable awning is safe from such winter hazards because you can retract the awning protecting it from the heavy snow and ice.


Don’t hesitate to contact Jans Awnings and get started on having your own retractable awning installed for your home.

Posted by & filed under Rollshutters .

As colder weather descends on the Ottawa region, you’ll be relying more on your home heating system to get you and your family through the winter months. Having an effective heating system is essential to keeping the inside of your home warm and comfortable, but having something on the outside of your home can help too, have you ever considered having rollshutters installed in your home? Rollshutters don’t always come to mind when you’re thinking about home heating and energy efficiency, but they can have an impact on both your comfort and your utility bill.

House Rollshutter

Keep the warm air where you want it

While your furnace is chugging along through the cold Ottawa winter, the warm air it produces can escape through your windows. As a result, you might feel a little chilly even inside your home, and you might be forced to turn the thermostat up even higher. Rollshutters help keep the warm air that you need in the winter inside your home, making for a more comfortable living space.

Rollshutters closed on winter nights, when windows are not receiving direct sunlight, can reinforce your home’s thermal envelope – the shell of the building which acts as a barrier to the unwanted transfer of heat from the interior to the exterior of the house.

Talius rollshutters in particular have been proven to improve what’s known as the R-value of windows. The R-value is a measurement of thermal resistance. The better the R-value of your windows, the more heat they will keep inside your home. When Talius rollshutters are closed at night, they can reduce heat loss through windows by up to 20%.

Save on your winter energy bill

If you’re able to keep more warm air inside your home, your heating system won’t have to work as hard, and keeping your thermostat at a relatively constant level will help you save on your energy bills through the winter. Again looking at Talius rollshutters, studies have shown that when they’re closed at night, you could see a 4% drop in the amount of energy you use on home heating.

A safety note on rollshutters and fireplaces

If you have an open fireplace in your home that you use to supplement your heating system, or if you just enjoy the ambience it creates, it’s a good idea keep your rollshutters open and unlocked when there’s a fire burning.

Other benefits for your home

In addition to the heating and energy advantages that rollshutters offer, they can benefit your home in other ways as well. Rollshutters provide a layer of security for your home by putting a strong barrier in front of breakable windows.

When your rollshutters are down, they can prove to be a visible deterrent for would-be burglars. They’re especially useful if you’re planning to escape the cold and head out of the Ottawa area for a few days this winter. It’s a good call to keep your rollshutters down and locked if you’re away from home for any extended period of time.

Please contact us if you would like any further information about rollshutters.

Posted by & filed under Awnings .

Hopefully you’ve got a lot of use out of your awning over the summer months and enjoyed the shade it provided. But as temperatures begin to dip, it’s a good time to think about winterizing your awnings to help them through the colder months. Even though awnings are constructed with sturdy materials which are meant to withstand heavy rain, bright sunlight, and strong winds, they may not fare as well in colder times when ice and freezing temperatures can subject your awnings to even more challenges. Depending on the type of awning you have, you will have to take certain steps to get it ready for the winter.

Tree branch with snow on it


Give your awnings a visual check

The first step in winterizing your awning is to give it thorough inspection to see how it has held up over the last few months. In that time, the awning could have suffered some damage. Check to make sure that frame, fittings, and fabric are all secure. Have a look at the hardware to ensure nothing is loose, and tighten any parts that need tightening.

If you have a fabric awning, check the fabric for signs of wear, such as small holes or tears in the material. Inspect the stitching for signs of wear, like loose or unraveled thread. If your awning has a valance, it has probably spent most of the summer flapping in the breeze. Check to see if that continuous flapping has caused any evident wear.


Carry out repairs where necessary

If you do notice signs of damage on your awning, take the time to make repairs now, so you won’t have to delay the use of your awning when you’ll really need it in the spring. Setting aside the awning for the winter without making needed repairs can mean you’ll have larger holes to patch and longer tears to sew come next spring. Carrying out simple repairs is also far less costly than possibly needing to spend money on replacement pieces.


Wash away the dirt

The first step in cleaning is to brush off deposits of dirt and debris so they won’t scratch the surface when you do more extensive cleaning. Next, create a solution of warm water and mild soap. Never use harsh cleaning solvents or abrasive products to clean your awning. Test the soapy water on a small, hidden area of the awning to make sure it isn’t reacting unexpectedly to the material. Then proceed to clean the rest of the surface with the solution and a soft cloth. Let the material dry thoroughly before you pack it away.


Dismantle or retract your awning

Many canopies are designed for compact storage and their framework will need to be folded or rolled to make it easy to stow. If the canopy didn’t come with a storage or carrying case, you might want to wrap it in old sheets over the course of the winter to keep it from getting dirty.

In the case of retractable awnings that aren’t going to be removed from the frame, consider using an awning cover to protect it from the winter elements. These covers envelope the whole awning installation to protect it and help keep it free of mildew and moss.

Overall if you have kept good care of your awnings over the course of the year and the weather hasn’t been too harsh on them, your awning should last a long, long time. Unfortunately, awnings, like everything else, can be purchased from a low quality supplier and installed cheaply by an inexperienced company. Here at Jans Awnings & Rollshutters we’ve seen this all too many times and we’ve been called in to install our higher quality awnings as they always bring a higher level of satisfaction. Contact Us to find out more about the awnings we can install for your home.

Posted by & filed under Awnings, Fixed Aluminum Awnings .

Aluminum awnings come in a variety of styles and colours, and they offer sturdy protection from rain, snow, and sunlight. Because they become permanent fixtures above windows, doorways, porches, and passageways, homeowners and business owners need to know that they will hold up well over time. With that in mind, let’s have a look at what makes aluminum awnings the durable items that they are.

Backyard aluminum awning

In comparison to fabric awnings

When comparing aluminum awnings to their fabric counterparts, it’s clear which option is the most durable. Unlike fabric, aluminum can survive exposure to severe weather conditions like gusting winds, intense sunlight, heavy rainfall, and even sizable snowstorms. While a fabric awning may last for approximately a decade, aluminum awnings can sometimes endure for over 40 years before a replacement will be necessary. During that extended time frame, aluminum awnings will resist warping, bowing, and stretching – all concerns that can shorten the lifespan of fabric awnings.

Fabrication and installation

The durability of aluminum awnings comes from their initial fabrication, as well as how they are installed on a building’s façade. The strength of aluminum means that it can stand up to powerful winds without damage, and it will not warp after exposure to sunlight or precipitation.

How the awnings are installed will also bolster their durability. To counter the possibility of snow accumulating and weighing down the awning, it can be installed with a substantial slope. A customized slope can also direct rainfall a safe distance away from the building, which can help prevent foundation problems. Depending on the size of the slope and the awning itself, support beams can be added to help stabilize the aluminum.

As strong and durable as aluminum is, it is also a relatively light material. That makes aluminum awnings affordable and easy to install or remove as necessary.

Maintenance for aluminum awnings

The durability of aluminum awnings makes them easy to take care of. They’re unlikely to need patch up or repair jobs as fabric awnings may require from time to time, especially following a severe weather event. Rinsing an aluminum awning with a hose can keep dirt and debris from building up, and some preventative maintenance can be done by trimming any trees which may come into contact with the awning.

Added benefits

In addition to withstanding an onslaught of rain, snow, and sleet, aluminum awnings can also provide protection against the sun’s harsh rays. Aluminum awnings can be constructed with an insulated layer that absorbs the heat from direct sunlight. As a result, the space that the awning protects will stay a few degrees cooler than its surrounding area. Having that shade can help lower energy costs in the warmer months by letting you run your air conditioner at a less powerful setting.

If you’re looking for an affordable but still highly durable awning that will last for years without a great deal of maintenance, an aluminum awning may be the perfect fit for your home. Contact us to find out about the aluminum awning options available to suit your style and your home’s needs.

Posted by & filed under Phantom Screens .

If you’re looking for a way to keep a breeze flowing through your home during the warmer summer months, you’ve probably considered installing screen doors on your door frames. There are a number of screen door options available that you can tack on to your door frame, but they come with their own drawbacks. That’s where phantom screens come in.

Phantom Screens
Phantom screens are customized screens that fit within your existing door frames. They slide out to provide cover for a doorway when needed, and slide back into the door frame and out of sight when they’re not needed. Here’s a look at the benefits that phantom screens offer over traditional screen doors.


Problems with regular screen doors

One of the drawbacks of traditional screen doors is that they can make it cumbersome to enter or exit your home. If you’re carrying boxes or a load of groceries into your home, it can be tricky to prop open the screen door while working to unlock the main door. Phantom screens stay out of the way when they’re not needed to give you easier access to your main door.

If you’ve lived in a home with a screen door, you know that they can get pretty noisy during a powerful storm. Because of the mesh makeup of most screen doors, strong winds can cause the door to swing open and slam shut. Phantom screens eliminate the potential for all that banging, which isn’t just an irritating sound, but a potential source of damage to your door frame.


Various uses for phantom screens

In addition to overcoming the two problems of screen doors listed above, phantom screens offer a number of utilitarian benefits. When you want to let some fresh air into your home but want to keep insects from intruding, you can slide out the phantom screen from your doorway. The mesh screen ensures that summertime pests of all sizes stay out.

Going beyond insect protection, phantom screens can be manufactured with different types of mesh to offer sun protection or privacy.


Wide doorways? No problem

French doors and wide spaces used to be a problem, but phantom screens can now be installed to cover large openings. For French doors, two screens can be installed, one on each side of the door frame, and pulled together to meet at the center of the doorway. For wider spaces, motorized screens can be installed which cover areas up to 25 feet wide.


Aesthetic value

One more advantage to phantom screens is that by staying out of sight when not in use, they preserve the look of your doorway. That’s not to say that if the screen were to be in use it would detract from the appearance of the doorway. Phantom screens can be manufactured in a number of different colours to match the look of the doors and frames that you already have in place.

If you’re interested in having phantom screens installed in your home, contact us to find out more about the screen and colour options available to you.