As the summer fades away and fall rolls in, we start thinking about putting our patio furniture away for the upcoming winter. Hot summer days sipping a cooler on the deck under the awning are replaced with a barren patio, empty flowers planters and pool closings.
Now is an excellent time of year to ensure your beautiful awning is prepped correctly and ready for the upcoming winter season. This is essential because an awning that is exposed to the elements year-round will have its lifespan considerably shortened. The cold temperature, snow and ice can wreak havoc on all parts of the awning.
Protecting and storing your awning for winter will offer you peace of mind knowing that it will be ready for use when the spring rolls around again. By adequately prepping your awning, you will prolong the life of the awning, its fabric and parts.
Here are some tips for preparing your awning for winter:
Clean the Awning
The first thing that you’ll want to do with your awning is to make sure that the fabric is cleaned, looking fresh and dry before retracting the awning. With a gentle spray from the hose or a broom, remove any leftover loose debris on the awning and begin cleaning the awning from the bottom up. Wash all parts of the awning before tackling the cleaning of the fabric.
If there’s dirt on the awning, use warm water and a soft-bristled brush along with a mild soap like Ivory Flakes. Be sure that the water is just warm, not hot, no more than 37 degrees Celsius. Stay away from any harsh detergents because this can damage the fabric of the awning.
Once the cleaning .is completed, rinse thoroughly to remove any residue on the fabric since leftover soap will leave marks and a chalky appearance. You will also see any missed spots once it’s dried. Always allow the awning to dry out naturally and completely before retracting it.
Clean the Frame
Secondly, you want to prolong the life of the frame because the metal frame and joints can rust. The joints can also become stuck or grind as the lubrication stops working if not prepared for the upcoming harsh winter. Additionally, the metal frame is designed to support a specific amount of weight. If it is left extended during heavy snow, the support arms and struts can bend or warp.
You can wipe it down with a soft cloth after washing it down and before it’s retracted. Be sure to check that the bolts and nuts are not loose in any way from their use during the summer months. By checking the mechanics, you will have an awning ready to properly extend the following spring.
Since the gear operation (aluminum components) has a durable finish and the joints are self-lubricating, there is no requirement to lubricate; however, lubricating the moving parts yearly with a silicone lubricant is a good idea for maintaining a quiet operation. The common spot for lubrication is at the end of the roller tube and opposite the motor.
Since the valance can flap around during windy, inclement winter weather conditions and tear over time, some homeowners tie down the valance to prevent this from happening. There is also the option to purchase an accessory called The Sunboot. As its name implies, it is a cover that encloses the entire retracted awning. The cover protects the awning from nasty weather conditions, keeping it clean and dry until you’re ready to use it again.
An awning can last for many years if properly cleaned, lubricated, maintained and protected. They are designed for durability so that you can enjoy their beauty and protection from the sun’s harsh summer rays. With a little time spent at the end of each summer season to prepare your awning for the upcoming winter, your awning will perform flawlessly each spring.