How To Install Retractable Awnings

When you have a patio or a deck at home, it can be a pleasant place to spend some time relaxing and enjoying the good weather when it is properly shaded. A retractable awning can be a great addition to a deck or patio. It allows you to extend or retract the awning to control the amount of shade you need. Retractable awnings can be motorized or operated manually. These awnings come in various colors and sizes and can be up to fifty feet wide. These can even be custom-made to suit your taste. With some help and the right tools you can install retractable awnings in a few hours. Here are the steps.

  • Determine the size and color of the awning that you want to install. Do remember that the bigger the awning, the heavier it will be. You should know the structural strength requirements for the different sizes.
  • Determine how high you want the awning to be. It should be high enough so people will not bump their head on it but should not be too high that it will not provide the maximum amount of shade. You do this by calculating the pitch. Check the total length of the awning when it is fully extended. The proper pitch is three inches per twelve feet of awning.
  • Measure the height from the ground up. Mark the spot and do the same for the other side. Snap a chalk line from the first mark to the second mark. Make sure that the line is level between the two points. A carpenter’s level will help you check if the line is on the level.
  • Locate the studs under the exterior wall of the area where you will mount the awning. You can use a stud finder to make the task easier. You can also do this from the inside of the house. Measure the distances and transfer the measurements outside. Due to the weigh of the awning, plus the force that will be applied to it during a windy day or during a storm, the retractable awning should be installed on a structurally-sound mount, like the joists and studs of the walls.  
  • Next you have to find the center of the studs. It will be difficult to determine exactly where that will be so once you have identified their location, it is best to mark these posts then draw a vertical line from the chalk mark you have laid out. Use a small drill bit to locate the outer edges of the studs. If you have drilled several holes before finding the correct spots make sure that you apply silicon sealant to fill the holes.
  • Follow the instructions on how to attach the mounting brackets to the wall. Lag bolts should be used to attach the bracket. Listen to the sound of the bolt penetrating the wood for assurance. The number of brackets you will use will depend on the size of the retractable awning. Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendation on determining the right mounting position. Do the same for the other bracket.
  • Position the awning on the brackets and push the awning bar on the brackets. Make sure that the bar sits properly on the brackets before you roll out the awning. Pound it a few times with a rubber mallet to ensure that the bar sits correctly on the brackets. Follow the directions on how fasten the awning and the bar to the brackets.
  • Check if the mechanism to retract and extend the awning works. Adjust the awning pitch as you deem fit. If the retractable awning is motorized, plug the cord into a power outlet and test its operation.

Make sure that you read the manual first and understand all the instructions before you start the task of installing the retractable awning. This will save you time as well as minimize errors. Find someone to help you as the large awning can be quite heavy. Another pair of hands and eyes will make your work lighter and faster. Do remember to retract the awning if high winds or a storm is predicted.


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