An awning OR patio cover-pros? cons?

SaljeanMay 13, 2010

I've got a situation that I could use some input on.

We are removing a very large 30 year old rotten wood lattice patio cover (about 14 or 15' deep and 20' wide). On the one hand, I am happy that we will now have a lot more natural light in the house, since this wall faces north/northwest. Although it gets a lot of sun late in the day from about May through September, the rest of the year the kitchen and dining/family room are really dark because of the patio cover.

However, we do need something to act as an overhang to help protect our 3 year old beautiful Douglas Fir French doors and kitchen window.

I am considering:

1) A fixed or retractable awning. If fixed, I would only want it about 45' deep, but the full width of the doors and window. If we get a retractable one, we will want to leave it extended about 5 or 6' when it's raining, and have it adjusted to a pitch that will allow the rain to run off. This is southern California, and though we DO get rain (largely in the winter) we do not get snow at all. I don't know anyone who's had experience with either type, though I see plenty of them around my area.

2) A much shorter patio cover extending about 5 or 6' from the house and the width of the doors and kitchen window, probably a wood lattice type, but with either some light colored landscape fabric on top OR a layer of rigid plastic such as an acrylic or polycarbonate, and designed to be installed at an angle so as to allow rainwater to run off.

Does anyone have any thoughts or experiences to share? I would really appreciate your insights, ESPECIALLY in regard to awnings.


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Ive had a Sunsetter power retractable awning over my deck
for about 8 years. It's about 20 feet wide and can extend 10 ft out. With a motor drive and remote control you can extend it any amount you want in less than a minute. This requires a power outlet near it's right hand end (when you are facing the house). It also can be extended or retracted with a manual crank. Installation is somewhat demanding and while I did it myself with a couple of helpers it is not a quick or easy job. It is a heavy assembly and It took the best part of a day to install.
It is very well made (in the USA) of rugged aluminum extrusions, forgings or castings and good quality fabric.
We have had no trouble at all with it.
One caustion to be aware of - it can act like a big sail in a wind and will try to lift up when the wind gets strong. I fashioned a hold down system to anchor each outboard end to my deck rail when I wanted it extended on days with 7-8 knot or above winds. When retracted it is tolerant of 70 knot winds at least.
Here's a link to their site-

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 9:54AM
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I too am debating an awning or a small roof over my patio door. I also want to keep rain away from my door and from seeping into the house. Right now, I'm leaning toward the fixed awning due to price. If I love the look, then I can consider installation of the roof at some point. If I'm not so crazy about the look, then I can more easily remove the awning...

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 10:04AM
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My new home will have a side patio 17'4 wide by 12'6 deep. I am having a fixed roof w/skylights.
I opted for a fixed roof as at my previous home I had an awning. It was costly to have put up and down and cleaned. When it was made we should have accounted for the drip line, which we didn't, so the patio space was compromised when it rained.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2010 at 10:33AM
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