Ideas for DIY Retractable Awning

herusAugust 28, 2006

Having just recovered from a kitchen remod which was mostly DIY, I feel energized to try something else. Not wanting to spend the big bucks for this, am wondering if anyone has done a DIY awning and if so, could I get techniques/tips/plans.

Our rear deck has southwest exposure and really bakes up in summer. Installing an awning to cover more than half of it (it is 12x24) would be really nice, as well as help to cool off the house a bit. We would probably not use it at all in the winter.

I am thinking something that attaches to the rear wall of the house (siding) then maybe, maybe not, has posts on the far side of the deck (12' away) that support it. I would not mind having it be manual rollup, using gravity to help roll it down.

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Does it have to be retracable or would you be willing to erect a pipeframe skeleton that would remain fixed throughout the seasons?

    Bookmark   August 28, 2006 at 4:13PM
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I suppose it does not **have** to be retractable as a mechanism, but I would like to be able to roll it up during cooler months.

When you say pipeframe, is it PVC you refer to? Can something be made of pressure treated wood or something that would look like part of the deck and still weather the elements?

    Bookmark   August 28, 2006 at 5:06PM
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I work in the canvas trade. When I say "retractable" I am referring to a canvas cover that is rolled out and rolled in, as desired. There are two ways of accomplishing this; one is the "pre-fab., retractable awning".. It comes complete with the canvas and is installed on your home. There is the really old-fashioned mechanism that requires gudgeons and maintenance! Retractables are expensive; they have a lot of moving parts and they have to maintained. PERIOD. You can't add side screens to this type of awning.

Pipe frame canopies require maintenance, too; but more to the canvas the framing. And quality framing is STEEL. PVC is not strong enough to withstand any of the elements frames must face over the course of their lives. Properly designed and installed, steel pipe frames will last for many, many years. (We service a few accounts with frames that are nearly 30 years old). We have replaced the canvas not once, but twice, and will do it a third time this winter. The beauty of this type of frame is that you can have a roof only canopy or you can have a fully screened in enclosure. (I did this on our own home and we've wondered why we didn't do it sooner).

Quality awning and canvas work requires thought, money up front, and a willingness to maintain it. It ain't like a Ronco grill... you DON'T "set it and forget it".

    Bookmark   August 28, 2006 at 5:35PM
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Thanks Chelone. I think we are on the same page. I think good steel frame and quality canvas is the way we would go. I also like being able to add the sides (can they be placed/removed per mood or is it a one-time choice?).

As you can see by my questions I am quite the novice at this. But I like to think I learn quickly, so any pointers you can provide re obtaining materials, building plans, etc would be very welcome. feel free to email me if you prefer that.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2006 at 6:23PM
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How about a fast-growing deciduous tree? Shade in the summer, warmth in the winter.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2006 at 7:30PM
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Consider pipe frame "skeletons" as tinker toys for adults. You buy the tubing and cut it to length. You buy the fittings to suit the requirements of the frame... there are fittings to receive the "gable" ends, fittings to receive the "rafters", fittings to secure the uprights to your deck, etc., etc., etc..

None of this is brain surgery. But the reality is, you won't be able to accomplish the framing faster than people "who do it for a living". You will pay as much for the raw materials as you will to have a "pro." come and do it for you. I know that's not what you want to hear, but there are no shortcuts when it comes to quality canvas work. I've seen what is required to "fix" the DIY projects... many times over. Look before you leap. please.

Call canvas companies in your area. Call in the fall (heading into the slack season) and be specific about what you want the canvas to DO. Get a price for the frame and a ballpark for the canopy, with/without "curtains" or screen panels. Call the competition! Understand that it is going to cost some money... less than a fully constructed porch, but not something for which you will taxed.

I have linked some shots of the canopy and screen panel I made for our deck (12'x18'). Two very dear and very talented co-workers did the framing, not an easy task given my design specs. and the site. But this will give you something to look at and something to think about; bear in mind this is a difficult scenario.

I hope this doesn't scare you off. Really, pipe frame awnings are not terribly difficult!

Here is a link that might be useful: My deck canopy

    Bookmark   August 28, 2006 at 8:18PM
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any place besides sun setter that sell these "kits"

Here is a link that might be useful: retractable awning

    Bookmark   January 25, 2011 at 11:00AM
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