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Cost of Folding Arm Awnings

Awnings rose in popularity following the housing boom at the end of World War II. The soldiers returning from fighting overseas received grants and loans that they used to purchase new homes. Those soldiers and their families liked the look of awnings, and many mid-century modern homes and ranch homes still feature aluminum awnings with fabric covers attached. Homeowners who want to renovate their homes and those who want more shade will find that awnings meet their needs. These awnings now come in several designs, including a folding arm awning. See the costs involved below.

The Costs 

  • Folding arm awning: $9 to $12 per square foot

What are Folding Arm Awnings?

A folding arm awning is essentially an awning with a metal arm attached that folds in and out. The arm folds out to put the awning in place, but it also folds in to keep the awning close to the side of the house. This lets homeowners adjust the position to block out as much sun or light as needed. Most manufacturers sell the arms with a canvas or fabric piece that fits over the arm. The fabric comes in a variety of different color options that homeowners can use to match the awning to their flowers, exterior paint colors or any other area of the home. The main difference between a folding arm awning and a traditional awning is that a traditional awning remains permanently affixed to the house and doesn't move.

Installing Awnings

Homeowners can choose between installing an awning themselves or hiring a professional. The benefits of hiring a professional include:

  • Exact measurement of the window, opening or home

  • Ability to get the necessary permits

  • Proper installation, which reduces the risk of problems in the future

While not all areas require a permit before installing a folding arm awning, the awning might not meet the requirements of the homeowners association or another organization. Homeowners associations often have rules in place regarding the size, shape and even colors used in an exterior renovation. The builder will ensure that the the homeowners have the proper permits and that the awning meets any local requirements.

Prior to installing the awning, the homeowner needs to decide where the awning will be placed. Many people use awnings on windows that face the sun and as a way to block out the natural light during sunset or sunrise. Others use the awnings as more of a decorative piece than a functional piece, using smaller awnings on non-opening windows and other areas. Some homeowners also use the awnings along a larger section of the house and as a makeshift roof for a patio.

The builder will measure the space where the awning will hang and determine the size needed. Builders need to measure both the length of the space and how far the awning will stick out over the lawn. If the awning needs to cover a larger space, the builder might need to use two awnings close together to fit that space.

The installation process typically involves placing the awning arms flush against an exterior wall in the closed position and using wood screws to keep the awning in place. A good builder will take the time to adjust and move the arms before placing the fabric on the arms. This ensures that the arms move smoothly and won't rub against any lights, columns or other areas of the home.

Awning Costs

An ordinary metal awning that fits over a window can cost $300 to more than $1,000. These awnings provide a small amount of shade, and most homeowners will find that they need more shade. Motorized awnings are a potential alternative for some homeowners. These awnings have an electric motor inside that lets them press a button to retract or expand the awning. Companies sell these models for around $1,500 to more than $2,700.

Those looking for a more basic folding arm awning can expect to pay around $9 to $12 per square foot for the awning itself. They will also need to look at other factors to find out the total cost of the job. Special materials and equipment can add an additional $100 to the total cost, and homeowners will also need to consider labor costs. Labor costs vary, but most people pay at least $10 per hour.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Traditional home awnings are static, which means that the awnings do not move once installed. Those who prefer more freedom will find that folding arm awnings offer that freedom. These awnings can extend several feet in front of a window or opening, and some designs can expand up to 10 feet or more away from the home. Some homeowners like the look of a patio but want the shade that a porch offers. With an awning, they can have the best of both worlds.

Another reason why folding arm awnings are so popular is because the awnings require little in the way of maintenance. Other than wiping down the fabric with a damp cloth every few months and checking for signs of sun damage, the awnings need little other work. Folding arm awnings also feature a locking mechanism. This lets the homeowners lock the arms in place to keep the awning in a set position when entertaining or spending time outside.

While folding arm awnings have a number of benefits, those awnings aren't as strong or durable as traditional designs. The manufacturers creating traditional awnings know that homeowners want to keep those awnings on their home for years. Those awnings can withstand everything from gusts of wind and hail to rain and ice. Folding arm awnings aren't nearly as strong.

These awnings can break down when a simple storm passes through the area. Leaving the arms in a locked position exposes more of the metal and leaves the awning vulnerable to damage. The metal on the arm should have a sealant that prevents moisture from reaching the metal and causing rust, but homeowners should know that not all manufacturers add a sealant.

Last updated on Apr 17, 2014

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