Here are different awning types and some things you can do to prepare for the winter months that will increase the life of your awning.
Open Roll Fabric Retractable Awnings
A soft vinyl winter cover is the best for this type of awning. The cover, without a metal hood, not only covers the fabric, but also covers the motor, the arms, the front bar, and the valance. Only the square tube and the installation brackets are left exposed. The cover easily installs by sliding the cover over the fabric roll. The cover is held in place by using “zip ties” through the grommet in the front and the corresponding grommet in the back.
Cassette Style Retractable Awnings
This awning style has a full metal enclosure, which is called a “cassette,” that protects the fabric when retracted. There are two special features that ensure this protection. As the awning retracts, the last few inches raises the arms, allowing the front bar of the awning to pull tightly against the metal cassette. There is also a special torque sensing motor that detects when the bar is completely retracted.
You should remove the valance from the front bar for cassette style awnings. This can easily be done by extending the awning to its full extension. Remove one cap from the front bar. You can do this with a Phillips screwdriver on newer units. For older units, you can use a metric Allen set. Additionally, there are two fabric locks that hold the valance into place. These locks can be seen by looking into the groove that the valance slides into. The screws in the fabric locks can be loosened by Phillips screwdriver or metric Allens. Once the fabric locks are loose, slide the valance out. Roll up the valance, but do not to fold it. Keep the cap and the locks together for quick reinstalling in the Spring.
Open Roll Awning With Metal Hood
There are pros and cons to this type of awning, depending on your geographic region and the pitch of your awning. In cold climate areas that receive snow, it is not recommended for homeowners to purchase metal hoods for retractable awnings. The metal hood sits an inch or so above the fabric roll. Snow can become trapped between the fabric roll and the hood. This defeats the purpose of the hood.
If your awning has a pitch, then the one-inch opening can become larger, to several inches.
To address these issues, you have two options. You can remove the valance or you can purchase a cover and install it below the hood.