How to Make Your Awning Installation a Success

Before having your new awning installed, there are a few decisions you should make to prepare yourself. There are many benefits to adding a retractable awning to your home. This includes adding to the existing value of your home and creating an appealing and comfortable outdoor environment your family and friends can enjoy. Choosing the right type of awning can easily reduce home energy costs by shielding your home from the elements.
How to Make Your Awning Installation a Success
Below are a few of the most common decisions you should make prior to your new awning installation.

Size Matters

Choosing the correct size of retractable awning for your home is paramount. This will help ensure the appearance of your home remains well-balanced and visually appealing. There are many sizes to choose from, and American Awnings & Replacement Windows can help guide you in your decision making.

Awning Material

Our retractable awnings are available in a variety of materials, all of which have their own unique benefits. Resacril fabrics are an ideal choice for your awning. They have a tighter weave and provide superior water resistance and fabric stability. Resacril fabrics weigh 9 ounces per square yard and are made of 100% solution-dyed acrylic.

Sunbrella & Dickson fabrics are another great choice of material. These awning materials are also made from 100% solution-dyed acrylic fiber. This provides an incomparable color brightness. Plus, these fabrics are woven which allows the fabric to be translucent and breathe. Sunbrella & Dickson fabrics also have a flurocarbon finish that repells water quite efficiently.

Choose Your Style

American Awnings & Replacement Windows offers many different styles of awning to choose from including Sunrise, Toga, Little Big, Vario-Volant, Sunpitch, and Sunselect retractable awnings. Click here to learn more about these unique styles and discover which style of awning is the perfect fit for your home.

Need help deciding which options are best suited for your next awning project? No problem! Contact the professionals at American Awnings & Replacement Windows to help guide you every step of the way. Our expert staff will help you make an informed decision, and we will make sure your retractable awning project is a success!

Expand Living Spaces With Clever Ideas

Homeowners looking to add more space to their homes do not necessarily need to make major renovations. They simply have to see the possibilities in outdoor living spaces.
Expand Living Spaces With Clever Ideas
Outdoor living spaces are coveted niches in a home. The American Home Furnishings Alliance says more than 70 percent of American households have outdoor living spaces, and nearly 70 percent of people use these spaces at least once per week in-season. Furthermore, homeowners are increasingly interested in enhancing these spaces to make them more usable and comfortable.

A recent survey from the online home design and remodeling resource Houzz found that more than 4,500 users were planning a landscape update. In addition, 56 percent of homeowners surveyed were making updates to improve their yards for entertaining.
While the creation of outdoor living spaces can cost thousands of dollars depending on the renovation, homeowners have more budget-friendly options at their disposal as well. The following are some ways to create inviting spaces no matter how much square-footage is present.

Revamp a garage or shed

Rather than turning a storage area into a catch-all for items time forgot, clean out the space and put it to better use. For instance, kids may appreciate their own clubhouse away from the main living area. These spaces also can be handy bonus rooms for when Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate and backyard guests need to seek shelter. Wall art, curtains, a pendant light, and some comfortable outdoor-compatible furniture can quickly transform a space.

Create a relaxing nook

Whether there’s a ledge, overhang, small terrace, or porch off the house, turn it into a relaxing area for reading a book or sipping a beverage. Use a few outdoor pillows, pull up a small folding table and dress the area with hanging lights and potted plants for a quiet retreat.

Add privacy to a porch

If it’s privacy you covet, install curtain rods and hang lightweight mesh or another translucent material that obscures neighbors’ views without blocking out natural light. Invest in outdoor sofas and chaises to create an outdoor living room right on the porch. If your budget allows, consider closing in the porch as a true three-season room so it can be used throughout fall, spring and summer.

Outdoor living spaces are booming and highly achievable, and many such spaces need not be expensive.

American Awnings & Replacement Windows can also help you create that perfect outdoor living space with one of our many retractable awning options. We have retractable awnings to fit any budget, and our expert staff can install your new retractable awning in no time. Contact American Awnings & Replacement Windows today!

Awnings Can Make Outdoor Spaces More Comfortable

Many homeowners are eager to step outdoors upon the return of warm weather. Outdoor living spaces have grown in popularity as more and more homeowners embrace opportunities to entertain and lounge around in their yards.
Awnings Can Make Outdoor Spaces More Comfortable
Outdoor entertaining areas can be great, but such spaces may go unused when summer sun makes it uncomfortable to spend time outdoors. But a retractable awning can change all that. Homeowners often find awnings can be worthwhile investments that can be beneficial both inside and outside of the home.

Increase usable yard space

Awnings can create privacy and establish boundaries for outdoor living areas. Place an awning over a deck, tables and chairs, or an entire patio area. Some people like to install awnings over a portion of their pools to provide shade for those who want to escape the sun’s rays. Motorized awnings can be retracted with the push of a button, which can help homeowners with physical limitations.

Protect against sun damage

Awnings provide excellent protection against sun damage, as they can shield outdoor furniture from direct sunlight, helping to reduce the chances for discoloration or fading.

Reduce air conditioning costs

In addition to shading outdoor living areas, smaller awnings can be placed over southern- and western-facing windows, shielding interiors against the sun’s rays. In turn, this may reduce reliance on air conditioners.

Expand gardening possibilities

Some plants require very specific light conditions to grow. Awnings can protect shade-loving plants from harsh sunlight and filter the sun for plants that require indirect light. They can be placed over a patio container garden or permanent garden structure.

Add value for buyers

For those who may be selling their homes soon, awning may help them receive top dollar. Today’s buyers want houses that have attractive and functional exteriors, and an awning can provide that competitive advantage over similar homes in the neighborhood.

When renovating outdoor areas, homeowners should not overlook awnings that can make outdoor living spaces more livable.

Surviving a Home Renovation

Homeowners invest large sums into improving their homes to make them more comfortable living spaces or to increase their odds of selling quickly. The Remodeling Futures Program at the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University predicted U.S. spending on home renovations and repairs to peak at $327 billion in 2018.
Surviving a Home Renovation
Whether one is doing a large renovation or a small remodel, life may be turned upside down during the project. Furniture may be moved out of the room, walls may be demolished, water or electricity may be turned off, and appliances may be missing or not hooked up. Home improvements often drum up dust and disarray. Such projects can try the patience of any homeowner, and things may get worse before they get better.

Even though remodeling can be taxing, the end result is often worth it. Here’s how to look forward to the silver lining and come out unscathed.

Discuss the Project Before It Starts

All family members should be in agreement before the first hammer is swung. Decide on as many details as you can ahead of time and have a firm plan in place. Establish back-up choices for tiles or color schemes in case the items you want are out of stock. Trying to make decisions under duress may result in bad choices.

Do One Project At a Time

It’s tempting to want to improve as much as possible at once to maximize motivation and renovation materials. However, having no place in which to escape the mess can elevate stress levels. Do not think about renovating kitchens and bathrooms all at once, or you will not have any working fixtures for tasks like washing up.

Have Everything In Place

Before demolition even begins, have building materials bought and stored, contractors and subcontractors lined up, and see what you can do to minimize the time workers need to spend in your home.

Expect Delays

In a world where things move at lightning speeds, renovations have not gotten the memo. Home projects take lots of time and will likely take longer if you are doing the work yourself in your free time. Build lots of extra time into the project so you are not disappointed when delays happen — even when you’ve done your best to avoid them.

Plan An Escape Zone

Construction environments can be messy, loud, smelly, and a host of other unsavory adjectives. The chaos that ensues when life is turned upside down can be overwhelming, particularly for the person who spends the most time in the home while work is being done. Build escape moments into the plan and make sure everyone else at home is on board. During the real grind of the project, a night or two at a hotel may be a welcome respite.

Home Safety Checks to Complete Today

A new kitchen or a bathroom remodeling job might be dream projects for many homeowners, but the right home improvement project at a given moment is not necessarily the most glamorous project. Sometimes safety upgrades around the house must take precedence over more popular projects.
Home Safety Checks to Complete Today
Accidents or injuries can occur in any part of the home, but homeowners who take certain preventative measures can greatly reduce their injury risk. The security resource A Secure Life points out that more than 18,000 Americans die every year from injuries that take place in the home. Unintentional injuries account for millions of medical visits each year. Home injuries also are prevalent elsewhere in the world. In the United Kingdom, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents reports that there are approximately 6,000 deaths every year that result from accidents at home.

Periodic inspections for potential hazards can keep everyone safe. The following are a handful of ways for homeowners to ensure their homes are as safe as possible.

• Check for sturdy handrails and prevent tripping hazards. Falls are one of the leading causes of home injuries. Falls can be a particular threat for youngsters and the elderly. To help prevent falls, make sure that staircases feature sturdy railings and that there is ample lighting in walkways. Remove obstructions from frequently used paths inside and outside the home. In addition, insert nonslip padding beneath runners or throw rugs.

• Check for frayed wires or faulty outlets. Address any electrical problems around the house, including frayed wiring and faulty outlets. Sparks can lead to fires, and poor wiring may cause unforeseen problems behind walls. Repair or replace any loose or frayed wires on all electrical devices. Be sure that cords do not run under doorways or rugs. Replace outlets that are in disrepair and install ones with ground-fault current interruptors as an added precaution. If small children live in the home, use plastic safety covers over unused outlets.

• Practice window safety. Young children are curious and do not always recognize the inherent dangers around them. Children excited to see the great outdoors may climb up to peer out windows, and open windows are falling hazards. Screens do not offer an adequate barrier against falls. Consider locking windows or use safety bars to guard against falls. Test to see how easily screens can be pushed out, replacing any that do not provide adequate resistance to curious youngsters’ hands.

• Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Replace the batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors at least twice per year, and test them to make sure they’re in good working order at least once per month. The National Fire Protection Association recommends replacing hard-wired smoke alarms every 10 years. Battery-operated alarms may need to be replaced even sooner. Many carbon monoxide detectors work for five to seven years. Check the back of alarms for a date stamp that indicates how old the product is and when it expires.

Safety checklists are an important part of home maintenance. A proactive approach can prevent both injuries and damage to the home.

Items to Improve Outdoor Living Spaces

The popularity of outdoor living spaces has been growing for years. A 2014 study from the home remodeling and design platform Houzz found that 56 percent of homeowners were making updates to improve their yards for entertaining. Similarly, nearly 60 percent of architectural practices surveyed by the American Institute of Architects in 2016 said outdoor living spaces were popular features in the homes they built.
Items to Improve Outdoor Living Spaces
Outdoor living spaces may also be sound investments for homeowners looking to improve the resale value of their properties. According to Remodeling magazine’s 2017 “Cost vs. Value” report, outdoor living spaces returned between 55 and 71 percent of homeowners’ initial investments at resale.

When planning an outdoor living space, homeowners with ample backyards have much to work with. However, to make the most of the space while simultaneously hoping to get as strong a return on their investments as possible, homeowners should look to create spaces that offer broad appeal and are not too personalized. The following are some popular outdoor living space features homeowners may want to consider.

Outdoor Kitchens

Outdoor kitchens allow homeowners to prepare more than just traditional backyard barbecue fare. A standalone charcoal grill in the backyard might get the job done, but a built-in gas grill complete with burners and surrounding granite countertop makes for a more functional outdoor entertaining space.

Bars

Indoor entertaining areas often include bars, so it makes sense that homeowners want to include a place to prepare and serve beverages to their guests. Homeowners with room in their budgets may want to install wet bars where they can rinse mixers, glasses and other items needed to prepare drinks for their guests.

Warming Features

Features that can keep homeowners and their guests warm after the sun sets include outdoor fireplaces and firepits. A 2016 survey conducted by the American Society of Landscape Architects found that fireplaces and firepits were the most popular outdoor design element in 2016. Such features can provide a focal point in the backyard while also extending the outdoor living season into autumn and even early winter.

Porch Space

Outdoor living spaces are often found in the backyard, but homeowners with bigger front yards than backyards may want to expand or open their porch spaces to create more space outside. Porch swings and rocking chairs provide a great place to relax, and porch spaces are covered, meaning homeowners can continue to enjoy time outside even when it begins to rain.

Outdoor living spaces are growing in popularity. Homeowners who want to capitalize on this trend can do so in various ways.

Things to Consider Before Purchasing a Retractable Awning

So, perhaps you’ve just finished building a wonderful backyard deck or patio or are interested in sprucing up your existing outdoor living space. You begin researching retractable awning companies and contractors to make your new deck or patio more pleasant on those hot summer days. But where should you begin? Here are a few things to consider before making your new retractable awning purchase.
Large Retractable Awning in Gettysburg, PA

Overall Aesthetic

It’s important to choose a retractable awning that is both reliable and mechanically sound, but the look and feel of your new awning is just as significant. Make certain that the color and pattern of the awning fabric is compatible with your home’s design. At American Awnings & Replacement Windows, we have many different patterns and colors to choose from. We will work with you and lead you down the path to a beautiful awning that you can admire for years to come.

Type of Awning

The type of retractable awning you choose can make a huge difference. We offer a wide range of styles to suit your specific needs. For example, our Toga retractable awning offers superior protection of the fabric of your awning. The valence can also be removed during colder seasons to help prolong the life of the awning’s fabric. Our Little Big model is an ideal solution for narrower spaces yet still large enough to provide adequate shading. If you’re looking for an awning that can adapt to suit your sun protection needs, our Vario-Volant model would be an ideal solution.
Small Window Aluminum Awning

Warranty & Financing

When purchasing a brand new retractable awning, it’s always beneficial to protect your investment. Every retractable awning that we offer carries a 10 year common sense warranty that is backed by our professionally trained staff. Combined with proper care and maintenance, you can avoid unexpected expenses down the road.

If you prefer to pay for your new awning over time, we also offer 18 months special financing. Click here to learn more about how we can help you finance your next project.

Project Corner: Retractable Awning Installation

Summer is almost officially here and is one of our busiest seasons for retractable awning installations. Today we would like to highlight one of the many projects American Awnings & Replacement Windows have completed thus far.
Retractable Awning Installation Project
After extensive research, the client chose American Awnings & Replacement Windows to install their brand new retractable awning system. We took the time to educate and answer any questions throughout the installation process. The final result is a wonderful backyard patio area transformed into a comfortable and relaxing outdoor living space.

With the addition of a retractable awning system, their patio now has plenty of shade and protection from the elements. The perfect spot to relax and unwind while enjoying the fresh air!

The client was so kind to leave us a review on Facebook that we would like to share below.

Tony – Thank you for my wonderful new awning! I researched so many options from simple and complex umbrellas, to a sail, a hand crafted system using airline wire from a you tube video, and many other awning companies.

You are simply the best! American Awnings high ratings and reviews led me to call you, but your professionalism, knowledge and options hooked me to order. Today, you educated me as you were installing, answered all my questions and cleaned up after yourself! There was literally nothing for me to do when you were done.

Now, if you could just arrange for some sunshine! Thank you! –Rose Hlavac

If you’re interested in expanding your deck or patio into a fun and relaxing outdoor living space that the entire family can enjoy, contact us today to receive a FREE quote!

We are happy to answer any questions you may have and review the many options available to you. Together we will find the perfect fit, a beautiful retractable awning system you can enjoy for years to come.

5 Tips to Make an Older Home More Energy Efficient

While new homes are being built to be more energy efficient than ever before, thanks to a growing green building movement and increasingly strict building codes, the age of existing dwellings continues to present challenges. More than 40 percent of the housing stock in the United States was built before 1969 and simply wouldn’t stand up to today’s standards. Yet, much can be done to help homeowners improve their building envelope to reduce energy use and increase efficiency.
5 Tips to Make an Older Home More Energy Efficient
Improving your home’s energy efficiency can help save money, keep you more comfortable, reduce pollution, and prevent global warming. Try these five simple measures to maximize the energy efficiency of your home:

1. Seal cracks and gaps around your home’s windows, doors, and vents. These can be a considerable source of energy loss, allowing conditioned air to escape and unconditioned air to infiltrate your home, placing stress on your furnace and air conditioner in the process. An easy DIY solution is to caulk around windows, doors, and vents, and install or replace worn weatherstripping. An average home loses up to 30 percent of its energy through air leaks, so sealing your home is a worthwhile exercise.

2. Top up or replace old insulation in your attic. A poorly insulated attic is a primary source of energy loss. Also, over time, some types of insulation can settle and compact, allowing heat to escape through gaps. Experts recommend installing a dimensionally stable batt insulation like a Roxul product called Comfortbatt. Aim for an r-value of at least R-50, or a depth of roughly 16 inches.

3. Insulate basement headers. Uninsulated basement headers are common, especially in older homes. They can act as a gateway for heated air to escape. Fixing the problem is fast and easy. Simply cut Comfortbatt stone wool insulation to fit the cavity and compress into place. Doing this throughout your basement will prevent heat loss and can potentially save hundreds of dollars each year.

4. Switch to LED light bulbs. Some LED light bulbs have a lifespan of up to 10 years, and are 80 to 90 percent more efficient than incandescent bulbs. They are generally more environmentally friendly than CFLs and safer, too, since they produce less heat. The return on investment is excellent, as LED bulbs often pay for themselves through energy savings within the first year.

5. Consider a home energy audit. This will help you identify and target specific problematic areas of energy loss. A professional home energy audit will also provide a list of recommended solutions to help you maximize your energy-efficiency strategy.

Expect the Unexpected When Renovating a Home

According to projections released in 2015 by Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, a growing number of people in the United States planned to renovate their homes in 2016. The report estimated that spending on remodeling and repairs in 2016 would climb 8.6 percent to $310 billion, a figure that is close to the peak reached in 2006.
Expect the Unexpected When Renovating a Home
While it is still too soon to tabulate all of the figures from 2016, a quick glance at the data indicates renovations have increased across the country. And one only need travel through communities to see a greater number of contractors and homeowners working on homes.

Tackling any renovation project is an exercise in patience. Renovations can impede on daily activities and cause a certain level of upheaval in homeowners’ lives. Homeowners planning renovations also may find that they must have some wiggle room when it comes to both their budgets and their expectations. Remodeling, particularly with regard to older homes, may unveil unforeseen issues that only arise in the face of the renovation.

So what can homeowners expect during a renovation? The following are a few issues that might arise during home improvement projects.

• Dirt and noise: Homeowners can count on dust, debris and noise throughout the renovation process. Dust appears when walls come down or go up, and construction teams typically erect temporary walls or tarps to contain the debris. Air filtering systems also can limit dust particles. Noise is unavoidable. If it becomes troublesome, arrange to be outside of the home when the bulk of the construction is taking place.

• Delays or schedule changes: Even the best contractors cannot control every aspect of the job. They rely on subcontractors and vendors to do portions of the work. Materials may not always arrive on time, or they may fall short of homeowners’ expectations. This can push back the project schedule. Homeowners should hope for everything to be done on time, but it can be less stressful if homeowners anticipate delays and be a pleasant surprise if there are no delays.

• Hidden issues: Contractors may uncover all sorts of issues that need to be addressed before a project can progress. Examples include the presence of asbestos (common in older homes), plumbing problems, incorrectly wired electrical systems, and leaks or moisture issues. These problems also can impact the cost of the project, so set aside some money in the budget for unforeseen expenses. Chances are you are going to need some extra money to handle a few surprises during the project.

It’s important to expect the unexpected when embarking on home renovations. Budgeting for hidden costs, expecting delays and coping with the upheaval to daily schedules are par for the remodeling course. However, the end result is often well worth the time and effort.