Awnings are one of the handiest inventions to ever reach southern Spanish homes. Those shady stretches of fabric that grace windows, cover terraces and make even the sunniest balcony hospitable in mid-summer are the perfect antidote for sunshine overdose.
Carefully consider the quality of any awnings you are offered as good quality awnings will look nicer much longer than their poor quality counterparts. For example, the expensive, high quality fabric of a pricy awning costs so much, in part, because it is woven from coloured threads instead of dyed after weaving. Along with other factors, this method of manufacturing ensures a higher quality of colour that lasts much longer under a beating southern Spanish sun.
Pay attention to the structure of the awning as it may have to endure strong winds – should you accidentally leave the awnings out when the weather changes. You can purchase a special detector together with an electronic system that closes your awning once the wind reaches a certain speed. Still, considering all an awning withstands, it’s important to invest in quality materials.
It’s also important to keep an eye on the installation. You might purchase the very best awning and structure to support it, but if the installation team uses cheap, iron screws you’ll soon have rust stains running down the side of your lovely Spanish paradise.
Ideally, you would maintain your awnings in tip top shape by ringing a professional to come and take them down and clean them before reinstalling them. However, a good, quality awning can be washed with a gentle detergent. Test it in a small corner first. Once you’ve tested the product, you can use a hose and a gentle brush to give your friendly shademaker a “pick me up”. And if you don’t think awnings need an occassional lift, just take some time to observe an older block of apartments next time you’re out and about. You’ll most certainly find plenty of examples of what time and neglect can do to this product.
Bird droppings can also do considerable damage to awning fabric over time. Clean any such mess off as soon as possible as the acidity in these little “gifts” (as the Spanish say) could do permanent damage to the colour.
Finally, when you’re not using an awning, keep it closed. A little rain now and then won’t hurt, but be sure to wait until the fabric is completely dry before closing in order to avoid mildew. Also, if you leave an awning open permanently, over time rain will combine with dust to dampen your colours. And as mentioned before, wind can be a serious challenge for an awning. In fact, strong winds have been known to actually rip an awning off the side of a home – something that may or may not have to do with installation. Just to be safe, best to extend your awnings when the sun shines and then carefully retire them before you do so yourself.