home + garden

Awnings Are Up!

How to make awnings www.GoGingham.com

It’s finally feeling like summer and thankfully we put the awnings up before the hot weather kicked in this year. We installed awnings, that we made ourselves, on our windows  about 10-years ago and every summer, I’m so thankful. Awnings keep a house cooler – by about 10 degrees – by blocking the sun from the windows. Awnings keep our house cooler without using resources to cool it.

Our awnings do not retract and the galvanized metal pipes are on the windows all year. The windows face west and south and happen to be at the back of our house so they don’t bother me.

Non-retractable awnings Go Gingham

This is what the awnings look like from the inside. The pattern is basically a rectangle with 2-triangle sides. I don’t have the right measurement for how long they should be in relation to how large the window is. I had to wing it for this measurement. There’s probably a mathematical formula but I don’t have it.

Homemade awnings inside from Go Gingham

The ties were a later addition to keep the awning attached to the galvanized metal pipes so that they don’t blow off.

Ties keep awnings attached to the bars

 

There is a weight bar in each of the seams to keep the awning from moving around. The weight bar is concrete re-bar that I taped the ends of to make it less sharp.

The first year we had the awnings up, the weight bars came out several times when it was windy. Thank goodness no one got hurt. If you make awnings and use a weight bar, my advice to you is sew or attach the weight bars to the awnings so that the bars don’t come out. This could have been a huge disaster!

You can see my husband using the ties to attach the awnings to the galvanized metal pipes. They are scraps from the awning project and get tied in double knots so that they stay put.

These awnings (below) face south, and while they cause our office to be a bit dark on summer mornings, they keep out so much heat during the day. The room has 4-windows and 2 face south and 2 face west.

Awnings facing south from Go Gingham

The addition to the awnings that I made this year (every single year I proclaim that the awnings are done and yet every year, I tweak them a little bit!) was about 10-inches of fabric added to the bottom of the awnings on the west facing windows.

West facing windows Go Gingham
These window awnings have an additional piece of fabric added to them.

When the sun sets, these windows get a very hot sliver of sun. The piece of fabric only faces west.

The awnings definitely are a project that saves us by keeping our house cool but they are a total hassle to put up and take down in September. Get an assistant to help you – think honey-do-list here.

How to install awnings from Go Gingham
My husband up on the ladder installing the awnings.

I did have one retractable awning made and installed years ago – which is what gave me this crazy idea of making them in the first place. The retractable awning is on the second-story and faces south. It keeps the room much cooler and I’m so glad I spent the money to have it installed. There is no way my honey-do-list husband would be interested in a second-story awning project!

Here’s a short video I filmed while up on a ladder that’s about the awnings.

Making awnings is not easy but it has been worth the effort. Our house has stayed cooler in the summer months and we’ve saved on energy costs – both in dollars and additional resources.

How do you keep your house cool in the summer?

Go Gingham related links:

A tray table with a slipcover – because tables need slipcovers, too
Pretty lanterns – perfect for a backyard or a wedding celebration
Why I use an inside laundry line and not an outside laundry line
The mop cover is a re-purposed t-shirt: how to make a mop cover
A house re-do project with once-a-month garbage collection? Yes – here!
The sweet spot: frugal and green living

7 thoughts on “Awnings Are Up!

  1. I’ve never thought of putting awnings on our windows–nor have I really thought about the purpose of them. I guess I always thought they were just decorative. We have a hard time keeping our house cool in the summer, so this is something I definitely need to consider. Thanks for giving me a solution I hadn’t considered!

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  2. “Get an assistant to help you – think honey-do-list here.”

    Love.

    Great idea for keeping the house cool in summer. I, like Rita, had never considered they had a purpose! We have heavy velvet drapes on our south facing window, and those do a great job of keeping the room cooler as well, but it does get dark in that room. I like that ambient light can still come in with the awnings.

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  3. I can testify from personal experience that these awnings do work! The office, where my son slept last week when we did our home exchange, was cool enough without air-conditioning. The whole house actually felt cool during the day, even though it was very warm outside. I like how you take practical ideas to the next level, Sara, and show that we can do so much ourselves. The awnings look nice on your house as well!

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  4. We put up an awning on our big window at our old house, It made a huge difference! Ours was retractable, so we could pull it in in the winter or during a storm, but it provided shade inside as well as some shade to sit under outside. We loved it.

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  5. I can also attest to their effectiveness. Great for keeping the house cool when they are in a spot blocking the sun from coming in and also great at limiting the weather from beating against a door or window.

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