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3 Ways to Prepare Your Awnings for Winter Weather

Awning Over Balcony Window
Winter is an incredibly nostalgic time, perfect for holiday parties, family dinners, and of course, cozy nights in front of the fire. Unfortunately, the coldest months of the year can also be incredibly harsh on the exterior of your home, which is why it pays to invest some time into seasonal maintenance. Here are three ways to prepare your awnings for winter weather so you can unfold gorgeous, protective shade covers in the spring without incident.  
1. Clean and Dry Awning Components
During spring, summer, and fall, awnings can become covered in microscopic dust and debris, as well as dead leaves and small, fallen branches. While the awnings may look basically clean, even fine debris can create friction as your awning is closed for the winter, potentially creating damage and easy places for pests to gather.
To keep your awning in decent shape, spend some time cleaning your awning carefully before you pack it away for the winter. Use a mild soap and a washcloth to gently clean the surface of the awning, and don't forget to wipe grime away from underlying metal components. When you are finished, rinse the entire structure with clean water, and give the fabric time to dry.
Keep in mind that surfaces tend to dry faster on warmer, less humid days, so check the weather carefully before choosing a day to clean your awning. Also, clean your awning during the warmest, brightest part of the day so that you can see surfaces easily and speed drying time.
To make sure your awning is dry enough to pack away, press a tissue or a paper towel against several areas of the fabric to see if liquid transfers. Don't put away your awning for the season until the entire surface is dry, or mold and fungus could grow on surfaces while the awning is being stored.  
2. Close and Cover the Awning
After you have thoroughly cleaned and dried your fabric awning, close the awning in accordance with manufacturer's instructions. Remove freestanding awning components like valances, and store them in a dry place indoors. When you close the awning, pay attention to issues like stiff metal hinges or irregular movements, as these issues could indicate damage that needs to be repaired before storage.
After you have made sure that your awning is securely closed, cover the entire structure with a wind and waterproof cover. Awning storage bags and covers are available in a wide range of sizes and colors, and they are typically designed to be slid in place over the awning while it is still installed on the side of your house. Try to select an awning storage bag that blends in with the exterior color of your home to give the awning the chance to blend into the background during the winter months.
3. Treat the Storage Container With Fabric-Safe Hydrophobic Spray
While many awning storage covers are made with fabrics designed to be waterproof, that material won't stop snow from piling on top of your awning, which could potentially weigh down attachments and damage the side of your home.
Although a little snow may not seem like a big problem, saturated snow can weigh as much as 20 pounds per square foot. If you have a wide awning, the surface area created by the fabric cover could house a large amount of snow, putting the structure at risk.
To make it easy for snow to slip off of the surface, consider applying a fabric-safe hydrophobic spray to the exterior of your storage bag. These special sprays are designed to change the angle that water droplets sit on surfaces, making it easier for them to bead away.
If you rely on custom awnings to keep your outdoor space cool and comfortable during the spring, summer, and fall, talk with our team at Designer Awnings & Canopies about additional ways to keep your awnings in top shape all winter long. We can help you to create a home that looks just as gorgeous and well-kept during the winter months as it does the rest of the year. Call us today to learn more.