Setting Up a Collapsible Awning

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This article provides a high-level overview of the process for installing retractable awnings. It is generic and intended to give you an idea of what you’ll be up against if you install the product on your own, regardless of brand or manufacturer. Be sure to read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installing their awnings since brackets, hardware, and installation procedures may vary.

To repeat, the first stage in any project of this scale is to read the instructions and arrange all the individual components. Read the awning manufacturer’s installation manual and double-check that everything that was supposed to be shipped to your home arrived safely. A wide selection of bolts, nuts, and brackets is recommended. Numerous motor and electrical installation-related parts should be in a retractable awning that operates automatically. Set out what you have, then compare it to the list of requirements in the instructions. This is the last you’ll hear that genuine man doesn’t read directions nonsense. Knowing what you’re doing is essential to succeed as a DIYer.

Now, study the installation manual cover to cover so you can confidently and clearly describe the function of each screw, bolt, and another hardware component. Once you’ve learned the fundamental procedures, it’s time to gather your supplies. A stud finder (if mounting to a stud substructure), level, and chalk line (or laser line, if you have one) are among the tools you’ll need. A masonry (hammer) drill outfitted with the appropriate bits is required if your home’s exterior is stone or masonry.

Find out how high up you want to put your awning. How far out from your house do you want your awning to extend, and at what angle will determine this? A 12-inch pitch (height shift from front to back) is recommended for a 6-foot awning, while a 42-inch pitch is recommended for a 17-foot awning. This is calculated by assuming a height of 2 feet and a drop of 2 inches. It’s roughly 2.5 inches at its largest. Since the weight of accumulated rainwater on the giant awning can add up quickly, this is necessary. If you want to construct a patio awning, you need to think about how high the end of it will be when it’s open. You probably don’t want an awning 17 feet long but 3 feet deep at the edge if you only have 7 feet of headroom under your eaves.

Once the desired installation height has been established, a chalk line should be snapped using the appropriate measurements by the manufacturer’s guidelines. Using a long, straight edge (the uncut edge of a sheet of 8 feet of plywood works excellent for this), check for any bowing in or out of the wall. If that’s the case, you’ll need to add some shims to the central or end hardware to get things to sit flush.

Use a stud finder to pinpoint the exact location of the studs, and then drill a series of 1/8″ or smaller pilot holes into the sides, ideally in an area that the brackets will cover up. Locate the centers of all studs that will be used to install hardware, and then drill pilot holes for the lag screws that will be used to secure the brackets, leaving a depth of 1/8 inch. When installing the fasteners, be careful not to overtighten the lags and to caulk the tiny centering holes. When a lag screw is tightened with enough force, it might crack a stud.

You’ll need to cut treated lumber into spacer blocks to prevent the brackets from touching a softer, uneven surface like siding during installation. Cut two-by lumber to the size of the hardware’s base, then center the pieces on the wall studs where they’ll be fastened, make a mark around them, and remove the siding accordingly. After carefully removing the siding, you can secure the brackets and 2-by spacers to the studs. This will guarantee a smooth connection between the brackets and their supporting structure.

If you have a stone wall, visit a hardware store and inquire with an expert on concrete fasteners. Different building materials, such as blocks or reinforced concrete, require different types and sizes of fasteners. Take some pictures and bring them with you so they can see what you’re up against. After all, is said and done, you’ll be ramming or hammer-drilling some mounting fastening into your wall, just like you would with soft walls.

When the brackets are all in place, get two or three friends to help you lift the awning into place. To secure the awning assembly to the mounting hardware, retention pins or bolts are typically employed. Verify the connection’s secureness before allowing it to stand on its own. Fasten any optional extras or upright bracing components as specified by the maker.

The last step in installing an automatic retractable awning is installing electrical wiring for the motor and a switch. Call an expert if you lack the necessary experience to complete this task.

Freelance writer Allen Smith is interested in a wide variety of subjects. Research retractable awnings to learn more.

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