How to Install a Sunsetter Awning
Whether a patio or deck awning is stationary or retractable, manually operated or motorized, awnings offer several advantages to a homeowner in addition to protection from the heat of the midday sun.
Awnings not only provide shade from the sun and other weather elements, they can help to save energy dollars by lowering the temperature inside any adjoining rooms. Patio covers also enhance curb appeal and can increase the value of your home. Another major advantage is that if you are handy, you can install a patio or deck awning yourself in about 3 hours using a few basic tools.
Measure for the width of the awning. No outdoor light fixtures or downspouts can be in the way of where you want to mount the awning. If you choose to mount the awning to the wall, install a 2-by-8 inch pressure-treated header board on the wall first. The board must be installed at the determined mounting height, and should cover the entire length of the awning. Cut or remove any vinyl siding beforehand, so the header board can be attached directly to the studs.
Insert 3/8-by-4 inch galvanized lag bolts and washers to mount the header board. Be sure to complete this step, as mounting brackets must be attached securely to support the weight of the awning. Make sure the header board is level before attaching it to the studs. Follow by caulking all joints.
Install mounting brackets again using galvanized lag bolts and washers. The brackets must be mounted level on an even wall surface for the awning to work properly. Allow 12 inches of mounting space. Keep in mind that you need at least 90 inches from the soffit (roof the overhang) to the patio or deck floor so there will be enough headroom under the awning. For wider awnings, additional mounting brackets should be centered.
Determine the pitch you will need. If there is not enough clearance space between the bottom of the awning valance and the patio or deck floor, and you need more height, you may choose to mount the awning using a roof-mount kit. Before mounting brackets, measure the distance from the patio or deck to the top of the fascia or edge of the roofline, then add 15 inches. Do not mount the awning to the fascia.
Place the awning into the brackets. Two people will be needed to lift the awning and slide the mounting bar into the brackets. Use bolts to secure the mounting bar to the brackets, sliding the bolts up and through, from the bottom of the bracket threading into the top hole. Tighten so the locking lip on the inside of the mounting brackets locks down over the mounting bar.
Plug the power cord of a motorized unit into an outdoor outlet.
Things You Will Need
- Tape measure
- Drill bits
- Socket wrench
- Lag bolts and washers
- 2-by-8 inch pressure-treated header board
If you purchase a canvas awning, choose a fabric that is water-repellent, as well as fade- and mildew-resistant. The header board should be painted, stained or capped with aluminum to protect it from the weather.
Depending on the structure of the mounting surface (e.g., vinyl siding, wood lap siding or brick or other masonry), longer lag bolts may be needed.
Amber Keefer has more than 25 years of experience working in the fields of human services and health care administration. Writing professionally since 1997, she has written articles covering business and finance, health, fitness, parenting and senior living issues for both print and online publications. Keefer holds a B.A. from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. in health care management from Baker College.