Look around you when you take your next road trip and see if you can spot all the different temporary awnings. They are not only fastened to homes and businesses, but are used for everything from pool cabanas to temporary shelters for vehicles. You see temporary awnings on recreational vehicles, and stand alone awnings used in exterior settings in residential areas where folks sit outside in the evening and aren't bothered by biting insects. Although a temporary awning as defined is one that is "temporarily attached" to a building, the temporary awning as we know it is discussed here. They are used for cabanas, to shelter wedding parties, at the beach, or anywhere shade is needed.
Defining the Awning
Available today are many varieties and configurations in temporary awnings to meet any need. From something as simple as a wedding canopy to a retractable awning that will cover the deck around your pool, there is something for everyone. Let's look at a few.
The Wedding Awning
A wedding awning must allow for seating, spaces between rows, an aisle, the podium and/or the stage. Recommended is 8 square foot per person. The 8 square feet does not take into consideration a caterer and their needs, or any special needs of any guest. Many styles are available, depending on budget. You can generally rent a regular party tent, which has a peaked roof and with some sides that have netting to protect from insects. You can rent a pagoda awning, which is similar to a folding tent, and can be set up on concrete, asphalt or grass. They are much more fancy and priced accordingly. A folding tent, perfect for booths at flea markets or other outdoor activities, is nothing more than a peaked top covering and folding, aluminum legs.
The Retractable Awning
In many warm climates we see retractable awnings in many configurations. These awnings run on rails that are motorized so that at the push of a button, you can cover any area requiring shade, such as a pool deck, patio or outside deck. From sites visited for research, many have no limitations on area covered. Shade Tree Canopies awnings offers a retractable awning up to 21 feet in length, with no problems for installation on odd shapes. They have built in wind protection, and come in a variety of 40 colors. See shadetreecanopies.com for particulars.
The RV Awning
RV awnings are available in every size and configuration imaginable. Ranging from 10 foot down, they can be purchased with electric motors that expand and retract them, or simply as a roll out model. A quality installation would be one that retracts into housing, and has no fold out legs that can possibly loosen while on the road. Colors and materials are wide ranging. Don't scrimp on an awning for your RV. Research shows that the cheaper awnings can tear loose on the highway and cause serious damage to the exterior of the RV.
The Cabana Awning
Cabanas are especially nice around pool areas. They make a lot of sense in hot climates, where harmful exposure to too much sun is eliminated. There are many types of these awnings, all in colorful designs to meet any need. They range in size from 4 foot by 4 foot to as large as 40 feet by 80 feet. These cabanas are multi-use - a friend of the author has an 8 foot by 8 foot cabana on a large sun deck, complete with mosquito netting. You see many of this type of awning in backyards, where people gather and are protected from rain and even hail, and are provided with shade on hot summer days.
Seen today are many high tech solutions to design and presentation. Tension membrane structures are both beautiful and practical. They can be configured for just about any shape and size. In the last 30 years, tensioned membrane structures have had a growing impact on architecture. Very large areas of cloth can be seen in everything from airports to parking garages. Some of the varieties available are hypars, saddles and cones, domed, vaulted and pleated. FabriTec of Costa Mesa, CA can provide any specialized design you might have.
Temporary awnings have come a long way from the flapping canvas awnings of yesteryear. It has blossomed into a vast array of colors, designs, and applications. These days, fabric is used for both architectural designs and art form. In this time of high energy costs, an awning makes good sense. Information on what is available is readily found on the internet. Consider an awning for your next design project.