If you’ve ever fumbled for your keys in front of an unprotected door in a heavy downpour or had to go back inside from your patio by unrelenting sunbeams, then you understand the value of an awning or patio cover. These simple structures are an effective way to shield people and spaces from both rain and the strong Florida sun. Most non-fabric awnings are made of two types of materials: aluminum, steel. Here in central Florida, the two most common are aluminum and metal. Steel awnings are available, but their popularity is not as strong in central Florida. The terms steel and metal awnings have become interchangeable, but they are different. Let’s look at the differences between metal awnings and aluminum awnings.
Differences Between Metal Awnings and Aluminum Awnings
Even though aluminum is a metal, it has unique qualities that set it apart from the other metals used for awnings. One of the main factors in an aluminum awning is weight. Aluminum is among the lightest metals in the world. That means an aluminum awning will weigh substantially less than a comparable metal one that’s crafted from steel. As a result, an aluminum awning is easier to handle and install than a steel or metal awning. In fact, aluminum awnings can be successfully mounted to almost any exterior material.
Many metal and steel awnings rust, which can present a major problem in Florida’s humid climate. Aluminum doesn’t. While some mild corrosion can occur, that surface change doesn’t weaken the material. Instead, it forms a protective layer that safeguards the material beneath it. As a result, an aluminum awning can provide years of service while requiring little maintenance. What about metal awnings? If you want a steel awning, rust could be a serious hazard. Although treatments like electrostatic painting and powder-coating provide protection from rust, intrusion can occur through chips on these protective layers. The fact is these treatments are no match for aluminum’s inherently corrosion-resistant qualities. Many Floridians opt for aluminum awnings because of the benefits over steel/metal awnings.
The right finish enhances the look of aluminum or metal and offers some protection from rust, corrosion or discoloration. Aluminum accepts finishes well, so the hardest part of selecting an awning may be choosing your favorite finish. Various finishes are also available for metal. Whichever type of awning you choose, you’ll need to keep an eye on the finish and maintain it as needed.
Curb appeal is always a concern for property owners, so appearances matter when selecting an awning. Normally, the biggest difference in these two types of awnings are either a more modern flare or more traditional. Thanks to their popularity, you’ll find many styles and types of aluminum awnings to choose from. Whether you’re looking for aluminum patio awnings with cutting-edge flare or toppers for doors and windows with neat, tidy lines, you’ll be able to find something appealing. However, some feel that aluminum has a distinctly modern aura. If you agree with that assessment and are seeking a historic feel, you may prefer a metal awning.
A quality metal awning can provide years of faithful service, and its heavier construction may allow it to outlast its aluminum peers. However, that comes at a cost. Generally, metals fluctuate in price and availability. Aluminum awnings are usually more affordable than metal ones. Typically, when a homeowner is deciding between aluminum or metal awnings, cost is not one of the factors. It’s usually the other differences stated above. However, if cost is a factor, then an aluminum awning is an excellent investment that can deliver great value for years.
Additional Reading: Preparing for a new awning
Aluminum Awnings vs. Canvas Awnings
5 Reasons Aluminum Patio Awnings Are a Smart Choice
5 Benefits of Aluminum Awnings for a Patio and Windows
Building a Patio Aluminum Awning to Enhance your Backyard or Deck
The right awning will enhance the look of your home, increase your outdoor living space, and help you stay cooler and more comfortable. At Dulando Screen & Awning, we offer custom-built awnings and patio awnings crafted from high-quality aluminum. Contact us today at 407-862-6060 to request a free in-home design consultation.