Do You Wear Sunblock Every Day?

We were asked this question recently and asked in return why do you have to wear sunblock?  Awnings are designed to keep you and your loved ones safe the sun’s harmful rays, enabling you to enjoy your time outdoors. In addition, we use Sunbrella fabrics which have been proven to provide up to 98 percent protection from the sun’s harmful effects. After passing rigorous testing, Sunbrella fabrics earned the “Seal of Recommendation” by the Skin Cancer Foundation, the only global organization concerned exclusively with cancer of the skin. Here are some pictures of awning installs that provided SPF — and it didn’t come from a bottle!

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Outdoor Heating Options For Fall Weather

We’re seeing the first signs of fall, which means it’s time to move your patio furniture inside and stop spending time on your deck until next summer, right?  Maybe not! With Americans spending more on outdoor rooms than ever before, it’s not surprising they want to get as much from their investment as possible.  That’s why manufacturers are responding with a wide assortment of heating appliances to keep you cozy even through the cooler spring and fall seasons. These great options are based on suggestions from HPBA.org Outdoor Heating Options There are a number of options for outdoor hearths to safely build a fire and keep warm as the weather cools off. Outdoor Fireplaces Outdoor fireplaces can be permanently installed on your patio or outdoor room to bring charm and ambiance to the outside of your home.  Usually made of 100 percent stainless steel, outdoor fireplaces can be surrounded by granite, tile, stone, or any other material that complements your home’s architecture and style. Outdoor fireplaces usually don’t require a chimney and can use either natural gas, propane or wood.  Prices generally range from about $2000 to $2500 and up.  HPBA strongly recommends installation performed by an NFI-certified installer (National Fireplace Institute). Chimineas A chiminea is a clay (or sometimes cast-iron) portable outdoor hearth.  These are probably the oldest outdoor fire appliance – besides building a campfire!  An opening on a chiminea lets heat out on just one side. While they provide warmth and ambiance, they are not recommended for use on wood decks and can be subject to cracking and breakage.  Chimineas are often the least-expensive style of outdoor hearth. Firepits Fire pits have become highly popular with homeowners due to their portability, beauty, and convenience.   Fire pits are hearth appliances that are closest in style to an old-fashioned campfire because they radiate heat in a complete circle.  In addition, some fire pits come with grills and can be used for cooking. Whether flush to the floor or elevated, fire pits can burn natural gas, liquid propane gas, or wood logs.  They produce between 50,000 and 70,000 BTU’s of heat.  Most are made of steel and retail between $300 and $700. Fire pits should never be used indoors, too close to the house, on the grass, or under an overhang or anything that could catch fire.   Do be sure to check the product manual to determine if you can safely use a fire pit on your deck – especially if you have a wood deck. Patio Heaters Patio heaters are also a relatively new product offering that are quickly gaining popularity.  These appliances can run on liquid propane or natural gas, produce 35,000 to 45,000 BTU’s, and radiate heat 20 to 25 feet in all directions (farther than a firepit). Patio heaters can be stainless steel (most durable, if high-grade), cast aluminum, or painted steel. Prices range from about $300 to $700.  While most patio heaters are free-standing, there are some smaller “table-top” units that produce up to 10,000 BTU’s…

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Rainier Screens to the Rescue in Hawaii

When air conditioning isn’t enough, lower your screens! In the Pacific Northwest, it’s hard for us to grasp the concept of “too hot for air conditioning”, but this was a major issue for a customer in Hawaii. In their office space, heat coming in from the windows made adjacent work spaces uncomfortably warm for employees. The only relief came from closed blinds and having the air-conditioning on full blast. This solution, however, was far from ideal. With their blinds closed they lost natural light, and with the air conditioning set on high, not only did they suffer from high energy costs, but now the work spaces near the center of the office (farther from the windows) had become uncomfortably cool. After the installation of Rainier exterior screens, the customer reported a significant decrease in heat from the windows. They were able to run their air conditioning unit at a reasonable level, and maintain an evenly comfortable temperature throughout the space. What’s more, their office regained natural light and their views from the windows (these had previously been obstructed by the closed blinds), which reportedly led to an observable improvement in overall employee morale. Saving space, energy, and of course sweat, Rainier screens were able to bring a bit more tropical paradise back into this work environment.

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6 More Weeks of Winter?

Tomorrow we’ll find out as it’s Groundhog Day! The 2011-2012 winter season seems to be anything but predictable.  Here in Seattle we’ve had more snow over 3 days than what we would typically get in 3 years.  And our friends on the East Coast have been bragging about minimal snowfall and mild temperatures. One thing’s certain, spring and summer will be on their way no matter what the Groundhog sees (or doesn’t). More sunshine and warmer temperatures mean that your home is going to start to warm up and your energy bills will be on the rise too.  Saving energy & reducing indoor temperatures are great reasons to include exterior screens on your home. Exterior screens can help stop the sun’s rays from striking your windows, reducing heat transfer and keeping your home cooler.  Then, whenever you’d like to take advantage the sun’s warmth just lower your screens to help heat your home.  Now that’s solar power! Take a look at some homes that are keeping cool with exterior screens.

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Top 2012 Garden Trend – Outdoor Living

We know awnings and screens are cool products (and will keep you cool) but we didn’t expect to be trend-setters when we started to make them.  Better Homes and Gardens recently published a list of top trends for 2012 and included in the list was outdoor living spaces. According to BH&G, outdoor spaces or separate rooms create a cozier environment for entertaining. When we read their trend list we started to wonder if any of their team has an awning or screen because it sounds like they’ve experienced how awesome life can be on the outside. Here’s some pictures of past installs … if you’d like us to include your outdoor space, send us your photos and we’ll add them to the album!

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