Which Shading System Is Right For You?

Outdoor living spaces are an essential addition to homes. These spaces create unique environments where families and friends gather and build memories that last a lifetime. While considering an expansion to your outdoor deck or patio space, you may be questioning the difference between awnings and power screens. Our team frequently answers the question, “what’s the difference between awnings and screens?” We gathered information from our team of experts to address the best option for your outdoor space, whether it be large or small. Retractable awnings and power screens provide shade from the sun, but the two offer different types of sun protection. It’s important to consider the depth of sun protection you need to enjoy the comfort of your deck or patio, year-round. Let’s start with the basics: Retractable Awnings Shade Your Outdoor Space We manufacture multiple configurations of awnings, but by far the most popular one is our retractable awning. Retractable awnings provide an extended outdoor space, beyond the walls of your home. In many cases, customers who choose retractable awnings have a deck or patio where they’d like to sit and enjoy a refreshing drink during the hot summer months, but the afternoon sun makes it too uncomfortable! Retractable awnings provide sun when you want it, and shade when you don’t. They retract and are self-storing when you’re not using them. Screens Block the Sun without Sacrificing Your View Enjoy the outdoors on your terms with a power screen! We have a full line of screen products to choose from, but our most common is the exterior side-retention system. Power screens are manufactured with mesh fabric extend straight up and down, making them the perfect choice for those west facing windows where the afternoon sun turns your living room into a sauna and creates a glare on your TV! Using a retractable awning or exterior screen to cool a home is more energy efficient than traditional air conditioning. We participated in funding and research for an independent study which found that shading with a screen or awning can reduce cooling costs here in the Seattle area by over 60%! Our exterior screens keep as much as 85% of the heat from the sun from cranking up the temperature in your living room. Making the Right Choice for Your Home Choosing the sun protection solution that’s right for you depends on which problem you have to begin with! We offer free in-home consultations, so we’re happy to take a look at your situation and discuss which solution fits your needs and your budget. Click here to request a consultation, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

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4 Ways that Awnings Help Save Energy

Although we are in the middle of winter, you might want to start thinking about how you can get ahead on your energy savings this summer. More often than not, it isn’t until after that first heatwave, after the AC has run full blast, and after the energy bill arrives that it is too late to start creating energy savings solutions for your home. Before it gets to that point, here are a few things to know about how you can save some dough on your energy bills this summer. Awnings can reduce your cooling energy by 25%. This can result in an annual savings of $200 or more a year, according to the Professional Awning Manufacturers Association (PAMA). The first step in cutting your energy consumption is to figure out which side of your house gets shade; this will help determine where you should install an awning. Awnings can reduce solar heat between 55% – 77%. On southern-facing windows, fabric awnings can reduce heat between 55% – 65% and 72% – 77% on western-facing windows. Since the sun’s rays can increase the temperature in your home by as much as 20%, an awning can help keep your home cooler and can reduce your dependency on air conditioning. Shades and awnings work in conjunction with your air conditioner. According to the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning Engineers, external shade devices like retractable awnings can minimize the heat load of your house. When you reduce the amount of heat coming into your home, you can also reduce the amount of air conditioning used. This will not only help save costs on your energy bill, but it is also environmentally friendly. By using less energy, you can offset your carbon footprint by emitting fewer greenhouse gases into the air. The type of fabric used in your awning can influence your energy savings. Choosing fabric for your awning is important because it can influence how much heat comes into your home and how much energy you can save. Choosing fabrics that are light in color helps reflect the sun’s rays away from your home. Dark-colored awnings absorb heat and are ideal in colder climates that get a lot of light through the windows. Luckily, Rainier Shade offers Sunbrella® fabrics in a variety of colors and patterns. Sunbrella makes one of the longest-lasting fabrics on the market and is guaranteed not to fade for 10 years. For more information on Sunbrella fabric, click here. To figure out how you can cut down on energy costs in your home, check out the Home Energy Saver audit tool. Have more questions on how you can get ahead of the game on your energy savings this year? Schedule a free in-home consultation with a local dealer. They will come to you and help find the best shade and awning solution for your home. Click to find a dealer near you.

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Pantone’s Color of the Year

We’re excited for the reveal of Pantone’s 2020 Color of the Year, Classic Blue. It also happens to match our branding and logo, so we’re pretty happy about that! This means we are going to see a lot more of this color heading into the new year. If you’re not familiar with who Pantone is, they are the company that creates a color matching system used in a lot of graphic design, fashion, printing, manufacturing, and product design companies. You might have come across some of their color-matching books at a paint store or print shop. Pantone’s Classic Blue represents consistency, confidence, dependability, foundation, and is a representation of the night sky, challenging us to think and look beyond the cosmos. For the past two decades, Pantone has released a Color of the Year, which is chosen based on current fashion and pop culture trends. 2020’s Classic Blue is bound to influence what we’ll see this year for home decor, clothing, jewelry, art, and graphic design. So, how can you incorporate this beautiful color into your own home? We are now offering this color as a powder coat finish for our retractable screens and awnings! Get the timeless and classic look incorporated into your home by scheduling a free in-home consultation with a local dealer today. Although you may not be ready to hang out on your patio just yet, it’s actually a great time to get a head start on your home improvement projects, especially when it comes to scheduling services. The winter is a great time to make an appointment with a local dealer before the busy spring season. A new year brings new possibilities for updating the look, feel, and functions of your home. We hope that 2020 brings you joy, laughter, comfort and color to you and your home!

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Six Questions To Ask Before You Buy An Awning

So you want to buy an awning.  It’s a smart move!  But it’s a big purchase, and you’re a smart buyer so you’ll want to do some research before you sign the dotted line. These are six questions to ask your salesperson (whether you’re considering an awning from Rainier or one of our nationwide dealers.) We hope these questions will help you make an informed purchase decision. Where will the awning be installed? For most of our customers, the awning will be over a deck or a door.  Ask if the location will fit your needs and provide the protection from the shade you’re hoping for. How will the awning be mounted? The awning can be mounted to the exterior wall, to the roof above the gutter, or to the eave under the soffit.  This is an important discussion to have, because this will affect the height of the awning, and thus, the pitch (or, how steep the slope is.) The mount will make a difference when it comes time for the awning to be installed. What does the warranty cover? This can be a little confusing, because the different components all have different warranties. On all products, our frame finish is warranted to be free of defects in workmanship and materials under proper use and no closer than 1 mile from the ocean, for five (5) years from the original date of purchase. We warranty our installation for the first year. We use Sunbrella fabric that is warranted by the manufacturer for ten (10) years; and the motor is warrantied by Somfy (the manufacturer) for five (5) years.  Be sure to ask your salesperson for more detailed information. Is motorized or manual the best option for you? We’re biased, but we highly recommend motorization for your awning! We’ve learned from customer surveys that the customers who have motorized awnings are much happier with their purchases than those who have manual. Motorized awnings are convenient (you can even control the awning with an app on your smartphone) and you won’t have to use your arm muscles. However, many customers choose manual operation. Often because they don’t have electricity on their decks and having it installed would be too costly or, in some cases, their home owner’s association would not allow for it. What is the lead time? You’ll want to make sure that the awning can be installed at a time that is convenient for you. Who will install the awning?We recommend working with a company who uses professional installers – like our skilled team! Some of our customers choose to install their awnings themselves, but be aware that this will affect your warranty.

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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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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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