How to Build an Awning

Learning how to build an awning is a great way to extend your outdoor space by creating a shaded area quickly and simply. An awning can be as simple or elaborate as you wish, but there are construction elements common to all types of awnings.

Made In The Shade: How To Build An Awning

  • I was framed! The basic construction of an awning involves creating a frame to support the fabric cover of the awning. The side of the awning at the building is typically attached directly to the structure. The frame can be as simple as two support poles at the outer corners of the fabric, or as elaborate as a four-sided frame with the cover stretched over the frame. Many commercial awnings use a three-sided frame that supports the outer edge and corner. This type of frame uses two support poles and a horizontal piece often called a header.
  • How's you hardware? The frame of an awning is typically made of rigid material such as metal or PVC pipe. While PVC is inexpensive, it may not hold up to the rigors of rough weather. Galvanized steel pipe is stronger and able to resist moisture. Whatever material you choose, look for pipes with threaded ends that make it easier to put together and take apart your awning. Mounting hardware should also be made of galvanized steel or brass to resist corrosion.
  • Cover that thing! An awning cover can be made from canvas cloth or synthetic material. Canvas is a classic awning material, but can become moldy if stored while still wet. Synthetic fabric can be found in a number of materials that are designed to withstand exposure to the elements. Be sure to use nylon thread to attach sections of fabric and seal seams.
  • Get your footing. Support poles can be anchored using rope and takes in grassy areas. On patios, consider setting your support poles in umbrella bases for temporary use-for permanent structures, you may want to mount pipe flanges directly into the patio.
  • Measure and cut. To begin, measure the length and width of the awning you'd like to create. Use your patio or deck dimensions as a starting point. Cut and sew together the fabric to make the cover. Sew seams on all fabric edges to prevent fraying. Fold over and sew the outer edge of the fabric to create a pocket for the header pipe to fit in.
  • Got grommet? For the structure facing side of the fabric, place several grommets (metal rings) at the corners and along the edge. Space the grommets about every four feet. Grommet kits are available at most home centers and include everything you need to punch holes and insert grommets.
  • Hang it all! To hang your awning, insert galvanized screw hooks into the wall at the desired height off the ground-8' to 9' high should be plenty. The screw hooks should be spaced t match the grommets in the awning cover.
  • Get ahead of the game. Next, insert a header pipe into the pocket created at the outer edge of the awning cover. Your support poles can be attached to the header using 90-degree elbow fittings.
  • On the ground. Place the support poles enough far away from the house to create tension on the awning fabric and support them using rope and stakes or mounting hardware on your patio or deck.
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