By Jamie Swedberg
In the past, manufacturers made incremental improvements in the way retractable awnings looked and moved, but their basic appearance remained the same. Today, however, there are more options to appeal to end consumers, architects and design professionals. Jeff Barkin, marketing director, MaestroShield, Naples, Fla., says his company’s newest retractable line focuses on improved aesthetics and smoother operation.
“We just kind of revamped the whole thing,” he says. “We looked at all the extrusions and how all the parts work together. We took the side rails and we made them substantially smaller. There are no exposed screws in the hood assembly. We’ve really beefed up the hood assembly, too, with an extruded hood that’s very resistant to dents and damage.”
Spettmann USA, based in Baldwin Park, Calif., has taken a slightly different approach. Some of its retractables feature forged parts (as opposed to extruded ones) that allow for projections longer than 10 feet in certain climates and situations. Need a 13-foot retractable to match the scale of the building? They’ve got it covered.
Wilson Weng, Spettmann’s vice president of sales and marketing, says the company is starting to offer a wider variety of powdercoat colors for retractable awning frames so customers can match their houses—and the awning fabric—more closely.
“It creates a modern look,” he says. “With only one color, it’s harder to design a fashionable look. If you have two colors, three colors, the designer can have more tools to play with.”