This isn’t that easy to answer, as it depends on your expectations. ‘All year round’ for many commercial applications may actually mean most months, but not the coldest winter months. For domestic application it may mean just the ability to prevent rain when it falls in the summer months. A true all year round solution will be a very high specification indeed.
When customers ask us for an ‘all year round’ solution for an outdoor cover there has to be a real understanding of what to expect in the systems we supply and install. Our outdoor canopy and awning systems are designed more to bring the outdoors closer to the indoors and making an area which in most cases is a transition area before actually being outside totally.
We have to think of all of the systems as actually a way to enjoy the best of the outdoors and half decent weather and not believe there is any necessity for sitting outdoors in a gale force wind or a dark, grey, miserable day in the cold.
In a nutshell the best all year round solutions will have a ‘proper’ roof cover whether it be retractable or fixed and it will also have fixed or retractable sides to enable the area to be completely protected from wind and rain when required. We have glass and aluminium structures and outdoor rooms with either retractable vinyl roof covers or rotating aluminium fins (like a louvred effect), and these ‘outdoor rooms’ are sufficiently strong enough and tested to deal with everything the UK weather has to throw at us. However they are not insulated and do not have footings like an extension to your building would require with all the building regulations, so the limits have to be understood.
These systems are fantastic for pretty much all the spring, summer and autumn months and because they are generally built onto terraces, patios and veranda areas the intended use is pretty clear – enjoyment of the sunnier, drier weather, whatever the air temperature may be. Indeed a glass garden room on a sunny day in winter is a special place no matter what the air temperature is outside. On a dark, rainy, windy day in January it will not be so inviting but neither would your garden and the surroundings, so you wouldn’t want to be out there anyway!
All year round solutions are generally designed to deal with the incredibly unpredictable UK weather during the supposed better months. Rainfall in July or August when it is warm, strong winds in March and April when the sun may be shining and sunny days in September and October when the air has turned cold suddenly. All the systems we sell as all year round solutions are for dealing with this either in a domestic or commercial environment.
If the expectation is purely some cover for dealing with rainfall in summer months then it is perfectly OK to expect a properly specified returnable fabric awning to cope with this, provided the pitch of the awning cover is set at least at 14 degrees, and preferably more. This enables any rainfall to fall immediately off the cover and ensure there is never the potential for ‘pooling’ of water in the fabric leading to potential disaster if the fabric stretches under the weight and gather even more rainfall, eventually of course leading to massive damage and danger underneath. The larger the awning is of course, the more likely this is to occur. A better solution is definitely a glass or polycarbonate veranda canopy. You will have a fixed canopy with an aluminium framework but all rainfall is taken away and directed away with guttering and downpipes. The fixed glass or polycarbonate veranda also is not affected by windy conditions so you always have a roof cover to protect the area at all times. With the addition of other products such as vertical blinds or sliding frameless glass doors you can of course then further enhance the weather protection from he exposed sides.
Many people buy systems from Samson Awnings purely for protection from the rain and to provide an area where they can maybe dry the dog after a walk, hang items out to dry, create a canopy so doors and windows can be open even when it is raining heavily. There are many reasons but the practical side is obvious for most types of properties. If the UK weather is predicted to become more tropical because of global warming then you will start to see far more unpredictable rain storms during the spring and summer months, and if you see homes and buildings in tropical countries there is a far greater presence of covered verandas and terraces around the outside of the properties for just this reason.