The two basic types of roll-up awnings are manual and motorized. Manual awnings are hand operated by means of a crank while motorized versions make use of an electric motor. Standard motorized awnings can be activated by either a fixed switch or remote control device. Automatic motorized awnings are usually activated by some type of timer mechanism. Both manual and motorized roll-up awnings can be covered with fabric or flexible aluminum material.
Manually operated roll-up awnings are the simplest and least expensive type of covering. This kind of awning is opened and closed by means of a hand crank mechanism and requires no electricity for its operation. Motorized roll-up awnings are opened and closed by an attached electric motor. The motor used to power this awning must be connected to an electrical current in order to operate.
The operating mechanism of a motorized awning can be activated by several different means. A fixed electrical switch is the typical method used to activate the opening and closing mechanism. This switch is usually installed outside near the awning location, but can also be located indoors. Placing the switch indoors allows the awning to be opened ahead of time in rainy weather. A remote control device is available with certain models and permits the awning to operate from either location.
Some motorized awning models can also be automatically controlled for planned operation. These roll-up awnings are usually equipped with a timing mechanism that activates the electric motor. At preset times, the awning is automatically opened or closed without manual assistance. Certain automatic awning models are equipped with a light sensor instead of a timer. This awning is opened and closed when the sun reaches certain points in the sky.
In addition to different operating mechanisms, roll-up awnings also have different types of covering materials. These materials are typically made of either fabric or flexible aluminum. Fabric covered roll-up awnings are typically manufactured in a wide array of colors and patterns. The fabric material is generally very durable, and special coatings are often applied make it more waterproof. Fabric covered awnings generally require more frequent maintenance than aluminum and usually need recovering over time.
Aluminum covered awnings have become increasingly popular in recent years. The flexible aluminum material is typically more durable than cloth or vinyl coverings. Aluminum covered roll-up awnings are also available in many different colors and styles. This material generally requires very little maintenance and seldom needs repairing. Aluminum covered awnings are a bit more expensive than fabric, but usually last longer.