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Is a cloth awning the best solution for a lack of porch?

March 25, 2016

Our front door is exposed to sun and rain, and we now have to replace it, the jamb, and perhaps even some of the interior drywall, due to rot. We'd like to put up some kind of awning or porch or something to protect the new door. Our contractor is suggesting a cloth awning, with Sunbrella fabric. Is that the most practical choice? Does anyone know how long the fabric would last before it would need to be replaced? (And roughly how expensive is that?)

Lastly, if we do decide on an awning, what in the world would look good here? A solid, perhaps in a similar beige shade? Or ...? And might an arched design, to echo the arch above the door, be good? Or just a regular, flat rectangular shape? I have no idea!

Comments (16)

  • leslieejsmith

    How pretty a round topped awning could be! I would do a color myself, black would look pretty cool too. But definitely not anything to "match" the house. This is an opportunity to add some pizazz! and personality!

    If it were me I would have a metal frame custom built for the doorway and an awning put on that.

    The fabric today could last a few years with 24/7 exposure so you might also consider that the sunbrella fabrics are spendy, $25 ish a yard.

    Or if money is no object (!) have a proper porch roof built that comes down on the sides to give the best protection for your new door from the weather. Look at pictures of older Spanish style houses for ideas.

    Best to you!

    angcando thanked leslieejsmith
  • Michele
    I absolutely love the look of a cloth awning and it would look so unique. Instead of sunbrella fabric I'd have one made at an awning company-they last for years. Definitely go with a contrasting color, don't match the house color.
    angcando thanked Michele
  • wyndyacre

    I live in a converted schoolhouse and that is exactly what I did to the front entrance of the school. There was once a recessed entryway which was covered in to give me a foyer but now I needed some protection and and some architectural interest. I had a frame and Sunbrella type awning made professionally about 20 years ago. It has a southern exposure and the fabric part has been replaced twice since then. It provides some shade and a place to stand out of the rain while getting into the house....a lifesaver!

    If I remember right, it cost about $800 Canadian 20 years ago and then around $500 to replace the awning twice over the years.

    It must be bolted VERY firmly to the house though with excellent support. The wind really can grab and shake it...although the fabric has been mildly damaged a couple of times, it has never been ripped off the house yet! Sometimes sounds like it is going to be though.... :-P

    angcando thanked wyndyacre
  • wyndyacre

    Something like this would be nice!

    angcando thanked wyndyacre
  • angcando

    Thanks for the great ideas. I've got to say, I really prefer a permanent solution as leslieejsmith mentioned and wyndyacre illustrated (particularly the first example), but I'm afraid something like that would probably be cost prohibitive. We should ask our contractor anyway, just in case. We have to weigh that cost against the cost of an awning that would have to be replaced every 10 years or so. On the other hand, a permanent structure might make the turret portion feel chopped off, or at least less imposing than it is now, whereas maybe an awning wouldn't.

    But as we'll probably opt for an awning, we'll also look into a local awning company. So it sounds like definitely not matching the house color. How about something close to the roof color, then?

  • Rusty Empire

    I don't mind the fabric awning idea. But given the house is Spanish style I would also look at the fabricated wrought iron option with a perhaps a copper roof instead of fabric.

    Spanish Colonial Revival Extreme Remodel- 07389 · More Info

    try this sight for inspiration. It's Canadian but with our lower dollar that may work in your favor:


    angcando thanked Rusty Empire
  • wyndyacre

    Once you get to an awning business and have a look at the different fabrics available, you will see how many colours, variations of stripes and finished edges are truly available. The bottom edge of the awning can be round or squared off scallops, bound in different colours and you could have just about any stripe or solid colour you can dream of!

    Something black and a rich burgandy red would look stunning against your tan wall...is it stucco? I can't tell what colour your tile roof is in the photo. There is often a multistripe that has larger stripes of certain colours and a skinny stripe of another. Maybe you could find one that is black, burgandy red and a skinny tan.

    angcando thanked wyndyacre
  • angcando

    Rusty Empire, I know it's very difficult to tell from my photo, but I don't think our home is Spanish style. Perhaps more California Contemporary? I don't have time to take another photo, but I do have a very old photo that maybe gives a better idea.

    wyndyacre, it's easier to see the roof tile color is some sort of gray. Yes, the wall is stucco (probably faux stucco, but same difference).

  • wyndyacre

    It is sooo difficult to see true colours from photos on the computer screen. Once you got to see some fabric samples, you would see what best co ordinates with the colours of your home....stucco, roof and stone.

    angcando thanked wyndyacre
  • PRO
    Sophie Wheeler

    A door that leaks is constructed incorrectly. Probably flashed wrong. It's not an ''overhang issue''. It needs to be installed correctly.

    And n this case, I'd replace it with a window and create a separate entrance elsewhere.

    angcando thanked Sophie Wheeler
  • PRO
    Patricia Colwell Consulting

    That house would not suit a cloth awning IMO iron and glass would be nice

    angcando thanked Patricia Colwell Consulting
  • angcando

    Sophie, I agree with you that something was wrong with the door. I think perhaps it was as simple as the weatherstripping along the sides of the door not being tight enough. Perhaps over time (it's now 15 years old) it lost some of its springiness. Our contractor suggested we keep an eye on the new one, and think about replacing it about every 10 years (simple & cheap). I have to disagree with replacing the door with a window, though. The door opens into a foyer, and there simply is no other place to put an entrance.

    Patricia and everyone else, thank you for your thoughts. After giving this a lot of thought, and driving around our neighborhood, we have to agree with Patricia -- a cloth awning would look very out of place. We did not find ONE home in an hour of driving around neighborhoods that had one. In fact, the closest thing we saw to any awning in any home (other than as part of the original home design) was a pergola. I think that iron and glass (Plexiglas, I'd assume) awning might work, as some homes in our neighborhood do have iron fixtures. We will investigate that.

    We are also considering not adding an awning or other structure, other than a retractable screen door. Our hope is a screen door will minimize the amount of rain that hits the door, and along with being more vigilant about the weatherstripping, hopefully that would suffice. Besides, there have been many times we wished we had a screen door available, so this is a decent excuse to splurge.

  • chiflipper

    If budget allows, select a fiberglass door, they retain their color and can't rot. You will have to be diligent about replacing the weather stripping on any door. A copper canopy can be fabricated to any style / shape. I think a "flamed" and sealed copper canopy would be perfect.

    angcando thanked chiflipper
  • PRO
    Garden State Shade LLC

    I would do something simple, kind of like what Rusty Empire showed a few comments above. I don't think there are too many solutions that would work with the aesthetics of the home and the rounded section with the door. I suggest a solid colored Patio 500 fabric stapled on to a custom welded aluminum frame. Because of the rounded plane of the mounting points, there will be a little more customization, but a simple door hood is the most cost effective and practical solution. Center the awning over the door and bring it outside of the landing light on the left and equally outside on the right...probably about 6' wide with a 4' projection would probably be plenty.

    Good Luck.

    angcando thanked Garden State Shade LLC
  • angcando

    I'm sorry to disappoint you, but in the end we decided to not add an awning after all. We replaced the door, and added a retractable screen just in case. As long as we replace the weatherstripping periodically, we think that will prevent the rot from reoccurring. Good luck with your decision; I know it isn't an easy one!

    (This was posted in reply to a post that has now been deleted, but it serves as a final resolution to this thread. Thanks again for everyone's comments and help.)

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