How to Find A Good Awning Installation and Repair Contractor Near Me?
Residential awnings are a great addition to the house. They protect the home from the sun's harmful UV rays, provide extra living area, add style and color to the home's exterior, and save energy costs. The United States Department of Energy revealed that in the summer, window awnings can reduce the home's solar heat penetration by 65% for windows facing the south, and by 77% for windows facing the west.
Awning is one such home improvement that needs to be made to perfection-correct sizing, right material, and suitable styling-to be valuable. Therefore, installing or repairing awning should be left to experienced contractors near you who can give you warranty for durability and value for your money. Before you settle for any awning installation and repair contractor you are looking up on a near me directory, ensure you get satisfactory answers to the following questions:
A license is a proof of your contractor’s competence in the trade. Depending on the state, your awning installer will hold a general contractor, a home improvement, or a specialty license. Arizona(R-3), California (D-3), and Hawaii (C-44b) are some of the states that issue awning installation and repair specialty licenses. Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Tennessee are some of the states issuing a home improvement license.
Where there are no state licensure requirements, contact the local consumer protection agency or municipal authority to determine the license required of awning installers in your area. Request to see a copy of your awning installer’s license and call the licensing agency to verify the current status.
Liability insurance and workers compensation insurance policies are the baseline insurance requirements for contractors in the building industry, and the reason for this is not far-fetched. In 2019 alone, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported 1.069 work-related fatalities among private construction contractors and over 22,000 occupational non-fatal injuries among residential building contractors.
Damages caused to your property, injury inflicted on persons, and other liabilities arising from the project are covered by a liability insurance policy. On the other hand, workers compensation insurance ensures that workers receive adequate medical treatment if they sustain a work-related injury. They are also paid a proportion of the wages lost as a consequence of the injury.
A surety bond, on the other hand, compels a third party, usually known as the "surety company", to bear the cost of completing the project if it is left half-done. As such, in the event of a service default, your work has adequate cover.
You should not consider any awning installation and repair contractor near you without adequate insurance and bonding coverage. A lack of either exposes you to the risk of incurring extra financial liabilities in case of eventualities.
Awning Installations differ in their design, sophistication, and mechanism. The skills required to install and fix each equally vary. It would help if you asked prospective awning contractors what their specialization is. The major awning services specializations are:
- Retractable Awning Specialization: This has to do with the more sophisticated types of awnings. Armed with a lateral arm, a retractable awning installation will usually feature an extendable and retractable canopy mechanism. The canopy can be extended to provide cool shade on hot days and retracted to allow sunlight penetration as desired. Retractable awnings also come with The option of manual or automatic control systems. There are two further variations of the automatic extension and retraction systems; one is a remote controller-based system, while the other works with a wind and sun sensor-based mechanism. These types of awnings are most suited for patios and decks.
- Stationary Awning Specialization: This specialization involves the installation and repair of traditional, fixed awnings. Stationary awnings are made of fixed frames and cover fabrics. They can be installed over entry points, windows, and balconies. While they do not offer the flexibility of retractable awnings, they come in different styles, designs, and colors. They can also be easily adapted to bump-outs and other odd shapes. Fixed awning installations typically require less maintenance compared to their more sophisticated counterparts.
Awning contractors specialized in each of these categories can adequately provide installation and repair services. However, it is not uncommon to find contractors with expertise and experience in both specializations.
A contractor will typically not be able to install an awning or unmount one for repair, alone. The responsibility to ensure that these co-workers meet job requirements rests on you. A co-worker is exposed to just as much risk as the main installation contractor, and should equally carry a valid insurance policy. While your contractor’s employee is typically covered by workers compensation insurance, an independent third-party has to maintain a proper professional insurance cover.
Also, awning works may involve drilling into your walls which may contain electric cables and water pipes. If substantial damage Is inflicted on any of these utility installations by an unqualified and uncovered worker, you will have to pay from your pocket to have them fixed. In a more serious case, such as injury to a person, you can be held liable for engaging workers with inadequate qualification and cover.
Warranties are an excellent way of obtaining security against a defective service or product. In this case, a warranty can be taken from the manufacturer of awning components and the installation and repair contractors. Ask any awning contractor near you what warranties they are offering for their services: does it cover consequential damages? such as damage to awning components arising from poor installation, or physical injuries from an unexpected fall.
As for awning products and components, the warranties for a complete awning product will typically last longer than for components such as motors, controls, awning thread, frames, and fabric. Most manufacturers offer around ten years of warranty coverage for awning fabrics. Instruct your awning repair contractor to ensure that only warranty-bearing replacements should be procured for the defective components. Generally, It is smarter to have warranty contracts written and signed.
Permits for awning installation are more about safety and compliance. For a homeowner, you will have to make inquiries at the local building regulatory agency office near you to obtain a permit for the home improvement project. The City of Seattle, City of Philadelphia, City of Vancouver in Washington, New York City, Montgomery County, and the District of Columbia, are some of the areas that require a permit for awning installation. Ensure that your awning contractor has the required permit to avoid having it pulled down or facing regulatory agencies' punitive actions later in the future.
References are simply evidence of past work experience and expertise. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) advises consumers to ask for at least three references to past works. On the one hand, you can evaluate your contractor’s expertise, specialization, and quality of work, and on the other hand, you have the opportunity to seek out an overall work review and feedback from clients near you they have worked for in the past.
In addition to your contractor’s self-selected references, the Better Business Bureau, Google Business Reviews, and Yelp are good sources of internet-based impartial business reviews. You can also take a critical look at your awning contractor’s portfolio page and professional profile for a more detailed professional history and work experience.
An authentic business license is an indication that your awning contractor's business is a legal entity and is duly recognized by the state or municipal authorities. In essence, a business certificate is proof that your contractor has completed business registration, possesses the necessary professional license, has the financial requirements, and has adequately filed for tax. These and other business licensure requirements will protect you from imposter scams, the most perpetrated fraud in the United States in 2019.
Ensure to contact the Office of Secretary of State in your state to verify whether or not a contractor's business license is valid. Do not take this verification for granted due to the contractor operating a shop near you.
Installation and repair problems are indicators of a defect in service, product, or component and must not be ignored. The following are some of the sign to look out for as indicators of a problem after an installation:
- Leaking awning fabric
- Shaky frames
- Remote controller malfunction
- Failure of sensors to detect a change in weather and respond accordingly
- Unusual and disturbing noise from the motor engine
- Untriggered extension and retraction of sensorless awnings
The price you will have to pay for an awning installation or repair service greatly depends on your geographic location. Nonetheless, below are the estimated industry range of the costs of different awning services:
- Type of awning: On average, manual awnings are cheaper than their automated counterparts. Motor engines, lateral arms, sensors, remote controllers, and gearbox, are some of the additional components that influence the final unit cost of awnings. If you look to repair a faulty automated awning, then the components' cost should be factored into other expenses such as labor costs.
- Size of the awning: Wider windows and entryways will typically require more extensive coverage as well as longer and stronger framing materials. These will no doubt push up the final cost of installation and repair.
- Awning fabric material: The more expensive your awning covering is, the more expensive the total installation or replacement cost. Awnings fabrics come in various materials, such as laminated or coated vinyl polyester, acrylic-painted cotton or polyester, vinyl laminated or coated mesh, completely woven acrylic, and expanded PTFE. Fabrics that are water-tight and heat-sealable give your awning water-tight joints. UV resistance, flame and mildew resistance, graphical acceptance, and light transmittance are some of the factors that affect choice and cost.
- Awning frame material: The frame materials with which you want your awning installed will affect what you will pay. Steel pipe, steel tubing, and aluminum pipe, and aluminum tubing frames are the most common options. The cost and weight of each frame material will affect the fee payable for material and labor, respectively. Heavy frames will also typically require stronger - and costlier - fixings.
- Awning style and design: The style and design you specify also affect the total cost of installation. Dome awnings, lateral arm/retractable awnings, and convex/concave awnings typically require more effort and skill to design compared to traditional awnings, and hence, are more expensive.
Not much formal education is required for awning installation and repair contractors. Yet, a high school diploma and a certificate of apprenticeship or technical training are generally the bare minimum for technicians. Trained awning contractors will have been trained on fabrication design and building and construction safety codes.
It is not uncommon to find a handyman near you who has worked on some awning projects offering to do a good job for you, and for less than an awning contractor would charge. The wiser decision would be to decline such an offer and hire a certified and licensed contractor instead. Here are some reasons why:
- Only a qualified awning contractor may identify defective products and components from the start. This will help prevent you from spending on installing an awning that will "pack-up" before time. Future accidents can also be avoided entirely as a result.
- The terms of an insurance policy usually have to be strictly adhered to. One of them may be that your home improvement and general building works must only be done by qualified professionals. In the event that your awning is damaged, the relevant insurance policy provider may refuse to provide the necessary cover if the awning was fixed by an unlicensed professional. If the awning on your property causes severe bodily injury to a person in an accident, you may be facing a personal Injury lawsuit, given the installation was done without appropriate professional liability coverage.
- Experienced professionals are familiar with the different awning brands and materials and know just what fits your needs. On the other hand, a handyman will most likely install “what you want” without considering (or even knowing) safety and compliance standards, and therefore be unable to present more suitable awning options to you.
- Warranties will be easier to invoke with a qualified professional and a reputable manufacturer which they would have bought from. This may not be said for a handyman.
A wall repainting may be necessary depending on the level of intrusion on your home’s wall. Other expenses you will typically incur after on awning installation or repair include:
- Motor oiling: For automated awnings, routine oiling is necessary to keep the motor working smoothly for long. Metal joints, hook shaft, and gearbox also require regular oiling to prevent rust or decay. Ask your awning contract what type and brand of lube is recommended for this maintenance.
- Fabric and frame cleaning: It is not ideal to leave bird droppings or specks of dirt for prolonged periods on the fabric. This may dent the covering’s appeal and cause damage to it in the long run. It is advisable to remove stains with warm soapy water and soft scrub. The frames should also be maintained by cleaning them with a sponge and warm soapy water.
Note, hiring a local contractor in your city may help reduce other associated costs like travel and logistic costs because of nearness.
If awnings were installed on your property’s exterior before you took-out the homeowner insurance policy, then the damage caused by fire, smoke, burglary, vandalism, or any other event specifically covered by your policy, will be indemnified. However, unless your homeowner insurance policy specifically covers homeowner negligence, you must not be found to have been directly responsible for the incident due to wrongful conduct, neglect, or intent.
To add an awning to your home’s exterior for the first time, existing homeowner insurance does not automatically provide coverage, as it falls under home improvement and not damage reparation. However, it would help if you informed your homeowner insurance provider of the new structural addition so that it may be included in your policy’s coverage - and premium payable.
Yes, you can pay any awning installation and repair contractor near you via digital payments such as bank transfer, mobile wallet, and debit/credit cards. However, not all contractors will accept digital payments. You will therefore have to ask beforehand whether or not they do specifically. Although, they are more likely to accept than reject settlement via digital platforms. Affordability, speed, and convenience are only some of the benefits of digital payments.