Aluminum is an enduring favorite material for awnings because it is light and strong, but it occasionally needs a facelift to stay looking its best. Weathered or outdated awnings can make your home look drab, but fortunately, there are several things you can do to make your aluminum awnings look better.
Here are some ways to make aluminum awnings look better:
- Clean them thoroughly
- Seal surfaces to avoid stains
- Repair any holes
- Paint them a different color
- Add different vertical posts
- Change the edge ruffles
- Grow a vine or add hanging baskets
If the aluminum awnings have started to discolor or look tacky, it can spoil the entire appearance of your home. Making them look better can range from simply decorating them to repainting.
How to Make Aluminum Awnings Look Better
Many homes have aluminum awnings because they provide an element of protection around the house. They can act as a shield to both heat and rain – no one wants to be fumbling for keys in the pouring rain.
Aluminum does not rust, but over time, it does corrode, which is usually not a problem in terms of strength because the layer forms a hard coating on the surface of the awning. However, it often gets a distinctive, tired, water-marked, or pitted look.
Awnings are highly visible features that are frequently made of aluminum because it provides weatherproof protection that does not rust like other metals. However, it can be punctured or cracked, which is unsightly and will detract from the appearance of your home.
One of the other problems with aluminum awnings is that they often look dated. As practical as they may be in terms of weather protection, styles change, and a ruffle that was trending a few years ago may need a new look to give the home a modern appearance.
Before starting any work to transform awnings on a building, remove all items attached to the structure to avoid damaging them, so you don’t miss any sections. These include hanging plants and flags.
If you are tired of the outdated, ugly aluminum awnings that are spoiling the appearance of your house or patio, there are several things that you can do to transform them from dull to fabulous.
1 – Clean Aluminum Awnings to Make Them Look Better
Sometimes the secret to making nasty-looking aluminum awnings look better is to give them a thorough wash. Over time, grime or even mold can develop over the distinctive rippled surface, which, along with cobwebs or insect nests on the underside, can make the area look neglected.
If your awnings are accessible, you can clean them using an ordinary garden hose and elbow grease. For more resilient dirt, a power washer works well.
Before washing your awnings, it is essential to wait until the weather is hot and sunny. Remember to close all windows and doors around the awnings and seal the gap under the door.
How to Give Aluminum Awnings a Simple Wash
The method you use to clean your aluminum awnings will depend entirely on the level of grime. If you have simple awnings, you can give the entire roof structure and its underside a quick wash by doing the following:
- Spray the entire awning using a garden hose – thoroughly wet the whole structure on top and the underside of the surface
- Be sure to spray the side brackets, posts, and beams.
- Then use a long-handled stiff-bristled brush, mop, or even a stiff broom to scrub the surface using a dish liquid solution.
- Be aware of any special plants or vegetation below where you are working and protect them from drips of the soapy solution if necessary.
- Once you have thoroughly scrubbed the structure with the soapy solution, rinse it with the garden hose.
Wash Aluminum Awnings Using a Pressure Washer
Using a power washer is definitely one of the most effective ways to breathe new life into grubby-looking awnings. Besides washing off any dirt, the high-power action of the water also instantly removes any flakey debris like old paint from the surface.
Use a telescopic wand attachment to clean awnings that you can’t reach. Do not attempt to stand on a ladder while maneuvering a pressure washer.
Use a low-pressure setting when cleaning aluminum to avoid damaging the surface. A setting not greater than 500 PSI will provide an adequate clean.
Use a pressure washer detergent, but make sure that it is eco-friendly and won’t kill any plants it drips onto. Don’t forget to also clean the underside of the awning – especially above the beams and where it is attached to the wall.
2 – Seal the Surface of Awnings to Avoid Marks
If you have cleaned the aluminum awnings on your home or business and they look cleaner and brighter, it is a good idea to seal them. This will give them a transparent protective coating that will keep them looking nicer for longer.
Being proactive and adding a layer of UV-resistant, outdoor polyether sealant will provide greater stain resistance. Adding a protective sealant will also fill any minor cracks or leaks around screws that will prevent your awning from leaking, which won’t only look better but will also make the awning work better.
3 – Repair Holes in Aluminum Awnings to Make Them Look Better
Aluminum doesn’t rust, but it can be damaged, cracked, or punctured. Visible damage on aluminum awnings can often be patched and make them look a lot better.
Holes in awnings are often highly visible because the sunlight filters through and is noticeable on the face of the house. Fixing small holes in an aluminum awning can be a lot less expensive than replacing the entire fitting, but it does require a few steps.
Note that you should only attempt to repair awnings in places where you can reach them easily. Do not even try to stand on an awning even if it seems solid, and always wear aluminum safety gloves.
You will need some basic tools as well as aluminum snips, extra aluminum, butyl tape, silicone caulk, and enough roof coating to cover the entire surface of the awning.
These are the steps to repair holes in your aluminum awning:
- Thoroughly clean the surface of the awning you want to fix. It is recommended to clean all similar awnings on your home at the same time so one the one you are working on does not look different.
- Use an aluminum snip to cut around the hole – it usually works well to form a square shape as it is easier to attach and blend later.
- Then cut a slightly larger piece of the same shape from the piece you are using to make the patch. Usually, two to three inches larger is sufficient.
- Use the butyl tape to hold the piece in place while securing it using stainless steel self-tapping screws.
- Then use the silicone calk to seal around the edges and smooth the surface.
- Let it dry completely before covering the entire awning with a roof coating.
Your awning will immediately look a lot better when it doesn’t have any cracks or holes on its surface.
4 – Paint Aluminum Awnings to Give Them a New Look
Before giving up on your dated aluminum awnings and taking them out, remember that styles tend to return, so rather than replacing them entirely, modernize them. Adding a dash of bright color to an old feature can provide a quaint, whimsical touch to a home.
Painting your tired-looking aluminum awnings will immediately give them a new lease on life and improve their appearance. In fact, using an unexpected or contrasting color to the rest of the house may transform a dated aluminum awning from an ugly necessity into a stunning feature area.
But before you reach for any type of paint, keep in mind that aluminum requires special metal paint. The surface must also be carefully prepared and be thoroughly clean so that your finish lasts a long time.
Painting your awnings, especially if you have matching ones on other windows of your home, will give your house a new look. When deciding on a bold color scheme, consider what it will look like during all seasons and keep the general style of the neighborhood in mind.
One of the most critical parts of painting an aluminum awning is carefully preparing the surface. Awnings take a severe beating from the elements, so it is worth putting a lot of effort into cleaning and sanding the surface before applying the primer and paint.
When you are ready to begin, this is what you will need to do:
- Thoroughly clean the aluminum surface – ensure that there are no flaky bits of paint or debris
- Then wipe down the surface with a bleach mixture that is diluted at a rate of 1-part bleach to 3 parts water. This is to remove any mold or mildew that might be lurking on your awning.
- Run your fingers over the surface of the metal, and each time you encounter a rough spot, sand it until it feels smooth.
- Then rinse the surface again to remove any flakes lifted during sanding and allow it to dry.
- Coat the surface with a metal primer. You must use a primer as regular paint will not adhere effectively if applied directly onto aluminum.
- Allow the primer to dry completely before covering it with exterior acrylic latex paint.
Don’t forget to take before and after photos because you will not believe the difference that changing the color of your awning can make to the appearance of your property.
5 – Add Different Vertical Posts
Many aluminum awnings, especially those over doors, are attached to the ground by vertical supports. Changing or cladding outdated posts can make the entire structure look fresher and more modern.
The nice thing about this suggestion is that you don’t have to remove or change anything to get an entirely different look. You can select a suitable outdoor cladding and fit it around your existing posts.
Changing your vertical posts can be a fun project because whatever you do doesn’t need to be permanent, and it can dramatically transform the look of your awnings. You can try a new look for a while and swap it for something else when you feel like another look.
Ideas range from using preformed cladding, or you can try less expensive methods like using spruce beams to box them in. Spruce works well as it is usually straight, durable, and can be painted.
Column sleeves are available in many designs and can be made from materials that range from natural wood and faux stone to highly modern, durable PVC covers. Giving the awning supports a new look can make the entire structure look better.
6 – Change the Ruffles
Aluminum awnings on older houses often feature cute frilly-looking edging. This ruffle look can date the home, but the good news is that it can usually be removed, which will immediately give the structure less cluttered, clean, modern lines.
If the ruffle edge is part of the main awning sheet, you may need to ask a professional to come and create a straight edge. However, occasionally the lower section of the awning was added as a decorative feature and can be removed entirely by unscrewing it.
Just be sure to seal any holes that may result from removing any irregular-shaped decorative sections. Also, check that removing the edging will not affect drainage from the awning.
Paint the Posts and the Awning Different Colors
A great trick to transforming the look of your aluminum awning is to use slightly different or contrasting colors on the roof of the awning and the posts and beams. The aluminum surface can appear to be floating above darker-colored support posts.
It is recommended to start by first painting the aluminum roof section as some overspray, etc., may land on the beams, so paint them last. Then use a brush to paint the beams. If you paint the top roof section a fresh, lighter color, it will appear roomier and more welcoming beneath the awning than a tired metal look.
Also, look around for other structures on the house that you can paint the same color as the awning. If you have stairs with a handrail leading to your door, or suitable window frames, it can look great to mirror the color of the awning on other fittings.
Repeating a color theme will lead the eye around the property rather than focusing entirely on a very prominent feature like the aluminum awning over the door. The structure will appear to blend into the entire décor setting and deliver a more finished look.
7 – Grow a Vine or Add Hanging Baskets
For anyone who is just renting or needs some time to think about making their aluminum awnings look better, one of the most effective ways is to let nature help. You can encourage creepers to grow up the posts or dangle colorful baskets of flowers from the edges of the structure.
Place two large plant pots at the base of the posts and plant a sweet-smelling, colorful climber, like jasmine. Choose a vining plant that will grow quickly, soften the look of your awning, and it will look a lot less stark if it is beautifully entwined with a gorgeous, flowering plant.
Just be sure never to use a plant that clings to the structure like Boston or English Ivy if you want to paint your awning in the future. That stuff can be pretty hard to remove.
Aluminum awnings are practical but highly noticeable features on many homes. Over time they can look dated or become faded and lose the curb appeal they once had when they were new.
Fortunately, they can be refinished to look new or decorated to become features on a home.