Outdoor Blinds – The 3 Types of Folding Arm Awnings

January 4, 2015
Outdoor Blinds – The 3 Types of Folding Arm Awnings

What is a Folding Arm or Retractable?

There are many types of outdoor blinds available on the market today. A very popular European style is the Folding Arm or Retractable Awning.

They are retractable and can be fastened to a structure. They have 2 or more folding arms which extend the fabric outwards on a horizontal plane with optional pitch adjustments.

They come in 3 categories…..Full Cassette, Semi-Cassette and Standard.

They are a great outdoor blind solution for people looking to extend their outdoor entertainment area, improve aesthetics, and provide protection from the sun and rain.

Outdoor Blinds- What is the difference between a Full Cassette, Semi-Cassette and Standard Folding Arm?

Folding Arm Awnings can be categorised into three distinct types – Full Cassette, Semi-Cassette and Standard.

A Full Cassette Folding Arm Awning is fully enclosed by its headbox and bottom bar when it is completely retracted. Its headbox encapsulates most of its internal components such as its fabric, tube, folding arms, tubular motor..etc. When it is closed, the bottom bar closes the rest of the folding arm and the cassette is completely sealed.

Benefits and Drawbacks.

They have numerous benefits and some drawbacks.

Benefits include;

  • Sleek, architectural designed headboxes that hide all internal components when fully closed.
  • Added protection of fabric and internal components from elements and animals.
  • If used on motorhomes, caravans, buses etc, they provide a more aerodynamic design when on the move.

Drawbacks include;

  • The most expensive of all the folding arm awnings
  • Mostly comes as a motorised option. This is only a drawback from a cost perspective.
  • Restrictive placement of mounting brackets. How is this a drawback? Depending on the make and model, your brackets will need to be placed either on the very end or directly behind the arms. This can impact on the cost of the installation as more planning and engineered building modifications may need to go into preparing the area that the awning will be mounted to in order to make it structurally sound.

This could be considered the best of both worlds out of the three types of folding arm awnings.

As the name suggests, this uses a semi cassette and therefore is partially encapsulated by its headbox.

The semi covered portion of the awning is generally the upper half. It consists of two parts – the actual fixed headbox and the bottom bar, which integrates together when retracted to form a semi outer cover.

They also have a crossbar which is attached to the arms. Unlike the full cassette type, this allows more flexibility when placing mounting brackets. This potentially saves you on the installation costs.

Semi Cassette, Benefits and Drawbacks.

Semi Cassette Folding Arm Awnings have numerous benefits and some drawbacks.

Benefits Include;

  • Semi covered headbox is sleek and aesthetically pleasing. The arms and fabric are only visible from underneath the awning.
  • The semi cassette protects the fabric and components from the external elements,
  • Generally comes with crank or motorised control options.
  • A less expensive alternative to a full cassette folding arm.
  • More flexibility with its placements of mounting brackets.

Drawbacks include;

  • The arms and fabric are still visible from the underside of the awning. This is only a drawback if you are wanting the components to be completely hidden when it is closed.
  • Even though they are cheaper than the full cassette version they are still relatively more expensive than your Standard Folding Arm Awnings.

Standard Folding Arm

In Melbourne, a standard folding arm awning uses a basic model folding arm design that does not have any type of cassette headbox attached to it. This has basically 2 or more retractable arms, fabric and tube, cross bar design with bottom bar and valance options. This style does have the option of a colorbond sheet headbox to protect it from elements when fully retracted.

Benefits Include;

  • Simple Design.
  • It is the most economically priced than all the folding arm awnings in Melbourne.
  • Can be supplied with optional colorbond headbox to protect its components.
  • Can be installed with a fabric valance on its bottom bar.
  • Their controls come with standard crank operation, but it can be motorised.

Drawbacks include;

  • Fabric and components are visible when fully retracted.
  • More exposed to the elements when fully retracted if not using a headbox.

For great deals on quality outdoor blinds in Melbourne at the best prices, complete the contact form or give me a call at 1300 727 657.

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