$3000 for a whole lotta nothin'....

banana_fannaAugust 4, 2008

2 weeks ago we purchased a retractable awning for our shadeless patio. It looks beautiful but after 4 p.m. we're in full sun again due to the slant of the sun. I bought it so we'd be able to dine out there after 6. It's absolutely useless.

The salesperson emailed me a picture of a hideous looking shade that can be hung from the side to block the sun (for an additional cost, of course).

In your opinion is the slant of the sun something *I* should've taken into consideration? or should he have assessed the site and recommended something different or been up front and said that the shade would be useless after 4?

For $3000 I could've bought a whole lotta umbrellas.

I'm fairly non-confrontational so if I call the guy back to say that the ugly side panel is unacceptable and I'd like my money back, what is my best argument? Thanks, GardenWebbers.

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Embothrium(USDA 8 Sunset 5 WA)

Contract? Terms of sale?

    Bookmark   August 4, 2008 at 9:36AM
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Terms of sale it is.

You need to know if there's a 30-day or whatever satisfaction guarantee, etc and just return it if you can with the idea that most companies don't go out of their way to accumulate unhappy customers.

You could also see whether the company billed itself as your "shade consultant" and purported to customize its solution to your problem, but that would also require that you identified exactly what you were trying to accomplish, perhaps very specifically.

Unfortunately, unless the company did represent itself as a customized consultant, I think this is something you would be expected to think of. If a patio is in full sun all day, then such an awning can be an improvement over no awning at all and presumably would take care of the problem for mid-day use--hence the salesman doesn't have to tell you how to get all of what you want all day long. The angle-of-the-sun deal, including seasonal changes (sun "low" in winter has a different impact, etc) is a key element in dealing with any shade plans, including where to place trees, trellises, arbors, window shades, and so forth, and why the "sun-blocker" has to be placed quite specifically for the time of day and season (or all) in which shade is desired.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2008 at 10:21AM
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I agree it depends on how they presented themselves to you for the service. Is it at all possible to return it? IF so, I would.

Alternatively, around here I've seen a lot of lovely patios that use curtains to block out the late afternoon sun. They look really nice.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2008 at 10:56AM
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karinl(BC Z8)

There is the question of whether you want to use a side curtain, and then whether you want to use THEIR side curtain.

At least the awning gives you somewhere to hang a side curtain, which I prefer to umbrellas. Umbrellas don't do the job as well as you might think; they take up space on the ground, they tip in the wind, and they are never quite where you want them to be.

Perhaps the awning does do something for you in the way of cooling the house or providing respite from the noon sun? You might start to use the patio at noon now that you have it. Or maybe it's just a linear relationship between your dining satisfaction and the awning, then it's a simple return, hopefully no hard feelings. But I too don't think it's unreasonable to expect you would have considered this yourself, shade consultant or no, so if there's a return/restocking fee I'd consider that the cost of the learning curve.

BUT think about what your other options are. The last thing you want to do is go and buy back the awning after returning it :-) Building pergolas etc is either very difficult or can cost way more than $3000. See thread linked below.

Could you keep the awning, and buy a bamboo blind or something more rustic/elegant instead of their factory side curtains? Or is it feasible to add a section of awning; would that help?


Here is a link that might be useful: Pergola thread

    Bookmark   August 4, 2008 at 1:21PM
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banana_fanna, I bought one of those awnings some years ago at my last house. I think I paid around $1800 for mine. My backyard was facing south (full sun). The awning was'nt effective when the sun set as you described. I had a side panel, and it helped some, but it didn't provide complete shade either, only filters the sun.
FWIW, I never found a better solution.

Funny thing is, I forgot to leave the side panel when I moved. I have a screened porch now and I still use it occasionally.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2008 at 2:36PM
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davidandkasie(Z8 MS)

if they said you will have 100% shade 100% of the time, then it is their fault. i find it to be totally reasonable to assume that there will be times during the day that the sun would come in under the sides of any top cover. the sun moves, and therefore so does any shade. i have a few trees that provide shade on my back porch ONLY in the last 1 hour of daylight during the summer. the trees are 200 yards away to the NORTH WEST! during the winter the sun is south/west of us, but during summer the afternoon sun is northwest.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 2:02PM
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davidandkasie(Z8 MS)

i meant to add that unless the sale said NO RETURNS, they should take it back. have you talked with the manager/owner yet?

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 2:05PM
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Suzi AKA DesertDance Zone 9b

I live on a golf course in the southern California low desert, and we installed Solar Shades for that reason! You can see through them, so the view is not impacted, but the sun is blocked from coming in. They also cut the glare to the TV!

I hope you can get your money back, but solar shades might do the trick for you. We also group 8 umbrellas together when eating outside, and it looks like a party, and provides tons of shade! Umbrellas can be tilted, and they can be found online for less than $70 each! You also have the option to place them in different places for different needs.

Shade trees properly placed might be a good answer too!

Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 20, 2013 at 10:43AM
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