12 places to buy aluminum awnings — including from three companies in business since 1946, 1947 and 1948

There’s almost nothing I like better than finding a company that’s been in business for more than 60 years — and with a product that is more relevant today then ever. Craft-Bilt, based in Souderton, Pennsylvania, started selling aluminum awnings in 1946 and from the looks of their website, they are marketing the same design today as then. They offer three styles of aluminum awnings (shown above) — for windows, doors, even patios and carports.

house with aluminum awningsAnd yes, aluminum awnings deserve our modern-day respect. Global warming is really a scary prospect. And, energy prices have everyone worried. I try to follow environmental and energy issues as they pertain to homes, and while technologies like solar cells and wind turbines sound very sexy, I don’t see any evidence that they make economic sense yet. Moreover: Our “first fuel” is: Conservation.

That’s where awnings come in. Properly placed, these old-time solutions — low tech common sense! — can reduce heat gain into your interior and reduce the need for air conditioning. I believe there is even a science to placement of the awning canopy, in that you want to block sunlight from penetrating windows in the summer and maximize it in the winter (passive solar gain).

Here is what a 1994 Department of Energy study had to say about the efficacy of window awnings to conserve energy:

Although their effectiveness can be affected by many factors including location, climate, window size, and glass type, the energy efficiency advantages of awnings are clear. According to the Department of Energy, awnings can reduce heat gain up to 65% in south facing windows and up to 77% on windows facing east. Awnings reduce stress on existing air conditioning systems, and make it possible to install new HVAC systems with smaller capacity, thus saving purchasing and operating costs. Air conditioners need to work less hard, less often. When used with air conditioners, awnings can lower the cost of cooling a building by up to 25%.*

Back to Craftbilt awnings. Like I said, three styles, 16 colors. Looks like you can order these assembled to size, or there is a DIY kit. Hey, on their website, they even recognize their awnings’ back-to-the-future appeal, saying:

They have a popular “retro” look that is a perfect enhancement to houses built in the 50’s and 60’s.

Yup: Classic for mid century homes, when air conditioning was still a rare feature. In addition, the company is second-generation family owned, and the awnings are Made in the U.S. There is also a Canadian partner in Ontario.

Link: Craft-Bilt Aluminum Awnings.

After discovering CraftBilt, I continued with the google thing and found a number of other aluminum awning manufacturers across the country. Alas, I can not tell you how to differentiate quality. I am guessing “gauge” — but then there also is assembly, hardware and paint quality, not to mention service, price and warranty. Ummm: Buy locally, so you can see what you’re getting and have someone to stare down if there is a problem?

Here are links to other companies that manufacture (and usually also install) their own awnings… I did NOT try to capture dealers.:

  • ClimateGuard aluminum awnings in Chicago looks like a big company, with local manufacturing.
  • Standard Awning in Northeastern Pennsylvania has been in business since 1948, woot!
  • Ballews Aluminum Products was founded in 1958, and has manufacturing in three southern states.
  • Looks like you can get a lot of NuImage products at Home Depot.
  • West Coast Awning in Northridge, Calif., designs, manufacturers and installs aluminum awnings.
  • Kool Metal is in Sunnyvale, Calif.
  • Crossworld Awning Company is in the Cleveland area. I am unclear whether they are a manufacturer. They also will remove than repaint existing awnings. Gosh: Maintaining something rather than just throwing it away and buying new; what a concept.
  • Kohler Awning in the Buffalo area. Not sure if they are a manufacturer, but they look to be a longtimer.
  • General Awnings looks to be an aggregator of various designs, with an easy-to-view website.
  • There may be more… I ran out of energy after three pages of search. If you know of another company, leave it as a Comment, and we’ll work to build a comprehensive national list. Thank you!!

These aluminum awnings are not cheap. Patient bargain hunters can:

  • Watch for new neighbors who rip theirs out.
  • Re-Store and salvage places — take your measurements now, and keep them with you.

And — learn more about vintage awnings here.

Be-Safe-graphic2.3

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Comments

  1. Kelly says

    I just happened on 4 35″ wide and 1 100″ wide aluminum awnings that can best be described in style as siding-styled, in that they have ridges along tops and sides. Kind of scalloped, but instead of smooth curves, they’re square. They want $100 for the whole lot! I’m frantically trying to see if they’ll fit on my windows of my 1940’s ranch bungalow, but alas, the 35″ comes smack dab in the middle of the window jamb! I don’t mind that they would fit inside the shutters, but I think I might ruin my windows if I try to fit them. If any body has any ideas on how to make them fit, let me know! Hell, I might just get them and re-sell them – the owner doesn’t know what they have!!

    My house in Florida was in need of hurricane shutters and I grew tired of putting up those damn panels every time a storm threatened, especially on a 2-story house. I scored enough drop-side scallop shell gems to do my whole house for $200! Not only do they just fold up and drop down when a storm approaches, they look AMAZING and add shade. I no longer live in FL but now in the Appalachians but I still LOVE LOVE LOVE vintage shutters!! My brother now reaps the benefits of my amazing Florida-style house! Best looking house in a cookie cutter development with those shutters!!!

  2. Kara says

    I have 5 aluminum window awnings sitting in my garage! I don’t want to put them on my 1890s farmhouse, but I’m looking for someone to love and use them. Alas, no one on my local craigslist was interested. Is there a swap section on your website where I could list them and send them to a mid-century home instead of to the scrap yard?

  3. populuxe says

    I was going to mention a company I got an aluminum awning from; Try-Tech in California. $130 for a normal window. I like it because it is made up of slats/louvers that you can see through, doesn’t have the side panels and it’s a good price. Just looked them up again and don’t see window awnings available. I emailed them and maybe I’ll hear back tomorrow. I see the Home Despot awning is $300!! That’s way too much.
    BTW, awnings are very easy to install yourself.

    • Maureen Bajeyt says

      Checked out the site and those are cute awnings! When I’ve seen original aluminum awnings in my neighborhood…well, most look so ugly. But now I’m thinking they probably just need pressure washing and a fresh coat of paint, because the Summer sun can be brutal out where I live.

  4. Scott says

    Maureen, I think you are right. I ended up replacing mine as they had dents plus I wanted to cover the windows as well as the porch but the actual paint finish was still pretty amazing. Even power-washing followed by good waxing would probably bring a lot of awnings back to life.

  5. D Caldwell says

    Looking for the type that have arms, allowing the shutter to be dropped down to cover the window. Older homes in fl used them in the 50’s and 60’s.

  6. Deborah says

    Awnings!

    Never thought of them before and only just noticed some on a house in my neighborhood.

    For cooling a house naturally, I have always favored trees. I have a nice long porch sheltering my living room window (which is nearly 12 feet wide!) and a row of sycamores. They’re youngish but in a couple years will make really big shade. North windows don’t get hardly any sun.

    Buut, I have kitchen windows facing west that get hotter than H E double toothpicks in the summer. I can’t plant trees there because in 1953 they thought outside the kitchen windows was a good spot to put the cesspool.

    Those slatted aluminum awnings would look fantastic. Those are going on my house fixit list.

  7. says

    You said to leave other awning companies in the comments, so here goes …

    NuImage Awnings sells awnings made my Futureguard Building Products (based in Maine), which is a third-generation family owned and operated awning manufacturer.

    http://www.nuimageawnings.com sells d-i-y installed awnings, but http://www.nuimagepro.com is a place where you can find a pro dealer (if you don’t want to have to install it yourself or if you want a custom awning). They are very high-quality products, and American-made!

    I should mention that I work for the company, but they *really* are great products and are worth consideration.

  8. Sandra says

    My 1950s ranch in Chicago has awnings like these and we love how they look and function. However, they need some TLC and we have no idea how to restore them. It looks to me (not a home repair person) like they need a fresh coat of paint but otherwise are structurally sound. But honestly, I HAVE NO IDEA. I hate the idea of just replacing them if they can be painted. Anyone have any ideas? No major rust patches.

  9. Quentin says

    Has anyone seen awnings made from corrugated fiberglass panels? My 1962 Ambassador Mobile Home has them and they appear to be original. I was looking for a manufacturer as some of mine have damage to their frames.

  10. Angie Kiger says

    I have the original metal awnings on my brick bungalow. They have holes in them-probably hail damage. Can they be repaired?

  11. Sylvia says

    I followed all your leads and am totally unsuccessful finding anyone in the Cleveland area to restore the original awnings on a home built in 1949. They are badly peeling. My father painted them himself through the years. Would calling a painting contractor be a solution or not. My next recourse is to have them torn off the home 😞

    • pam kueber says

      Hi Sylvia,

      Consult with painting experts. And be aware that old paint can contain vintage hazards such as lead. Be sure to get up to speed with lead-safe painting and maintenance issues. The EPA has a lot of info on this. For more info and some links see our Be Safe / Renovate Safe page here — http://retrorenovation.com/renovate-safe/

  12. Lee S. says

    Metal awnings came with this old house but after re-painting them 3 years ago they’re chipping and peeling AGAIN. Hundreds of $$ to paint them and might be better to buy new ones. Can you recommend a supplier here in Toronto Ontario Canada?
    Thank you.

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