Eaves, Awnings, and Home Exterior Weather-Resistance

Eaves and awnings with sufficient reach are features I see lacking far too often on homes. Granted, one can argue that it’s more often than not a matter of style or design. True, and I don’t want this to come across sounding like it’s a crime if your house doesn’t have a 1 meter awning on every window. But at times one must choose between fashion or style and durability when designing a structure. Ideally, a skilled architect will achieve an artistic and structurally sound balance.

We all at least vaguely understand the functions of eaves and awnings, but perhaps we don’t fully comprehend all their benefits. First of all, you should look at eaves and awnings as your first line of defense against rain and sun-induced rot and decay. This is true of all exterior walls of your home, as well as the interior sections of your house that are exposed via your windows and doors.

As tough as your exterior walls can be, they are never impervious to the power of the sun and rain! In truth, NOTHING you do to the exterior of your home will keep it from eventually succumbing to the sun and rain, but there are some things you can do to make it last significantly longer. And when I say significantly, I mean the potential difference between a house lasting 20 years and 100+ years!

I suppose it doesn’t take a genius to deduce that falling rain will first land on your roof, subsequently flow downward into your rain gutters and then continue on into your drainage system. But the one variable that we mustn’t forget is the wind! Rarely does rain fall at a completely vertical angle. The wind will to varying degrees, drive the rain – or snow – against your house. This is where your eaves and awnings play a large role!

In terms of durability, the further your eaves extend past your exterior walls the better! Obviously, there is a drawback to your eaves protruding too far in that it will block direct sunlight. Plus, once an eave extends past a certain point, it will begin to require vertical support posts, and will then become what is known as a canopy instead of an eave or awning. Aesthetics are another important factor as well.

Skillfully incorporating durable features into your design is tricky, but nothing is more important if you desire a long-lasting home. For me personally, there is something invitingly “homey” about extended eaves and awnings on a house. Perhaps I’m not alone in this perspective. I don’t know, but it just seems to scream warmth, a hot meal, and hospitable hosts.