Picture of DIY Awning
Hurricane Ike hit us in 2008 and knocked out power for a few days.  My residence was not designed with energy efficiency in mind and so relied 100% on AC to keep it cool.  I made this awning in attempt to keep it cooler inside by blocking the radiant sun energy.  Indeed, it was about 3 degrees cooler inside with the awning than without the awning.  After the power was restored this awning served to lower the energy bill.  I did not measure that, however I'm sure it did.

In all the whole thing cost about $20.  Here's how I made it and what I would do differently next time...
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Step 1: Frame

Picture of Frame
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Start by making the frame.  You'll need 1/2" PVC pipe, the T's and elbows shown here, PVC cutters, and primer/cement.  Visit your local Home Depot or Lowes.

The amount of pipe depends on the width of your window.  Mine window was about 5' wide, so a 6' wide frame was selected.  A main reason 6' was chosen -- I'll say this now -- is that the awning material (canvas drop cloth) is available in a 6' width.

I would not make the awning much bigger than this without more frame support structures.  A 3' gap (like mine) is about the maximum I would recommend.  I base this on having watched how it handled windy days.

Don't use solvent/cement yet.  You can dry-fit parts for now.
jack.shea.7796 months ago

Second story installation. One extra support pipe. Green canvas with canvas strips sewed into cover and tied onto pipes....The beat goes on.

jack.shea.7796 months ago

Second story installation. One extra support pipe. Green canvas with canvas strips sewed into cover and tied onto pipes....The beat goes on.

PeachyM9 months ago

Could someone please elaborate on how to make the awning able to roll up?

rnorton29 months ago

nice easy and cheap and if i paint the pvc to match the house colors it'll be perfect.

Thanks so much for posting this, I LOVE using conduit as a duck-tape-stick item for fabbing things, and I think I see a few nice, new awnings on the south side of my house in the near future!
catlaw19972 years ago
This is SO awesome, bclamore. Thanx for pMy back door gets direct sunlight all morning and with this heat wave the sun was destroying my wood core back door, and the heat was radiating two feet from the door into my house. My awning frame is 49" x 6' width, similar to yours. I used 3/4" pvc instead of 1/2 " for more stability. I used pvc brackets instead of metal ones to attach it to the house. And I used 8-32 1-1/2 inch stainless steel bolts with lock washers instead of glue to connect all of the pieces (to give it more flexibility in high winds). For my awning material I bought an 8' x 10' silver tarp with the gammits already in it for under $9 at Lowes. I doubled over the tarp and connected it at the top of my awning frame with zip ties. The 10' length allowed for side flaps for further protection from the sun. I will post my pics of the process with instructions and total cost this weekend. :) So happy to find your post after 6 hours of searching the web for an affordable alternative to a $200 aluminum awning! I think the total cost will come to @ $40, but as long as I take the tarp down each winter to let that sun heat my house, I think this is an excellent solution that will save me big $$$$ on my AC bill in the summer. :)
bclamore (author)  catlaw19972 years ago
Yeah, there are a lot of variations on this theme. I tried to make an awning once from a canvas dropcloth. I had to insert my own grommets and wasn't careful enough -- the material eventually ripped and it started at the grommets. Wind was just too much for it. The tarp with grommets already installed was a good idea (I should have done that).

Indeed, aluminum awnings are expensive. So are the canvas ones. These look nicer, however. Check out my Solar Shield Instructable for another alternative.
catlaw19972 years ago
That should have said, "Thanks for posting!"
SandLizard3 years ago
For the support brace where you didn't glue it you can drill a hole and put a clip through it. Like the ones used on towing hitches. Then you know it won't come apart but you can take it apart when needed.
bclamore (author)  SandLizard3 years ago
Great idea! Thanks for the tip.
emit4 years ago
Don't use bleach, use pure vinegar. Spraying will cover a large area.
sabr6864 years ago
Great concept, and good job on making it. I live in a wetter-than-most climate, so I'm going to have to research what kind of material to use.
I would think that grommets would work well here, instead of the tacks. That way you can line up the grommet holes to the PVC, then strap it on with zap straps.
Again, great idea, bclamore!
bclamore (author)  sabr6864 years ago
I tried grommets on a BIG awning a couple years ago with the same dropcloth material. It was a windy area and so put a lot of stress on the grommets. The dropcloth is too weak to handle very much stress fro the grommets, so don't pull the rope (through the grommets) too tight. Maybe space them a little closer than what you think would be needed.
mikesnyd4 years ago
nice touch. i am a huge fan of zap straps when it come to holding things down. Make a small incision between the edge and the seam to slide the strap through. Make sure not to make the hole on the right of the stitching. If you live in a windy area it will only be a matter of time before it strains and rips. Might have to replace the straps once a year or two. U.V. will make em brittle after a while.

I have a slight alteration of this where the awning can roll up. Just another pvc pipe and a slightly different stitched loop. thanks for the ible
l8nite4 years ago
It looks sweet! instead of tacks or whatever, check this out you can see by my recent comment that it came in handy for me
very nicely done i was over planning a pvc version of this same thing but thank you for a much easier design i will follow your version
bclamore (author)  bobby sissom4 years ago
Sure! Post a comment when you have yours done and if you discover anything helpful to the next person who wants to have a go at it.