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Buying Guide

Types of Awnings

Type of Awning Covers
an awning on the side of an RV

When it comes to choosing the best home awnings, commercial awnings or RV awnings, the first thing to consider is what material covers the awnings. Typical materials for awning covers include cotton, polyester, metal, canvas, wood and polycarbonate.

Cotton awnings are one of the most well-known options, as they are affordable, breathable, flexible and waterproof. All you have to do to clean these awnings is toss them in your washing machine.

Polyester awnings boast breathability as well as ease of cleaning. If your polyester awnings look a little lackluster, all you have to do to get them clean is wipe them down. What’s more, this material is a great option for letting some sunshine in while blocking harmful UV rays.

Metal awnings are durable and strong, but their weight means they often require professional installation. Another point worth considering is that metal can absorb heat and transfer that heat to your patio or deck, making you sweat.

Canvas awnings are the most popular choice due to their resilience and low price points. However, they have the tendency to serve as a basin for snow and rain, creating a potential safety hazard or damaging the frame. With an expert installation, however, you should have nothing to worry about.

Wood awnings are seldom seen, yet strong options. It should go without saying that wood awnings are durable, but not waterproof. A heavy rain or snow can warp the wood and bend it out of shape. Also, there is increased risk of fire with these awnings.

Polycarbonate awnings are virtually indestructible, reduce light transmission and block harmful UV rays. If you’re looking for a long-lasting, durable awning, this one is your best bet.

Retractable Awnings
a retractable awning on the side of a brick building

Retractable awnings are the most popular type of awnings. They provide a great, space-saving solution, as they can be rolled or folded up when not in use. With retractable awnings, there is no fear of damage from wind or storms, as they can be stored away when the forecast calls for inclement weather. Types of retractable awnings include manual awnings, motorized awnings and remote-control awnings. Also, several different styles are available, such as concave, slope and waterfall.

Though retractable awnings seldom last as long as their stationary alternatives, their frame requires much less maintenance. However, the initial expense is higher, and repairs to the awning material itself can be costly. Consider all these factors carefully when choosing which type of awning is best for you and your home.

Retractable motorized awnings often include high-tech sun, wind and rain sensors that can alert you when you need to put the awning away. Motorized controls can be operated through wall switches or remote, making it easy to store the awning during inclement weather.

Fixed Awnings
an awning on the side of a building

Unlike retractable awnings, fixed awnings are stationary on a building’s exterior. The structure is stable, but it can be damaged by wind or heavy snowfall. Hire an installation expert to make sure your fixed awnings can withstand whatever nature might throw at them. Stationary awnings can vary significantly in canopy material, dimensions and style. As far as styles go, your options are dome, elongated dome, eyebrow, concave and waterfall.

Stationary awnings are durable and meant to last a long time, although they require more maintenance than their retractable counterparts. It’s also worth considering that you cannot change the orientation or position of the awnings once they’re in place. Before installing stationary window awnings, door awnings or patio awnings, know exactly where you want it. If you want to permanently shade or protect a certain area outside your home, stationary awnings might be your best bet.