2021 Retractable Awning Buying Guide

Come here looking for advice on the purchase of your retractable awning? You’re at the right place! Here at Elite Gutters and Sunrooms, we are happy to help.

The Advantages of Retractable Awnings

Let’s start by looking at what’s so great about retractable awnings. They provide easy protection for your outdoor areas, so when the sun is too much or the weather decides to rain, you can still enjoy your patio. No need to build an expensive and permanent roof! They also look great, adding visual pop to your home, and they can cool the indoors and lower air conditioning use when shading doors or windows. Best of all, they’re retractable, so when the weather is good, you can roll up your awning and enjoy the good weather without hindrance! Retractable awnings also last longer than normal awnings, since they can be rolled up when not in use, keeping them from wearing out.

Choosing Your Awning

Now that you know why to choose a retractable awning, let’s see what you should consider when picking one. Of course, one of the primary considerations is cost. Think about your budget, lest you set your heart on an awning, just to find that it’s far too expensive. Retractable awnings tend to be somewhat more expensive than other shading and outdoors protection solutions, but it ends up being worth it due to the previously stated advantages they have.

The cost, of course, changes depending on other choices. One of the most impactful decisions will be whether to get a motorized or a manual awning. While costlier to purchase and repair, and requiring a power source, motorized awnings are more flexible because they often have remote control or even motion sensors to automatically open or close. Manual awnings are somewhat more versatile in positioning, though, since they don’t need a power source, and also more affordable. The downside is that they are opened or closed with a hand crank, which requires these awnings to be positioned within easy reach, while motorized awnings can be placed anywhere a power source.

Your next decision is likely going to be the fabric. There are many different options, some heavy and good for harsh climates, others lighter and better for less extreme weather. You will also want to choose a color that goes nicely with your home’s exterior. Your fabric options will usually be:

  • Canvas. Canvas is great in terms of style options — it comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns. It’s also a natural fabric. However, it is not so great for climates with large amounts of sun or humidity, as it is prone to fading and mildewing. Protective coatings can help combat these issues.
  • Polyester. Polyester is an affordable synthetic fabric that is resistant to mildew. It is also water-resistant, making it a great choice for rainier climates. Polyester is also good for larger awnings, as it’s unlikely to sag in the middle.
  • Polyvinyl Chloride. Polyvinyl chloride, often known as PVC, is also a synthetic fabric like polyester. It has stronger water and mildew resistance than polyester, so it is good for humid and very rainy climates, but must be retracted when hail or strong winds occur, due to easily ripping or tearing.
  • Acrylic. Acrylic is the best all-around outdoor fabric, being resistant to nearly anything the weather can throw at it; fade resistant, water resistant, mildew resistant, and durable, acrylic is one of the best choices for any climate. It too is synthetic.

When it comes to colors, many pick a light color. White is a classic. Lighter colors are also better because they reflect sunlight instead of absorbing it.

A very cost-affecting choice is the size of the awning. Large awnings will naturally be a lot more expensive than smaller ones, so you’ll want to consider how much shelter you’ll need. If you just like to sit outside and enjoy the scenery, a smaller awning would work well. If you like to play outdoor games like catch, or host larger groups of people on your patio, you’ll want a bigger awning. When thinking about the size of the awning, consider when you’ll be using it, and the way it will cast a shadow at different times of day. Also consider that highly projecting awnings can have worse longevity, since gravity puts a lot of pressure on the awning’s mount with such awnings.

This leads onto your choice of frame material. You generally have two options here, aluminum and steel. Aluminum is more affordable and lighter, but not as strong, making it work well for smaller awnings. Steel can handle more of a beating, so it’s the choice for large awnings.

Once you’ve decided on all of these, it’s time to have your awning installed!

You can install awnings yourself, but this can be difficult and frustrating, and potentially lead to damage. It also requires two people, at the very minimum. So, it’s worth the extra payment to get a certified installer. Our recommendation is Elite Gutters and Sunrooms. To make sure your awning is installed safely and effectively, you need a reliable, trusted professional. And here you have one! Here at Elite Gutters and Sunrooms, we make sure to install your retractable awning in a fast and safe way, so you won’t have to worry about anything going awry. Give us a call, and in no time at all you will be able to enjoy your retractable awning.