Retractable Awning Buyer's Guide & Other Information
Are you in the market for a retractable awning? If so, you're probably concerned about retractable awning prices. Whether you're a novice or just brushing up on the facts, you're in the right place. In this article, we'll cover everything you need to know. We'll cover the benefits of ownership, accessories you may need, and even tips for your final installation. We'll even let you in on who makes some of the top brands today! We have all the information you need right here!
Before Selecting the Right Retractable Awning
Lots of people enjoy the look an awning can add to their home or business. If that includes you, there are some considerations you should take into account when choosing the right awning. For example, make sure both the awning will be the right size for your space and if an installation permit is required in your area.
Benefits to Retractable Awnings
Have you ever considered the benefits of a retractable awning? Maybe that's what brought you here in the first place. While you may like the look an awning can add to your home or business, did you know they can also increase energy efficiency? That's right. A retractable awning canopy can reduce sunlight, glare, and protect you and your outdoor furniture from rain, which will improve the longevity of those belongings. An awning is merely a retractable canopy that can be mounted to walls, and unlike their stationary counterparts, you can mount them on roofs. Or if the rain or wind gets too severe, you can retract it, keeping the awning out of harm's way.
Finding the Right Size Awning
So now you're set on getting a retractable awning? Before you buy, you'll need to take measurements to find the right size awning for your specific needs. No worries though, finding the correct size is pretty straightforward.
First, decide where you want the awning. Now, measure the space the awning will cover. If it's going over a door or a window, you will want to make sure you give yourself enough room to open and close it. You'll measure the dimensions of the wall, height being the most important — you don't want your friends or family to bump their heads on the awning! Then you will need the width so you can order the right size for your home or business.
After this, you'll need to determine the height, width, and projection you want the awning to cover. If you're wondering what projection is, it is how far the awning will stand out from the side of the building when fully extended.
Now that the measurements are done, determine if the retractable awning you have your eye on will require a specific framing position and leg supports.
Do I Need a Permit
Many awnings have minimum heights required for proper installation, and if you live somewhere with a homeowner's association, they may have rules about your retractable awning. In some areas, you'll need a permit from your local government before making any change to the outside of your home. Make sure you look into that before a purchase is made.
Options and You
You have a variety of options available to you when looking for the right retractable awning. You have a choice in fabrics for your canopy, different accessories, and, most importantly, the brand you'll eventually put your trust in. So, in this section, we will give you a brief overview of what to look for in regards to materials, accessories, and brands.
When we say "fabrics" or "materials" we are talking about the canopy of your retractable awning. What your canopy is made of will determine its durability under certain conditions. We'll go over what you can expect with each material so you can better understand what will be right for you.
Canvas — This one is durable, but expensive. It's also organic, but prone to develop mildew faster and more intensely than the other materials. It has the best tensile strength out of all the fabrics, but more prone to suffer from environmental exposure like UV deterioration. It's also the least hydrophobic of the retractable awning canopies.
PVC — If you're willing to sacrifice durability for something flexible and waterproof, PVC may be right for you. PVC is a type of plastic, which means it's naturally resistant to mildew. It's also more affordable than canvas. However, with these pros, there's certainly some cons. Remember, you're sacrificing durability. PVC is the most prone to ripping and tearing out of all the materials here because in terms of tensile strength, it ranks the lowest.
Polyester — If you're looking for something in the middle of the road that's also affordable, take a look at Polyester. It has price points similar to PVC, but with better durability. It's not waterproof, but it retains less water than canvas. It's also mildew resistant and UV resistant although depending on where you live, you may want to treat it so it can be even more so.
Aluminum — When you don't care about flexibility and want the most durable option available, there's aluminum. It's naturally rust, mildew, and UV resistant with great tensile strength. However, aluminum's inflexible nature means it's more likely to be pulled off its scaffolding than tear so keep that in mind if you live in a high wind region.
Acrylic — There are two types of acrylic materials used for awning canopies. The first is canvas coated in acrylic. The second is acrylic fibers; these are more like polyester. Acrylic coated canvas is much like canvas but more durable and resistant to harsher climates. Acrylic fibers are hydrophobic like polyester but a little more UV resistant.
Overall, the climate where you live should factor heavily into what material you choose your canopy to made of.
Accessories For Awnings
Retractable awning accessories are all ease of use — meaning they make them easier to use. You'll find motorization, sensors for inclement weather, and weather guard covers.
Motorization controls — These can extend or retract your awning automatically and can be operated using a wall switch or remote.
Weather sensors — If you decide to get motorization controls, think about weather sensors as well. These will detect wind, rain, and sun, and retract or extend your awning automatically.
Weather guard covers — If you decide to go for a roof-mounted awning look into a weather guard cover. They protect the first six to eight inches of the canopy, to help preserve its appearance and durability.
Who Makes Awnings
Alright, so you have the material and accessories in mind, but now you need a brand that's right for you. In this section, we are going to go over a few top awning manufacturers so you can make the best decision possible.
Advaning — They are a US-based company out of California. They produce manual and motorized retractable awnings for your home or business in a plethora of sizes and colors in solid and striped patterns. They even have free-standing awnings that don't need to be attached to your home.
Awntech — This company out of Texas offers residential and commercial awnings and pride themselves in their "Do-It-Yourself" assembly designs for each awning they make. They offer acrylic canopies in neutral, vibrant, solid and striped colors.
Outsunny — With Outsunny you'll find mostly manual retractable awnings in a variety of sizes and colors. Most of their stock fits over windows and doors although you can find some bigger sizes, albeit with less color variation.
SunSetter Awnings — These awnings are some of the most customizable you can find with different fabrics, patterns, and sizes to pick. Sunsetter even has an XL size retractable awning and free-standing awnings as well.
Installing the Awning
Now you are moments away from purchasing your retractable awning — but wait! What about installation? In this section, we will help you with that.
Remember, each awning will come with its own set of installation instructions so if any questions come up, take a look at those before coming here.
First, you'll need a tape measure and a level to install the mounting brackets. After installing the brackets, you should take the time to seal the edges of the mounting brackets with silicone sealant.
Here's where the installation process will vary based on what you've purchased, although many manufacturers use a mounting rail that attaches to the mounting brackets. Once you've attached the rail, the awning house is the next to go on. From there follow the instructions given by the manufacturer and you should be golden.
Note — Spacing and leveling the brackets properly is the primary focus. It ensures correct installation. Once installed, make sure the awning operates properly and check that everything is secured appropriately.
Make Your Awning Work For You
Alright, so you've bought the awning, it's installed, now what? Well, you take care of it, that's what! But how do you do that? Here is what you need to do the make sure you and your retractable awning have a long, happy, and problem-free life.
Warranties and Care
Your awning is up and it's a beautiful day outside, this is a great time to take a look at that warranty information the manufacturer provided. That sounds like a joke, but it's not. It's always important to review the warranty and care information in case a sunny day breaks out into a storm and causes a problem. Some of the best care tips for your specific awning are in the care information. But seeing as how we don't have your particular booklet here, we'll instead offer you some general care tips.
- After exposure to moisture, be sure to let your awning to air dry. Don't heat the fabric. Once dry, feel free to roll the canopy up.
- When cleaning the awning, use lukewarm water with a mild, non-detergent soap. If you have a vinyl canopy, use a soft brush or a stiff brush for acrylic.
- After any precipitation, clear the excess water and debris like snow or sticks.
- Every so often, check the all the fasteners on your awning to make sure they are still tight.
- Keep an eye on the wiring and connections for any wear and tear.
And remember, it's discouraged to do any care not recommended by the manufacturer as that could void the warranty. Be sure to check the length of your warranty as well because they vary from company to company.
Extending Your Awning's Life
Now that you have a tremendous new retractable awning, it's up to you to make sure it survives many years. Most awnings have a lifespan of between 5 and 15 years. Yes, that is a big difference, but that does depend on what you're using it for and the location. Here are a couple of things to watch for that will reduce the life of your awning.
UV — The Sun's rays will degrade your awning over time. Some materials handle UV radiation better than others, but at the end of the day, they are all susceptible. UV rays will fray or melt the fibers of your canopy as well as causing the colors to fade over time. Now you can use a naturally durable material or purchase a UV coating that can block or reflect UV rays.
Mildew — Similar to UV treatments, you can coat your canopy to help avoid mildew. However, those treatments do not last long. Mildew is more of a problem on fabrics rather than metal, but some manufacturers can treat the canopy before it's woven or welded to protect it on the inside and outside.
Severe Weather - One of the easiest ways for a retractable awning to meet an early demise is exposure to the high winds or hail that can come with severe weather. Don't take a chance with your retractable awning. Be sure to retract it any time the weather takes a turn for the worse.
In this next section, we're going to cover some things to think about when purchasing or owning an awning we didn't get to earlier.
One thing to be mindful of before purchase is the structural integrity of your home or business before attaching an awning. The size of your structure or the siding can affect the awnings installation. If you want or need more information on mounting your awning safely to walls or roofs check out our Complete Guide to Anchoring your Awning.
Also, be aware that retractable awnings can be expensive initially as well have more costly repair bills so be sure you take all the steps necessary to give your awning an extended life.
Enjoy Your Retractable Awning!
Alright, you did it! You know everything you need to make the right choice when selecting a retractable awning for your home or business. Now take a look at our excellent selection. Or, if you want to know more about awnings, we have some handy links for you down below.
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Retractable Awnings Q&A with the Product Specialists* Please Note: All customer questions are answered by our Product Specialists free of charge!
27 Questions &
from Queens, NY asked:
January 14, 2021
How do your retractable awnings close?
The awning can retract with a hand crank or by remote. The motorized awning will include the remote option.
on January 15, 2021
from Alachua, FL asked:
July 21, 2020
I have 7'2" of height above my deck. Do you have any awnings that work with that height?
This awning requires at least 8 feet of mounting height.
on July 21, 2020
from Massachusetts asked:
June 27, 2020
What do you recommend for cleaning the awning and is there a cover guard that I can purchase for the awning during the winter?
You may use a mild soap and a damp cloth to clean your awning fabric. Gently brushing off the dirt with a clean broom is sufficient in most cases. Do not use abrasive materials, cleansers, chemicals, bleach, or solvents on the fabric canopy. Use a hose to rinse with clean water when finished. Extend to dry thoroughly.
on June 29, 2020
from Sevierville, TN asked:
May 27, 2020
I have a 20 foot Maui Awntech with a manual crank. Can I add a motor to it?
Please view the motor for this item located here
on May 27, 2020
from Shady Cove, OR asked:
April 24, 2020
What type of attachment should I have if I have a manufactured home?
Installation varies according to the wall type. Use the mortar or masonry anchors for concrete or brick wall. If the wall type is wood or siding then use the lag screws/bolts. If there are no wall studs available at the location of the wall brackets then we recommend you installing a runner/6” x 2” (equal to the width of the awning) lumber first and then install the wall brackets on the runner. The installation instructions are generic and please seek advice from a hardware/construction professional before you installing the awning.
on April 24, 2020
from Ellijay, Georgia asked:
February 20, 2020
Can tension cables be replaced in retracting arms on 18 ft awning?
We can not do that nor would we recommend altering these awnings in that way.
on February 20, 2020
from Lansdale PA 19446 asked:
August 8, 2019
When mounting a 14' Maui awning on a facia board:
How much 'clearance' directly above the centerline of the standard wall brackets is needed to assure no interference with the rolled-up awning material?
The User Manual states that Wall Bracket Area should equal 9.5 in times the length of the awning, so the equation would read: 9.5 x Length of Awning = Wall Bracket Area.
on August 8, 2019
from Gallitzin, PA asked:
July 8, 2019
Do you sell replacement remotes for retractable awnings?
Here is a link to the remote that we have for retractable awnings.
on July 8, 2019
from IL asked:
June 25, 2019
What is the difference between an RV retractable motorized awning and a patio and house awning?
The main difference is that the retractable awning provides shade when needed while the other awning does not retract but both awnings can be used for business or residential purposes.
on June 26, 2019
from Gainesville, Fl asked:
February 21, 2018
What kind of fabric is available? Please describe.
On our most popular awnings, made by Awntech, the fabric is a 100% solution dyed acrylic fabric; fade, water, soil and mildew resistant. It's soft but resilient. Thank you for your inquiry!
on February 21, 2018
from Nova Scotia asked:
January 19, 2018
Do you do custom retractable awnings
Unfortunately we do not offer customized retractable awnings at this time. Thank you for your inquiry.
on January 19, 2018
from Sparta, NJ asked:
May 22, 2017
Is there such a thing as a 3' retractable awning with manual crank that goes over a door?
from NC asked:
May 16, 2017
I'm looking for a 24 ft awning retractable unit. How far from under the soffit will it cover (at least 10 ft)? Also, for my camper, will rain or water come through, leakage, or will it be like my camper's awnings, where there is no leakage?
Our awnings are for shade only, it is not advisable to use during inclement weather. The widest retractable awning we carry is 12 feet, and it extends 122 inches.
on May 16, 2017
from Seattle, WA asked:
April 14, 2017
Do you offer a full cassette retractable awning, motorized in a 10 foot width?
on April 17, 2017
from Yonkers, NY asked:
March 22, 2017
We need to replace the fabric of a retractable awning of 13 by 6 feet. We are considering just buying the fabric and installing it ourselves.
Unfortunately, we do not carry replacement fabric for awnings. You will want to speak directly with the manufacturer of your awning.
Brennan W. - eCanopy Product Specialist
on March 22, 2017
from Middletown, OH asked:
February 7, 2017
I'm looking for a 10' x 10' retractable awning.
All of our 10 ft retractable awnings only have a max projection of 8 ft.
on February 8, 2017
from Long Island, NY asked:
January 21, 2017
I currently have a roof mount retractable awning that I need to replace. Are these awnings only available for wall mount?
All of our awnings are wall mount only.
on January 23, 2017
from CA asked:
December 16, 2016
I need a 12' wide manual retractable awning. It is white powder coat metal with a white or off-white canvas. Attached are a couple of photos of what I am trying to match. Thank you.
Please note, the framing is white and you can choose your color, but we cannot guarantee this will match your existing awning exactly. Please use the following link to view our suggested product:
Awntech Maui Manual Retractable Awning
on December 16, 2016
from Franklin, MA asked:
October 20, 2016
How far will this 6 ft awning project from the house to which it is attached?
I apologize, but we do not have a 6 ft retractable awning available.
Kelsey C. - eCanopy Product Specialist
on October 20, 2016
from Houston, TX asked:
October 19, 2016
What is the maximum extent from the wall for a 20 ft width? Are there any multi-color options?
The 20 ft retractable awnings will extend along a 122 inch projection and the colors for each style will be listed on the product page.
Kelsey C. - eCanopy Product Specialist
on October 19, 2016
from Tehachapi, CA asked:
August 27, 2016
What is the difference between the Key West, Destin and Galveston?
Thank you for your inquiry. The Galveston is a 75% encased awning, Key West has a Full encasement, the Destin has a protective hood that awning tucks under when closed, the Maui does not have any additional protective items like the above mentioned awnings. Great for people mounting under a soffit.
Emily - eCanopy Product Specialist
on August 29, 2016
from FL asked:
May 3, 2016
Can these be installed under an eve/overhang?
These awnings are designed to be attached to the studs in the outer wall for stability.
on May 4, 2016
from Chicago, IL asked:
April 3, 2016
What is the projection of a 20 foot awning?
The projection of the 20 foot wide awning is 122 inches.
on April 4, 2016
from Dover, DE asked:
May 25, 2015
Can I install a retractable awning under an 18 inch Soffit and what gauge of frabric is it? (if it is not woven fabric)
The material is Acrylic outdoor awning fabric. You can use the link below to view the full installation procedure to confirm the awning can be installed per your specific application.
Emily - eCanopy Product Specialist
on May 26, 2015
from Dallas asked:
April 8, 2013
Do you have a retractable awning that's 6 or 7 foot wide?
No. They come in 8 foot or wider.
on April 9, 2013
from WI asked:
March 30, 2013
I'm looking for a 14' awning with a projection of at least 12' or 12' 2". I'd like roof mounts but I can make Soffit brackets work, if I need to. However, it does need to be motorized on the left side. Do you have anything that will work?
The largest projection we offer on an awning with a 14" width is 10'2". Either the Awntech or the Sunsetter 14' awning offers this projection. Separately purchased roof brackets are available for either item.
on April 1, 2013
from Columbia, SC asked:
November 18, 2012
How does the motorized awning get its power: battery or household electricity?
Household electricity. It plugs into an outlet.
on November 19, 2012