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  • Writer's pictureRob R

How to Choose the Right Awning?

Awnings are a great way to add style and protection to your home or business. In this article, we'll talk about some awnings and exterior shade options - from the different types available to the benefits they provide. Whether you're in the market for an awning or just curious about them, we hope you find the info useful.

What is an Awning?

Growing in popularity in Europe, an awning is a shade product, usually made of fabric, that is attached to the exterior of a building. Awnings are used to protect people and belongings from the sun and rain. As Canadians, we arn't too familiar with awnings, yet they are becoming more popular. If you need shade in your backyard or in front of your business, an awning may be a great purchase to provide shelter from the heat.

Types of Awnings

Awnings come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be made from a variety of materials. The most popular type of awning is the retractable awning, which can be pulled out when needed and retracted when not in use. Other types of awnings include fixed awnings, which are attached to the side of a building, and freestanding awnings, which are not attached to any structure. Most our customers prefer the motorized retractable awning. Awnings can be made from fabric, metal, or canvas, and can be plain or decorated with patterns or images. We typically like to use solution dyed acrylic for our awnings that have powder coated aluminum parts. These are stronger and more durable materials that we will talk about more below.

Whether an awning is right for your space depends on a variety of factors. Awnings are great for shade and light rain coverage, however if you want to use your space in a downpour or heavy winds, you should probably consider other shade options or a more permanent roof structure. Keep in mind, most manufacturers will not warranty an awning that is damaged due to rain and/or wind, so how you will use your awning is something to consider before deciding on the right shade option for your space. Take a look at our Services page for more info on other shade alternatives.

Some of the most common type of retractable awnings are:

Open Roll Awning

An open roll awning is categorized as an awning that's fabric is exposed to the elements when it is rolled up. Basically it is an awning that does not have a cover or a "cassette" to protect the fabric. An open roll awning is a good entry level awning, however it does leave the fabric exposed to the elements and/or birds and squirrels that may want to use the fabric as a nesting ground.

Semi Cassette Awning

A semi cassette awning operates and looks quite similar to an open roll awning, however the roller tube is partially protected by a cover to help the fabric last and deter critters from nesting. The fabric on these types of awnings typically lasts much longer than the fabric on an open roll awning.

Full Cassette Awning

A full cassette awning acts similar to a semi cassette awning, but with this awning, the fabric is completely protected. No fabric is exposed to the elements. These are typically the most expensive awnings, however are the best option for a long lasting fabric and sleek design.

CrossOver Awning

The arms on this awning may look a bit odd, but If you have a long narrow space you are looking to cover, a crossover awning is a great option that extends up to 16'. The only draw back of a crossover awning is that currently they are not able to be made as a cassette so some of the fabric is exposed similar to the Open Roll option. This awning style is typically only considered if a longer than normal projection is needed.

Here is a visual summary of what we discussed:

All Awnings are Not Made the Same...

Before you purchase an awning, make sure you are looking for more than just the price. Not all awnings are created equal. Here are a few important points to consider:


While you may be tempted to purchase a low cost awning online, we suggest you think twice. Many of the awnings available on these popular marketplace sites, tend to be made with cheap parts. Usually the price and warranty will reflect this. From our experience if you arn't spending at least $2500 on an awning, you're throwing away your money. A quality awning will last you 15+ years, but a poor quality one (under $1000) will often start to malfunction after just the first 6 months. Read reviews and do your research.


Similar to what we mentioned on quality, a lower cost awning will usually come with less of a warranty as well. Most reputable awning resellers should offer a 5 year warranty. You can get a decent awning with a 2 year warranty, but in our opinion, it's worth spending a little bit more and getting a product with a stronger warranty. Aim for an awning manufacturer that provides a 5-10 year warranty.

Where Is The Product Made?

You may not think this matters, but it does. When your awning is manufactured overseas, and something breaks, you now have to wait months for that part to ship in. Not only that, who is going to replace it for you? This is often a headache to deal with. On the other hand, if you purchase from a local manufacturer and a part breaks, you can typically get it in a matter of days, or at worst weeks.

Other Shade Options

We hope the above information has helped informed you to make a better awning purchase. An awning can be beautiful way to add comfort to your exterior space if you are choosing the right product. In our upcoming articles we will talk more about other shade solutions, If you'd like to learn more about the wide range of shade options available take a look at our services page under "Exterior Shade & Awnings"

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