10 Things to Know When Buying a Retractable Awning

Awnings that retract are expensive. When you look at the price tag you may ask yourself, are they worth it? 

While you have to be the judge, they often are, but read on to find out what they can do for you, what they cost, and how to choose one before you purchase.

One of the best things about retractable awnings is their flexibility. Because they retract, you don’t have to extend them all the time. 

Sometimes the weather is just perfect and you don’t need any cover, but when it’s extra hot or raining, a retractable awning lets you continue enjoying your time spent outside.

When buying an awning, one of the most important decisions to make is whether you should get a retractable awning or a non-retractable one. 

In the end, it really boils down to your budget. It’s doubtful you’ll come across anyone who prefers a fixed awning; people buy them because they’re cheaper than the retractable kind.

When you’re looking for a retractable awning for your home, you’ll need to consider a lot of things. 

1. Retractable awning cost

A retractable awning will set you back anywhere between $500 and $2,000 or more. Therefore, keep reading to learn a lot more about this outdoor feature.

2. What is a retractable awning?

They’re essentially large pieces of water-resistant fabric – typically vinyl, canvas, or acrylic-that are attached to a frame and then attached to your house.

They’re built in a way that allows them to be folded up against the home when not in use.

3. Wall space needed for mounting

Retractable awnings need anywhere from 6 to 12 inches of space above their mounting location in order to be able to open.

4. Quick to open and close

Retractable awnings can be manually or automatically retracted or unfurled in less than a minute using a remote control, wall switch, smartphone, tablet, timer, or key switch.

5. Sensor-equipped smart awnings

While you can expect to pay much more for a “smart” retractable awning, if you’re gone from home a lot or price isn’t an option, you can buy an awning that’s equipped with sensors.

Now, when it’s forecast to be sweltering hot or there’s a thunderstorm on the horizon, the sensors tell the awning to automatically extend or retract, depending on what’s needed.

Crazy, huh?

6. Reduce window glare and interior heat

Window awnings can help you save up to 25% on your air conditioning costs. 


By reducing glare and heat from the sun, as much as 94% and reducing inside temps anywhere from 8 to 15 degrees.

7. More interior natural light

Because the window awning is shading the window, it can actually increase the amount of natural light you can let into your home because you won’t need to draw the blinds to block the sun.

8. Motorized awnings encourage more use

If you’re spending money on an awning, it’s encouraging to know that you’re more likely to use it if you purchase a retractable one.

It has been demonstrated that people are more likely to use their awnings when they are powered by a motor as opposed to a hand crank.

9. Where can retractable awnings be installed?

You’ll need to carefully consider the space where you choose to install your awning, as your choice of location will dictate its pitch and height. 

A downward pitch is required for most retractable awnings, so they must be fixed at least seven and a half feet above the ground. If the house has impediments such as light fixtures, special brackets can be used to mount the awning on the roof.

There should be no lighting fixtures, vents, downspouts, or other barriers in your way.

10. Do you need to include ground supports?

You shouldn’t need them if you’ve got the right awning. Instead of heavy steel, opt for awnings that use lighter weight aluminum.

In conclusion, if you’re interested in reducing your energy bills, increasing the amount of natural light in your home, and enjoying more of your time spent outdoors, an awning is a smart investment.

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