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What are the differences between a retractable awning and fixed awning that make one a better choice than the other? Here’s your answer!

In this post you’ll learn:

  • what retractable awnings and fixed awnings are;
  • the differences between retractable awnings and fixed awnings;
  • the advantages and disadvantages that make one a better choice.

You’ll also find out how an awning can improve the quality of your outdoor space and even save you money!This blog post is to assist home and business owners in making a better choice between retractable awnings or fixed awnings. Understanding the differences between retractable awnings and fixed awnings will help make the best choice easier, and the best possible choice.

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Fixed Awnings

Fixed awnings are attached to a home or business and remain fixed in the same shape and position. They have a welded steel, galvanized steel, aluminum or wood frame that is permanently attached to a wall above a window, door, or patio. The frame is often covered with a high quality durable (but not always), outdoor fabric. Some fixed awnings have adjustable wood, acrylic or metal slats to modify the movement of air and solar gain. In some fixed awnings the covering is made of a sheet or multiple sheets of polycarbonate, metal, plastic or glass creating permanent shade to an indoor living space.

While the framework is fixed and permanent, the fabric can be replaced or removed in the case of hurricanes or snow load for example. Awnings with slats can be motorized or manually operated. The motorized version is usually available with a remote, phone or tablet app, and sensors to operate the slats. Some types of fixed awnings not only protect an area from the sun, but also from rain or snow.

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Retractable Awnings

Retractable awnings, in most cases but not all, are made of high quality, weather-resistant, durable, outdoor fabric available in a variety of colors, textures and patterns. The aluminum housing is mounted above a door or window and secured to a wall, soffit/eave/overhang or roof. Lightweight but strong (in many cases) retractable arms extend and retract the fabric on a roller tube which can be motorized or manually operated. The motorized option is often available with remote control, tablet or smartphone app (both iOS and Android), and wind, rain, sun and motion sensors that open or close it automatically.

Retractable awnings can be attached to a home, commercial business or any other permanent structure. They provide a flexible option that can be extended when needed, or stowed away when not. Retractable awnings enhance the outdoor space and provide shade with the turn of a detachable crank or the push of a button. They can be used to cover windows, doors, or outdoor patios, and also reduce the sun’s heat, glare and destructive UV rays into a house or building. Additionally, a retractable awning can protect your outdoor space from precipitation – either light or heavy rain depending on the type and manufacturer of the retractable awning.

Retractable vs Fixed Awning: What are the Differences?

Retractable and fixed awnings provide shade and protection from rain. Here are thirteen differences in the retractable awning vs. fixed awning debate to help you choose the better awning for your home or business.

Fixed Awnings

  • Provide permanent cover for an area attached to a home or building or other structure.
  • Always there to protect furniture and people from the sun, rain, and snow. Protection varies by product type.
  • The cover can be metal, acrylic, plastic, glass, polycarbonate or fabric.
  • Sturdier frame construction (in many cases but not all) for year round use.
  • Come in different shapes including 1/4 sphere, dome, concave, and arched.
  • Available in standard and customizable widths and projections.
  • Large fixed awnings usually require support posts and brackets generally making them more durable than those without support posts.
  • Can have fixed, flexible, and removable valances.
  • Variety of colors and patterns available.
  • Optional heating and lighting can be added.
  • Side screens can be added for further protection from the elements.
  • Extends indoor space outdoors for 3 or even 4 seasons.
  • Customizable with company name, phone number and logos.

Retractable Awnings

  • Extend or retract on a roller assembly.
  • Mounted above a window, doorway, or patio or any other permanent structure.
  • Lightweight, strong (in many cases but not all) retractable aluminum arms support the awning when extended.
  • Adjustable angle or pitch for different shade effects depending on the sun’s location.
  • Available in weather-resistant, water repellent or waterproof fabric (varies by retractable product type).
  • Can be extended fully, or partially when opening or closing.
  • Manual or motorized operation with backup manual override available in case of loss of electricity in the area, house or building.
  • Retracts into a protective cassette or under a hood/cover secured to the wall or roof rafters for storage.
  • Operates with wall switch or remote and optional app on a smartphone or tablet, keyswitch, timers and sensors.
  • Wall or roof mount mount full cassette version completely protects fabric and mechanism from birds, squirrels, rodents, reptiles and the weather.
  • Easy to retract in the event of moderate and high winds.
  • Can be retracted to allow more sunlight and heat into building on cold days.
  • The fabric is available in a wide selection of patterns, textures, stripes and solid colors to compliment any home or business.

Summing Up

The 12+1 differences make a retractable awning or fixed awning a better choice for your home or business. Once you decide if you want a fixed or retractable awning, check the reviews and testimonials for different manufacturers on our website, and then make your final decision.