The Awnings Blog - Dorchester Awning

The Awnings Blog - Dorchester Awning

While our trained professionals are the ones handling your awning installation, you still want to know about the process, what your options are, and what you can expect afterward. Learn more today.

Four Differences Between Pergolas and Retractable Awnings: Which is Right for You?

Digital Strategies Support - Friday, February 24, 2017

Retractable awnings are an amazing way to increase your living space and decrease the amount of money you spend month-to-month on energy expenses.

The beautiful thing about retractable awnings is that they give you sun protection and are incredibly easy to use and operate. In other words, you can block out the sun's harmful UV rays without blocking the view. 

In fact, retractable all-weather awnings are designed with vibrantly colored fabrics that resist fading and wind damage...and provide UV protection. 

Discreet rails will keep your awning looking great 365 days a year, and home retractable awnings come in a variety of different shapes and styles to suit the look you're going for. A collaborative design process can help you nail it! 

Differences Between Pergolas and Retractable Awnings 

Both retractable awnings and pergolas can be attached to the sides of buildings or homes to offer around-the-clock sun protection. Pergolas, unlike awnings, can actually be either freestanding or attached to the side of a home or building. 

Many people think of pergolas as a cross between a stationary awning and a gazebo. This is because pergolas are freestanding archways that deliver the sun protection of stationary awnings—when supplemented with a pergola cover—and the aesthetic appeal of gazebos. 

Difference #1: Materials Used 

Residential and commercial awnings are typically made from a durable, all-weather fabric. While both awnings and pergolas can be supported by posts and be attached to your home, pergolas are typically freestanding and made mostly or entirely from wooden beams and lattice work. 

You might see a pergola with fabric or cloth draped over the top from time to time, but the basic structure is usually constructed from wood—although sometimes the posts will be cemented in or supported with metal at the base. Pergolas are extremely sturdy structures overall. 

Difference #2: Sun Protection 

When a pergola is attached to the side of a house, it serves many of the same functions as an awning. Even a stationary awning, however, might have a slight advantage over a pergola, since awnings provide sun protection and can be twenty degrees cooler than unprotected areas nearby. 

Pergolas can look beautiful and lend a wonderful aesthetic to an outdoor space, but if you're looking for sun protection then you'll probably want to go with an awning. An awning's top layer is made of UV-buffering fabric, whereas many pergolas let in some sun. 

Difference #3: Aesthetic Flexibility 

Pergolas can be breathtaking. A pergola made of mahogany overlooking a pool can give you and your guests a wonderful backdrop for relaxing times by the pool, bonfires, and parties. 

Pergolas, though, are typically found only in backyards. In that way, they're more of a niche accessory compared to an awning. Because of the versatility and customizability of awnings, they can work well over back doors, above store fronts, over windows, and, of course, in backyards. 

Awnings can also be retractable or stationary. Pergolas, by contrast, are extremely sturdy structures that nonetheless can't easily be relocated from one place to another. You can zip back a retractable awning when the weather turns. 

Difference #4: Ease of Installation 

Retractable awnings are made from lightweight yet durable materials that make installation a breeze. Awnings can also be installed in homes and businesses that have very little space to work with. 

Pergolas, though, need quite a bit of space for the posts and surrounding infrastructure. Pergolas also take quite a lot of time, effort, and expertise to install. For more information on the differences or to get started on the design process, contact Dorchester Awning today. 


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