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.

Retractable Awnings vs. Fixed Awnings: What's the Difference?

Digital Strategies Support - Friday, August 25, 2017

Awnings are an elegant yet practical investment for any home or business. Not only will they make a colorful, eye-catching accent on your house or commercial building, but they'll also help reduce your energy bills by shielding the interior from solar heat gain. Blocking the sun's rays keeps your interior spaces more comfortable, too, and preserves the furnishings and flooring from UV-related fading and deterioration. Awnings can also create usable and enjoyable space outdoors by providing a protected area – usually on a deck or patio – that's sheltered from the sun and rain.

When you begin investigating your awning options, you'll discover that you have a choice of two main types: fixed and retractable. While the two types have a couple of characteristics in common, it's important to learn about the major differences so you can make an informed decision about which one best suits your needs.

Fixed Awning Basics

Fixed awnings consist of a welded metal frame that's finished with a durable fabric or aluminum-slat cover. Just as the name implies, these awnings are attached in a fixed position to a building wall above a doorway, patio door, or window. Here are some of the unique characteristics of fixed awnings:

  • These awnings are designed to be permanent, so they're sturdily constructed to withstand the elements.
  • You can choose from a number of distinctive fixed awning styles, such as concave, dome, elongated dome, and quarter round/convex. The finished awning can have a plain edge, or feature a loose or fixed valance.
  • They come in a wide range of sizes to suit different purposes, and an array of rich colors, beautiful patterns, and custom-designed combinations.
  • Larger fixed awnings – also called canopies – require support legs or brackets, but they can be used to create a protected outdoor area at your place of business, or as a cover on your deck or patio to extend your home's living space.
  • Installing a fixed awning is a stylish way to highlight your business location, and it gives you an excellent spot to place your business name and/or logo to enhance your branding.

All About Retractable Awnings

Retractable awnings offer the same superb rain and sun protection as fixed versions do, but they differ dramatically in their design and how they function. Here are some of the stand-out attributes of retractable awnings:

  • Fashioned from high-quality outdoor fabric, these awnings roll in and out of their own weather-resistant, wall-mounted housing on durable roller and extension mechanisms.
  • These beautiful awnings are ruggedly built and engineered to withstand both upward and downward wind forces.
  • Retractable lateral arm awnings come in a range of widths and extension lengths to suit different purposes, such as covering a west-facing patio or shading a pool. 
  • Retractable pivot arm awnings allow you to change the angle as well as the amount of extension, so they're ideal for shading a single window or a porch with multiple windows.
  • This kind of awning features either manual or motorized operation so it can be easily extended when needed and retracted after use or during bad weather, with a turn of the crank or the touch of the button.
  • You can choose from an array of stunning striped, solid, and patterned awning materials from leading outdoor fabric manufacturers, so it's easy to find the perfect complement to your home or business' exterior color palette.

As you can see, there are quite a few differences between fixed and retractable awnings. For personalized advice about the ideal type and style of awning for your home or business needs, contact us today at Dorchester Awning!


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