Retractable Cloth vs Fixed Aluminum Patio Awnings

Deck or patio awnings are a functional and aesthetic window treatment. They provide the functionality of helping regulate the indoor temperature by protecting the interiors from the external, weather elements. However, with the wide range of designs that are now offered in window awnings, they also add to the style quotient of a room. There are essentially two types of patio awnings — retractable (movable) and stationary (fixed).

Understanding Patio Awning Types — Stationary & Retractable Awnings

Stationary awnings are the more conventional option. They are a fixed window treatment. Once installed, their orientation cannot be altered. The most popular form of stationary awnings is aluminum patio awnings. Being light and ductile, aluminum is easier to maneuver among different window frames. Further, it is more affordable than other, heavier metal sheets and does not corrode easily.

Retractable awnings are made from a fabric. The fabric could be either cotton-based or a synthetic type, prepared from acrylic sheets. However, retractable cloth awnings are the most common choice for residential spaces. The cloth is referred to as a canvas. The retractable feature means that the canvas can be spread over the patio and pulled back, according to your preference. Among retractable awnings, there are two choices — automatic and manual. The manual version is more affordable. Automatically retractable awnings function through a motorized action, needing electrical power. However, they are very stylish and the canvas can be pulled back (retracted) at the push of a button.

Comparing Pros and Cons of Patio Awning Types

In order to make a sensible window-treatment choice, you should know about the basic features of both types of window awnings. Use the following information to make an informed choice.

Feature 1–Weather Insulation

A window awning is often evaluated upon its ability to insulate the interiors against weather fluctuations like extreme, daytime heat or rainfall. Retractable awnings tend to provider better insulation features. For starters, the canvas does not heat-up like the aluminum sheets. Further, the canvas is better suited to absorb the heat without passing it onto the interiors. The canvas spread is also much larger than conventional, fixed patio awnings. This creates a bigger, more effective window treatment. Retractable cloth awnings are more effective in protecting against typical, sun-protection issues like UV rays. The aluminum sheet isn't equipped to reflect away the UV rays. However, during periods of sustained rainfall, a cloth awning could become an issue since it takes more time to dry-up. Although, water-resistant canvases have been introduced, they cannot compete with aluminum sheets as metallic sheets have negligible moisture seepage.

Feature 2–Durability and Maintenance

Aluminum sheets are regarded more durable. Yes, contemporary cloth canvases also offer years of usage without any significant, durability issues but aluminum awnings have a greater lifespan. Chances of aluminum patio awnings being torn, when stretched, are almost non-existent. However, fixed aluminum awnings are installed using braces and metallic posts. Over a period, these can start corroding. In comparison, the rolling mechanism of retractable awnings is hidden from the weather extremes and it does not rust. Chances of retractable cloth awnings rotting or fading are also lesser. Thus, in terms of ease-of-maintenance, retractable patio awnings are a better choice.

Feature 3–Aesthetic Appeal

Retractable cloth awnings are retailed with a wider array of decorative choices. The fabric can be customized to complement the décor of the room. Most retractable awning retailers provide the option of dying or printing the canvas according to the customer’s preference. This makes retractable awnings an integral part of the overall, architectural styling of the house. However, the ornamental choices are very limited in fixed patio awnings. Often retailed as window shutter treatments, they are usually offered in a narrow range of colors. The scope for customization is negligible. The styling options are also more expensive. The accompanying braces can be chosen with brass and other metal finishes, but this is a costly proposition.