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What is an Awning?

By Shannon - SunSetter Marketing Manager

Posted February 12, 2024

What is an Awning?

An awning is a versatile outdoor structure that offers both practical benefits and aesthetic appeal. They are generally attached to the exterior wall of a home or building and are commonly found over windows, doors, patios, or decks. They typically consist of a lightweight material, such as canvas or polyester, stretched over a frame made of aluminum, steel, or wood and can be retractable, free-standing, or fixed.

Both fixed and retractable awnings serve multiple purposes, including providing shade, shelter from the elements, and enhancing the aesthetic appeal of a home or building. They offer protection while helping to reduce energy costs by shading windows and doors to reduce indoor temperatures.

Types of Awnings

There are several types of awnings, each designed to serve specific purposes and aesthetic preferences with numerous design variations and customization options. Here are just a few examples:

Retractable Awnings: These awnings can be extended or retracted either manually or via a motor. They are highly versatile, allowing you to adjust them based on weather conditions or personal preference. These are the types of awnings SunSetter specializes. 

Motorized Awnings: A motorized awning is a retractable awning that is equipped with an electric motor for automated operation. Unlike manual awnings, which require manual effort to extend or retract, motorized awnings can be operated with the push of a button or remote control. SunSetter has several motorized models including our SunSetter Motorized and Platinum Awning models.

Freestanding Awnings: These awnings are not attached to a building and are instead supported by their own frame structure. They are commonly used for shading outdoor seating areas, such as patios or decks. These awnings can also be considered portable awnings as they can often be easily moved and set up in different locations as needed. Our Manual Oasis and Motorized Oasis Awning models are great examples of these types of awnings.

Fixed Awnings: Fixed awnings are permanently installed and cannot be adjusted or retracted. They provide consistent protection and are often used in areas where constant shade or shelter is desired.

Canopy Awnings: Canopy awnings are a type of awning that extends horizontally from a building's facade to cover outdoor spaces such as patios, decks, or walkways. It is typically supported by a frame structure attached to the building and may also have additional support posts or columns for stability, especially in larger installations.

Factors to Consider When Choosing an Awning

When choosing an awning, there are several factors to consider to ensure that you select the right option for your specific needs and preferences. By considering these factors carefully, you can select an awning that meets your specific requirements and enhances the functionality and aesthetics of your outdoor space:

Location and Purpose: Determine the primary purpose of the awning. Are you looking for shade, protection from the elements, or aesthetic enhancement? Consider where the awning will be installed. Is it for a window, door, patio, deck, or another outdoor space? The location will influence the size, style, and type of awning that best suits your needs.

Size, Coverage and Design: Measure the area you want to cover to determine the appropriate size of the awning. Ensure that the awning provides adequate coverage to shade the desired area effectively. Consider the architectural style of your home or building and choose an awning style and design that complements it. There are various styles available, including traditional, modern, and contemporary designs.

Material and Durability: Choose the right material for the awning fabric and frame based on durability, weather resistance, and maintenance requirements. Common fabric materials include acrylic, polyester, and canvas, while frame materials can include aluminum, steel, or wood. Select a fabric color and pattern that enhances the aesthetic appeal of your home or building. Choose colors and patterns that coordinate with the exterior decor and architecture.

Durability and Warranty: Choose an awning from a reputable manufacturer that offers quality products with warranties. Consider factors such as UV resistance, fade resistance, and warranty coverage when assessing durability.

Operation: Decide whether you prefer a manual or motorized awning. Manual awnings are operated by hand, while motorized awnings feature electric motors for automated operation. Consider your convenience and preference when choosing the operation method.

Additional Features: Consider if there are additional features you would like your awning to provide. For instance, a front drop screen for late day sun and additional privacy, or extended projections for maximum overhead coverage, or a semi-cassette for year-round fabric protection when stored. These features are available in our PRO, Plus, and XL awning models. With SunSetter you have the ability to mix and match these additional features to build an awning to fit your specific needs. 

Budget and Installation: Determine your budget for the awning, including installation costs. Consider the initial investment, as well as long-term maintenance and operating expenses.

Local Regulations: Check local building codes and regulations regarding awning installation, especially if you live in a homeowners' association (HOA) or historical district.

Make the Most of Your Outdoor Space with a SunSetter Awning

When looking for the right awning solution for you home, go with quality — go with SunSetter. We offer you high-quality, custom-built awnings without the custom-built price so you can have an awning that perfectly matches your needs and aesthetic.

All of our awning frame brackets, bars, and arm clamps are made from durable aluminum with a baked-on powder coat finish that never rusts or needs painting. Most of our components and housings are sourced domestically or through high-quality North American and European suppliers and are available in a variety of colors to best match your home's exterior.

We offer several awning models that combine our most popular features so you can create the perfect awning to give you the coverage and protection you need to extend your living space and create a cool, shaded oasis.

Start planning for your awning: