- Project plans
- Project activities
- Legislation and standards
- Industry context
- Specialist wikis
Last edited 06 Mar 2021
Retractable awnings vs fixed awnings
Awnings can provide a way to protect properties from sun damage and provide a safe space protected from the heat of solar radiation and harmful UV rays. However, with a range of designs and styles on the market, it can be difficult to know which option is best.
This article outlines the difference between the two most popular choices – retractable awnings and fixed awnings.
 Retractable awnings
Many people choose this style due to its flexibility, as it can change position with the season, the occasion, or the time of day. For example, if it is a mild autumn day, you may find you’re not in need of any form of coverage, or if it’s a sunny summer afternoon, you may want a shady place to entertain outdoors and extend your retractable awnings accordingly.
Made from a durable fabric, purchasers can generally choose between acrylic, canvas or mesh, depending on their needs. There are also options to consider when it comes to opening and closing. A crank is less expensive, whilst motorisation allows push-button operation.
 Fixed awnings
Unlike their retractable counterparts, fixed awnings are designed to be installed exactly where they are needed, providing permanent cover in one place. These can be a good choice for those who want awnings to become part of the building itself.
Frequently used by businesses as they can be used to incorporate signage, such as the name and contact details of the establishment, fixed awnings have recently become popular in homes too, offering an affordable option for those sticking to a tight budget.
However, rather than covering an al fresco area, they are primarily used for shading windows, increasing privacy and blocking out the sun and glare. Depending requirements, it is possible to choose a blockout style, which stops light from penetrating at all, or a more translucent option, which simply filters light to a more comfortable level.
When choosing fixed awnings, it is important to look for a fabric and a frame that can stand up to the elements, as they can’t be retracted during poor weather conditions. Check for a fabric that is UV and mould resistant.
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Architectural fabrics.
- Carbon fibre.
- Fabric structures.
- Inflatable building.
- Natural fibre reinforced polymers (NFRPs) in the construction industry IP 14 14.
- Polyvinyl chloride PVC.
- Tensile structures.
- Thermal behaviour of architectural fabric structures.
- The history of fabric structures.
- The development of structural membranes.
- The thermal behaviour of spaces enclosed by fabric membranes.
- The structural behaviour of architectural fabric structures.
- Types of building.
- Types of roof.
Featured articles and news
Life, death and art at the Stuart court. Book review.
Real estate, place adaptation and innovation.
Review and comment on the revised draft before July 11.
Write about something you know, help us build and grow !
A blended event and triumphant return.
Mark Reynolds succeeds Andy Mitchell as Co-Chair of CLC
Designing Buildings is 10 years old.
From alteration to deconstruction on DB.
Refurbishment for Net Zero.
Understanding temperature in buildings on DB.
A call for home energy management to be modernised.
How many different types can you think of ?
Looking back and fourth to what still needs to be done.
Targets, impacts and action from ECA member.
Pioneering Indian environmental design Architect.
The greenest building is the one already built.
History of Temple Meads rewritten.
Currently standing at just 1%.
Find out more with BSRIA.
A cricket pitch is 1 chain long whilst 80 chains is a mile.
What is your pledge ?
Changes come into force for F,L,O and S.
CIAT member reasons on why it matters.
Nine in ten civil engineers think so.
IHBC Annual School, 15-18 June.
A trusted clip with a long history, worth celebrating.