10 Things to Consider Before Buying a Retractable Awning or Retractable Pergola

10 Things to Consider Before Buying a Retractable Awning or Retractable Pergola


If you are thinking of buying a retractable awning or pergola, there are a few things that you should consider first. Let’s find out what they are!

There are a lot of factors when it comes to considering up retractable cover, including things like the size, the costs, and the seasons you’ll use it in. You should also think about the aesthetics, the material you want to use, and your privacy requirements. This will help to ensure you get the right structure for you.

We’re going to explore all these factors and a few more in this article so that you can choose the perfect awning or pergola for your setup.

1: Privacy Functionality

If you want the ultimate privacy, a pergola is certainly the way to go, as it offers a lot more screening than a simple awning. An awning provides protection from the sun, but gives you little protection from prying eyes.

2: The Cost

Pergolas are typically more expensive than regular awnings because the design is more complicated. However, if you can afford one, you may feel that their other advantages outweigh the price factor.

3: The Size

If your backyard is tiny, you may find that an awning is too big and covers more of it than you want. It takes up quite a bit of space and could block out more sun than you like.

However, on the flip side, this means that it offers more protection and can usually seat a greater number of individuals. If you put a pergola up in your garden, it tends to take up less room, but it also doesn’t provide you with as much space. Unless you dedicate a large amount of room to your pergola, you will probably only be able to seat a few individuals in it.

4: Material

You usually have a lot of choice when it comes to selecting a material for either a pergola or an awning. However, bear in mind that pergolas tend to last for longer than awnings, and therefore it’s important to have a hard-wearing material that will stand the test of time.

Some pergolas make use of steel, plastic, or wood for the frame, and they are usually wrapped in a strong, durable fabric. Awnings may use strong materials for the frame, but the fabric is often less sturdy and may not last as long.

5: Sun Protection

A pergola will give you good protection from the sun, but an awning tends to offer more on this count. It can be easily retracted when you want it out of the way, but it covers a larger area than most pergolas do.

If you host events for friends, such as backyard barbecues, this extra space can be invaluable. Nobody wants to get sunburned!

6: Complex Structure

The installation of a pergola tends to be more complex, which is partly why it costs more to buy one. It needs poles or columns, and this requires more materials and more setup work. However, this disadvantage is somewhat offset by the fact that a pergola is more durable and should last longer than an awning.

7: The Aesthetics

Both pergolas and awnings look beautiful if you choose your design well, and neither has an advantage over the other on this count. Decide whether you want a snug getaway in your backyard, or just a cover that you can pull out to protect yourself from the elements.

8: The Mobility Factor

When weighing up your choices, think about how easy your purchase will be to relocate if you decide you want to put it somewhere else. Are you going to be able to fold it away, or will you have to decide on one position and leave it there?

Both pergolas and retractable awnings have options that can be folded away and relocated but some pergolas are meant to be fixed in position.

9: The Different Seasons

Awnings only offer shade and shelter from precipitation, whereas a pergola fully encompasses the inhabitants and can offer protection from temperature (to an extent) and cold winds. You might choose a pergola if you intend to spend winter days outdoors.

10: Installation Position

Pergolas can be positioned anywhere in your garden, while awnings tend to be adjacent to the house. Pergolas are therefore more flexible, and often a better option.


Both pergolas and awnings can transform your backyard and make the space far more usable, but they do offer different pros and cons. Weigh these up carefully before choosing your product.

How Much Does It Cost to Install a Retractable Awning?

How Much Does It Cost to Install a Retractable Awning?

Retractable awnings are a popular option for those who prefer a little versatility when it comes to their home and shading needs. The most common form is the manually operated awning with a hand crank, however, retractable awnings also come with tubeless motor operation as well.

The average cost for having a professional come out to your home and install a non-motorized awning is around $850, matching the average price for professional installation of a standard, metal awning. Professional installation of a motorized awning will cost nearly triple, at $2,350 for a 12’ retractable. 

So, unless you are extremely averse to using a hand crank, you should definitely consider the manual operation awning, if for no other reason than to save yourself a boat load of money on the installation costs. There is always the option of doing a DIY install of a motorized awning if you’re up for it.

Average Price of Retractable Awning Installation by Type

While the cost of having a retractable awning professionally installed can run anywhere between $850 and $2,350, it’s not always as bad as it sounds, especially if you are just talking about a retractable window awning, instead of an awning that will cover most of the real estate on your patio.

For instance, if you choose to do it yourself, the average cost is more along the lines of $450, however, that’s a very broad average and is highly dependent on whether or not you have the tools available for this DIY project or you have to go out and purchase additional tools and hardware.

If you are the kind of person who has a workshop, a pretty robust toolbox, and you horde hardware (nails, screws, bolts, etc.), then the cost is likely to be far cheaper than $450.

You also have to factor in the size of the retractable awning. The size makes a difference mostly because it takes longer to install and contractors will charge you by the hour for installing it. It costs a lot more if it is motorized because that requires wiring since motorized awnings are battery-powered.

The installation costs by type are varied and are more due to the size, weight, and complexity of the awning, rather than any aesthetic or brand factors.

  • Manual Retractable awnings average $850 but can cost between $500 and $1,500 for a professional installation
  • If its a canvas awning, the price will remain in the $850 range
  • Metal awnings are going to cost a little more, around $1,000 to $1,100
  • Mechanized awnings average $2,350 but can cost between $2,000 and $3,500

As you can see, doing the project yourself can potentially save you hundreds, if not over a thousand dollars in savings, just based on professional installation costs.

Pricing the Installation of a Retractable Awning Based on Size

You have three types of retractable awnings that are based on specific sizes within each type. You have retractable door awnings, retractable window awnings, and retractable patio or deck awnings.

The larger the size, the more expensive the awning is liable to be, not including whether or not it is mechanized/motorized or manual in nature.

  • Door and window – 31” x 24” – $250 to $550
  • Door and window – 44” x 36” – $250 to $550
  • Door and window – 56” x 48” – $400 to $750
  • Patio and/or deck – 8’ x 20’ – $700 to $2000
  • Patio and/or deck – 10’ x 10’ – $300 to $2,000
  • Patio and/or deck – 10’ x 20’ – $400 to $3,000
  • Patio and or deck – 15’ x 15’ – $600 to $3,000
  • Patio and or deck – 15’ x 15’ – $800 to $3,500

As you can see, there is a pretty massive disparity from the low end to the high end for each size group, however, that’s mostly due to the difference between a manual retractable awning and a mechanized retractable awning.

The other differences are more slight, such as the type of material that the awning is made of and the area in which you live. The area makes a lot of difference, as the professional installation of a retractable awning in Pensacola, Florida is going to cost a lot less than professional installation in Los Angeles, California.

Additional Factors the Effect on the Cost of Installation

Several factors can affect the cost of professional installation as well. For instance, depending on where you live, you may have to acquire a permit to install a large, retractable awning on your patio, especially if it is mechanized.

A permit can cost anywhere between $25 and $100, once again, depending on where you live. If your patio comes with an enclosure add-on or if you choose to purchase an enclosure and want it installed as well, the cost can skyrocket.

Any other accessories that you choose to add on, especially if you put them in a contractor’s hands for professional installation, are going to affect the cost of the overall installation. You will recoup these costs over time, with the energy savings that you can pull from a retractable awning, however, it would have to be a fairly large retractable awning to make a difference.

Of course, none of the above is including the costs of the retractable awning itself, which can is another thing that can have a huge disparity in terms of price. Canvas is relatively cheap, but there are also vinyl awnings, not to mention acrylic.

The premium nature of some of the materials that go into the manufacturing of your particular awning result in a higher price point. Brand affects the price as well. Premium brands command a premium price tag and you always have to be concerned about quality when you go with an off-brand.

All Things Considered

The average price for having a retractable awning professionally installed is going to run anywhere between $850 and $2,350, which are the averages based on materials and type. The price can get a lot higher with extremely large awnings or awnings with premium materials that are also mechanized.

Superior Awning specializes in metal awning design, customization and fabrication. Our company has been assisting clients with their residential, commercial and industrial properties for already more than 30 years ago. We are a company that can provide custom awning solutions from the very design of your awning, to its manufacture and then installation. Each of the products we provide has been tested to be long term; we offer from water-resistant and durable fabrics, life-lasting threads, galvanized steels and a wide array of aluminum types. No matter the challenge our company can help you design and build the awning that your house, store or building needs.

Please call  (800) 780-0201 to schedule your 100% complimentary consultation.

5 Factors to Consider When Choosing Restaurant Awnings for Your Business

When purchasing an awning, a business needs to carefully consider a variety of things. Since an awning is often going to be the first thing that a potential customer sees, the awning must be aesthetically pleasing. At the same time, it needs to be easy to maintain and able to last several years without any issues.

Fixed Awning or Retractable?

No one option is better than the other. It will be dependent on the business.

If a restaurant relies on having people seated outside for the bulk of the year, then a fixed awning may be the best option. A fixed awning is a much more permanent and rigid construction. This means that staff will not have to be constantly moving it around.

A retractable awning is much more temporary. A retractable awning may be a much better solution for those businesses that utilize their outside space for short times of the year e.g. because of harsher weather, or in tourist destinations that may not get regular customers outside of the tourist season.

The Style Of The Awning

The awning is part of the brand of the restaurant it is sited outside.

The style of the awning should be a reflection of the type of food being sold within that restaurant. For example, BBQ restaurants may benefit from a more Texan-style aesthetic to the awning. A restaurant that deals heavily in tapas and food from Southern Europe may see more benefit from a Mediterranean style of awning.

When a restaurant is purchasing a restaurant awning, they need to choose something that will enhance the aesthetics of their property. They need to think about the style and whether it really is giving off the best possible image of their business.

Size Of The Awning

This is the easiest thing to think about.

A restaurant will need to choose an awning size that covers all of the space that they want to use as their seating area. This should be fairly easy to measure.

A restaurant will have to remember that if they undersize the awning, then there may be portions of their patio that their customers will not be able to seat.

It is also important that the awning is not oversized. This could end up encroaching on public spaces, or the space owned by other businesses, and cannot be installed.

Restaurant Awning Materials

For the most part, this is going to be a personal choice. This means the restaurant is thinking about the colors of their restaurant awning, which can severely limit the number of material options that they have available.

Generally speaking, a restaurant will opt for one of the following materials for their awnings:

  • Metal
  • Plastic
  • Synthetic fabrics
  • Natural canvas

It would be wise for a restaurant to choose a fabric that has been specially designed for use in a restaurant. This is because they tend to be treated for the rigors of regular use e.g. UV protection, water resistance, and the ability to keep mold at bay. In many cases, they should also be fire-resistant.

A lot of the choices will have to factor in where the restaurant is based.

Other Considerations

Most restaurant awnings will be nothing more than a simple piece of material covering an area. However, there are some businesses that may wish to have more elements installed in their awning. This can include:

  • Fans for awnings in hot and humid climates
  • Heaters so the awning can continue to be used during the colder months of the year
  • Lighting for those awnings that are likely to be used at night

When a retractable awning is used, it may be worth it for a restaurant to invest in a motorized awning. This can save staff time retracting the awning each evening.


Restaurants will need to carefully consider a restaurant awning that they have installed on their property. Opting for the wrong style of an awning could severely hamper a business. It may even result in higher maintenance bills. Restaurants are advised to work with experienced awning retailers to ensure that they end up with the perfect awning to represent their business.

What is the Difference Between a Canopy and an Awning?

Awnings and canopies are both structures designed to block weather elements such as sun and rain, but awnings are permanent and canopies are not. Awnings are generally attached to houses and hang over a patio, whereas canopies can be put up anywhere and taken down after use. Though some awnings can be retractable, they can’t be completely removed like canopies can.

The rest of this article will teach you about the different ways you can use an awning vs. a canopy and help you decide which one is right for you.

Is it better to use an awning or a canopy?

If you’re looking for something to cover your patio but can’t decide whether to use an awning or canopy, it’s best to think about how often you will use it. If you just need a cover every now and then, it might make more sense to get a canopy since they cost less. According to Home Advisor, awnings generally cost $1300-$4200, whereas canopies only cost around $45-$250.

If you want to have a cover more often and are willing to spend the extra money, an awning could be better. Awnings are less of a hassle since you don’t have to worry about taking them up and down as you do with a canopy. There are also retractable awning options so you can still “put away” your cover if you don’t want it up all the time.

If you live in somewhere that’s often hot and sunny, an awning is a great purchase because it protects the inside of the house as well as the patio. A study by the Center for Sustainable Building Research at the University of Minnesota found that window awnings can reduce the need for cooling energy by 26% in hot climates. That means they may also reduce the cooling bill, which will save you money in the long run.

How easy is it to add an awning to a house?

An awning can be added to any house by mounting it to an overhang, roof, or exterior wall. The process involves measuring where the awning will be placed, finding the studs to support it, then adding the mounts and putting the awning into place. On average the process only takes about 2 hours, but could be longer if the awning is more complex.

If an awning seems like a better fit for you, you may be wondering where to start. It’s important to make sure you are choosing the right style. Retractable awnings are great because they can be put away, which protects them from storm damage and means they require less maintenance. However, stationary awnings tend to last longer and could be better if you want your awning to stay up all the time.

Are canopies easy to put up?

A standard pop up canopy shouldn’t be difficult to assemble. There will be instructions with whatever canopy you buy, and generally all you have to do is widen the frame and pull out the legs which hold the canopy up. Some canopies will require you to put the tarp on before assembling as well. It helps to have a couple people for assembly, but isn’t required and can be done alone.

Canopies are perfect for outdoor events where awnings won’t be available for use. If you’re in a backyard or at a park or beach, canopies are great for blocking sun and rain. Don’t let the thought of putting up and taking down your canopy deter you from getting one—they will make spending time outside more enjoyable and are plenty worth it in the end.