Need Some Shade For Your Outdoor Area? Different Awnings and The Cost Of Getting One

Written By Kenneth Wilson  |  0 Comments

Wouldn’t it be better if you can dine or lounge in your outdoor seating area without squinting, sweating, or risking sunburn? If you have an uncovered patio or deck but want to spend time outdoors even when the sun is blazing, a popular option for cover is an awning.

Not only will this provide shade for your outdoor area, but it can also make it more visually appealing. There are different types and materials of awnings that you can choose from that would match your home’s design.

So don’t let the harsh sun or light rain showers to keep you from relaxing outdoors or enjoying your outdoor area, here are the different types and materials of awnings, and the cost of installing one.

What is an Awning?

An awning is a supplemental covering commonly attached to the exterior of a structure. It is composed of a sheet, which can be made out of different materials sheets such as canvas, polyester, and metal.

There are a variety of colors, types, and patterns of awnings to choose from, allowing one to find a suitable design for their home’s exterior.

Awnings can be used to provide shade and UV protection for outdoor seating areas, porches, patios, decks, balconies, walkways, and doors. It reduces heat buildup from the entryways, especially if you have a metal door that can get hot during the summer months.

This shade structure can also help prolong the lifespan of your outdoor furniture, prevent a part of your home’s exterior surface from fading and getting damaged, and redirect water from the foundation.

Not only does it offer shade and protection outdoors or a home’s exterior, but it can also minimize sun exposure and heat that occurs indoors. That’s why some homeowners install an awning above their windows and doors, blocking the sunlight from entering and reducing the glare.

With less exposure from the harsh afternoon sun, the furniture, flooring, and artworks won’t quickly fade. This can also help reduce utility costs since there will be less heat getting inside your home, so the AC won’t need to run longer or cooler.

You can even use awnings to create a dry storage area for lawn equipment, wet shoes, muddy bikes, and other items you don’t want to bring inside your home.

Different Types of Awnings

Retractable Awning (Manual)

One of the most common types of awning is a retractable one. As the name suggests, it is an awning that retracts as well as extends. It can be done manually, usually by a hand crank, or automatically with a motor or remote control (to be discussed in the next section).

It is a popular option since one can close the awning whenever they wanted to get some sunlight or whenever it is not being used. It usually comes with a cassette, where it can be rolled or folded into, protecting the awning, especially when there’s strong wind pressure, snow, or during inclement weather. This type can be attached to both a wall and a roof, giving you more options.

Due to its retractable feature, this type of awning is one of the more expensive ones. It is even costly to get it repaired due to the parts and machinery used for opening and closing the awning.

Motorized Awning

Motorized or mechanical awnings are awnings that can be retracted with a push of a button, remote control, or automatic sensors.

There are advanced mechanical awnings that can be triggered by sensors, which means these are programmed to extend when there is sun or rain and retract when it’s windy. (Note: To make sure that your awning will still be useful even if the motor gets broken, get a unit that can be hand-cranked when the machinery breaks.)

(Source: Archiproducts)

With these features, you can expect that this type of awning is more expensive. You would probably need to hire a professional since it will require expert installation. Find out more about the cost of the different types in the latter part of this article.

Fixed Awning

But if you prefer having 24/7 cover for your outdoor area, you can get a fixed awning. Also called a stationary or wall-mounted awning, this type has a welded frame that is permanently mounted to a wall. It typically has additional support poles to make it more durable.

If you want to permanently cover or constant shade for your deck or patio, this is sturdy and long-lasting. It is also an ideal option for those who will install awnings over smaller areas such as windows or doorways, as it is enough to protect these spaces and you won’t need to fiddle around with the awning. For homeowners who prefer a low-maintenance shade structure, this one will be easier to maintain than a retractable awning.

(Source: Awnings Direct)

But this means you won’t be able to remove or retract it if you want to temporarily get some sun. You won’t be able to change the orientation to wherever the sunlight is coming from.

It can also be a problem if you live in a location where it snows since it can collect on top. This could damage the awning, so it is recommended to hire a contractor since they can install a durable one and make sure that it can endure the impact. 

Freestanding Awning

Most types of awnings are attached to a wall or structure, so what if one wants to cover a dining area at the center of an outdoor area?

It can be expensive to get a roof installed over an entire deck or patio, so an affordable alternative is getting a freestanding awning. This is a portable structure, almost similar to a large patio umbrella, canopy, and shade sail, which you can easily move around your outdoor space.

(Source: FT Awning)

Most homeowners go for this type if they prefer convenience over durability. If ever the trajectory of the sun has moved, it is easy to change the orientation to block it. It is also less expensive than the other types, perfect for those on a budget. Besides its portability, it can also be stored when not in use, but it won’t just be as sturdy as wall-mounted or retractable awnings.

Awning Material: Fabric or Metal?

Besides the type of awning, another important to thing consider before getting one is the material. Most homeowners decided on the material based on its durability, resistant to dearth, UV protection, and color retention. Here are the most popular materials used for awnings:


Canvas or solution-dyed acrylic is a common material used for awnings, especially for retractable awnings due to its resiliency, flexibility, and price. This can be sewn or glued, but go for seams for a longer lifespan.

Due to the acrylic layer, canvas awnings retains its color longer than other fabrics. But even if it remains vibrant longer, expect that it will still fade or wear out from frequent sun exposure and rain. This coating also helps the material become more prone to mold and mildew, but it won’t make it water- or flame-resistant.

People also prefer canvas since it comes in a variety of shapes, colors, sizes, and designs. It will just not be as durable as other materials, so canvas awnings are more suitable for windows, doors, entryways, and smaller outdoor areas.

While its flexibility makes it great for retractable awnings, there is also a downside to it since it usually holds water and snow, which could potentially be a hazard if the frame can’t support the combined weight. That’s why it’s important to hire a contractor who can make sure it is tight to prevent water and snow buildup. If you have harsh weather conditions, it’s recommended to get a different material instead.

Another fabric for awnings is synthetic, which is usually made out of vinyl-coated polyester, acrylic-coated polyester, or a combination of these. Most of these are water-resistant against light showers, but if you want a more waterproof material, you should go with vinyl-coated polyester.

(Source: Wayfair)

The vinyl or laminate coats provide UV protection while still allowing some sunlight. It also makes the material resistant to mildew, better for humid areas, as well as flame-resistant. If ever it gets dirty, you can easily wipe it and it will be clean again. But on the downside, this material will be more prone to fading than canvas.


For a long-lasting and durable awning, you can get a metal one. It can be made out of aluminum, which which weighs less and won’t corrode, or galvanized metal, which is sturdier and more suitable for windy locations.

Metal awnings are recommended for areas that frequently get rain since it won’t fade or wear out as quickly as fabric. It is also more suitable for larger entryways, patios, deck, and other outdoor spaces.

(Source: JML Sheet Metal)

But on the downside, metal awnings may rust and dent, which will make the outdoor area less visually appealing. It also absorbs and may transfer heat to your deck, making it uncomfortable to spend long hours in your outdoor area.

This material is heavy, which requires frames such as aluminum or steel supports to make it secure. It also usually requires a professional to install a metal awning, making it more expensive.

Awning Features

There are several additional features you can get for your awning look better or more functional. You can opt for side curtains, which will provide better shade and increase privacy. You can also get mosquito nets, which is recommended for outdoor areas that frequently get invaded with pests.

There are also features to help retain the lifespan and appearance of the awning such as a guard or cover. It is commonly used for roof-mounted awnings, keeping the fabric safe and preserving its color.

You can also make your awnings dual purpose by using integrated lighting. It can shelter your outdoor area from the sun during the day and provide lighting during the night. There are also awnings that can have built-in heaters, perfect for those who live in cold climates.

Cost to Install an Awning

On average, you can get an awning installed professionally for $1,200 to $4,000. The labor can range from $100 to $450 or $6 to $9 per square foot. The awning itself will range from $250 up to $3,500, depending on the type and material, which will be discussed below.

Cost by type

Retractable awnings are one of the more expensive types, whether it be manual or motorized. It can cost around $500 to $5,000 to get one installed. Manual retractable awnings can cost around $500 to $2,500. But if you plan to install the manual retractable awning, you can find an installation kit for $100 to $1,500.

As expected, motorized awnings are the most expensive, which costs $1,000 to $5,000. For the awning only, the price is usually between $500 to $3,500. The price can go higher, sometimes up to $12,000 for custom-made mechanical awnings or those with features such as mobile app control, and lighting and heating systems.

For the most affordable option, portable awnings cost around $100 to $400, even finding ones less than a hundred dollars. They are also less expensive since they don’t need to be mounted and don’t usually require professional installation. 

Cost by material

Getting a fabric awning installed can land you between $250 to $1,200, depending on the type. The cost of pre-made fabric awnings typically falls between $100 to $700. But if you prefer a custom-made one, it’s priced around $1,000 and can go up to $12,000 for larger ones.

For metal awnings, the cost is usually between $400 to $2,400. The price of metal awning is not that far off, costing around $100 to $1,000 for pre-made ones. For custom-made, they are usually priced per square foot, which is around $10. 

If you're ready to start your project, head on to HomeAdvisor to get quotes from local and reputable professionals in your area.


About the Author

I can build it, and I can help you get the patio enclosure you want! I got my start in the Florida patio industry back in the 70s as a young general laborer looking for something to make a few bucks. At the time I never thought it would end up as my career. Over the years I grew beyond the laborer position, becoming a foreman, superintendent, and then into executive management for some of the largest patio contractors, and material vendors. Now into retirement and slightly bored, I offer consulting services to new and existing contractors, and publish this website to help the people who love their patio's and screen enclosures the most - YOU!

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