What is an awning? Advantages and disadvantages of this type of protection

20 June 2023

Awnings are regularly added to homes and businesses for a variety of reasons. This article tells you all about awnings. We’ll take a look at the question“What is an awning?“, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of installing this type of protection. We’ll also look at the different types and materials of awnings, as well as tips on choosing, installing and maintaining your awning.



Definition of an awning

An awning is an outdoor structure attached over a window, door or open space to provide protection from the sun, rain, snow and other elements. The awning can also be called a ” small roof “, ” canvas overhang ” or ” terrace shelter “.



Awning types

There are several types of awnings on the market: fixed, retractable, motorized or window awnings.

Fixed awnings

These are permanent, fixed structures that offer constant protection against the elements. They are generally made of solid, durable materials such as aluminum or wood.

fixed awning

Retractable awnings

These awnings can be extended or retracted as required. They are ideal for homeowners who want a more flexible, modular solution.

retractable awning

Motorized awnings

This type of awning is equipped with a motor that automatically extends or retracts the awning, often using a remote control or a button.

pergola with apple-green Verandair awning

Window awnings

These awnings are specially designed for windows and are generally smaller than other awnings.

window awning

Awning materials

Awnings can be made from a variety of materials, each with its own advantages and disadvantages:


Aluminum is lightweight, durable and corrosion-resistant. It requires little maintenance.


Wood is a traditional and aesthetic material for awnings. It offers a warm, natural look, but requires regular maintenance. You’ll need to paint or varnish it to prevent rotting and insect damage.


Fabric awnings are lightweight and available in a wide range of colors and patterns. They are generally less expensive than other materials, but can be less durable and require more regular maintenance.


Polycarbonate is a lightweight, tough, transparent material that offers excellent UV protection. It is easy to maintain and shock-resistant.



The advantages of an awning

There are several advantages to installing an awning in your home or business:

  1. Weather protection: Awnings offer protection from the sun, rain, snow and wind, making outdoor spaces more comfortable and usable, even in bad weather.
  2. Energy savings: By blocking the sun’s rays, awnings can help reduce the heat inside the home or business, thus reducing energy consumption for air conditioning.
  3. Aesthetics: Awnings can enhance the appearance of a building and add value to the property by offering a visually appealing appearance.
  1. Additional outdoor space: Awnings create additional outdoor living space by providing shade and shelter from the elements, ideal for terraces, patios and alfresco dining areas.


The disadvantages of awnings

  1. Cost: The purchase and installation of an awning can represent a significant investment, especially for high-quality models and motorized awnings.
  1. Maintenance: Some awning materials, such as wood and fabric, require regular care to maintain their appearance and durability.
  2. Installation: The installation of an awning can be complex and require the intervention of a professional, which can add extra costs.


Awning installation and maintenance

It’s advisable to call in a professional to install an awning, as this may require specific skills and out ils, as well as the appropriate tools and equipment. However, some simpler awnings can be installed by experienced DIYers.

Follow these tips for awning maintenance:

  • Clean awning surfaces regularly with water and mild soap to remove dirt and debris.
  • Inspect the awning and its fixings for signs of damage or corrosion, and repair as necessary.
  • Treat wooden awnings with preservatives to prevent rot and insect damage.
  • If you have a fabric awning, check the condition of the fabric regularly and consider replacing it if it is worn or damaged.


Alternatives to awnings

The pergola

It’s also worth considering an alternative to awnings, such as fixed-roof pergolas. A pergola is a free-standing or building-attached outdoor structure that creates a shaded space by supporting beams and a fixed roof. Fixed-roof pergolas offer similar protection from the elements, while adding attractive aesthetics to your outdoor space.

Although pergolas can have a higher initial cost than some awnings, they offer a more durable and robust solution for outdoor spaces that require permanent protection from the sun, rain and other elements.


Large pergola above a terrace overlooking a garden

Retractable patio cover

Retractable patio enclosures are modular structures that offer protection from the elements and let you enjoy your outdoor space to the full.

Typically comprising an aluminum frame and a polycarbonate or glass roof, these shelters can be opened or closed, depending on weather conditions and your preferences. Unlike awnings, retractable patio covers generally cover a larger area and offer greater flexibility in terms of design and use of space.

If you’re a retailer or a caterer, retractable patio covers give your customers extra indoor or outdoor space, depending on the weather.


An awning can be an excellent addition to your home or business, offering protection, aesthetics and energy savings. However, it’s important to consider the pros and cons, as well as factors such as type, material, size, budget and local regulations before making a decision. Finally, be sure to call in a professional for installation, and follow the maintenance tips to preserve the durability and appearance of your awning.

New VERANDAIR® brochure

Download our brochure and discover our fixed-roof pergolas and their advantages. Find examples and advice on how to choose the right fixed-roof pergola!

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