The Ultimate Guide to Retractable Awnings-Benefits They Offer, Best Products to Buy, & More!

The Ultimate Guide to Retractable Awnings-Benefits They Offer, Best Products to Buy, & More!

At Solarus USA Awning, we created this guide to help you make the best decision regarding modern awnings for patios. Whether you need to add an awning for your business or home, this guide should help you better understand everything you need to know about motorized awnings including the cost to install them.

Create a fun outdoor living space or add extra space to your property, with the help of professional awnings. It’s our hope that armed with this information you’ll be able to make the best decision for your property.

Article Overview

  • What Is A Retractable Awning?
  • Types & Styles of Awnings
  • Fabric Options for Motorized Retractable Awnings
  • Lesser Quality Fabric Options for Retractable Awnings
  • How to Choose The Right Retractable Awning For Your House
  • How Much Is A Retractable Awning
  • Top Features of Retractable Awnings
  • Benefits of Retractable Awnings
  • How Homeowners Benefit from Retractable Awnings
  • How Businesses Benefit from Retractable Awnings
  • Cost To Install Retractable Awnings
  • What Affects The Cost of Retractable Awnings
  • How Long Does it Take to Install Retractable Awnings
  • How Long Do Retractable Awnings Last
  • Are Retractable Awnings Waterproof
  • How to Clean A Retractable Awning
  • What To Look For In Retractable Deck and Patio Awnings
  • Ready To Buy A New Retractable Awning for Your House

What Is A Retractable Awning?

A retractable awning is an adjustable extension that provides you with shade and comfort you need to enjoy your backyard. Florida stays warm throughout the year, and an awning offers just the right amount of coverage to soak up the warm temperatures without drowning in heat.

Whether you’re having guest over for dinner or want to avoid raindrops in the afternoon, a retractable awning is the perfect solution to your patio coverage needs.

But do retractable awnings come in one size and style? What options are available? What type is right for your home or business?

Retractable Awning

Types & Styles of Awnings

There’s a retractable awning for virtually any purpose and property size. Do you want to protect a single window or the entire side of your house from direct sun exposure?

Depending on your goal, you’ll want to choose the right type and style of awning. Check out a few options below.

Lateral Arm Retractable Awnings

Lateral arm retractable awnings for patios are one of the most popular styles of awnings. This design includes folded arms that extend horizontally from beneath a rolled-up awning cover, and then extends for whatever coverage you’re looking for. Lateral arm retractable awnings come a variety of mounting options and sizes and are most popular in their powered operation style.

Semi-Cassette Awnings

Cassette awnings are like lateral arm awnings, but semi-cassette awnings are slightly different. With semi-cassette awnings, the arm extensions are not contained within the enclosure of the awning, like they are with lateral arms. This type of awning is very common in Florida because they tend to be more weather-resistant than their counterparts.

Pergola Shade Awnings

A pergola is useful for partial sun coverage. However, they aren’t ideal for the heat of the afternoon, which is why some people by pergola shade awnings. Unlike standard awnings, this product is uniquely designed to cover standalone pergolas. A retractable pergola awning provides fast drop-screen coverage with the touch of a button. Some awning providers offer partial awning solutions specifically for pergolas.

Side or Drop Arm Awnings

A drop arm awning provides more control over the position and angle of your awning. Available with either a manual crank or motor option, you can extend the awning by as much or as little as you need.

You typically find side or drop arm awnings in commercial settings because they’re durable, simple, and classic in appearance. They are quite weather resistant, thanks to the architectural structure.

Use these awnings to completely cover a window or partially cover it. The choice is yours.

Drop-Down Shades

Also known as solar shades, drop-down shades are an excellent solution to cover large windows, decks, or patios. The retractable fabric they come in is mounted on either the interior or exterior of your property and can be accessed by a remote controlled button. You can control how much light is entering your home or business with this simple shading option.

Most solar shades are made from material that blocks UV rays, protecting your furniture, rugs, flooring, deck and other fun outdoor living furniture. They’ll block out most direct sunlight without impeding your view of your backyard.

Next, we’ll take a look at your fabric options and how they affect your motorized retractable awning.

Fabric Options for Motorized Retractable Awnings

Florida weather can be hazardous, and when bad weather strikes, it’s important that your awnings are made from the highest quality materials.

The best material for durability is premium acrylic fabric. Some benefits of premium acrylic fabric include:

  • Fade Resistance: Florida sun is UV Ray rich! These sun rays might make you happy poolside, but they are damaging to vibrant fabrics. Premium acrylic fabric is fade resistant thanks to solution-dyed fibers that keep your retractable awning looking beautiful season after season.
  • Moisture Resistance: Moisture buildup can lead to mold fungi, and mildew damage. Moisture-resistant fabrics help prevent premature damage and costly fabric replacement. This leads to a long-lasting awning design.
  • Weather Resistance: Effective awnings must be weather resistant. While the build of a awning is the most important factor in weather resistance, the fabric, too plays an important role. Acrylic fiber woven into each piece of the design strengthens your retractable awning and preps it for anything Florida weather can throw at it.
  • Shade Solutions: The right awning materials create the ability to provide up to a 25 degree temperature drop. Premium acrylic fabric is the right material for that solution. Enjoying your family and friends during the hot summer months is so much easier with this shade solution.

Lesser Quality Fabric Options for Retractable Awnings

  • Polyester-Polyester is the second-best fabric material for retractable awnings. It is durable, lightweight, and fairly weather resistant.
  • Vinyl-A popular choice but doesn’t last nearly as long as acrylic or polyester when tested.
  • Canvas-Most widely used for commercial awnings, canvas is highly prone to mold growth.
  • Cotton-Cotton cannot withstand strong weather conditions, which is imperative if you live in Florida.

Simply put, treated acrylic and polyester fabric are the best materials for your awning. They are more UV resistant and easier to maintain than natural or organic fabrics.

How To Choose The Right Retractable Awning For Your House

Now that you have a better understanding of the types of retractable awnings and the fabrics you can use with them, we’re now going to look at the best ways to choose an awning for your home.

First, think about what you want your awning to do. Do you want it to stretch out horizontally to cover a wide area of your patio? Or do you want your backyard to have lots of coverage when the sunsets, which means a drop-down awning is best.

Next, think about color and combination patterns. When you shop for retractable awnings, it’s important to choose a retailer that has plenty of options to match your preferences. It can be paralyzing to contemplate all your options, so be sure to select a seller who is willing to point you in the right direction, too.

Finally, make sure the sizing is right for your property. You don’t want to over or under-order your awning selection. Taking multiple measurements is the best way to ensure you are buying the right size awning for your home or business.

But how much is a retractable awning? What can you expect in terms of product and installation costs?

How Much Is a Retractable Awning?

The average cost of retractable awnings is dependent on the model. They typically range in pricing from $800 to well over $4,000. Retractable awning prices should also come with a high-end warranty that covers your products completely.

In comparison to adding a new roof over your deck or patio, which ranges from $3,000 to $10,000 depending on your home, a retractable awning is an affordable alternative.

Awnings also provide cost savings for your energy demands (we will get into this a bit later) and protect your outdoor furniture and equipment.

However, in general, you should expect to spend around $1,000 minimum to buy a retractable awning for your patio. Now, that pricing can increase depending on the added features and accessories you select.

Consider those options below.

Top Features of Retractable Awnings

Hand Cranked Awnings

Manually operated retractable awnings can easily be adjusted to provide much-needed shade. They do tend to wear out more quickly than automatic motorized awnings, however. Most homeowners prefer automated retractable awnings to their hand-cranked counterparts. There’s something about pushing a button on a remote control versus using manual labor to retract an awning, that makes all the difference.

Weather Detection Features

One of the best features of automatic motorized retractable awnings is that they can be programmed to detect weather changes and provide automatic solutions. For example, if the awning’s sensors pick up on rain droplets, it will automatically retract to protect the material. The same thing can happen for sun and wind extremes. This exciting feature is available for residential and commercial awnings.

Side Shades

More homeowners are installing side shade panels with their retractable awnings for complete backyard protection. Roll down side shades increase protection from direct sunlight quickly, blocking the sun from penetrating directly into your eyes.

LED Lights

Continue to enjoy your fun outdoor living space after the sun goes down with high-quality LED lighting. You can customize them for your preferred brightness and remote control operate them for complete customization.

Mobile Phone Control

You can now control your retractable awnings via your phone with the My Link app. The app lets you prepare your outdoor living space before you pull into your driveway. This feature puts you in control of your awnings anywhere you are.

Retractable awnings are no longer only available to the mega rich. Homeowners are beginning to recognize the added value provided by retractable awnings. Your awning will pay for itself in just a few short years, all while increasing the style and elegance of your backyard.

Benefits of Retractable Awnings

The benefits of an awning for a patio are plentiful. Homeowners and business owners alike, stand to benefit in multiple ways when choosing an awning for their outdoor space. But, selecting the right awning installation company is equally important to choosing the right product. Below, we’ll take a look at a few benefits you can keep in mind when buying a new awning for your home or business.

How Homeowners Benefit from Retractable Awnings

Sun & Outdoor Protection

UV heat and rays can cause everything from furniture fading to skin cancer. Retractable awnings protect you, your family, and your pets from the dangers lurking in your backyard. The sun and bugs pose a significant annoyance to your outdoor fun, but an awning saves you from those annoying aspects of being outside.

Energy Cost Savings

Keeping your indoor temperatures comfortable is a big deal, especially if you live in Florida! Keep your property cool and comfortable all year round with help from a retractable awning. Solution-dyed acrylic awning fabrics have the best opportunity to beat the heat and keep your home warm during the cooler winter months. The result is a reduced energy bill all year round!

Enhanced Curb Appeal

Beautiful, vibrant, and stylish awnings are the ideal accessory to your home’s exteriors. The higher the quality the fabric, the greater the curb appeal. At Solarus USA Awnings, we provide a healthy selection of patterns and colors to choose from for your awning. Add in motorization and some of the previously mentioned awning accessories, and you’ll have a gorgeous addition to your backyard!


Another benefit of a residential retractable awning is customization. Sure, you could build a patio roof over your back deck and enjoy some sun coverage. But with a customized solution like a retractable awning, you can get the exact coverage you want, with all the style and bells and whistles you crave, for a competitive price.

Increased Outdoor Living Space

Finally, adding a retractable awning to your backyard increases the size of your outdoor living space. Bad weather is no longer an excuse to not go outside, thanks to retractable awnings. You’ll love the way they look on your home and the added space they provide for entertaining and more.

How Businesses Benefit from Retractable Awnings

Curb Appeal

Intelligent business owners know the importance of first impressions. When done correctly, an awning can create a beautiful first impression. Enhance the beauty of your commercial building, with the right awning solution.

Cost Savings

A retractable awning can reduce your energy bill by reducing direct sun exposure during the hottest parts of the day in Florida. They also protect your outdoor patio, particularly if you own a café or restaurant with outdoor seating.


Believe it or not, but retractable awnings can also help brand your business through customization. Add your company name, logo, phone number or branding color palette to your awning and increase brand awareness.

Enhanced Customer Comfort

If your business has outdoor seating areas of any kind, an awning is a great investment. Keep your customers cool and unaffected by Florida’s unpredictable weather, all thanks to a quality awning solution.

Whether you need a side shade for your patio or to add an extra outdoor space for your guests, a retractable awning is the ideal solution!

Cost to Install Retractable Awnings

The estimated cost to install a retractable awning over your patio or deck is typically around $820 for non-motorized awnings and up to $2,330 for a motorized 12-foot awning. The national average is $1,560 for an 8-12’ awning installation.

In Florida, you are required by law to have a permit before adding an awning or canopy to your home or business. If you attempt to install your retractable awnings on your own, you’ll still be subjected to that permit law.

Additionally, the costs cited above do not include the costs of installing electrically powered awnings. Installing an awning on your own is not easy work, and the parts required to do so properly do demand wiring and construction knowledge.

What Affects The Cost of Retractable Awnings?


The size of your retractable awning determines the cost to install it. Most retractable awning sizes range from 8-14 feet wide and a 7-foot extension from the building. The largest awning sizes are approximately 20 feet wide with 10 to 11 feet in extension.

Motorized vs Manual Parts

Motorized retractable awnings will cost more than manual ones do. You should expect to pay more for automated patio covers etc.


Metal front panels offer greater structural support especially during bad weather. They cost anywhere from $300-$500 or more.

Fabric Types

Woven cloth awnings also cost more but tend to last longer than laminated awning materials.

Additional Accessories

Wind and weather sensors, remote control options, and mobile app solutions all add a bit more to your final price tag.


Awnings come with different warranties depending on the fabric covering and mechanical components they come with. Look at the fine print to see if this will cost you extra.

How Long Does It Take to Install A Retractable Awning?

The awning complexity and assembly components for your awning determine how long it takes to install it. You can have your awning installed in as little as two hours or as long as two days.

If you customize your awning, the process could take longer, as it takes time to add in all the features you’re looking for.

Pre-assembled retractable awnings are lightweight and simple. As a result, they tend to take less than a day to professionally install.

How Long Do Retractable Awnings Last?

At Solarus USA Awnings, we are proud of how long our retractable awnings last. We recently replaced an awning that had been successfully used for over 20 years! A simple refurbishment and recovery were completed to maintain the awning.

We are also the first manufacturer to get approved for the stringent Miami/Dade Hurricane code wind load ratings with our premium Sunesta retractable awning product.

This means our customers are set up for Hurricane season with our retractable awning solution.

Are Retractable Awnings Waterproof?

Premium awnings are designed with water related events in mind. Most of them have an ideal pitch that allows for easy water runoff, particularly in the snow and rain. Retractable awnings, however, are not designed to hold water pools.

To protect your awning during heavy rain events, fold or retract your awning toward your home before it begins to storm.

How To Clean A Retractable Awning

Keep your awning in tip top shape, with these professional tips from our experts.

Clean Residential Awnings Yearly

Use a mild liquid soap designed for the type of fabric you’ve selected. Check with the manufacturer to see if they have additional recommendations for cleaning.

Cold to lukewarm water is the best solution for cleaning your awning. A soft bristle brush and a bit of elbow grease are all you need to complete your cleaning process.

Remember to allow your awning to completely dry before you retract your awning.

Repeat this step for both the top and underside of your awning.

Removing Deep-Set Stains

Did you spill some paint on your awning during a recent update to your home’s exterior? Start by dabbing the paint and apply a paint or grease remover to the stain. Use a soft brush and wash the area with dish soap and rinse it thoroughly.

For tree sap, which is very common in Florida, remove the sap by using a mixture of turpentine and liquid dish soap. Work it gently into the spa, and then wash with a mild soap and water mixture, repeating as needed.

For grease and sunscreen sprays, use a mild dish soap and water. Rinse completely, and air dry the awning before folding.

Maintenance Around Your Awning

To reduce tree sap build up and other damage to your awning, trim the vegetation surrounding your awning regularly. Solid debris such as leaves and twigs, can wear down your awning, leading to tears. Practice good maintenance and your awning will last for decades.

What To Look For in Retractable Deck and Patio Awnings

Here are the essentials of what you should look for and consider when buying a retractable deck or patio awning.

Start with Your Mount Style…

Retractable awnings come in a variety of mount styles including:

  • Wall Mounts
  • Soffit Mounts
  • Roof Mounts

Also consider your Frame Style options:

  • Multiple Color Options
  • Accessories for Your Frame

Add-Ons for Your Retractable Awning Include:

  • Motion Sensors
  • LED Lights
  • Multi-Channel Remote Controls

Benefits of Premium Acrylic Awning Fabric Styles

  • Mold, Mildew, Fungi, and Moisture Resistance
  • Temperature Reduction by 25 Degrees Fahrenheit
  • Flame Retardant and Waterproof
  • Fade Protection


  • Remote Control Opening & Closing Your Awning
  • Weatherproof Remotes
  • App Controlled Awnings

Warranties & Guarantees

  • Rust-Proof
  • Corrosion-Resistant
  • 5-Year Warranty Minimum for Motor Issues
  • Lifetime Factory Warranty on Awning Frames
  • 10-Year Warranty on Awning Frames

Ready To Buy A New Retractable Awning For Your Home?

At Solarus USA Awnings, we take pride in offering the industry’s best retractable awning solutions. Our model styles are diverse and come with a variety of motors to protect your property from Florida’s extreme weather conditions.

If you’re ready to learn more modern awnings for patios, or the cost to install a retractable awning, give us a call. We’d be happy to help you make the best decision for your home or business.

Get A Free Quote!

We’re committed to your satisfaction and offer one of the best warranties in the industry for our awnings.

Contact us today to get your free quote!

Leave a Comment