Learn the Pros and Cons of Retractable Patio Awnings

Marwa Hasan
Written by Marwa Hasan
Updated February 16, 2022
retractable patio awning in backyard
Photo: Lex20 / iStock / Getty Images

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Even if you love the hot weather, sometimes it’s simply too scorching to bask in the sun. On these days, you can either choose to stay indoors in the AC, or you can stay cool outside by installing a retractable awning for your patio.

What Is a Retractable Awning?

A retractable awning uses fabric to draw shade over your patio to protect it from the blazing sun and also retracts on the days when you want to enjoy the sun.

There are a few factors to consider before you buy and install a patio awning. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of this popular outdoor feature.

The Pros of Retractable Patio Awnings

Read more about the five advantages of retractable patio awnings: 

They Keep You and Your Home Cool

Retractable awnings shade the exterior of your home from the heat, but they can also help to keep the interior up to 15 degrees cooler. That means you can use less AC, which could translate to savings when your utility bill rolls around.

They Protect Your Furniture

Sun exposure can cause your furniture to bleach and dry out. A retractable patio awning is an excellent way to protect both your outdoor and indoor furniture from the harmful effects of heat and sun. That means more years with your favorite lounge chair.

Depending on what material you use on your patio, these awnings can also protect the sun from bleaching that surface too.

They’re Flexible

Retractable awnings have a longer lifespan than fixed awnings. Even though non-retractable awnings are less expensive, they aren’t as durable. Fixed awnings are more likely to get damaged and easily torn during storms. Retractable awnings can easily fold up during a windstorm or heavy snowfall, which will protect them.

They’re a Great Investment

You’ll see a good ROI for your retractable patio awning since the initial cost is minimal compared to adding a permanent roof for your deck. It also means more time by the pool on sunny afternoons with friends and family—it’s hard to put a price on that. 

They’re Convenient 

Retractable awnings are made of vinyl, canvas, or water-resistant fabric, meaning you can pick from plenty of options. They are also either automated or manually operated. Motorized awnings usually come with a sensor for wind or rain, timers, and remote controls, making the awning much more convenient to use, though they’ll typically cost more.

The Cons of Retractable Patio Awnings

retractable patio white striped awning
Photo: ronstik / iStock / Getty Images

They Can Be Expensive to Install

The biggest drawback is that the upfront costs of a retractable awning are fairly high. However, the costs could be worth it if you know your family will use it often and you will likely save money on energy costs in the long run. It’s important to ensure you’re purchasing retractable awnings from a reputable company to ensure it lasts for many years.

They Require Maintenance and Cleaning

All awnings, retractable and non-retractable, need to be cleaned regularly. 

Over time, the fabric of your awning will collect dirt, dust, debris, or trap water after rainstorms. Not to mention the metal parts; if not cleaned, they can get rusty or stuck. Your awning will need a good clean every now and then before it can compromise its quality.

Repairing Sensors Can Be Costly

Motorized awnings tend to cost more upfront, but they are more convenient. Some of these types of awnings have remotes or sensors that automatically retract when it starts to rain. 

If the sensor gets busted, a replacement can be expensive. Meanwhile, you’ll have to operate the awning manually before consulting with your local awning repairperson to get everything moving smoothly again.

They’re Not Suited for All Weather Conditions

While awnings are great for heat prevention and protecting your property from direct sunlight, they’re not great for strong storms, snow, or heavy rain. If bad weather strikes, retract your awnings so they are not damaged. 

Even though the retractable awning’s fabric tends to be weather-proofed, it could develop leaks or trap water leading to mold growth. Ensure to get rid of any trapped water and clean out any mold regularly before it leads to problems.

You can contact your local awning contractor for a customized consultation to see if a retractable awning would work well on your patio.

Are Retractable Awnings Worth It?

Retractable awnings are worth if if you’re looking for outdoor comfort and convenience at a reasonable price. Although retractable awnings have an upfront cost, that cost is still less than if you opted to install a fixed awning or build a roof over your patio or deck. If you plan to sell your home in the future, a retractable awning is definitely worth the investment, as it can appeal to potential buyers who dream of shady summer afternoons. 

Also, considering the protection it can offer your outdoor furniture, the price of a retractable awning is more than worth it for most deck-loving homeowners.

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