Retractable Awnings Versus Fixed Awnings: Which is Best For Your Home?

When looking for the optimal way to provide shade in your home’s backyard, you will naturally be drawn to having an awning installed. An awning is ideal for providing shade and protection from the sun’s intense rays. Awnings are also an ideal way to extend the time you can comfortably spend in your backyard. There are two types of backyard awnings: fixed awnings and retractable awnings. We will review the differences between fixed and retractable awnings in this blog.

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Fixed Awnings

The biggest difference between fixed and retractable awnings is whether the awning can flexibly offer shade. A fixed awning is permanently bolted to the outside of your home and is inflexible. Fixed awnings are generally mounted permanently over smaller areas, such as over windows, doors, entryways, walkways, and porches. The fixed awning remains in place through all types of weather, enduring rain, wind, and sun. Whether you desire to be in the shade or not, a fixed awning remains in place, shading your backyard. Because it is constantly installed, fixed awnings will provide shade inside the rooms that they overshadow as well – even in cooler months when you desire sunlight. With a fixed awning, you do not have the ability to retract the awning on cooler days when you desire sun light for warmth. It is permanently in use. 

Retractable Awnings

A retractable awning is also attached to the outside of your home, however, it can be furled and unfurled with the press of a button. Retractable awnings give you the option of having full sun, part sun, or full shade at the touch of a button. If the weather becomes intensely stormy, snowy, or windy, you can have your awning roll-up and be safely stored in its canister. If the sun’s heat becomes too intense, you can unfurl your retractable awning for instant shade. In cooler months, when you may desire to be warmed by the sun’s rays, keep your retractable awning contracted and soak up the sun.


Fixed Awnings

Fixed awnings are typically installed with vinyl or canvas materials. Owing to their year-round exposure to outside elements, fixed awnings often show signs of mildew, rot and fading within a few years after installation. Additionally, fixed awnings are typically installed using steel piping or tubing which can rust and become corroded with constant exposure to the elements in just a few years.

Retractable Awnings

ECCO Sunroom & Awning’s retractable awnings come in over 250 different fabric choices including solids, stripes, textures, and tweeds. Our retractable awning fabrics come from the world’s finest solution dyed acrylics. Additionally, our retractable awnings have a special protective coating and utilize a specialized long lasting awning thread that extend the life of your awning material. In fact, ECCO Sunroom & Awning’s motorized awnings have a lifetime warranty on several parts. Call 757.424.0022 to schedule a consultation to learn more about ECCO’s retractable awning warranties.

Awning Fabrics


Fixed Awnings

Fixed awnings are structures permanently installed on the outside of your home. As such, they are designed to protect against various weather. However, severe weather could cause damage to a fixed awning. Here in Hampton Roads, we have been known to experience hurricanes with high winds which could cause rips or tearing of your fixed awning. Severe torrential down pours, and even occasional winter snow could add too much weight to your fixed awning and cause structural issues. Because fixed awnings are typically made of vinyl or canvas fabric and is constantly exposed to the elements (including the sun’s UV rays), it’s cover has a much shorter lifespan compared to that of a retractable awning (comprised of dyed acrylic).

The fixed awning remains in place through all types of weather, enduring rain, wind, and sun. Whether you desire to be in the shade or not, a fixed awning remains in place, shading your backyard. Additionally, because it is constantly installed, fixed awnings will provide shade to any rooms or interior spaces that it might shadow – even in cooler months when you desire sunlight.

Rain falling off roof and gutter

Retractable Awnings

In the event of severe weather, retractable awnings can be safely tucked away in their canister – all with the press of a button. This will reduce potential damage caused by hurricane level winds, hail, or excessive weight owing to torrential down pours or snow. Retractable awning fabrics are specially designed to withstand intense heat and UV without fading and discoloration.

The fabric material of a retractable awning is not constantly exposed to the elements since you can furl and unfurl the awning at your leisure. When it is exposed to the sun’s UV rays and other elements, it is longer lasting owing to being comprised of a more durable material than a fixed awning.

The greatest benefit of a retractable awning is its ability to allow you to control whether you add shade to your space. If you desire the warmth of the sun for your backyard space or the interior space of your home that your awning is adjoining, then retract the awning. Want shade? Unfurl the awning. Controlling shade in the space can also impact your utility bills, saving you money on the cost of energy as you prevent or allow the sun’s heat to impact your interior climate.


Fixed Awnings

Evaluating the same size and scope of a fixed versus a retractable awning, a fixed awning typically costs more to install than a retractable awning. As with any home improvement project, there are various levels of grade and quality of materials that can range in your price estimate. There are additional considerations in price comparisons such as: size and scope of the work, state of existing exterior the awning will be mounted to, if the awning is motorized, etc.

Motorized retractable awning gray sideview with straight valance

Retractable Awnings

The price to install a retractable awning is minimal compared to a permanent roof install over your patio or deck. While there are upfront costs for a retractable awning, they are more convenient and longer lasting than a fixed awning. Plus, a retractable awning will provide you the ability to spend more time comfortably in your backyard, you can’t put a price on that! If you are considering selling your home in the future, a retractable awning is a great selling point bonus.


Fixed Awnings

Fixed awnings require little maintenance as they are not mechanical. However, because they are exposed to outside elements year-round, their fabric should be cleaned and attended to in between each season. The fabric should be brushed of debris and any stains should be gently washed off with a soft bristle brush and soapy water. Depending on where the fixed awning is attached to your home, it may be more difficult to reach the top of the awning to remove debris and clean it than a retractable awning.

Retractable Awning

Properly maintaining your retractable awning is key to having a lovely awning for years to come. Because our retractable awnings are fairly maintenance-free, it is surprising how little maintenance and cleaning is required. Keeping your awning fabric clean, moving parts lubricated, motor not overheated, and stored properly will maintain your retractable awning. Learn more about the maintenance and care of your retractable awning

A retractable awning is partially extended - ECCO Sunroom & Awning


While both fixed and retractable awnings can provide shade to your backyard, each offer distinct differences. When considering the flexibility, materials, weather durability, cost, maintenance, and care, you’ve probably discovered that a retractable awning is a better choice for your home. Get shade in your backyard with the press of a button from an enduring, attractive, seamlessly installed retractable awning.

Awning with Straight Valance
Retractable Awning - Virginia Beach, VA - ECCO Sunroom & Awning
Patio shaded by awning

Schedule A Free Design Consultation

Looking for ideas on how to enhance your backyard patio with shade? Consider a customized retractable awning, pergola canopy, or solar screen or shade. Maybe you are looking for a space that will provide you with the feel of the outdoors and the benefits of being indoors – a four season or three season sunroom? ECCO Sunroom & Awning has been creating customized outdoor living spaces for over 30 years in Hampton Roads. We’ve got you covered with ideas and plans to keep you cool when the sun comes out. Need inspiration? Check out our gallery. Call 757-424-0022 to schedule a free design consultation with ECCO Sunroom & Awning.

Motorized Awnings

25% Off

Featured discount figured from 25% of average cost of $7,000 for a motorized awning. Awning installation time based on average duration of orders for in-stock awnings. One offer per household. Offer not valid on prior sales, prior booked jobs, or combined with any other offers. Offer valid only at time of initial in-home quotation. Some restrictions apply. Call for complete details and pricing. Offer ends 7/31/24.

Call ECCO Sunroom and Awning today for a FREE In Home Estimate at 757-424-0022.