• The Ultimate Guide to Awnings: Types and its Benefits

Us Aussies are a lucky bunch, thanks to the favourable weather allowing for lots of time outdoors.

Yet, when you’re creating a comfortable outdoor area to relax with family or a safe space for employees to work, there’s one feature you don’t want to overlook: the awning.

An awning can be a real asset to your home or business, giving the building a creative lift while working hard to protect people from the elements. But how do you select an awning material that fits your needs?

Today’s article tells you all about awnings – types of awnings, what they’re made from and their many incredible benefits for homes and workspaces.

What is an Awning?

Awnings have been around for centuries, first created to provide an area for people to remain dry or safe from the sun – and they continue to do exactly that to this day!

Awnings are often confused with canopies, with many people using the terms interchangeably. But they are not one and the same thing.

A canopy is a freestanding overhead cover that is moved to an area temporarily when the need arises for protection against rain or sun.

An awning, which is intended for regular and ongoing use, is a permanent fixture – albeit with the ability to open and close its protective cover as required.

While there are similarities between traditional awnings and those manufactured today – mainly in the fabrics used – modern awnings are much more colourful, with aesthetics having become just as crucial to the buyer as the protection they offer.

Types of Awnings

Retractable awning

Retractable awnings are among the most popular sun protection products in Australia—and for good reason. These highly flexible overhead awnings roll or fold away easily when not in use, keeping up with changing weather conditions.

As well as protecting the people beneath them, patio retractable awnings also protect outdoor furniture and floor coverings from excessive wear and tear caused by sun damage.

There are three types of retractable awnings for decks:

  • Traditional retractable awnings are operated manually by a handle – an effective, low-cost option
  • Motorised retractable awnings roll out and in again quickly, operated by a switch setting or remote control
  • Sensor-triggered awnings are programmed to react to sun or rain and extract on-demand

Window awning

Many of us think of an awning as an overhead people cover – which is true. But did you know there are awnings for windows, too?

Just like an overhead awning protects people from the elements, window awnings offer the same protection for the building and the people in it. A simple open-and-close mechanism protects against heat, UV and precipitation at the touch of a button.

By installing a window awning, which sits externally just above the window frame, you can:

  • Reduce heat gain into the building by up to 50%, keeping the interior cooler without the need for air conditioning
  • Prevent UV rays shining through the window and impacting the people inside
  • Minimise sun damage to indoor furniture, extending its lifespan and lowering the need to replace items quickly

What are Awnings Made of?

Whether it’s a window awning or a patio retractable awning, these protective fixtures rely on a highly flexible material for fast operation in line with the ever-changing weather. Here are some of the most common fabrics used for awnings today:

Acrylic: light and breathable, many home and business owners choose acrylic awnings because they are highly durable and water-resistant, protecting people and properties. Popular brands like Docril can reduce heat gain by up to 90%, making the ideal fabric for awnings.

Canvas: highly durable, this woven blend of cotton and polyester provides an exceptional heavy-duty awning that protects against the elements for up to 10 years.

Mesh: the breathability of mesh makes it popular for many awnings, offering protection against solar heat gain of up to 99%. Due to its weave, it also retains an 'open' aspect, which appeals to many customers when choosing an awning fabric.

Learn more about awning fabrics

Benefits of Awnings

Protecting guests

Whether you fancy yourself the number one host in town or aspire to be, awnings are a surefire way to impress guests and family alike – indoors and outdoors. A window awning makes Indoor areas more comfortable as it blocks the sun’s harsh rays. Outdoors, a retractable awning allows you to enjoy more of an al fresco lifestyle without the heat, UV rays and rainfall bothering you and your guests. What’s more, lots of overhead awnings come with accessories such as screens to shield you and your guests from wind and bugs, too.

Uplifting aesthetics

With so many awning fabrics and styles, there is no doubt you'll find one to help showcase your unique style and eye for design. This could be just the finish you need to make the beauty of your outdoor area match your indoor space, creating the flow many homeowners nowadays are looking for.

Adding value

While homeowners are not always thinking of a house sale, it's great to know you'll be well-placed to maximise your earnings when the day arrives. Window and patio awnings can add value to your property by making the environment comfortable and versatile indoors and outdoors - something future buyers can see clearly when they catch a glimpse of your awnings in action.

Controlling temperature

When you're at home, you expect to be comfortable – it's your sanctuary, after all. Retractable and window awnings help you control the temperature at a moment's notice, allowing exposure to the sun when you want it and removing it completely when you don't. Indoors, this has a short-term bearing on energy costs, too, reducing what you spend on heating and cooling rooms with a reversible air conditioning system.

Maintaining furniture

Nothing is more frustrating than having to replace furniture damaged by the elements. A horizontal retractable awning offers dependable protection against harsh Australian weather conditions, prolonging the lifespan of your outdoor furniture and providing maximum return on investment.

Explore Rickys fabrics for awnings

A Final Word about Awnings

So, now we’ve told you all about awnings - types of awnings, materials and how they benefit your home or workplace –you can understand why investing in an awning makes sense.

Time to ensure some protection from the weather, energy efficiency, value-add for your investment AND long-term cost savings?

At Ricky Richards, we supply the highest-quality sun control fabrics designed specifically for retractable awnings, window awnings and other applications. With a broad range of fabric types, colours and sizes, we can help you create an awning to be proud of, customised to your precise taste and needs.

To talk awnings, contact one of our experienced team members today.