Choosing a Retractable Awning: ‘Covering’ All The Options

Every spring big box stores, magazines, trending blogs and seasonal home shows roll out the latest trends and innovations in outdoors design. Pictures of lavish outdoor kitchens, artistic pergolas, cozy fire pits and luxurious swimming pools are splashed across our screens and pages to paint a highly desirable depiction of the perfect outdoor lifestyle. If taken in the right context, this dream can become a long lasting reality. When compared to the expenses associated with ‘going up north’ or an annual globetrotting excursion, a beautiful outdoor space quickly becomes a more viable and sensible option.

Before pursuing the ideal outdoor space you must ask yourself important questions. What will I use this space for, what are my needs, what are my desires and how big should I make the tiki bar?

Once you have sorted that out, I am sure you will come to the same conclusion that I did: If I want to get the most out of my outdoor space, I need to protect my area from the rain and if necessary, the sun.

So, now that you have outlined a need for coverage,  you need to start thinking about what kind of coverage is best for you: the solution should be architecturally and aesthetically complimentary to your home and capable of handling some of the harshest elements: wind, rain and if applicable snow.

While understandable that quality has its price, a product with great value should be complimentary to your personal tastes.  There are a variety of outdoor solutions available on the market. Most of these can be used with some degree of success but limited in their capabilities. To give you the full scope of what is out there, I have gathered, sorted and delivered the ultimate guide to your outdoor living lifestyle.

When choosing a retractable awning, or any of the other shade solutions listed here, always make sure to do your research, there is no better place to start then right here.

Laura U Interior Design
Laura U Interior Design

This is the most popular, quick and temporary response to sun protection, when it comes to rain…not so much. Unless you settle for a commercial umbrella that needs to be hauled around your patio, the umbrella is usually too small. This of course is not to say umbrellas have no place in the outdoors, but by choosing umbrellas as ‘the’ only form of overhead protection will definitely limit the ways you enjoy your outdoor space.

Fixed Awnings
Forte Design Shop by Christina Karras

This is total opposite of the umbrella. This product demands long-term commitment to a bulky metal frame and permanent fabric attached directly to the side of your home. This solution can cover a large area and is highly wind resistant but must have a slope to shed excess rain. If you live in a colder climate, this type of coverage needs to be removed and stored away every winter, exposing a bare frame and leaving you with a potential eye sore.

Roll Retractable Awnings
id 810 Design Group

This multi-billion dollar industry is built upon a design that disregards any need for structural supports. However, roll retractable canopies cannot project more than fifteen feet from a wall, inextricably tying them to the back of your home. There are modifications that can go further, but these are susceptible to damage from even mild wind or rains. In order to remedy this problem, there are a host of compromises that could be employed: reducing the projection length, increasing the slope (while decreasing headroom) or simply retracting the awning at the first sight of wind or rain.

The less popular roll retractable awnings are complemented with ‘rigid frames’. This product uses an extra strength frame, potentially of your own personal design, to roll out coverage. An angle of roughly 15 degrees is necessary to shed heavier rains. Again, slope limits the headroom underneath the ‘low side’ of the overhead system. It is not necessary to attach it to a wall, but the full box frames with stand off posts present an egregious lack of style.

Shade Sails
moon Design + Build
moon Design + Build

These triangular panels of fabric are suspended between heavily anchored posts with high tension supporting cables. The shade sail comes in different colours and sizes allowing it to match the design of your home. However, because of their shape, multiple shade sails may be necessary to cover the desired space. Once installed,  they usually don’t get moved until the end of the season.

Retractable Canopies, Cable Suspended & Multi-Track Systems
aamodt/plumb architects
aamodt/plumb architects

The common saying, ‘You can’t reinvent the wheel’,  in most cases stands true. Except when it comes to retractable canopies.

Cable suspended sunshades have been around for centuries, albeit in different variations. Initially, these were used to simply provide shade, but with innovations in technology, this design has come a long way. These systems are well suited to dry climates where rain exposure is not an issue.  They come with a manufacturer-supplied frame potentially limiting your inspirational designs, desirable function and tailored style. Whether you go with the available frame or attach the multi-panel system to an existing pergola, be prepared to get your screwdriver out.

Multi-track/multi-panel systems are installed with a complete frame and/or track system that covers large areas with highly effective sun and rain protection. This system still employs a slope in order to shed rain away from the building, they are strong, expensive and also use manufacturer supplied frames that are usually painted aluminum. As a result, there is a degree of reluctance to use them on behalf of designers and architects that hold aesthetic as an ideal.

Only ShadeFX is designed to be flat, shedding rain to the sides, with an option to collect the runoff in troughs and shed it to the front.  It was always our intention to offer retractable sun and rain protection in a design that fits your frame and style, a feat only possible with coverage operation in a flat condition. We truly believe that when it comes to design and function, we are the leader in a growing market.

The Single Track Retractable Canopy
Choosing a Retractable Awning: ShadeFX
ShadeFX Canopies

This system is made exclusively by ShadeFX.

We are proud of our counterintuitive engineering practices that enabled us to bring the ultimate retractable shade solution to the outdoor living market. Our single track suspends the canopy from the middle ensuring that rain sheds to the sides, regardless of a front to back slope.  The single track installs both easily and instantly, reaching 20, 30, even 40 feet or more. If requested, ShadeFX can operate one canopy or a multitude of canopies on the same track. We can even operate a 10X10 canopy on a 20 or 30-foot long track allowing the homeowner to enjoy quality shade where and when they want it without the need to cover the entire area all at once.

Our Topside feature is the only system that mounts above the frame, allowing light fixtures and other outdoor accessories to operate without interference from the canopy. This is another outstanding innovation from ShadeFX where design is driven by dreams.

Take the critical step toward a lifetime of comfort and style in your outdoor living space and call ShadeFX with your dream.

Retractable Solutions for Outdoor Spaces

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