Covering the Competition:
ShadeFX vs. Retractable Awnings

Retractable awnings are considered a cheaper alternative to ShadeFX retractable canopies. However, some consumers don’t understand that they are entirely different products. The differences in capabilities are immeasurable and we’ll cover these focal points below.

Rain Protection

Retractable Awnings: Primarily designed as a shade device but capable of handling light to moderate rain as long as the water does not ‘pool’. If water does pool, it can result in unhealthy mold and mildew growth. It is recommended to retract the system during heavy rains as it can damage the awning. If retracted when wet, the awning must be re-extended to dry before retracting again for longer term storage. Wet awnings will rot and develop mould if left rolled up when wet.

ShadeFX Retractable Canopies: Designed for both rain and sun protection. The canopy suspends from a single track, producing a peak which forces rain to run on either side. Consumers can also tilt the canopy to direct runoff. As a bonus, gutters can be installed to further manage rainwater. ShadeFX canopies continue to allow air to pass through the folds when retracted. As such, they can be retracted wet without the threat of rotting or developing mould.

Custom Shapes and Sizes

Retractable Awnings: Come in two standard shapes, a square or rectangle. Most awnings are standard sizes, but some companies offer custom dimensions.

ShadeFX Retractable Canopies: Tailor-made to project specifications. Standard, irregular shapes, corner cuts and custom sizes can be manufactured. Canopies can also arch to conform to the shape of a curved structure, or to work around intrusive objects such as chimneys by cutting out a notch.

Mounting Requirements

Retractable Awnings: Awnings mount to a vertical wall of the building and extends off the building. Based on the manufacturer, there is a minimum mounting height required to install the awning. This can vary from 7’6” to 10’. Furthermore, at least 6” to 11” of unobstructed space is required for the entire length of the awning for installation.

ShadeFX Retractable Canopies: ShadeFX mounts horizontally across a structure or frame and there is no minimum mounting height required. Canopies can be extended from any side of the structure and extra ‘wings’ can be added to reduce the vertical space needed for operation.


Retractable Awnings: Maximum projection is up to 16’ off the wall. Projection can vary by the width of the awning.  For example, a 10’ wide awning typically projects only 9’. Additionally, the awning projects with a pitch. As the awning extends, it will obstruct views and reduce the clearance height.

ShadeFX Retractable Canopies: Maximum projection is 24’ but multiple canopies can be connected to provide larger coverage. Canopy width bares no impact on projection length. Canopies project virtually flat, resulting in unobstructed views.

Area Protected

Retractable Awnings: Must be fixed to a building resulting in coverage limitations. For example, if the area is too far off the building, the awning cannot reach to cover the space.

ShadeFX Retractable Canopies: Mounts to a freestanding or attached structure, providing coverage where needed most.

Adding Comfort

Retractable Awnings: There is no option to mount lights, heaters or speakers onto your retractable awning. The framework is meant to specifically support the tensioned fabric. The only means of adding these are mounting them to the same wall as the awning, limiting areas for extra comfort.

ShadeFX Retractable Canopies: The canopies mount onto new or existing framework. Heaters, lighting and speakers can also be mounted or incorporated into the same framework. Thus, surrounding the area with added luxuries. 

Controlled Coverage

Retractable Awnings: Most manufacturers recommend the awning be extended completely providing only sun or shade in the area.

ShadeFX Retractable Canopies: Can be partially extended or retracted allowing shade in one area, while allowing sun to shine through on the other.

Wind Tolerance

Retractable Awnings: Based on the manufacturer, awnings are intended to be retracted during moderate to high winds. The wind can damage components of the awning and may actually do damage to the building at the mountings.

ShadeFX Retractable Canopies: Can withstand winds up to 80+ mph when extended and higher winds when retracted. However, it is recommended to retract in high winds, or winds constantly exceeding 35mph when not in use for longevity.

Retractable awnings have been in the shade market for decades. However, with continuous engineering, ShadeFX is always looking to improve our product offering. This allows us to rise in reputation and recognition, becoming a leader in transforming outdoor spaces.

Learn more about our Retractable Canopy Solution.

Retractable Solutions for Outdoor Spaces

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