Life Under the Awning Blog

Retractable awnings have a broad history since the ancient times in Egypt when they were used to provide shade from the hot, blistering sun. Although the use of awnings is not as essential as it was in ancient Egyptian times, they still provide a considerable amount of protection for the sun’s penetrating rays, wind, and rain. Today, residential retractable awnings are used on doors or windows in homes and offices using different styles and materials that are considered aesthetic and creative.

Awning Materials

In earlier days, awnings were made of materials such as wood, canvas, and metal. However, with time these materials have consistently been replaced with more durable materials that require less maintenance.


Acrylic-coated and acrylic synthetic fabrics are largely used to make retractable awnings because of their durability. This material tends to repel water and resist fading more effectively. As a homeowner, you can choose from polyester fabrics coated with acrylic, cotton-polyester blended with acrylic coating, or 100% acrylic fabrics.


Vinyl is also used to coat retractable awning fabrics. Since vinyl is slightly heavier than acrylic, it tends to have a greater translucency, making them a better choice for illuminated or backlit awnings. They are used in areas that are exposed to sustained high heat and humidity, and are useful in resisting mildew and UV light.


Aluminum and steel awnings were very common the 1950s to 1970s. Metals offer a low-maintenance, slick surface that can be painted easily to match the surface of the house. However, steel requires regular repainting as it is prone to rust while aluminum dents easily.


Awnings made of fiberglass are a lighter alternative to metal awnings. They are usually molded with color in the material, so there is no need of repainting, but also reduce your ability to change their look. As a homeowner, you can choose either a slightly translucent or opaque fiberglass awning.

Natural Materials

Natural materials include natural fiber canvas and wood which were traditionally used in many buildings. These materials are cheap to acquire and install, but they require frequent replacement and more maintenance. They also pose an increased risk to fire damage in certain areas.

As you can see, retractable awnings are made of different materials from natural ones to more synthetic ones. As a homeowner, you can choose the material that best suits your preferences and the type of house you wish to install an awning. To find a local awning specialist in your area, contact Eclipse Shading Systems at (800) 501-3850.