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Awnings: Pros & Cons

Drue Tibbits

Awnings add decoration and protection to doors and windows. Large patio awnings provide shade and expand the outdoor comfort zone. Although awnings have many benefits, there are drawbacks as well. Whether you select metal or fabric awnings, learn their pros and cons so that you can utilize them to their best advantage.


Awnings provide shade but also block the view.

Awnings, especially multiple-awning projects, can be expensive. With fabric awnings, the different fabric choices can drive the price up substantially. Metal awnings, although less expensive than fabric awnings, can still be quite costly. However, because awnings block the sun from reaching windows and causing indoor heat gain, the awnings may pay for themselves with reduced cooling costs. Awnings are sometimes cheaper than their alternatives. An outdoor patio awning creates a covered area at less cost than a permanent roof.

View Considerations

Awnings block the view as well as the sun. If you are used to looking out your windows and seeing the trees and sky, you may not appreciate losing this view. However, if your outdoor view is undesirable you may consider this a benefit. Awnings mounted low on windows will also provide some extra privacy as the awnings act as a window shade.


In most cases, window awnings create a darkened atmosphere in the home. Depending on the awning material and at what height the awnings are mounted on the windows, the darkened effect may be barely noticeable or it may be substantial. Some prefer the cozy effect of darkened rooms, but some prefer bright, sunny indoor spaces. Retractable awnings provide the best of both situations, creating shade when needed and retracting to allow sunlight when wanted.


With the proper care, aluminum awnings may last 20 years or more. However, while the metal frames of fabric awnings may also last 20 years, the fabric will need replacing periodically. Different fabrics carry different warranties, with some awning covers needing replacement after five years while others may last 10 years before needing replacing. Although this is a disadvantage, replacing your awning covers is also a way to spruce up the exterior of your home occasionally with the latest colors and designs.


Some awnings, depending on the style, provide storm protection. Aluminum awnings can sometimes be folded down to cover the window, providing hurricane-level protection. Fabric awnings do not provide this same level of protection as they are mounted with part of the window exposed, but they still can prevent blowing storm debris from breaking windows. Retractable awnings do not provide any storm protection and should be retracted during storms to prevent damage to the awning itself.