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Serving All of Central Florida

Wondering What Type of Awnings to Choose? Here's How Metal and Fabric Compare

awning over balcony window

If you've decided it's time to get awnings for your house windows, you might be overwhelmed with all your choices. Unless you already know the kind of awnings you want, you may wonder which type is best for your home.

You have two basic choices to begin with. You can install a metal or fabric awning. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, but both types work well, so you can't really go wrong no matter which type you choose. Here is a look at how these options differ.

Awning Appearance

Metal awnings and fabric awnings look similar but since the materials are so different, you can tell them apart quite easily. Metal awnings can be standing seam or flat metal.

If you have a metal roof, one of these awnings could look like a natural extension of the roof. They come in a number of colors so you can match or contrast the colors of your home. Fabric awnings have the most variety when it comes to appearance.

These awnings come in a range of colors, stripes, and patterns. Fabric awnings also come in a variety of shapes since the fabric can take on the shape of the form beneath it. Fabric is also used on retractable awnings since it can be rolled up easily and hidden when the awning is not in use.

Sun Protection

Metal awnings are solid material so they completely block the sun. Fabric awnings can let some light filter through depending on the type of fabric you choose. Consider how the shade will affect the interior of your home.

If you completely block out the sun, it may be darker in your home than you like. However, with the sun blocked, you'll have the most protection from solar heating and UV fading. If you want sunlight to filter through, then a fabric awning in a light color would be a good choice.

If you want a fabric awning and you want the sun blocked as much as possible, then choose fabric with a tight weave and that has a high UPF rating. The UPF rating lets you know how well the fabric will protect you from sun exposure.

Weather Protection

One advantage of metal awnings is that they can be pulled over the windows to act as shutters during a storm. If you want added window protection from hail and flying debris, then look for metal shutters you can detach or readjust so they turn into shutters.

Fabric awnings might shield you from light rain, but they aren't as durable as metal when it comes to strong winds and hail. You may even want to close a retractable awning when a bad storm approaches so it isn't damaged.

Heavy rain can form a puddle in a retractable awning because of the way it is mounted on your home. The weight of the water might stretch the fabric, which is why it is best to close it during a storm.


Both types of awnings are fairly low maintenance. Fabric awnings have a topcoat that protects them from UV damage, mildew, and stains. However, you'll want to clean your awnings occasionally to keep them clean.

Consider cleaning your awnings part of your spring cleaning chores. Use a brush and soapy water to remove dirt and stains, then hose off the soapy solution. While you have the hose handy, spray away debris and spider webs around the frame and under the awning. If your fabric awning is made of canvas, you can apply a sealant after it's dry that helps keep it clean and water resistant.

The final consideration is cost. There are economical options and high-end options for both types of awnings, so comparing costs isn't as simple as it seems. One thing to note is that metal tends to last longer than fabric so your initial investment in metal awnings goes a long way.

Since awnings affect the appearance of your home, choosing awnings that are a perfect match is important. Sunstate Awning & Graphic Design Inc. will help you choose the best awning materials and custom design them for a perfect fit over your windows and patio doors.