Retractable vs. Fixed Awnings: Which Should You Choose?

If you are looking for a cost-effective and attractive way to enjoy more of the outdoor space at your home or business, an awning is an ideal choice. Not only will it enhance the exterior look of your building, but it also offers protection from the rain and strong sunshine, keeping you and others comfortable while contributing to lower energy bills.

As you begin researching awnings, you may realize that there are two main types: retractable and fixed. Though they serve the same purpose, there are some differences you should be aware of before deciding on which one will best suit your needs.


Retractable awnings are flexible, letting you extend them as much or as little as you like. Whether you want to host a small gathering or hang with your family, retractable awnings encourage you to spend more time outside.

There are two kinds of arms that allow an awning to retract: articulated and telescopic. Articulated arms are spring-loaded and open in stages, while telescopic arms collapse down into themselves, and telescope outwards when in use. You will need to decide whether you want a motorized or manual awning. Manual awnings open by turning a handle or crank, while motorized awnings open with a touch of a button. Although motorized awnings offer more convenience, they can also cost more in repairs and maintenance.

It is important to note as well, that retractable awnings are considered “fair weather” fixtures, and are not meant to be extended in severe weather conditions like thunderstorms or heavy rain.


Fixed awnings do not open and close like retractable awnings and are for those who want a more permanent solution. Custom-made for a specific space, fixed awnings are especially great for buildings that have unusually shaped windows or doorways. Fixed awnings are sturdy, come in a variety of fabrics, styles, and sizes, and need less maintenance since they do not have movable parts. If you are looking for a fantastic way to advertise your company logo and promote your brand, a fixed awning may be a perfect choice.

We Are Your Orlando Awning Solution

Although there are some differences in both retractable and fixed, it is helpful to think about how you want to use your awning long term. If you would like assistance selecting the right one, the experts at Universal Awning & Sign can help. We offer a wide variety of awnings and canopies for residential and commercial projects. For more information about our services or to receive a free quote, please call 407-328-7781 or fill out a contact us form online.