It is not uncommon to hear homeowners and business owners use canopy and awning interchangeably when describing an exterior shade for the home or business. While both can be used to create a shaded outside space, they differ in a lot of ways.
To make the right decision for your outdoor space, it is essential to understand the differences between awnings and canopies. Here is a comprehensive awning vs. canopy comparison to help you understand both options better and determine the perfect choice for your needs.
What is an awning?
An awning is a structure that can be constructed in a commercial or residential property to cover open space or provide shade under doors and windows. Awnings are often supported by a building’s wall, making them permanent structures.
Apart from improving the aesthetics of a space, awnings can help reduce heating or Cooling costs since the awning will help protect the covered space from harsh weather conditions that may affect the inside temperature. The best part is that all this is achieved while still allowing natural light into a space.
Commercial awnings come with screened panels that ensure natural light can be allowed into a space even while offering protection from harmful UV rays.
What is a canopy?
This is an overhead structure made from fabric or metal used to cover a large open space like a roof. They are commonly used in open-air markets or outdoor events where they provide shade to vendors and customers. Unlike awnings that mostly cover a smaller space, windows, or entryways, canopies usually cover larger spaces and require supporting beams for the fabric roof since they are freestanding, portable structures.
Awning Vs. Canopy – The 5 key Differences
The greatest difference between awnings and canopies lies in the design. An awning comprises a sturdy structure fixed to a wall, onto which the fabric cover is attached. Awnings can be stationary or retractable. Stationary awnings are fixed permanently in position and are not adjustable. On the other hand, a retractable awning gives the user the freedom to open and close based on weather changes.
A canopy is designed as a standalone structure requiring beams to support the overhead covering fabric. The beams can either be permanently fixed to the ground or movable.
Durability and portability
This is probably the second most common difference when it comes to an awning vs. canopy comparison. Since awnings are permanently attached to a wall, they cannot be moved to offer sun protection as needed.
In terms of portability, canopies can be made as movable covers and are easy to disassemble. The ability to move portable canopies makes them ideal for mobile stores or pop-up markets. Unlike awnings, canopies do not have the retractable option, making them unsuitable for spaces that sometimes require an open roof.
In terms of durability, both canopies and awnings can last for decades with proper care, only requiring a change of fabric cover every ten years or more. The material used for the covers is usually weather friendly and coated to improve their lifespan.
However, awning covers wear out much faster than canopies since they are always directly under the sun, rain, or snow, whereas canopy covers mostly remain stored away when not in use.
The material used
The material used to make the covers is also a common difference between awnings and canopies. Awnings are permanent structures that can have stationary or retractable covers built over patios, windows, and doors. The awning covers can be made from either canvas, vinyl, or cotton. These are soft materials that are easily foldable when retracting the awning. The cover options come in numerous options or patterns and colors.
For canopies, the materials used for the covers can be soft or hard, depending on the type of canopy. There is a wide range of options available for canopy covers. Ideally, permanent canopies require all-weather hard material, while movable canopies can have softer materials.
One of the reasons businesses and homes prefer installing awnings is because they offer temperature control benefits for the whole house. Once installed, an awning can drastically reduce toe heating or cooling costs around the home.
This is because they not only offer shade but also keep away the hot rays. Awnings also help to protect furniture and surfaces by clocking out harmful UV rays.
On the other hand, a canopy can only offer protection for whatever is placed under it. Canopies cannot stop sun rays from accessing a space, therefore cannot be relied on to protect surfaces or furniture from premature sun fading.
Influence on aesthetics
When it comes to improving curb appeal, awnings come with a wide range of shapes, designs, and colors, making them easy to match to the natural aesthetics of a building or house.
Compared to canopies, they are also more presentable, making them more suitable for improving a space’s aesthetics. While canopy covers may come in different colors, the visible supporting beams may not be as appealing.
The bottom line
You can use the awnings vs. canopy comparisons above to determine the best option for your needs. If you are looking for a shade that will help with temperature control, an awning would be the best option. On the hand, if you need something you can put away sometimes, a canopy may be the best option. Ultimately, the best choice for your needs will depend on the space you want to cover and the effect you want to achieve.