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What are the pros and cons of retractable awnings?

Read this before buying a retractable awning!

We’ve all seen the commercials on TV late at night. “Our patio was so HOT but with our new Sunsetter Retractable Awnings our patio is 10 degrees cooler” The awning looks exactly like a camper awning with poles mounted at the bottom and the roller-tube rolls out to the front of the awning. The cover is plastic… There’s always a $200 coupon and a awning idea kit they want to mail you. It’s time for an honest assessment on retractable awnings.  Do retractable awnings really do what they say they’ll do? Is your awning salesman misrepresenting what retractable awnings are good for? CAN YOU HANDLE THE TRUTH??? 

Where did Retractable Awnings Come From?

Do as the Romans did! The first retractable awning dates back to the Roman Empire! Modern retractable awnings made their biggest hit in Europe. At cafés and markets you can still see them lining the streets with folks seated under them enjoying their lunch with a glass of wine. Retractable awnings are used because it’s “free rent” to expand the dining area. It’s great for a restaurant to have people seated outside enjoying their meal as folks pass by. It really wasn’t until the 90s that retractable awnings became popular in the United States market.

The bENEFITS & Good Things About rETRACTABLE aWNINGs

The worst kept secret retractable awning dealers have to share are the benefits of a retractable awning! We’re going to cover 10 reasons you SHOULD buy a retractable awning for your home of business!

  1. Retractable awnings offer flexibility of your outdoor living space! Being that it’s not permanent structure, you won’t have a canopy that is ALWAYS out – even on cooler days or days that you want the sun to brighten the inside of your home or business.

  2. Retractable awning can be a stylish and classy addition to your home. There are many different options to choose from. We’ve all seen the traditional styles of retractable awnings with the ever present valance.  The lateral arms against the wall when it’s rolled in. There are also modern cassette style retractable awnings where the awning is completely encased in aluminum. These awning frames and covers are available in a vast array of colors, styles and price points.

  3. Retractable awnings will protect you from harmful UV rays and lessen the possibility that you get burned by the sun’s harmful rays!

  4. On a hot summer day your retractable awning will make it 10-15 degrees cooler underneath the awning. You can enjoy your outdoor living space more and get outside, meditate or get some fresh air on a hot summer day.

  5. You can roll a retractable awning out as much or as little as you want? Patriot Awning sells many retractable awnings that project more than what is needed. This is because you can’t exactly know exactly where the sun will be at any given day. It’s better to have more for some folks than less. The price for projecting out from 8’-0” to 10’ isn’t that much more.

  6. Adjustable pitch options: This allows the customer to adjust the pitch of the awning without having a professional do it.

  7. Drop valance option: There is a smaller roller-tube in the front-bar of the awning. This allows the customer to have a small curtain drop down in the front of the awning offering more shade for the late evening.

  8. Motorization option: There are MANY types of motor options. Simply put, some are wired motors and some operate wirelessly. The wired option is becoming extinct these days.

  9. Bells, whistles, LED lighting, heaters speakers and things that go bump in the night. With each day and manufacturer they seem to add more features to retractable awnings. You can even configure Alexa to open your awning and close it.

  10. There are MANY different retractable awning manufacturers out there. From the cheapest possible to a Rolex and everything in between. There are just as many dealers out there. Some do screened in porches mainly, some gutters, some ONLY do retractable awnings… Choose wisely and continue reading for the lowdown! The Charlotte market is OVERSATURATED with dealers and you should be able to get a great value for your money – even if you don’t spend it with us!

The downside & bad Things About  rETRACTABLE aWNINGs

Patriot Awning Company is a full-service awning company. We don’t do a LOT of retractable awnings. We would rather excel in manufacturing our own fixed awnings in Charlotte, NC. As such, have NO PROBLEM giving you the TRUTH about the downside or risks of retractable awnings!

  1. PARTY IS OVER! EVERYONE INSIDE!!!! QUICK ROLL THAT AWNING IN! Retractable awnings are GREAT for protection from the sun. THAT’S IT. If your retractable awning dealer is telling you in a LIGHT RAIN it’s ok to have a retractable awning out, ask him if the warranty would cover damage from the rain if it occurs. It won’t. Read it. Retractable awning manufacturer’s EXCLUDE damages from any acts of nature. They are pretty much worthless unless you suffer a manufacturer’s defect. ANYTHING that happens to that awning the first question asked is “Could this issue have been caused by an act of nature, atmospheric conditions or misuse?

  2. Your retractable awning dealer! If the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. If retractable awnings are ALL THEY CAN OFFER YOU, Will the “awning company” be forthcoming in telling you the truth about merchantability and fitness for purpose? We’ve seen over the years MANY of these “awning companies” that only offer retractable awnings come and go – they make it about two years and then move on. Most selling obscure brands that you can’t get parts for because they are CHINESE units. When you’re buying a retractable, if they aren’t available in custom widths, this is a HUGE red flag.  They leave behind awnings that cannot be repaired and legitimate awning companies can’t even get parts for them. The ones ya see on TV? Nope – we can’t work on those and we won’t put a cover on them either!

  3. HUNDREDS OF MOVING PARTS! With anything that moves there are moving parts. Most retractable awnings don’t require any maintenance. The bearings are sealed in the arms stainless steel cables, belts or chains in the arms. There are also huge springs in the arms. Oh, and don’t forget the motor, remote, wind sensor, sun sensor, led lights, bells and whistles and things that go bump in the night! Buy your awning from someone that’s working out of their garage? Hopefully they’ll be around in 5 years to install a new motor or arms. By then chances are you won’t even know what brand the awning is to source parts. The Chinese awnings usually aren’t marked with branding.

  4. Retractable awnings can be dangerous. The arms on a retractable awning are under a LOT of spring tension. Recently an awning company ya see on TV had a recall on their “weather cover” that consisted of bungee straps with the little balls to lock the straps together. Several folks were injured and one person unfortunately died when they rolled these awnings out only to have the bungee straps pop and the arms fly out. NEVER attempt to cut the fabric off your awning while it’s rolled in without securing the arms to the back-bar. You’ll take a SHORTCUT down off that ladder and it WON’T be fun.

  5. Your 10 year warranty or LIFETIME WARRANTY? Read it. There was an awning manufacturer that offered a LIFETIME WARRANTY on their frames. There were a slew of dealers that oversold this warranty. Because retractable awnings were the ONLY product they offered, they lured customers in to a false sense of security. Customers got angry when they left their awnings out in the rain, wind, snow and falling tree-limbs and the manufacturer wouldn’t send a limitless supply of arms and parts. And the dealers for these awnings had also moved on. Well, this company got a bit of a black eye over it. They ended up changing their name! Sad thing is, they actually made a great quality awning!

  6. The consumer! Oh, don’t get mad. You’re not one of them because you’ve read this far! CUSTOMERS DON’T KNOW THEY SHOULD ROLL THE AWNING IN WHEN IT’S DANGEROUS! This usually isn’t the customer’s fault – Read your warranty!

  7. Roof mounting a retractable awning? No. Don’t do it. We won’t do it. You shouldn’t do it. If you decide to do it anyway, get a certificate of insurance from your dealer. ASK YOUR ROOFER!


Patriot Awning does sell retractable awnings. Our Model 1776 is an American Made retractable awning. We don’t sell on price. Amazon, Ebay amd the ones you see on TV are CHEAP. We sell on value and quality. We aren’t the ONLY dealer that can get parts for your Model 1776 Retractable Awning. We are a full-service awning outfit! We can make a better retractable awning cover than most retractable awning manufacturers! We can do custom valances with appliqué and even graphics on your cover.  And we offer exceptional customer service for ALL OF OUR PRODUCTS. Even if you leave it out and it gets ripped off the wall. But with retractable awnings, YOU are in the know. 

Need awnings in Charlotte?

We are excited to discuss your project! You can email us plans for your commercial or new construction awning project at the below email address! We don't get many people that come by our awning manufacturing facility, but we will be happy to schedule a tour so you can see how awnings are made in our plant! Everything listed on our website is made by us except for retractable awnings! 
  • Fabric Awnings and Canopies
  • Awning Graphics
  • Metal Awnings
  • Aluminum Awnings
  • Aluminum Canopies
  • Corrugated Metal Awnings
  • Patio Enclosures
  • Curtain Enclosures with Clear Windows
  • Architectural Aluminum Louvers
  • Hurricane Shutters
  • Charlotte Awnings
  • Shopping Center Awnings
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