Weather Armor

A Comparison of Pergolas and Retractable Awnings

Summertime is rapidly approaching! If you are interested in creating shade for your home or business, you may be considering retractable awnings and pergolas. Here is a direct comparison between these two types of outdoor coverings.

Retractable Awnings: What Are They?

Retractable Awnings are durable coverings which are attached to a building and then extend (open) and retract (close) by means of a motor to provide shade to the ground next to the building. They are readily available in standard sizes from home improvement stores, warehouse stores and independent distributors and can also be manufactured in custom sizes according to your specifications.

What Do Retractable Awnings Do?

Retractable awnings are designed to provide shade to outdoor areas immediately adjacent to buildings. They are well-suited for balconies, decks and courtyards, as well as patios and walkways. Retractable awnings offer relief from heat and protection from UV rays. The area under a retractable awning can be up to 20 degrees cooler than a nearby exposed area. When placed over windows, retractable awnings can help homeowners and business operators reduce their air-conditioning costs during hot weather, as awnings reduce the amount of sunlight that would otherwise pass through windows and heat the rooms within.

The major advantage of retractable awnings, as opposed to other shade covers and structures, is that they can be retracted when not needed, allowing for maximum natural light on cloudy days.

What’s a Pergola?

A classic Pergola is a free-standing, open-air structure with a lattice-style top. Modern pergolas can be attached to the sides of buildings. Commonly made of wood, a pergola can provide limited shade when vines or other climbing plants are added. Pergolas originated in Europe and are well-suited to gardens and courtyards.

How is a Pergola Different from a Retractable Awning?

Pergolas are sturdy structures that are not easily moved. Once a Pergola is built, it usually remains in its location until it is demolished or replaced. Especially when outfitted with flowering plants, a Pergola provides aesthetic enhancement to a yard or other outdoor space.

Pergolas may be purchased and professionally installed, or they may self-installed with kits available from major retailers and home improvement stores. It is also possible to build your own pergola; articles and instructions are available online and in books and magazines at your local library.