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Updated April 2022
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Buying guide for best window awnings

Window awnings might seem like decorative accessories for your home, but they serve several important functions. Besides adding to the curb appeal, awnings help protect your home from UV rays, lower energy costs, and even help protect your foundation.

The best window awnings can meet all of your aesthetic or functional needs. They have a style that complements your home and are made of durable materials that will last for many seasons. Quality awnings should also be relatively easy to install. You can assemble and put up most of them in one day.

If you have questions about the advantages and disadvantages of installing window awnings, the best place to start is by reading a comprehensive guide on the topic that has quick answers to all your questions. Also, it helps to peruse a curated list of top window awnings so you know what to look for when shopping.

window awning
Some specially designed awnings fold down against the window and double as protection from intense storms. These awnings are more commonly known as hurricane shutters.

How to buy the best window awnings

Are window awnings worth the money?

Awnings are like little roofs over your windows and/or doors. While the cost of these simple structures can add up, they do offer a number of important benefits.

Lower electric bills: Awnings provide shade, which can significantly reduce heat transfer during the warmer months and help reduce your electricity bill.

Improve ventilation: With a cover over your windows, you can get fresh air even during rainy weather.

Block UV rays: While glass absorbs most UV-B rays, it doesn’t absorb all UV-A rays. When these rays bathe the interior of your home day in and day out, they cause nearly everything they touch to fade and deteriorate more quickly. And the same UV-A rays that can damage your furniture can present a health risk to you. Awnings block both UV-B and UV-A rays.

Increase curb appeal: Attractive awnings can increase the value of your home.

Protect the foundation: Diverting rainfall can help keep water from pooling around and damaging the foundation of your home.

Protect plants: If you have any delicate plants beneath your windows, window awnings can divert the water to help keep those plants from drowning in heavy rain.

Protect windows from debris: While an awning won’t protect a window from a large branch, it can help keep your window safe from smaller debris like twigs and dirt tossed around by strong winds.

How many awnings do I need?

Not every window needs an awning. If you’re installing awnings primarily for protection from the sun, south-facing windows receive the most sunlight throughout the day in the Northern Hemisphere, with east- and west-facing windows exposed in the mornings and afternoons, respectively. Consider the location of your windows to determine which ones need the most protection.

Window awnings vs. awning windows

If you were searching online for information about window awnings, there’s a chance you were redirected to awning windows. Window awnings, as you know by now, are structures that attach to the exterior of your home to protect your windows. Awning windows are simply windows that have a hinged top and open out from the bottom. This creates a kind of awning look that lets you keep your windows open during a light rain. But it’s important to understand that awning windows won’t protect your home from UV rays or heat transfer.

If you have windows that open outward, take that distance into consideration when choosing the size of the awnings.

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Features to look for when shopping for window awnings

Size

Windows come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. To be effective, the awnings you buy must match the shape and size (width and height) of your windows.

Materials

While the frame should be made of durable, rust-resistant material, the awning can be made of fabric, polycarbonate, or metal. The advantage of fabric is it gives you the widest variety of style options. Unfortunately, fabric requires more maintenance and isn’t as durable. Polycarbonate and metal are extremely durable and require little maintenance, but they come in fewer styles and colors.

Fixed vs. retractable

Fixed: If you’re on a budget, a fixed window awning is the best option. You install it and it stays up all year. Unfortunately, these models block the sun in the winter when you might appreciate the extra warmth inside. They also remain up in windy conditions, which can create a hazard if they come loose.

Retractable: If you want the best option, a retractable awning is the way to go. It provides protection in the summer, but it can be retracted in the winter, on cloudy days, or in windy conditions. You can purchase a model that retracts manually or with a motor. If you choose motorized, make sure it also has a hand crank that can be used to retract it if the power goes out.

Sensors

If you’re looking for a top-of-the-line awning, consider one with sun and wind sensors. When the sun is out, the awning automatically extends. When it’s nighttime, cloudy, or windy, the sensors trigger the motor to retract the awning. This means the awning will always be in the ideal position for the conditions.

Colors

Since awnings are installed on the exterior of your home, they should match or complement your house. You can get the most mileage out of a neutral color because it blends in easily. However, you might want to draw attention to your awnings with patterns or contrasting colors. Consider the overall aesthetic effect you want and choose the colors accordingly.

window awning
DID YOU KNOW?
As a general rule, a window awning should project out a distance that’s about half the height of the window. For example, if the window is 3 feet tall, the awning should extend out 1.5 feet.
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How much do window awnings cost?

Inexpensive

Inexpensive window awnings cost less than $100 each. At this price, you can expect a fixed awning with a durable frame and fabric covering. Be careful in this price range, however, because inferior products won’t hold up.

Mid-range

From $100 to $500, you can find fixed window awnings made of solid materials, such as metal and impact-resistant polycarbonate, and manual retractable awnings. In general, the awnings in this price range offer a more rugged and permanent solution, but they might not be as visually appealing or colorful as fabric awnings.

Expensive

Motorized retractable awnings start at around $500. Depending on the size, you can spend more than $2,000 on this type of awning. If budget isn’t a factor and you want the convenience of push-button operation, these high-end items might be the right choice for you.

To prevent an awning from collapsing due to the accumulation of snow, it should be installed at a 30° to 50° angle.

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Tips

If you want your window awnings to last, you need to keep them clean. Dirt and debris can cause the materials to deteriorate more quickly.

  • Spray down the awnings with a hose every other week.
  • Clean the awnings thoroughly every few months. Always check the owner’s manual first. Use a broom to remove any debris from the top of your awnings and any debris and cobwebs that have accumulated underneath as well. Use a solution of mild laundry detergent and warm water. (Don’t use anything caustic because it could damage the fabric.) Gently clean the tops and undersides with a soft-bristled brush. Rinse off all the solution (on top and underneath) and let the awnings air-dry.
  • Spot clean mildew or grease stains. Be sure to use a cleaner that is safe for the awning fabric.
  • Don’t use a pressure washer on awnings. It could damage them.
  • Inspect the frames. While the awning frames require little attention, take the time to inspect them periodically. Make sure there is no damage and all the fasteners are tight.
window awning
Be careful about installing awnings on windows in areas with heavy foot traffic. To be safe, an awning should be no lower than 6 feet 8 inches above the ground.

FAQ

Q. What’s the difference between a canopy and an awning?

A. People frequently use the words “canopy” and “awning” interchangeably, but they’re two different items. A canopy is a freestanding structure with posts and a roof. It’s best for providing shade over a particular area, such as a patio. Many canopies are portable structures that can be set up and taken down with little effort. An awning is a permanent fixture that’s attached over a door or window on a building.

Q. Is an awning hard to install?

A. The answer depends on your facility with tools and your ability to measure. For the most part, installing a window awning is similar to installing a curtain rod. The main difference is you’re working outside, which might be slightly more challenging. The good news is your awning comes with installation instructions. If you feel comfortable following the instructions, doing it yourself can save you some money. If you aren’t handy with tools or you don’t feel comfortable working on the exterior of your home, it’s best to hire a professional.

Q. Are there any disadvantages to having window awnings?

A. While there are many advantages to installing awnings on your home, there are a few disadvantages to consider. If you have a beautiful view, an awning can block at least some of that view. An awning can make a room darker, and while it can reduce the heat transferred into your home in the summer, that could be a disadvantage in winter.

 

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