February 1st, 2022

The Latest Scoop About Awnings

Outdoor shading strategies are vital to the energy efficiency of your home. In fact, a recent California Energy Commission study has proven that shading your home with wide overhangs, such as patio covers can reduce the temperature indoors by as much as 20° Fahrenheit on a hot day. The Energy Commission study verified that Accent Awning’s product line could reduce your home’s heat gain by 77 to 85 percent

The key to outdoor shade design is to block the sun before it enters your space. But with so many options, how do you choose the best strategy to protect your home from the ever-increasing California heat? 

There are many stylish cooling solutions like solar screens, retractable awnings, and patio awning covers. However, all the cooling solutions in the world won’t help if you don’t have information about the things that affect the effectiveness of your awnings. 

What can affect the capability of your awnings:

  • Where you live
  • The angle of the sun
  • Which direction the sun rises and sets
  • The weather and average temperatures
  • The amount of wind in your area
  • The size of the window
  • The material your awning is made from
  • The thread your awning is stitched from

One of the reasons we recommend that our potential customers take advantage of our free, no-obligation estimate consultations is so our shade consultants can visit your home and discuss these considerations. They gather those answers and work together with you on a sun control solution that best meets your needs. 

They can discuss features like color, style or window size. They can help you make an informed decision between a fixed awning, a retractable awning or an energy-saving sunscreen. Your awning can then be custom-made to fit your unique needs. 


No matter which awning you choose, there are four important options you must decide upon: pitch, valance, hood, and projection.


When talking about awnings, pitch is the degree of the angle of the slope the awning has. This angle is measured from the attachment location to the building to the awning’s front bar (the bottom part of the awning). 

Pitch can be altered based on how you want your shade and water flow to work.

Generally, having as steep a pitch is best since it helps precipitation to flow off the awning instead of collecting on it and making it heavy even with high-quality fabric. A steep pitch also gives better shade and protection from the sun’s damaging UV rays. 

The pitch of an awning isn’t just about aesthetics. 

A steeper pitch provides more shade protection on a sunny day. Not only does this keep your home cooler, which is an important consideration, it also protects the integrity and durability of your awning fabric.

Many of the pre-manufactured budget-type retractable awning fabrics are made with RV fabrics that cost substantially less and are less durable than the woven acrylic awning fabric utilized by custom awning manufacturers, like Accent. Those fabrics mildew, rot, peel and stretch and this damage means that they can fall off, causing injury or damage to any people or plants underneath.


You likely have already seen quite a few awning valances without knowing it. An awning’s valance is a decorative piece of fabric that hangs down from the rest of the awning and is designed to cover the hardware when retracted. 

Valances are attached to the front frame of awnings, and they are very important. In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, they provide more shade during the early and late parts of the day when the sun is low.

The dual function of a valance is to provide extra privacy and block out the low afternoon sun. The right valance will block out the blinding afternoon rays while still allowing you a beautiful view of your garden.

Variable valances offer even more flexibility – they can either roll down several feet or, when closed, disappear completely into your awning’s front rail.

Awning valances tend to be attractive features that enhance curb appeal. Those pretty little curtains on the front of your valance can hang down or retract, depending on the awning options you choose. 


The importance of an awning’s hood are often underestimated. They are particularly important for retractable awnings when living in cold or wet environments and if you have selected a light colored fabric

A hood should be made out of aluminum (sometimes cheap hoods are made out of plastic or even fabric) cylinder that the awning’s fabric rolls up into when the awning is closed and not being used. Keeping the fabric safe when not in use will add years to the fabric’s lifespan. When the awning is rolled up safely in the hood, the fabric is covered on the sides & top, with the wall protecting the awning fabric from the back.

The hood keeps your retractable awning safe from the weather or other outdoor exposure. Our hoods are made of durable non-rusting powder-coated aluminum that will protect the fabric for years to come.


There are three measurements to an awning: the width, the depth, and the length, also known as the projection. Basically, projection is how far the awning extends away from the wall over a window or patio. 

Usually, an awning’s projection is divisible by 0.5 meters (1.6 feet) and will be smaller than 4 meters (about 13 feet). However, this sizing will differ for unusually shaped or sized areas. The most common projection for patio awnings is 2.5 meters (8.20 feet).

“To get a rough idea of projection, simply measure a straight line from the wall to however far you want your awning to protrude. But keep in mind that a steep pitch will reduce how far an awning goes out. The standard recommendation is for the awning projection to be 0.5m less than its width. The most common measurements for a patio awning are 3m width and 2.5m projection.” – Outershade


In addition to the above considerations, there are several other important optional feature decisions for awnings. For example, do you want your awnings to be retractable? Motorized? Do you want to choose the fabric or add on any custom features?


Retractable window awnings come in durable, easy-to-clean fabric in a wide variety of “color and design options.”

These types of shade have been around since the Roman Empire when they were used to cover stadium seats like at the Coliseum. Today, retractable window awnings are a favorite for both businesses and homes alike. 

Retractable window awnings have a good range of motion. They go from being neatly tucked up above a window to a 165-degree angle out and over the window to provide shade, privacy, and decor. 

Retractable awnings can stop at 45 degrees and 90 degrees as well, so you can adjust them as the sun moves, so you always have shade. The controller has sun sensors and a timer, and it can be set to automatically open and close awnings as needed.


Here is more explanation of the electronic parts for motorized retractable awnings:


Since 1978 we have used 100% solution-dyed acrylic fabrics from Sunbrella for our commercial canopies and awnings. There are over 100 colors to choose from, all of which are the same price and quality. We also use TEFLON thread by COATS®, which is considerably stronger than any other awning thread on the market.

Additionally, we utilize various commercial awning materials such as vinyl, back-lit and fire retardant fabrics to enhance your business’s appearance.

Different fibers, weaves and coatings have very specific advantages and different applications. For example, acrylic fabrics have a rich cloth appearance and are much more colorfast and fade resistant while mesh fabrics allow better ventilation and outward visibility.” 


The downside to this for large awnings is that they are typically more permanent, with steel frames and added trusses for support.  However, those larger outdoor coverings can protect everything from carports to balconies to outdoor kitchens. If you’d like some more assistance, please complete the Contact Us page on our website, or call us at 1-800-332-2866 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced and knowledgeable professional consultants. It’s free, it’s fast, and we work hard to make sure it is worth the time.