September 14th, 2020

Your Complete Guide to Commercial Fabric Canopies & Awnings

Ask homeowners or potential home buyers what they most want in a home. The answer won’t surprise most that one important aspect of a home is a nice private backyard. They want a place where they can spend evenings and weekends relaxing, having dinner al fresco, and enjoying some fresh air. 

For many homeowners, creating an outdoor living space is a priority. Homes have decks, patios, and even outdoor kitchens to extend their living from the inside out. One smart feature of those outside living spaces is the awnings added to provide cover from the elements. This also adds to the value of the space when you can use it even if there are raindrops or hot sun.

Businesses use awnings for entrances, to announce their business name, and branding, and even to welcome their customers and clients. 

Read on to learn all about commercial canopies and awnings for your business (and home too). 


There are a variety of purposes an awning or canopy can offer a commercial business if they choose to add one to their business location. Let’s consider the purposes you would get from adding a canopy.


One very obvious purpose of a canopy is to provide cover from the elements. Whether that is rain, snow, sleet, or sun, a canopy provides your customers protection from the elements as they stand by your business or come and go from it. 


Any successful business owner will tell you the importance of getting recognized and remembered by their client base. An awning helps to brand your business.

You can use a canopy or awning in colors associated with your business. You can include a business name and logo on there too.  Soon, your customers start to associate you with the awning that identifies your business. 


In many parts of the country, protection from the elements is important. When you put up an awning you protect your business from the beating sun and even wind. This, in turn, creates energy savings for you. 


Don’t underestimate the value of the aesthetics that an awning can provide for your business. It not only identifies your business and the entrance, but it also creates a visible welcome to enter the business. You can become known as the business with cool purple awnings or the business with the round blue awnings over your windows. 


In the case of most awnings, they’re made of some type of fabric (more on this later) and stretched over a frame. The fabric can be one solid piece or panels of fabric stitched together and stretched over the frame. 

The awning can be either stationary or retractable. A stationary awning gets installed and stays in place, always open and in place. A retractable awning does as the names suggest, it can retract. So, a restaurant, for example, might select a retractable awning that allows it to decide when to cover an area and when to let in more sunshine.

Awnings can be attached over doorways and windows of commercial spaces. They can also be freestanding. Again, if a business has an outdoor area they would like to cover that might not attach to the building, they could use a freestanding awning. 

Selecting a color for your awning is limitless. You can use custom colors associated with your business. You can use the colors that are part of your branding profile. Color can be added to the trim or in logos to the awning or canopy too.


When you consider an awning for your commercial space, there are many different options to consider. Already mentioned were the two broad categories of stationary and retractable. The Stationary is permanent in place, while the retractable can open and close. 

The retractable awnings can be opened or closed manually or automatically with a remote or by hitting a switch. 

Let’s look at some of the other types of awnings to consider. Most of these have to do with the shape of the awning. 


Concave awnings start at the top of the awning where it attaches to the structure. It curves inward towards the window or structure it is covering. Then it curves back outward away from the building. It creates a concave shape.


Convex awnings start at the top of the awning, where it attaches to the structure. Then it curves outward until it reaches the bottom of the awning. It appears like part of a round. 


The traditional awning starts at the top of the awning, where it attaches to the structure. It goes straight out at an angle to create the awning. There is no curve to the traditional awning. 


Dome awnings, as their name suggests, are stationary domes over a specific area. Often dome awnings get used over entrances or small windows.


An elongated awning elongated and can take the form of different types of awnings. The elongated shape is often used to provide shelter over an entrance. Common elongate awnings include an elongated dome awning or an elongated round canopy.

Any of these types of awnings could have an edging that runs along the base of the awning frame too.


When planning an awning for your commercial structure, you want to plan for both the size and fit of the awning.  This will create the overall look of the awning. 

You will first consider the length and width of the awning. You want to look at the space you want to cover with the awning and this will help you to determine these two measurements. You can cover windows on your business or entrances. You have long awnings that cover a whole series of windows together. 

Then you also want to consider how far out the awning projects are. Do you want it for decorative purposes? Do you want it to provide cover? Do you want the canopy to be used as a place for customers to gather? These are all factors that will impact how far the canopy jets out. 

Talk to your awning specialists about fit. This is how your commercial awnings will connect to the structure. What will be used to fit the awning and make it a part of your structure?


Fabric awnings are made of fabric, of course. Yet, it’s not as simple as buying a piece of fabric at the fabric store to create an awning.  The fabrics used in awnings are highly specialized. They are of the highest quality awning fabric and are made of inert acrylic fiber that is chemically treated for exterior use.

This fabric is then milled into an industrial-strength exterior thread before being custom-loomed into colorful designs and patterns. Again, they are treated to resist stains, dirt, and SUV degradation to withstand the inevitable elements endured from being outside. Sunbrella’s Awning/Marine-grade fabrics are the highest grade in the industry.

Often fabric awnings made with commercial-grade fabric can withstand sun and wind without fading. The fabric is also water-resistant, repelling water instead of soaking it up and adding weight to the awning.

Some common types of fabrics for awnings include:

  • Vinyl laminated
  • Coated polyester
  • Vinyl laminated mesh
  • Vinyl or resin-coated polyester
  • Poly-Cotton blends
  • Acrylic-painted polyester or cotton

The awning materials are used to create the awning and trim. Sometimes awnings, like traditional awnings, for example, have sides, while others do not have sides. This is a design choice.


Your logo design can go beyond where to put it, the shape, fabric, and color. This element of the awning might be one of the most important for a commercial awning.

Your awning company should be able to offer a custom logo feature for your awning. This allows you to design your logo that actually appears on your awning. 

As you are designing, there are a few important features to consider. You want to make sure any lettering is in a font that is readable from a distance. You want it also to be enough that the lettering is readable from a distance. 

Consider how colors will look on the fabric you have selected for the awning. You want to select logo colors that pop and stand out versus blend in from a distance. 

Using custom graphics can make your awning unique and recognizable for your customers. 


There are a variety of benefits to consider as you plan to invest in your commercial awning. 

While your awning might be an investment, remember it can create energy savings for you too. It can block sunlight from entering and create a shield from the elements.

Your customers will appreciate the weather protection the awning provides. If they can enter your business without getting soaked from rain or standing in the hot sun, they will appreciate your investment greatly.

Awnings add architectural interest to your building. The awning also adds an advertising feature for your business that can’t be overlooked. Every time someone goes by and sees the logo with your business name, you are getting some exposure for your business.


 There are a number of good reasons to consider adding awnings to your commercial space. Your customers will appreciate the protection from the elements. They will also come to associate your business with the logo they see on your building. 

If you want help designing an awning for your commercial space, we can help. Contact us today to get more information about our awning services and to get started designing the awnings for your business.