When you are looking for a protected outdoor space that offers you shade from the scorching sun and a pleasant place to witness mesmerizing sunset, awnings and canopies are the two considerable options one has to choose from.

But, it is often challenging for people to choose between the two. As both these terms are used interchangeably, fewer know that there is a considerable difference between the two.

What are awnings?

If you are looking for an awning in Chicago, you should know that it is a retractable or permanent structure used at the exterior of the building to provide protection against the sun and harsh climatic conditions.

It is fastened securely to the structure and can be easily removed without any damage to the structure. It is meant to offer an outdoor patio to the building. It can be manual or motorized with fabric, steel, or aluminum frames.

It is often erected over the windows or doors. These are usually considered as a structural extension to provide sunroom to the building owners.

Features of awnings:

● not portable
● meant to the extent the indoor living space
● smaller coverage to fit above a door or window
● often made from durable fabric with sturdy frames
● extend purposely to shade a door or window
● attached to the external structure of a building
● fixed in most of the cases
● able to withstand the harsh climatic conditions
● comes in permanent and retractable forms
● sun protection to the attached patio with the shade at the indoor in the vicinity
● several patterns, fabric, and colors to choose from
● mostly removed when need to be replaced


It is used to cover the outdoor spaces to stop the scorching heat of the sun from touching the grounds on which it is installed. It is not a structure or an extension of the building structure. It is rather freestanding.

Often used for temporary purposes, canopies can be permanent structures in the form of a gazebo or pergola. These canopies also come with manual or motorized retractable parts to adjust for sun protection.

As these canopies are highly portable, they are often carried to the beach and sports fields for shade. From smaller areas catering for the two to as large as catering to the gathering of more than 100 people, these canopies are the viable option for a full wedding with ample dance area.

Features of canopies

● Freestanding structures to be used outdoors
● Meant to create outdoor spaces
● Offer sun protection or protection from precipitation in the outdoors
● Can be dismantled easily when not in use
● Can be stored safely at any corner of your house
● The selection of fabric and color is limited
● Mostly meant to cover the large gatherings at social events, BBQ, and weddings
● Highly flexible and of various sizes
● Highly portable

Here are the differences between Canopies and Awnings:


As both awnings and canopy are made up of durable material, they both are durable. But an awning has to withstand the harsh environment in which a canopy escapes.

This is the only reason why a canopy lasts longer than its counterpart awning. You can safely tuck away the canopy when not required but this is not the case with awning.

The Size

While the size of the canopy is limitless, the size of the awning is limited. Since the building is constructed first and then considering the outer structure of the building, the awning is used up to some limited spaces, the size of an awning is definite and considerably smaller.

When it comes to the canopy, you can stretch it as much as you can. From hosting a barbeque party to enjoying brunch with your family and friends outdoors, you can stretch the canopy as per your space requirements.

Next time, if you defer a plan of hosting a lunch with family due to scorching sun, think of a canopy to initiate the plan as per your preference.


A canopy comes with supporting posts and is usually freestanding. It can be moved easily from one place to another and dismantled when not in use. As it is not attached to anything, you can install it as & when required.

But an awning is attached to a building and made of fabric. It is placed over a glass door and most often over a window to prevent the sunlight from entering the house. It is retractable and extendable when the shelter is required.


An awning once installed cannot be removed frequently and stored when not in use. It remains fixed at a position. As they withstand harsh climatic conditions, they are likely to wear off over time.

Once worn off, you have to replace your awnings with a new piece. But a canopy is not a permanent fixture and can be easily installed/uninstalled when required.

Depending upon the size, it can be easily installed in an hour or so. You can fold it and store it at a convenient place when not in use in a garage or a basement.


One of the biggest differences between canopies and awnings is their installation location. The main purpose of the awning is to prevent sunlight from entering the premises. The idea is to keep the heating or cooling costs low and save the furniture from the damage caused by
scorching sun heat. In the outdoor seating areas and patios, the retractable version of awnings is incredibly popular.

But canopies are the freestanding structures that are meant to protect the gatherings at the outdoor spaces from the sun. Unlike awnings, canopies are not meant for homes or businesses. These are the temporary structures used when people are looking to spend time outdoors in

Their effects

Awnings are strictly meant to offer great deals of energy savings by keeping yours indoors away from the scorching heat of the sun. They thoroughly block the sun and often a pleasant patio over at your outdoors to spend an enchanting time with your family.

Canopies on other hand are the temporary adjustments at the outdoors to block the sun. These are not long-term solutions like awnings.

The post Awnings Vs. Canopies: How Are They Different? first appeared on HomeAdore.