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What Is an Awning? (2024 Guide to Outdoor Shade Solutions)

To find out more about our services, email us on info@highlevelglazing.co.uk or call us on 01638 730612

Have you ever looked up at your home and thought those windows could use a little something extra? Maybe it’s time to consider an awning or canopy to add shade, style, and luxury.

With so many options, from stationary awnings to retractable canopies, you’re probably wondering where to start. That’s where this guide comes in. We’ll walk through what an awning is and the different types so you can find the perfect fit for your home.

You want to redefine your space with the “wow” factor only a custom awning can provide. We’ll examine the pros and cons of materials, installation, maintenance, and more so you can make the most informed decision.

What Is an Awning

What Is an Awning Cover? (And Benefits)

An awning is a glass or fabric material attached to a building’s exterior wall that provides shade from the elements. Luxury apartment owners or developers often use glass awnings to expand their living space outdoors while gaining protection from the sun and rain. Among the several benefits of installing an awning are shade and temperature control, as well as aesthetics.

Shade and Temperature Control

Awnings offer sun protection and create shade, which helps reduce indoor temperatures and make outdoor spaces more comfortable in warm weather. By blocking direct sunlight, awnings can lower solar heat gain during the summer by up to 77%. This can significantly reduce indoor temperatures, lowering air conditioning costs.

Aesthetic Appeal

Awnings are available in a variety of styles, colours, and patterns to complement a building’s architecture and design. They can make a dramatic statement or blend in for a more subtle look. For luxury homes, glass patio awnings are often chosen to enhance curb appeal and create an attractive outdoor space for entertaining.

An all-top awning installation redefines outdoor living for luxury homes by providing versatile shade and shelter. By reducing bright sunlight intensity, temperature, and precipitation, awnings make outdoor spaces more usable and help homeowners get the most from their property. However, apart from awnings, there are many other types of shading structures, and it’s important to understand how they differ from one another.

Differences Between Awnings, Canopies, & Other Shade Structures

The following sections detail the distinction between awnings and other shade structures like canopies, shade sails, and pergolas:

1. Awnings

An awning is a fixture or glass shade attached directly to the side of a building, providing coverage for doors, windows, patios, and decks. They’re supported by posts or a wall mount and can be fixed or retractable. Retractable glass awnings can be extended and retracted as needed, giving you more control over the amount of shade.

2. Canopies

Canopies are freestanding glass structures that provide shade and shelter. Unlike awnings, canopies have their frame support, so they don’t need to be attached to a building. Canopies come in a range of sizes and shapes, from small patio covers to large carports. They’re ideal if you want to shade an area where installing an awning isn’t possible.

3. Shade Sails

Shade sails are triangular pieces of fabric that provide shade. They’re suspended above an area by poles or other structures. Shade sails come in a variety of sizes and shapes to suit different spaces. They’re a popular, stylish shade solution for patios, decks, pools, and gardens.

4. Pergolas

A pergola is a structure featuring vertical posts and open latticework. Vines and climbing plants are often grown over pergolas to provide shade. Retractable shade fabric or louvres can also be installed to adjust the amount of sunlight. Pergolas are a more permanent shade structure and can enhance the architecture and design of a home.

With so many options, you can find the perfect shade solution for your outdoor space. Awnings, canopies, shade sails, and pergolas allow you to enjoy your patio or deck in comfort all summer long. However, one top choice among homeowners and developers is a glass awning or glass canopy. While we recommend this option, there are other factors to consider when choosing the right awnings for your apartment or building design.

Choosing the Right Awning Style and Material for Your Home

When selecting an all-top awning installation for your luxury home, you have several styles and materials to choose from. For a luxury apartment, you want to go with a glass awning or canopy. Both awnings and canopies come in a variety of designs and features that blend well with the taste of a luxury home, allowing for different styling options.

Retractable Awning vs. Fixed

Retractable awnings can be extended and retracted as needed, providing shade when you want it and allowing sunlight in when you don’t. They’re ideal if you like flexibility and want to control how much sun reaches certain areas. Fixed awnings, on the other hand, provide permanent shade and shelter. They’re a good choice if you want to permanently shade an outdoor living space or provide weather protection for entryways.

Shape and Style

Window awnings come in a range of shapes, including traditional triangular shapes as well as curved, rectangular, and square shapes to suit your needs. You can also choose from styles like the colonial-inspired shingle canopy, the sleek aluminium awnings for large windows, or the space-saving half-round awning for tight areas. The style you pick will depend on your home’s architecture and the area you want to shade.

Additional Features

Consider other features like motorisation for easy retracting, wind sensors for automatic retraction in high winds, sun and rain sensors for automatic extension and retraction, and lighting or heating for all-season use. Valances and side panels can also provide extra shade from low sun angles. These additional features do increase the overall cost but can be worth it for the added convenience and functionality.

With so many options—canopy vs awning, etc.—you can find an awning that provides the perfect amount of shade while complementing your luxury home’s style. Whether you prefer a glass awning or glass canopy, we can customise it to any specifications you desire. Contact us at High Level Glazing to learn more.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the purpose of an awning?

An awning is like solar screens for your house. It stretches out to provide shade, making an outdoor spot cooler and protecting both people and the space from the sun’s rays and glare.

What is the difference between a canopy and an awning?

Awnings are like a building’s permanent umbrella, attached and extending over windows or doors for shade. Canopies, on the other hand, are stand-alone structures with support posts, offering a portable shaded area separate from buildings.

What is the difference between an awning and a pergola?

An awning is like an extension of a building, attached to provide shade right by windows or doors. A pergola, however, can be a stand-alone structure in an outdoor area or attached to a building. It’s supported by posts and features an open lattice roof for a blend of sun and shade.


You can know what an awning is on a house, its several benefits, and how to choose the right one. With other shading options like glass canopies and pergolas, you can endlessly redefine your apartment’s aesthetic.

Our top recommendation for a luxury apartment will always be a glass awning or glass canopy. Remember, awnings are defined, while canopies cover. An awning adds character, while a canopy creates space. This luxury of design options enables you to build the outdoor oasis of your dreams.

If you have any special design or glass awning installation requirements, don’t hesitate to contact us at High Level Glazing.

To find out more about our services, email us on info@highlevelglazing.co.uk or call us on 01638 730612