Typical residential awnings include both retractable and fixed designs in a variety of styles and a range of materials from copper and aluminum to fabric and vinyl. Although fabric and vinyl awnings provide a greater abundance of color choices, they are more prone to fading and have a shorter life expectancy than that of metal awnings.
Technically, a canopy utilizes one or more poles or stanchions for support while an awning does not. Whether attached to a building or standing independently, a canopy covered in vinyl or fabric provides excellent cover for patios and large entries. For standard-sized windows and doors, retractable awnings in either a roll-up or drop-arm style are very effective, featuring a top roller with spring-loaded side arms and a crank, motor, or pull system for retraction. Because they can also create shade, these versatile awnings are also popular for decks, patios and porches.
The elegant fixed dome or bubble awning often appears over smaller windows and doors and features a soft outwardly curving design. Fabric covers the quarter-sphere aluminum framework for a classic look.
The traditional shed and mansard awnings, both in use since the 19th century, share a triangular design and descending front panel. The mansard awning has a rigid valance and side panels and the shed awning omits the side panels. Though often seen over entries, they are equally effective over windows, porches and patios.
The casement awning is constructed of either fabric or aluminum and features a box-like shape to accommodate the opening and closing of a crank-out casement window.