[Architecture]: AWNINGS | What are Awnings? | Use of Awnings (Canopies) on doors, windows and other architectural openings


-- also known in common terms as Canopies, or Shades, or Overhangs, or even simply Coverings-- are one of the most common mean of covering the architectural openings of a building of the likes of windows, doors, ventilators, sliding/ swinging/ rolling shutters, porches, sit-out open spaces, sidewalks, etc.

Modern day Awnings usually comprise of a canvas or fabric coverings (made of materials of the likes of cotton, polyester, vinyl, polymers, light metal or acrylic or fibre sheets, etc.), that are mounted atop light-weight but strong holding frames (made out of welded or bolted sections of steel tubes, aluminum sections, angles, channels, wooden members, etc.).

Most of our readers would be astonished to know that use of Awnings is as old as a at least a century old, if not more. In fact, the modern awnings are nothing but some sort of modified (rectified) version of a hatch-roof type arrangement that has been in practice since ages that people used to take shelter for themselves and/or their belongings and the cattle stock.


Awnings are used for a variety of purposes, a few of which being:
  • Protecting the architectural openings from the extremities of weather be it rainfall, direct sunlight, steep windy conditions, etc.
  • Providing shade to the openings in direct sunlit areas which helps in reducing the excess heat exposure to the building thereby reducing cooling and air-conditioning requirements
  • Providing sort of a barrier against ingress of dust nuisance
  • Using them as temporary structures for having a cover in shape of an overhang or a shed as against having a permanent concrete or steel structure, which can be retracted when not in use.
  • Using them as means of marketing and advertising, i.e., highlighting brand names and putting billboards, etc.
  • Enhancing the architectural beauty and overall look of the building from aesthetics point of view.

The common types of Awnings in use are:
  • Fixed type overhangs
  • Semi-fixed type overhangs
  • Retractable type overhangs
  • Lateral arm type coverings
  • Drop arm type coverings
  • Canopies (Awnings with column/posts/struts supports in front other than the wall fixing means are usually called canopies)
  • Pop-up canopies
  • Fixed or semi-fixed or retractable type screens
  • Besides, awnings can be also classified in terms of their shape, size, material, working principle, etc.

One can fix an awning literally over any externally located window, door, ventilator, driveway, porch, balcony, rooftop, garden, etc. An awning basically provides shade besides serving the needs of building and architectural aesthetics.


Besides getting professional help, one can also fix simpler types of awnings by himself/ herself. All one needs is a simple wall-mounted type bracket or a frame and a suitably designed covering. Mechanized and sophisticated awnings may preferably be fixed with the assistance of professionals only. Moreover, special care must be taken if awnings are to be fixed on openings at heights, roofs and other difficult locations.


Awnings can provide additional aesthetic and stylish look to you home, office, commercial space, etc. besides serving the functional need of providing shade and a barrier to dust, rain, etc. They can enhance the appearance of one's dwelling or work place by adding shape, dimension and color. They also help to make homes more energy efficient by reducing the amount of solar radiation that enters through the windows, ultimately decreasing the load on the air conditioner during hot summer months. Awnings also can expand outdoor living space and offer an economical alternative to addition of permanent concrete or steel structures, which can be retracted when not required. Awnings also protect outdoor furniture and wooden decks from weather damage and fading due to excess exposure to UV rays.

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