Retractable Shade sails installed by Versatile Structures

Are retractable awnings worth it?

The return-on-investment for retractable awnings is good as the cost is minimal compared to constructing a deck or patio roof. Retractable awnings also provide shelter from the heat and sun, save costs on energy bills, and offer you the flexibility of how much time wish to spend outdoors.

When considering installing an awning for your outdoor space, there are three key factors to consider namely its value, cost, and durability.

It can be hard to quantify the value of a shade solution, however if you take the following notions into account, a retractable awning proves to be an excellent decision.

Value of an awning

Having a retractable awning adds value to an outdoor space as it offers the flexibility to extend the awning on a blistering sweltering day so you and your patrons can safely spend more time outdoors. Similarly on a beautiful summer’s night you would like close the awning to expose the night sky and allow the cool breeze to wisp through your venue. The value of having a retractable awning is the flexibility and comfort it provides, while a fixed awning does not give you as much freedom.

How much does a retractable awning cost?

The cost of retractable awnings depends on the quality of shade fabric and hardware used, if it is motorised or manually operated, its size, and if it is a custom designed solution or bought off the shelf. The cost of retractable awnings depends on which options you choose.

  • Manual or Motorized

Retractable awnings can either be manually operated or be high tech with a remote control that has the option to be combined with rain and wind sensors. Expect to pay a little more for the motorised option, but the ease of remote control and the convenience of a sensor are well worth the investment.

  • Standard or Custom

Any shade structure is an investment as it adds value to a property and there are many benefits to having an awning that fits perfectly over your outdoor space. If you have the budget to customize the size, colour and fabric selection, as well as include a motorized option, it is well worth the cost to go for a custom solution that perfectly fits your unique space. You may pay more upfront, but overall, a quality, customised solution is a wiser investment.


Durability is directly associated to the shade sail fabric and hardware materials used in the construction of a retractable awning, plus the quality of the install and ongoing maintenance. As structures are above people’s heads it is important to not only have great engineering but also use high quality materials in the construction of an outdoor shade structure. Read more about quality hardware for shade structures here.

The benefits of retractable awnings

·        Keep your indoor and outdoor space cooler

Retractable awnings can make an outdoor space up to 20 degrees cooler. An extended awning provides shade and restricts the amount of natural sunlight that hits the building. By casting shade over windows, they can also lower the indoor temperature by as much as 15 degrees. That could save you a significant amount on the air conditioning bill!

·        Convenient and attractive

With retractable awnings, you can extend or retract them at the touch of a button, allowing you to enjoy the space as you desire. Retractable awnings are often more attractive than traditional stationary awnings as they have less infra-structure underneath the sails, so you get a less obtrusive view of your surroundings.

·        The return on investment is great

In addition to the cost savings on energy bills, the return-on-investment for retractable awnings is great since the initial cost is minimal compared to adding a roof over your deck or patio. They also provide protection from the heat and sun, increasing how much time you will want to spend outdoors.

·        Less susceptible to weather damage

Traditional awnings are left to endure inclement weather, so they are likely to get damaged during storms. Retractable awnings can easily fold up during high winds or other weather events, protecting them from getting damaged. Motorized awnings typically come with a sensor for wind and rain, allowing them to automatically retract when high wind or rain is detected. Since they are less susceptible to weather damage, retractable awnings tend to outlast other types of awnings.

Awning options

Once you are sure that a retractable awning is the right solution for your space, you now need to decide which awning will best suit the look you are trying to create. Here are some awning options for you to look at.


  • Versatile Structures Headshots

    Jamie Howard - Director

    Co-founder and Director Jamie has been hands-on in the shade and steel industry since leaving school. With over 15 years’ experience in shade, membrane and steel projects, Jamie is excited about the design opportunities shade structures offer in the commercial and industrial sectors. Jamie’s extensive design skills give him a competitive edge in situations with technical design complexity. He has won two personal industry awards for his designs, alongside many company-won awards.