Pergola with retractable canopies vs. retractable awning

H Cole
11 December, 2016
last modified: 11 December, 2016

I'm torn between two shade solutions for my back deck: a retractable Solair awning and a pergola with retractable canopies on tracks. Help me decide! Here's my deck. Comments and suggestions welcome.

Retractable awning ($2500) - would be a lighter neutral brown
Pergola with retractable canopies ($5000) - would be a solid medium gray, not striped

Comments (6)

  • PRO
    Outback Construction

    How is your area for wind? Sudden thunder storms? You have to be more careful with a retractable for the above weather situations than the pergola system if your pergola system is like the brand that we typically install (ShadeTree) Another company to consider is Craftbilt for a retractable or pergola system.

    It really depends on if you want to lower your shade system every time you want to use the deck or spend a little extra and already have it in place.

    H Cole thanked Outback Construction
  • H Cole

    We're in central NC so we get plenty of summer squalls and usually 1 or 2 serious thunderstorms a year. We would just plan to retract the awning anytime it wasn't in use. We'd probably also keep the pergola canopies retracted most of the time since we grow herbs on the deck. Thanks for the input!

  • monicamarie

    One of the best things I have ever purchased is the Garden Treasurers pergola from Lowes, item #609521 model TP15-048C. You can easily move this canopy as the sun moves. Be sure to weave the canopy under the center cross bar and the wind is never a problem. It is extremely heavy but we still bolted it to the deck. For the price it is excellent!

  • PRO
    Gerety Building and Restoration

    I agree with the Pergola. Apart from being more practical & permanent, it looks nicer too.

  • PRO
    Garden State Shade LLC

    It looks like a pretty decent sized deck. If you prefer a retractable, it's going to have to be a decent projection (extension away from the house). I would make sure to choose a higher quality awning for the best and longest performance if you'll be using an awning to cover any more than 10'....with all due respect, a retractable awning seems to be a more practical solution. Open when you want shade/cover, no obstructions, and it's nearly invisible when it's closed.

    I would suggest a stripe to mask any dirt or debris from what looks like a wooded area....Good luck!

  • PRO Inc.

    Your selection should be based on several important items:

    1. Weather - Are you seeking sun protection only OR sun and light rain protection OR sun and heavy rain protection AND also how much wind will the product need to withstand when partially or fully extended?

    2. Aesthetics - Folding lateral arm awnings use spring loaded arms and therefore posts are not required. A pergola and louver roof system for the first, third and fourth options above require posts.

    3. Outdoor Enclosed Area - Options one, three and four above allow one to have a completely enclosed entertainment area that can be air conditioned in the summer and heated in the winter.

    4. Budget - Least expensive is a folding lateral arm awning, then a guide wire system and lastly the most expensive are belt driven pergola systems and rotating louver roof systems

    I don't recommend the Lowes item mentioned above as the frame is steel and will rust eventually causing it to collapse. Fabric is a mesh that does not provide complete sun protection and the warranty is only 1 year (see the reviews on the Lowes website here:

    Please be sure to look for all aluminum non rusting frames with marine grade stainless steel components and a minimum 25 year frame and 8 year fabric warranty.

    Hope that helps. Happy to answer more questions or address any and all comments

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