How to Choose the Right Garage Awning 

A garage awning protects you from the weather, so long as the awning itself can withstand your climate’s ice and wind events. Consider climate and these factors when choosing a garage awning. Here are four tips on how to choose the right garage awning:

  1. Consider the climate. If you live in an area with harsh weather conditions, it’s important to choose an awning that can withstand high winds and heavy snowfall.
  2. Treated fabric awnings resist mildew and UV damage, but are not immune from damage. Fabric awnings require more maintenance that steel awnings.
  3. Awnings range from the hundreds to thousands of dollars. This article will help you set a budget for your garage awning.

Wind and snow are hard on fabric awnings. It’s not reasonable to assume you’ll take the awning down for every possible wind gust and snowstorm. You have two choices to beat this weather issue. Get a wind sensor that auto-retracts the fabric, or get a heavy-duty acrylic fixed awning.

Burgundy awning on white background
Awning-in-a-Box

The Benefits of Installing a Garage Awning

A garage awning on the front of the garage is weather protection from the elements. If you step onto the driveway to get to the door, the awning protecting you from rain and snow from above. If you warm your car in the winter, the awning allows you to back the car out of the garage to vent, but still be protected from the elements.

Types of Garage Awnings

A fabric awning is either fixed or retractable. Awning fabrics are usually sold with pre-treatment to withstand sun and mildew. A steel awning is fixed to the garage. Steel is resistant to rust and less likely than fabric to be damaged in bad weather.

Green awning with white stripe on white background
Awntech Keywest

How Wind Affects Garage Awnings

Even awnings advertised to hold up in bad weather will break in strong wind. This means that even a rare, short gust of heavy wind can destroy a fabric awning in a few moments. You have two options with fabric: (a) get an auto-retracting feature that pulls the awning in when it senses wind; (b) be vigilant about closing the awning to avoid destructions. Choice (b) is almost impossible in the real world. We often have unexpected wind gusts called “micro bursts” when no one expects them that would easily destroy a fabric awning.

Another option is to get a hard awning such as those made from powder-coated steel. These awnings come in do-it-yourself kits, and you can learn more about them below in this article.

Green fabric emanating from a white awning cassette
Awntech cassette that holds awning

Pros, Cons and Prices of Fabric Garage Awnings

Fabric awnings come in fixed and retractable models. Retractable awnings come in manual and motorized varieties. In included awnings as narrow as 4 ft. wide to show you the price range of fabric awnings. Most garage doors, however, are 8 ft. wide, and awnings narrower than that will not look right on your home.

Here’s a video showing how a retractable awning over the garage doors works:

 

There are many awning-only vendors out there that will probably serve you better than a big box store. Expect their prices to be commensurate with the extra value you receive. I used Home Depot prices to research this article. When looking at prices, keep in mind the actual width of your garage doors.

White awning on white background
Awntech Maui

Pros, Cons and Prices of Acrylic Awnings

The only awning material that truly withstands the weather is acrylic, steel and aluminum. The fabric awning might say they’re strong in the product description, but then wimp out in the official documents.

A steel awning withstands gustier wind and heavier ice than a fabric awning. Steel awnings do not come in retractable models, and they’re not as attractive as fabric, either.

Burgundy awning on white background with square edges
Awntech New Yorker

A garage awning kit is a do-it-yourself weather-protection solution. You can hire a local contractor to install it, but they’re sold as do-it-yourself kits. A typical kit comes with tubes and a rigid shade usually made from steel.

The Awntech in the pictures below comes in widths from 44 in. (3 ft. 6 in.) to 104 in. wide (8 ft. 6 in). The installation process is not too difficult but is easier with two people. The steps include using a mallet to join the tubes together; using a screwdriver to attach the tubes to the awning; and using a drill to attach the awning to the garage.

Here’s a typical steel awning sold at Lowes and other home stores. The video shows you how to assemble it:

This is the Awntech Houstonian. It is available Lowes and Wal-Mart. A 7-ft. wide Awntech costs about $750 before installation (should you hire it out). A 3-ft. wide version costs about $300.

Which Awnings Last in the Wind and Snow?

Some Wimpy Fabric and Steel Wind Resistance Figures

The 4 ft. wide Awning-in-a-Box comes with instructions to take it down before extreme weather. The 10 ft. wide Veikous withstands winds up to 28 mph. The 12 ft. wide Awntech Maui LX holds on up to 35 mph. The Awntech Keywest is 24 ft. wide and withstands up to 35 mph wind. The Beauty-Mark Houstonian is a solid 8 ft. 4 in. wide, perfect for positioning over the typical garage door. The Awntech Wide New Yorker does not come with a wind warranty and specifically opts-out of being responsible for damage from strong winds, snow and ice.

Awning hand crank on white background
Veikous Awning hand crank

The Absolute Unit of an Awning

The Houstonian is powder-coated steel and the manufacturer does not state the wind and snow strengths of this model. The Palram Conopia is 7 ft. 3 in. wide. It is acrylic across the main part and then aluminum and steel on the arms. It is a fixed-position awning that withstands 37 lb./ft. of snow and wind up to 93 mph.

Acrylic awning with black frame over standard home door
Palram Canopia Sophia

How to Clean Your Garage Awning

Clean your awning before the cold weather sets in. Failing a fall cleaning, get out there as soon as the weather turns warm again. Don’t let awning stains fester; they’ll just be harder to clean.

Your awning enemies are dirt and mold. Use bleach only if the manufacturer says it’s OK. Bleach is not really the best substance to deal with mold anyway. My favorite cleanser for getting rid of mold is Wet & Forget, which I get at Costco. You spray this on using the hose, and just leave it on the material to dry. A few weeks or months later, hit the cleansed areas with a hose to wash away the dead mold.

Hot soapy water is nice for dirt, but if you’re reaching then just use the hose or a power washer. If the dirt is tough enough to need brushing, get a long-handled broom to soap up and brush the dirt off the awning.

Sample Garage Awning Prices

Unless your weather is always calm, you run the risk of weather taking out a fabric awning. Sunsetter Awnings sells a wind-detector that automatically closes motorized awnings. They would not be selling that if the wind were not a problem. The only awning on Home Depot that had any real strength under windy and snowy conditions is the Palram Conopia, which is a fixed awning made of acrylic, aluminum and steel.

Awning Awning in a Box
Store Home Depot
Dimensions 4 ft. x 26.5 in.
Price $248.27
Retraction Manual
Material Fabric
Strudiness “Remove awning during extremely windy or cold weather to avoid damage to the awning.”
Awning Veikous
Store Home Depot
Dimensions 10 ft. x 12 ft.
Price $234.99
Retraction Manual
Material Fabric
Strudiness ” For its solid structure, it can resist strong wind to some extent. The wind resistance is 28MPH.”
Awning Awntech Maui LX
Store Home Depot
Dimensions 12 ft. x 12 ft.
Price $1,427
Retraction Motorized
Material Fabric
Strudiness “The awnings durability is impeccable and can withstand 35 mph winds.”
Awning Awntech Keywest
Store Home Depot
Dimensions 24 ft. x 10 ft.
Price $4428.90
Retraction Motorized
Material Fabric
Strudiness “The awnings durability is impeccable and can withstand 35 mph winds.”
Awning Beauty-Mark Houstonian
Store Home Depot
Dimensions 8 ft. 4 in. x 36 in.
Price $889.36
Retraction Fixed
Material Powder-coated steel
Strudiness “The Houstonian awning structure is durable and can withstand strong wind speeds and heavy snow.”
Awning Palram Conopia
Store HD
Dimensions 7 ft. x 3 ft.
Price $954.40
Retraction Fixed
Material Acrylic, aluminum and steel
Strudiness “Snowload: 37 lb./ft.; Wind Resistance: 93 mph”
Awning Awntech Wide New Yorker
Store HD
Dimensions 6 ft. 4 in.
Price $561.00
Retraction Fixed
Material Fabric
Strudiness “Damages caused by improper anchoring, strong winds, snow or ice are not considered defects.”

“Stretching of fabric or damage to any structural component caused by wind or water pooling on the fabric or any other weather is not covered by this Warranty, except for the limited warranty of the acrylic fabric as specifically set forth herein”

Awning Awntech Wide New Yorker
Store HD
Dimensions 8 ft. 4 in.
Price $737.10
Retraction Fixed
Material Fabric
Strudiness “Damages caused by improper anchoring, strong winds, snow or ice are not considered defects.”

“Stretching of fabric or damage to any structural component caused by wind or water pooling on the fabric or any other weather is not covered by this Warranty, except for the limited warranty of the acrylic fabric as specifically set forth herein”

 

Summary

Fabric awnings are subject to wind and snow damage. Motorized awnings are more expensive than manual retractable types. The fixed acrylic awning was the only Home Depot offering I found that held up to real snow and wind conditions. Fabric gets dirtier and is more likely to mildew than steel and acrylic. Bleach is not the best mold cleaner. Use Wet and Forget to keep awnings clean. A typical garage door is 8 ft. wide. An eight ft. Beauty-Mark Houstonian fixed awning is $889.36 at Home Depot. The 7 ft. 3 in. Palram Conopia is a fixed awning made of acrylic and costs $954.40 at Home Depot.