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The 3 Differences Between Awnings and Canopies

Posted on Thursday, January 5th, 2023 at 9:44 am.
carroll architectural shade differences in awnings and canopies

Explore the differences between awnings and canopies to find your best option.

Canopies and awnings make lovely additions to your house, backyard, or commercial business. They provide shared zones for you to entertain guests or shield people from the weather while adding unbeatable aesthetic appeal. These awnings are especially valuable during the sunniest summer months when they offer shade from direct sunlight that shines down many hours a day. However, while awnings and canopies are often similar, they have differences that make each choice distinct. Before deciding which shade product to design with Carroll Architectural Shade, consider their design, purpose, and size differences. Our team can help you determine the best product for your property. 

Awning and Canopy Design 

The principal difference between awnings and canopies is in the design. Awnings are typically made of fabric and attached to the side of your home or business. They are often placed over windows or glass doors, and when you install retractable awnings, they can be opened or closed to customize protection. A canopy is typically self-supporting, with pillars supporting the fabric roof. Because a canopy is not attached to anything, a canopy can more easily be disassembled and relocated throughout your property – even in areas not directly connected to your building. 

The Purpose of Your Awnings and Canopies

Both internal and external spaces can benefit from the shade provided by a new awning. A window awning keeps your house or business cool and comfortable by blocking the sun’s rays from penetrating your windows. The shade reduces the amount of sun damage furniture, artwork, or carpets near your windows may experience. The shade also reduces the heat gain in your home, reducing the air conditioning you need to use. If you have retractable awnings installed, you can close them on overcast days to let in more natural light or warmth during sunny winter days. 

By comparison, a canopy can only impact the outside space in which it is used. It is generally larger than an awning and can be placed throughout your yard because it’s free-standing. Canopies are the best place to set up outdoor dining or sit and relax under the shade by your pool in the summer. 

Awning and Canopy Sizes

Awnings are typically a few feet long. Because they are installed after the property has been built, there is a limit on how large they can be without influencing the structural integrity. When installing a canopy, you must consider the space available in your backyard. Your canopy can be spacious enough to accommodate gatherings of 20 or more people if you choose. 

By understanding these key differences, you can determine whether awnings or canopies are suitable for your property and comfort. Discuss with the Carroll Architectural Shade designers which products may be ideal for the purposes you have in mind. 


Through our combined locations in Baltimore, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., Carroll Architectural Shade provides innovative craftsmanship, superb service, competitive pricing, and unfailing attention to detail for customers throughout Maryland and Virginia.

Our highly skilled craftsmen design and custom manufacture shade products in-house, including commercial awnings, residential awnings, retractable awnings, roll-up curtains, aluminum awnings, and flat metal canopies. Founded in 1958 by James Carroll Sr., and still family-owned by his sons today, Carroll Architectural Shade remains committed to delivering top-quality craftsmanship and service.

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