The Difference Between Awnings and Umbrellas

September 16, 2020

The hot Texas sun interferes with everyone’s outdoor enjoyment, starting in spring and continuing straight into the fall each year. Shade is key to keeping cool and avoiding sunburn, and there are plenty of ways to provide it. Patio umbrellas and awnings remain perennially popular choices. Both come with their own advantages and drawbacks. Here’s how to decide whether awnings or patio umbrellas are the better choice for your Houston, TX home.

What kind of backyard setup do you have?

The most important factor to consider is what kind of backyard you have—for example, if you have a pool or a deck, that could interfere with awning installation. Some people want to install an awning and then find that their backyard doesn’t have enough usable space—or that they won’t get the kind of shade they need where space is available.

What are your shade needs?

What do you typically do outdoors? If you’re planning on hosting year-round get togethers, an awning might be the better choice—it’s sturdy and provides more coverage than a standard patio umbrella. Installing an awning allows you to use your backyard space almost all year long, whereas umbrellas are susceptible to the elements.

Are you looking for movable shade options?

The best part about umbrellas is their portability. Is the sun suddenly beating down on your shoulders? Move the umbrella or angle it differently. However, if you’re more interested in having full coverage in a specific area, awnings are your better bet.

Do you want a permanent structure?

Awnings often become permanent parts of the structure, so if you’re renting, you’ll probably want to hold off on installing one. Getting a patio umbrella provides the opportunity to take it with you when you move.

How bad is the weather in your area?

If your neighborhood is prone to a lot of wind, you might want to skip the patio umbrellas. They’re thinner and notoriously prone to getting damaged during high winds and storms. If you can’t make an awning work in your backyard, just make sure you fold it up or take it inside during inclement weather.

How much do you want to spend?

As you might imagine, due to their more permanent nature, awnings cost more than patio umbrellas. You can expect to spend around $100 to $200 for a good quality umbrella, while awnings cost about $2,500 on average. For a quick fix, patio umbrellas are a good choice, but for permanent coverings, you’ll need to pay a little more.

How long do you expect your covering to last?

Finally, patio umbrellas have a much shorter lifespan than awnings, which can last decades when properly maintained. If you’re planning on moving, you might avoid installing an awning (although it could raise your property value)—but if you plan to stay in one place, it’s worth the extra money for the additional outdoor enjoyment.

Need help deciding between awnings and patio umbrellas in Houston, TX? Call ABC Awning Company today for a quote.

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