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How to Choose the Right Commercial Awning for Your Business


How to Choose the Right Commercial Awning for Your Business

Walk down the street of a nearby downtown, and you’ll find commercial awnings. Visit your next-door neighbor with a patio deck or a backyard, and you’ll likely come across an awning there, too. Travel abroad, among the piazzas of Florence and through the winding back alleys of Paris, and you’ll notice awnings suspended above restaurant entrances and trendy bars.

So, what makes awnings so widely used? Well, awnings have been popular since the early 19th century, both in the United States and Europe. And, with that kind of staying power, you can bet there's a good reason every store owner and their mother own one.  

Do I even need a commercial awning?

The truth is, awnings have more than just that quaint, cool factor. Depending on the angle and design of the awning, you may get a little more real estate for messaging than with traditional signage. Plus, business awnings can embody the spirit of your brand, serving up a regal first impression.

More importantly, awnings serve up shade and shelter for pedestrians passing through. It’s often an incentive for potential customers to take a load off near your entrance and enter the store itself.

But taking advantage of these benefits requires more than closing your eyes and picking an awning at random. Maximizing the effectiveness of an awning depends on your company’s overarching goals, and with so many variables to keep track of, it’s easy to lose sight of the bigger picture.

If you’re a novice to the wonderful world of awnings, read on to learn how to pick the right commercial for your business.

Do you want retractable or stationary?

This is one of the first options you should consider, as it has the potential to drastically alter the overall design of your awning. While stationary awnings tend to look more extravagant, they are constantly exposed to UV rays. Retractable awnings can be drawn back anytime outside of business hours and so have greater longevity.

Are you in a geographical location where heavy snowfall is a regular occurrence during winter? If so, you may want a retractable awning – even if it doesn’t mesh with your aesthetic preferences. Snow can accumulate on stationary awnings and cause warping, or worse, the collapse of your canopy.

Your material selection is vast.

There are three main types of material associated with awnings. But, of course, many other options have proliferated outside these popular selections (such as aluminum, wood, and even wrought-iron).

  • Vinyl and Polyester Composite – Need something durable, waterproof, and fire-retardant? These synthetic blends will suit your needs quite nicely. They are fairly common and employed as an integral addition to the storefront of major franchises.
  • Cotton Blend Canvas – These are perhaps the least durable of the three, though their specially designed coating makes for some serious water resistance. Canvas has historically been the low-cost material of choice for awnings, though it sees far less used today.
  • Acrylic Fabric – Acrylic fabric is a little more durable than cotton. While the material isn’t fully waterproof like vinyl, its resistance against mildew and ultraviolet makes it ideal for hot and humid summers.

Aspects like color, typography, and style are vital.

There’s standing out, and then there’s standing out in a bad way. Make sure the design elements of the awning complement not only your brand image but the architecture of the surrounding buildings as well.

People have been preconditioned to react a certain way to environmental triggers. Use these to your advantage. If you represent a medical practice, maybe it’s best to go for a subdued, professional look rather than lurid pinks and neon blues.

Most importantly, make sure you play nicely with the city government.

Not all townships and cities have building requirements, but it’s always good practice to check before the fabrication of your commercial awnings. In some cases, municipalities and communities will ordain specific colors, materials, or size specifications.

We wouldn’t want you to build your magnum opus, only to be sent back to the drawing board during the installation process.

For more information on commercial awnings, you can rely on the experts at Signs Now®.

“How else can I get Awnings to work for me?” you ask.  Find out with an expert site assessment courtesy of Signs Now®. We have an array of Outdoor and Exterior Signage & Graphics for all applications and budgets. And if you’re looking for a foldable solution to outdoor signage, we offer A-frame Retail Store Signs. We invite you to learn more about what Signs Now can do for you. To get started, contact us today.