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The Pros and Cons of Different Awning Materials

Whether you're looking to outfit your home or your business, if you've got windows on your property, there's a good chance that you'll be looking into purchasing some awnings to hang over them. Awnings are functional and stylish, and they improve your home or business's worth to boot - but the question of what fabric you should choose can loom large over your head.

There are three main kinds of fabric that awnings come in, each with their own pros and cons that can help you choose which one fits your home and lifestyle best. So if you're looking for info on the different fabrics you can choose from for your awnings, then here's what you need to know.


A hardy, breathable fabric, polyester (sometimes sold as vinyl-covered polyester) is a polymer used for everything from clothing to containers to - most usefully here - fabrics for awnings.

Polyester, as a synthetic fabric, is quite fairly designed to stand up against the worst that Mother Nature has to offer and is easy to clean after bad weather soils it - simply wipe it off with a damp cloth. It also blocks UV rays, protecting you from sunburns and skin cancer while still allowing a bit of sunlight through to lighten things up.

As a material, however, polyester isn't exactly soft, which could be a problem if you value touch as part of your design aesthetic. Polyester is also prone to fading, which means that some of your awnings might be a different shade than others, depending on how much sun they get.


A cloth made to last against the elements, canvas is an exceptionally strong fabric traditionally made from hemp; in its heyday of nautical use, sails to sailor bags to tents were all made from canvas. Nowadays, canvas is more commonly made from linen. While an integral part of painting, canvas is also a great choice for an awning fabric due to its many sterling qualities.

Not only is canvas durable, it's also flexible and relatively inexpensive. When installed properly and stretched tightly between its supports, canvas will hold its own against the weight of snow and rain, ensuring that it doesn't bog down in the middle and create a lax, lazy-looking sort of aesthetic for your building.

However, canvas can sag when not stretched tightly enough, and canvas awnings might look a bit rough or unfinished if the rest of your building has a very polished aesthetic. This material also isn't as easy to clean as the other fabrics on this list.


Another strong fabric, cotton is perhaps the most familiar fabric on this list and, for a long time, was the most popular awning material. While other materials are readily available nowadays, cotton is still a great choice for a more classic feel for your awnings.

Heavy and naturally water resistant, cotton is the perfect choice for climates that are a little chilly, as it has the power to repel mildew, can stand up to the moisture, and keep its shape no matter what. As an added bonus, cotton awnings are machine washable, just in case something does get spilled on it.

Cotton is a little more expensive than, say, canvas. However, it is not flame resistant or quite as strong as either canvas or polyester.

Things to Remember

One type of fabric isn't necessarily any better, objectively speaking, than any other type of fabric; your choice depends fully on your wants and needs, not on what others might say is best. For design, manufacturing, and installation of your awnings (not to mention more information), visit Eikelberger Awning & Drapery Co. at their website today.