Full Cassette vs. Semi-Cassette vs. Open Awnings

October 3, 2022

When it comes to retractable awnings, there’s a three-way decision you need to weigh: Full Cassette vs. Semi-Cassette vs. Open Awnings. Each option refers to the awning’s level of exposure to the air and elements while it’s fully retracted. As to which one you should use, your outdoor surroundings and budget can help guide you to the perfect solution.

Full Cassette vs. Semi-Cassette vs. Open Awnings: The Difference

An awning’s purpose is to provide coverage and privacy for outdoor spaces. It shields your deck, your patio, your backyard, and anyone who wants to enjoy these spaces away from the intense sunlight Mother Nature likes to throw our way. But what protects your awning? What level of coverage does it get when it’s in its retracted position up against your house? 

Yes, your retractable awning can, indeed, withstand many years’ worth of exposure to these elements with proper maintenance. However, like all other household goods, it will eventually show signs of wear and tear if not protected. The good news is that you can stave off these effects by selecting a product with high-quality materials and features.

One feature you can invest in for your awning is a cassette. What is a cassette? Think of where you’ve heard that word before. Audio cassette. Video cassette. What do these items have in common? They’re devices that enclose spooled materials in a hard, protective case. That’s precisely what an awning’s cassette does, be it a semi-cassette or a full cassette. Below, we explain the main differences between the three main retractable awning types: open, semi-cassette, and full cassette.

Open Awning

An open awning, often referred to as a traditional awning, is exactly what it sounds like. Here, your awning remains exposed to the open air when it’s fully retracted. This option tends to be most practical for either residential or commercial owners looking for a traditional style or budget-friendly solution. 

The key to success with this option is being shrewd with the awning material. At SummerSpace®, for instance, we construct our retractable awnings with marine-grade Tempotest® fabric. When configured to our aluminum frames, the result is a product that demands little maintenance from its owners. 

What’s more, these awnings come in a wide variety of colors, patterns, and textures, so you don’t have to sacrifice style for affordability. Add an optional hood for great protection.

Semi-Cassette Awning

A semi-cassette awning involves the same construction and materials as an open awning with an added component: a solid, rounded covering situated over the upper half of the retracted awning. This piece acts as a shield against sunlight, weather, and environmental threats. Thus, the awning is less likely to show signs of sun fading and deterioration over time. 

Full Cassette Awning

A full cassette configuration is the most effective at prolonging the awning’s lifetime. In this instance, the cassette encases the retracted awning completely (top and bottom). With a full cassette, the awning’s forward-most edge is capped by a semi-circular, oversized front bar that conjoins with the awning’s round hood when retracted. Additionally, you don’t have to worry about a fabric valance flapping in the wind and causing premature wear.

By surrounding the entire fabric roll, the full cassette provides 360-degree protection from the wind, rain, hail, sun, and other environmental factors. It’s like a permanent storage tube for your awning. 

Retractable Awnings for Any Environment

So which retractable awning is best for you? Ultimately, it depends on your situation. If your awning will face frequent exposure to external threats (e.g., sunlight, precipitation, wildlife, etc.), then you may want the maximum protection of the full cassette. If not, then you can reduce the amount of cassette covering accordingly.

In terms of budget, open awnings are the most affordable with the price increasing as you increase the amount of cassette protection.

Whatever your circumstances, SummerSpace has a retractable awning application to accommodate your needs. Visit our FAQ page for more information on retractable awning ownership. Then, get in touch with your local SummerSpace dealer us to find a tailored awning solution for your home or business.

Close up on a SummerSpace Semi-Cassette Awning made from navy blue fabric with white stripes is fully retracted on a rooftop. Equipment like this is relevant when considering Full Cassette vs. Semi-Cassette vs. Open Awnings

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