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When Should I Keep My Retractable Awnings Closed?

January 19, 2023

Retractable awnings are so useful when the sun is shining. They protect you from sun glare, solar heat, and UV rays when you’re enjoying a meal on the patio. They add a stylish flare to your home that catches the eyes of your neighbors and ties your outdoor decor together. But, as tempting as it may be, they’re not meant to be out and impressing the world all the time.  

Why You Should Retract Your Retractable Awnings

If you want your retractable awnings to provide you with shade and style for as long as possible, know that you will have to, in fact, retract them once in a while. This is especially true under a few intense conditions that pose a threat to the longevity and beauty of your awning. 

Specifically, they are:

  • Rain or hail
  • High winds
  • Snow 

Rain or Hail

The primary condition that calls for retractable awning closure is rain. Rain can cause water damage if it gets into the retractable awning’s mechanisms. SummerSpace® retractable awnings, for instance, use electronic components to make the fabric retract via remote control. When the fabric is in its retracted position, the mechanical elements are less exposed.

Rain is particularly harmful to the awning when it pools on top of the fabric, making it sag over time. Therefore, you want to make sure it’s fully retracted when rain is in the forecast. 

While your awning is made from marine-grade fabric, you don’t want to leave it to chance and hope a little rain shower won’t hurt it much. Why? Because that rain could turn to hail when you’re not expecting it to and cause even more wear and tear to the awning as a result.

High Winds

Windy conditions can also put significant strain on retractable awnings, leading to tears in the fabric or structural weakness in its frames and arms. 

Also, as we explained in our blog Which Solar Screen is Best for Windy Conditions?, there’s more to prepare for in windy conditions besides the wind itself. While your awning may be able to withstand the wind gusts, it may not hold up as well when flying debris whips through the air, ripping the fabric and denting the hardware. Add a little insurance for windy days with the optional SummerSpace Wind/Motion sensor, which will retract your awning automatically if winds exceed a certain speed.


Finally, snow can pile up on retractable awning fabrics, causing wear and tear on individual fibers as well as significant extra weight that could buckle frames or arms that weren’t built to hold such a load. In short, a retractable awning that’s been continuously subjected to snow loads is a saggy mess at best. Therefore, help keep your awnings looking vibrant and feeling crisp by never opening them when the snow falls.

Cassettes to Protect Retractable Awnings 

At this point, you may be wondering how to further protect your retractable awnings from these elements. The answer is with either semi-cassettes or full cassettes which are rounded, solid shells that partially or fully encase the awnings when they’re in their retracted position. Cassettes serve two main purposes: to protect the retractable awning fabric and to keep out wet weather and debris that might otherwise damage the awning. 

Beauty and Long Life

The longevity and aesthetic appeal of your retractable awnings should live up to your investment, so be sure to close them when conditions call for it. Doing so will help ensure that you get many years of enjoyment out of your awning and, thus, your favorite outdoor spaces. 

If you have any other questions regarding the care and maintenance of your SummerSpace retractable awnings in inclement weather, visit our FAQ page for more tips on how to add beauty and long life to your custom shade solution.

Exterior shot of a sun room lined with fabric awnings in their retracted position. Knowing when your retractable awnings should be in their closed position is crucical to maintaining their longevity.

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