The Differences Between an Awning and a Pergola


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Creating shade in your yard is vital during the scorching summer months. Pergolas and awnings are just some of the options that can help you protect your home from sun rays. Alternatively, if you wish to sit outside in the rain without worrying about getting soaked, awnings and pergolas can be of great help and offer good protection against the elements. While they have one mutual characteristic of protecting you from the sun and rain, they’re essentially quite different and will require deeper thinking before you decide which option is better for your home. Here are some main differences between an awning and a pergola.

Unique in structure

One of the main differences between awnings and pergolas is their structure. On the one hand, an awning can be spread and retracted. Once installed on the wall, the roof-like cover can extend and retract whenever you want it. Additionally, an awning is a simple piece of covering, which will look like a roof above your uncovered porch, for instance. Unlike a pergola, an awning can be a temporary structure that you can easily detach from a wall. On the other hand, initially, a pergola is not as shelter-like structure as an awning. A pergola is a permanent structure built to support climbing plants. Considering many pergolas usually only have a rafter instead of a roof, you won’t have a decent shelter in a pergola. However, if you wish to upgrade it and make your pergola an all-season nook, then you will have the ability to enclose it on all sides. Transform it into a small room in your garden, and you’ll have a perfect resting area where you can have warming tea or coffee on chilly fall evenings. It’s a much larger structure that you can build in the middle of your yard, for example. It cannot be as easily removed as an awning. You’d need to tear the entire facility down, which would require hours of strenuous work.

Example of a timber pergola construction.

Made of different materials

Aside from having different structures, awnings and pergolas are also dissimilar in materials they’re made of. Namely, awnings are always made of some kind of UV-buffering and waterproof fabric, such as vinyl-laminated polyester and solution-dyed acrylic. Those can easily withstand rain, snow and all the other elements. Because pergolas are typically freestanding, they’re made mostly or entirely from wooden beams and latticework. Sometimes the pergola posts will be cemented in or supported with metal at the base. That makes pergolas much sturdier than awnings.

DIY installation of basic awning system.

Ease of installation

An awning is very easy to install. Since it’s only made of a single piece of fabric, all you need to do is attach it to a wall and expand according to your needs. You can also install awnings in homes and businesses that have very little space to work with. Pergolas, on the other hand, require building, which is more time-consuming and involves much more effort. On top of that, not everyone can build a pergola. Only a crafty person experienced in building timber constructions can confidently build a pergola.

Opening roof pergola by the poolside.

Aesthetic quality

Awnings are very customisable and versatile, which means they can work well over back doors, above storefronts, over windows, and in a backyard. You can choose between retractable or stationary awnings. You can also zip back a retractable awning in case of bad weather and prevent wind from tearing it apart. On the other hand, pergolas are typically larger constructions with permanent fixtures and can be a breathtaking addition to any existing or new home. An opening roof pergola next to a pool will serve as a stunning backdrop during pastimes or summer parties by the pool. Because pergolas are typically found only in backyards, they’re more of a niche accessory compared to an awning. Pergolas are sturdy structures that can’t be relocated easily from one place to another.

Final Thoughts

Not sure whether to choose an awning or a pergola for your outdoors? It will all depend on your ability to install one or the other, how much protection from the sun you need as well as whether you want to go for an aesthetic appeal or you’d prefer something simple, UV protective, water-resistant and easy to maneuver. Go through all of these options thoroughly and choose wisely. Consider your needs and which of the two you’ll benefit from more.

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Opening Roof Specialists is different to other pergola builders. Firstly, as the name suggests, we specialise in opening roof systems. We have a team of factory workers who build everything in-house, and a highly-skilled team of experienced roof installers who know exactly how to install our products. This guarantees the best-finished result on all pergolas, awnings, and alfresco roofs installed by Opening Roof Specialists.

Choose can help you to choose from a range of pergola products and accessories to elevate the luxury of your outdoor entertaining area, such as Ziptrak® UV SunScreen Blinds, outdoor heating, ceiling fans, LED lighting and more.

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