The Difference Between Awnings & Canopies

January 10, 2017

When we’re thinking about shade structures, we often categorize them in the same group. But, in reality, an awning is different than a canopy or drop screen. Understanding the differences between the various types of shade structures is important when it comes to considering one for your home or business.

For businesses or restaurants, knowing what the differences are between awnings and canopies is essential. The type of shade structure you install will change the face of your business. So let’s take a look at awnings and canopies.


  • Attached to windows, doors or other entryways of a building.
  • Typically, fixed structures.
  • Used for homes and businesses.
  • While there are retractable options, awnings typically have a fixed frame or attachment to the building. 

Awning at Compartes Chocolatier


Canopy at Faith and Flower Restaurant


  • Freestanding.
  • Covers larger areas likes seating or lounge areas that are not connected to the building.
  • Can be used for entryways and walkways.
  • Can be taken down for storage. 
​The use of an awning is more for folks looking for a permanent fixture. Canopies offer an extra level of coverage and versatility for large areas. This means that if you have a business with a large seating are, a canopy might be suitable for your needs. But, if you have a small outdoor dining area, then an awning might best fit your needs. Also, keep in mind, both offer shade and protection from the sun and rain. Both also use the same type of specialty fabrics and offer similar features like mold and mildew resistance. 

Canopy with Curtains at the Bellwether


Canopy with Drop Curtains at PS 818

​But, what’s important here is that neither one or the other is better; it’s really about what you need. That’s why it’s essential to do your due diligence and learn about the various shade structures and options available.

For more information about awnings, canopies, and other shade structures, feel free to contact us at American Awning & Blind Co by visiting us at Or call us at 800-654-5933. You can also email us at