The Complete Guide to Modern Metal Awnings 

This article will cover everything you need to know about modern metal awnings.

Modern Metal Awnings

When Architects and construction companies need a stable shade structure for their commercial projects, they often turn to modern metal awnings. This shade option has continued to gain popularity throughout the years and has become a modern style accent for many commercial, multi-family, and concrete tilt-up properties. Architects and construction companies continuously install modern metal awnings on their commercial projects.

However, there are some key things you must first learn about if you want to install an awning on your property. There are important considerations like the difference between canopies, sunshades, and metal or fabric awnings. Also, what materials, sizing, and colors are these products made of? If you don’t select the correct requirements, you may install an awning that doesn’t meet your needs.

This article will cover everything you need to know about modern metal awnings and what to consider when installing them.

What’s a Modern Metal Awning? 

The answer to this question depends on who you ask. Our industry defines the term Modern Metal “Awning” differently. Often, it depends on what part of the country you are in. Let us give you the rundown. Most of the industry agrees that Metal Awnings extend out of a building as a shading system that provides protection from both the weather and sunlight. A metal awning is a more durable shade option than other standard materials like fabric. Unlike traditional shade options, a metal awning has a durable structure that protects against harsh weather conditions from affecting those under it. Sometimes people refer to Metal Canopies as Metal Awnings or Modern Metal Awnings, but the systems are two different products. Then there’s Louvered Sunshades, and these systems have gained extreme popularity over the last decade thanks to new eco-friendly building codes. Now you can see how the term “Metal Awning” is actually quite broad and can mean several different shading systems. Don’t worry. This guide will walk you through each shading system.

concrete building with louvered sunshades

Why Should You Install a Modern Metal Awning? 

Whether it’s rain or hail, you can count on a metal awning to provide sufficient protection. Some models of metal awning even hold up against hurricane-force winds when installed by an experienced installation company. These heavy-duty awnings can bear the weight of fallen tree branches or heavy snowfall. The aesthetics of modern metal awnings also increase the value of your commercial project. Who doesn’t like a good investment?

You will often find these modern metal awnings above seating areas, porches, walkways, or windows to help block sunlight and protect from harsh weather. These awnings come in various styles and materials, depending on the environment. There are options for fixed awnings that remain above entrances and outdoor spaces. You can also find retractable options that can be moved in intense weather. It really depends on what you want the aesthetics of your building to look like, the building codes, and your environment.

Modern metal window awnings show that you care about the occupants of your property and want to protect them from the sun and weather. A properly installed awning provides significant protection against UV damage and improves comfort. Along with the important functionality of a metal awning, they are a great style accent that boosts the curb appeal of properties.

You can customize the metal awning to match your property’s color scheme and features. You can install it across your property if you have a wide storefront that requires a large metal awning. A metal awning can also protect above a door of a building’s entrance. Whatever your requirements, you can customize a metal awning to meet them.

What Are The Most Common Metal Awning Materials? 

A common misconception is that manufacturers make metal awnings from the same materials. However, modern metal awnings come in a few different metal materials, each having a different price, durability level, and appearance. If you choose the wrong material for the awning, it may not be the best option for you. 

Below are the two most common metal awning materials and their benefits: 

  • Aluminum Awnings:

     If you live in a humid environment, an aluminum awning is exceptional against corrosion. These modern aluminum awnings are lightweight and easily installed on most exterior surfaces. We only use aluminum for our modern metal awnings because of the tremendous upside. 

  • Steel Awnings:

    While steel awnings were popular in the past, most architects and construction companies are moving towards aluminum because of the lightweight, rust-resistant, and no welding required solutions. Check out our article comparing Aluminum Vs. Steel

With these metal materials in mind, you can decide which one best fits your criteria for an awning. Modern aluminum awnings are ideal if you prefer versatility above everything else. Steel awnings are traditionally a thing of the past because of their weight and can easily rust.

What is the Difference Between Awnings and Other Shade Options?

When looking to install a shade structure on your property, it’s best to learn the different types on the market. The three main options for shade available are awnings, canopies, and sunshades. These shade structures all have different architecture and purposes, so it’s important to know their defining features.

Canopies vs Metal Awnings

The differences between a metal canopy and a metal awning are pretty significant. As we mentioned above, some people still refer to metal canopies as metal awnings, but metal canopies are flat in appearance and provide a much larger projection (meaning they stick out from the building to provide a much larger shading and protection area). Canopies are thicker and have a more robust frame with heavy snow loads. They have exploded in popularity over the years, and generally, any new commercial construction building will use metal canopies over metal awnings. Now in our terms, a modern metal awning is generally a metal canopy, but we do still make a metal awning from time to time. Metal awnings are sloped at an angle and repel snow and water down to the surface, unlike canopies that hold the snow and then drain down a pipe. The metal awning is generally smaller in size and projection; therefore, it cannot handle the snow load.

Both of these shade structures have ideal uses, with a canopy better suited for a large outdoor seating arrangement. You can better adjust the size of canopies to cover large outdoor areas, drain to specific areas with its downpipe, and hold snow with its heavier snow load. Metal awnings can’t protrude as far out from the building, so businesses often use them to protect entrances and windows.

Sunshades vs Metal Awnings

Metal sunshades or louvered sunshades are different from canopies or metal awnings. Louvered Sunshades have become very popular over the last decade because of their sustainable heating and cooling benefits and aesthetic appearance. Louvered Sunshades are the best architectural product for sustainable heating and cooling of commercial buildings. The louvers in the sunshade will block the sunlight in the warmer months to provide shade to cool the space, and then in the cooler months, the louvers will allow sunlight in to heat the space. This is a great sustainable practice but also helps meet many new commercial construction building codes.

There are also fabric metal awnings that in the past have been extremely popular, but due to their poor weathering because of the fabric, many commercial buildings are switching over to a more permanent solution that doesn’t require as much maintenance and recovery.

Things to Consider When Installing Modern Metal Awnings

Modern metal awnings are a great addition to any home or business, but planning is important. It would be best to consider several things when choosing the perfect modern awning for installation on your project or commercial building. This section will cover what goes into planning for a successful modern metal awning installation project. 

The Awning’s Environment and Climate

Before you go into the specifics of the awning’s color or design, you need to consider the structure’s environment. Your location’s climate will impact what type of modern metal awning you will need and what type of weather protection this awning will need to provide. 

What Type Of Metal Should I Use?

What metal should you use? This is a great question. At Vestis, we only use aluminum and always recommend aluminum over any other type of metal because of aluminum’s natural rust resistance and lightweight, making it, in our humble opinion, superior to Steel or Copper. Still, aluminum isn’t your only choice on the market. Some people choose to use Steel because that is what they have used in the past, but Steel can be tough to work with due to its heavyweight and is easily susceptible to rust, so installing Steel can take a considerable amount of time. Copper is even less popular due to its white-glove installation process and cost. 

concrete building with louvered sunshades

What Are Some Metal Awning Installation Processes?

One of the most important aspects of modern metal awnings is the installation process. Depending on your project and commercial building needs, you can choose to self-install, have the construction company or general contractor install, and or possibly the awning company install if they offer installation. 

Most Aluminum Modern Metal Awnings are the easiest to install, thanks to the aluminum’s lightweight. Here at Vestis, we have an entire pre-designed canopy line that can be simply installed in under four hours. Some other aluminum canopies and modern metal awnings require field assembly and will be shipped in sections with a kit of parts to assemble, so pay attention to how awnings assemble and installed. Modern steel canopies are generally fabricated, and welded on-site, then require a crane or some special lift to install because Steel is so heavy, so generally, aluminum is the easiest material to work with.

Maintenance Requirements

You should also consider the maintenance requirements of the metal awning on your property. If an awning requires regular maintenance, you should factor that in during the installation process. In most cases, a modern aluminum metal awning requires minimal maintenance to retain its shine and beautiful appearance, but Steel, Copper, or fabric awnings can require much more maintenance and rust or fade over the years. 

Know Your Local Building Codes

Before you install any metal awning on your property, you need to know the guidelines set by local governments. Some building codes regulate the height, shape, snow loads, and color of an awning on a property. If you install an awning that doesn’t meet these regulations, you could face potential financial penalties. 

Property management can set other guidelines if your business shares space with other buildings. Some locations like strip malls have specific regulations for storefront canopies. If you want to ensure you will run into no problems during installation, it is best to speak with your local regulatory office. 

The Company For The Right Job

The most important thing to consider when considering modern metal awnings is what company to purchase from. A metal awning company will make or break the project’s success, so it’s best to make the correct choice the first time. When you choose the right company, you won’t have to worry about experiencing problems that come with long install times, long turnarounds, quality of product, and awning assembly.

There are several characteristics of a trustworthy awning company, with some of the biggest signs being: 

  • High-Quality Products
  • Industry Experience
  • Responsive Customer Support
  • Customizable Awning Solutions
  • Efficient Installation
  • Rating

When researching an awning company, these factors should be at the top of your list of what you want in a business. Awning companies that check all of the boxes are more likely to deliver the perfect modern metal awning for your home or business. 


Modern Metal awnings are a versatile shade structure used in numerous situations, from restaurant fronts to apartment complexes. Most people are referring to Metal Canopies when they say Metal Awnings. You can enjoy this effective shade option’s style and functional benefits when you install these on your Commercial Buildings. However, you must work with a trusted awning company.

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