Are Retractable Awnings Waterproof?

Folding arm awning on a balcony

Retractable awnings are designed to protect you from the harsh Australian heat, but what about other elements like wind and rain?  

Find out if retractable awnings are waterproof, the difference between waterproof and water-resistant fabrics, and what to look out for when choosing fabrics.  

Are Retractable Awnings Waterproof?

Most retractable awnings are water resistant, rather than waterproof. This means they can provide some protection against light or mild rain, but not enough for heavy downpours.  

Most awnings have an ideal pitch to allow rain (and even snow) runoff but are not designed to hold pools of water.  

This is why we always recommend folding away your retractable awning during extreme weather and heavy rain to protect it from damage.  

What’s the Difference Between Waterproof and Water-Resistant Awnings?

If it’s waterproof, it’s impervious to water and should resist water penetration no matter how long it has been exposed to water. On the other hand, a water-resistant awning can ward off and provide light to mild protection from water, but only to a certain extent. Water resistant fabric consists of a tightly woven design and additional materials to make it hydrophobic and is indicated as Durable Water Repellent (DWR).  

Note: when considering water resistant fabric, you’ll want to check the following:  

  1. Permeability: The characteristic of the material that allows water to pass through
  2. Penetration: The surface area a liquid will cover when a fabric absorbs it 
  3. How things like oil and dirt affect the performance of the material


folding arm awnings in Sydney

Which Fabrics are Water-Resistant?

When looking for a water-resistant fabric for your retractable awning, you’ll want to consider vinyl and acrylic fabrics:  

Vinyl Awning Fabrics 

Vinyl awning fabrics come as laminated vinyl and coated vinyl. Both materials are strong, durable, and water resistant. While vinyl fabrics are durable, they are not considered as breathable or flexible than other fabrics. Be mindful of this when making your choice, particularly if you live in high/wind-prone areas, as this can increase the risk of the fabric tearing.  

Acrylic Awning Fabrics 

Acrylic awning fabrics are known for their durability and water-resistant ability. You can purchase 100% acrylic fabrics for your awnings, or polyester and polyester-cotton blends coated in acrylic.  

For more advice and additional guidance on water-resistant fabrics, reach out to Helioscreen’s expert team.  

How Much Do Water Resistant Awnings Cost? 

If you opt with a trusted retractable awning supplier like Helioscreen, you can invest in a custom awning specific to your space requirements. Because of this, the cost of water-resistant awnings can vary – especially if you opt for motorised operation, or add on accessories like sun and wind sensors or a vario- valance (a retractable blind that drops down from the front bar).  

As a general guide, you can expect to pay anywhere from $2000 to upwards of $10,000 if you factor in customisations, sensor installation and electrical labour.  

You can also use our online awning price estimator tool to provide general guidance on what price point to expect based on your requirements.  

Can Retractable Awnings Handle Wind? 

Yes, to an extent. Most retractable awnings can comfortably withstand winds up to 29-38km/h (level 5 on the Beaufort wind scale). This is also known as a ‘fresh breeze’ where small trees begin to sway.  

Some Helioscreen awnings can withstand up to 39-49km/h (a level 6 on the Beaufort wind scale), known as a strong breeze – classified when large branches are in motion and umbrellas become hard to use.  

Learn more about how much wind retractable awnings can handle here.  

Choose Australia’s Leading Retractable Awning Supplier 

To ensure your awning is made to last, invest in a quality product from a reputable supplier like Helioscreen. Our awnings are made from the best quality fabrics and componentry, backed by a five year warranty.  

Helioscreen is Australia’s leading retractable awning supplier for a variety of residential and commercial applications. Contact us today for more information.  

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