The Ultimate Awnings Buyers Guide

motorised retractable awning canberra backyard

When it comes to backyard shade ideas or shade for the pool or your outdoor entertainment area, awnings are a fantastic solution. Allowing you to vary the level of shading depending on the time of day or the season.

Suitable for both residential and commercial applications, folding arm awnings are one of the most popular retractable solutions on the market.

Now, let’s see if they are the right shade solution for you…

What Are Folding Arm Awnings Used For?

slider awnings Helioscreen

As much as we love our warm Aussie climate, most of us are aware that it comes at a price- with some of the strongest UV rays on earth. We love spending time outdoors, but not everyone wants to be exposed to the harsh UV rays & weather conditions that come with the territory.

Awnings offer an unobtrusive & stylish all-weather solution that not only protects your family from the sun, but also offers a range of secondary benefits, like decreased energy costs in summer and increased property valuations come part in parcel when you invest in a quality awning solution.

Some of the main ways awnings protect you & your family from the elements:

  1. Reduce Exposure to Harmful UV – awnings are great at protecting your family from the sun’s harsh UV rays. Enabling your outdoor space to be used more frequently throughout the year.
  2. Protect Outdoor Furnishings – awnings are also efficient at preventing your valuable outdoor furnishings from fading.
  3. Reduce Your Homes Temperature in Summer – a folding arm awning can also assist in blocking sun and heat from entering the home, which in turn reduces the internal temperature of your home, helping to reduce your cooling costs. It is most important to shade glazed areas on the Northern and Western facades of the home, as they are the most directly hit by the sun.

So, we know that awnings can help when it comes to protecting our homes & families from UV, but how do they cope with the rain?

Can Awnings be Used in the Rain?

As a general rule, yes, as long as the user follows recommendations.

Folding Arm Awnings are designed for sun protection and light rain, but large amounts of rain can pool on the fabric and cause damage.

If you don’t let water pool by having at least a 15-degree fall you can use the awning in wet weather under supervision wind permitting.

So, what options do you have when looking to install a folding arm awning system in your home or commercial area?

What Awning Sizes Are Available?

Folding Arm Awning Brisbane

There is a very wide range of sizes & specifications of awnings available on the market. From small awnings that cover a window, to large commercial-scale retractable awning systems.

Folding arm awnings can span widths from 2m to 8m in a single unit. Projections ranging from 1.5m to 4.5m are available depending on which model you choose. If larger areas require coverage, then units can be coupled.

Helioscreen manufactures awnings for both residential and commercial applications, and with these size specifications in mind, we can produce awnings to suit most applications. All Helioscreen awnings are custom manufactured to specific sizes.

To get an idea of which specifications you need, head over to our awnings selection guide to view available specs.

Types of Awnings – Choosing the Right Fit for You

There are many various types of Folding Arm Awnings, Pergola Awnings, and Folding Retractable Roof Systems in today’s market.

When choosing the best option, it is important to note that this is not only about enhancing one’s comfort and lifestyle, but as a value adding long term purchase, the highest possible quality should be a top priority.

With that being said, there are 5 main Helioscreen awning types available.

  • The Classic
  • The Fabric Cassette
  • The Rubix
  • The Cocoon Cassette
  • The Full Cassette

The Classic

Helioscreen Cassette Awning

The Classic is an open style awning, where all competent and parts are visible. With Helioshade Classic awnings, the fabric roller remains exposed which is suited for installation to the underside of a slab, existing structure, eve or balcony.

When installed on a wall, the protective top cover casing can be incorporated for extra protection to the fabric when not in use. This style of awning is popular with cafés as it is the most robust, cost-effective awning.

The Fabric Cassette

Courtyard Awning

The Fabric Cassette is similar to the open style classic awning. However, the fabric is encased in its cassette, protecting the material from the elements. The design of the Helioshade Fabric-Cassette awning protects fabric roller and mechanism, from weather both above and below.

This model offers a unique adjustable head to ensure a perfectly closed system every time. When in the closed position the arms are retracted on the underside of the fabric cassette.

The Rubix Cassette

Rubix Cassette Awning 1 rotated e1590024444498 Helioscreen

For modern geometric buildings, the Rubix is a square encased cassette awning, which is both architecturally and aesthetically pleasing. The Helioshade Rubix awning is a more recent addition to the range.

The awning is designed to be mounted on a flat surface, and due to its rectangular design, it is very popular with many modern designed buildings. This awning is an enclosed cassette awning which when in the closed position will blend in with the building structure perfectly.

The Cocoon Cassette

Courtyard Awning

The Cocoon Cassette is the baby cassette to its brother, the Full Cassette. It is more of a courtyard style, a discreet awning, and it is also a more recent addition to the range. This awning has an elliptical design and can be installed when fixing points are only available at each end.

The Full Cassette

Full Cassette Folding Arm Awning

The Full Cassette is the most robust awning in the range, as well as still aesthetically pleasing with smooth curves and discreet lines. The Helioshade Full-Cassette awning is the top of the range. It provides the perfect protection for the roller, fabric and the complete arm system – because they are all stored in a closed cassette. When retracted, the moving arm part closes and seals the cassette, meaning that bad weather, wind, dirt and salt repelled.

Whatever style of awning you are after, there is sure to be a solution perfect for your space & aesthetic requirements.

Features to Consider for your Awning Solution

The best possible awnings always allow for the shade to be fully retracted, so that the warmth of the sun can enter your courtyard, deck or living area in the cooler months, whilst providing much needed heat, glare, and solar protection in the height of summer.

This flexibility can be enhanced further by automating the control of your outdoor blinds or awnings with sun, wind, or rain sensors. This creates a truly dynamic level of sun control that responds to the weather in real time. Eg: External blinds can be lowered automatically on the western façade of your home when the sun moves into a position that would normally create high levels of heat and glare in your living space.

Other top level features to consider…

Manual or electric?

Manual awnings are available, but remote control electronic operation is a standard feature with a Helioscreen awning. Automatic motion and wind sensors are also available so that the awning retracts during higher winds providing the awning is motorised.

Do I need a motorised system?

You don’t have to have a motor unless the awnings are very large. If it is a small awning, you can easily extend or retract it with a manual winder handle.

However, a motor makes it much more convenient and increases the likelihood that you will use your awning more frequently. Motorisation also allows optional sensors to be selected.

Can you add a motor after your awning is installed?

Not without incurring high cost. It costs much more to add a motor after the fact because of the extra labour to retrofit the motor and deduction sizes of internal fittings may change. We highly recommend purchasing the motor and control options with the original purchase of the product.


Not all fabrics are created equal. Fabrics for shade solution products can be sourced from many parts of the world. External fabrics need to be tough and robust whilst internal fabrics need to look and feel luxurious.

It’s important to choose from high quality fabrics so you can be confident your outdoor shade product will stand the test of time. Our external fabrics are sourced from many parts of the world. All fabrics are selected for their ability to perform for the chosen application.


Whilst plain Charcoal or Sandy Beige fabrics are always popular, do not under-estimate how stunning a striped fabric can be to really give an impact! Black & White, or Yellow & White stripes can be so chic in the right setting.

Folding arm awnings can be produced in a variety of colours to suit existing and planned developments and structures depending on the seasonal colours selected. Each and every product comes with a large selection of frame and fabric colours. Frame colours are available from the Dulux powder coat chart, and we offer a large range of fabrics for every need. Currently, the most popular colours people are choosing are to match the Dulux Colorbond range either to blend in with their guttering or roofing choice.

Woodland Grey, Monument, Surfmist and Ironstone are some popular colours, to name a few.


Warranties are a must when it comes to investing in an outdoor shade solution.

Helioscreen offers a 5-year warranty on all its products. This warranty covers the system, fabric and motor. Whatever your requirement to shade your outdoor area, balcony, backyard or commercial space, Helioscreen has a custom-built option to suit all your sun shading needs.

Choose a Premium Awning Provider

When it comes to choosing an awning provider, it’s important to choose quality.

Helioscreen is a premium Australian manufacturer offering an unparalleled level of design and engineering excellence. We are a well established privately Australian owned company, and our name is synonymous with quality.

Drawing on design and manufacturing expertise from our partners worldwide, Helioscreen supplies market-leading awnings and associated products throughout Australia and NZ.

Next Steps: Installing Your Folding Arm Awning With Helioscreen

How to arrange a quote and have a Helioscreen product installed?

As we are a wholesale manufacturer, we have a vast network of resellers Australia-wide, all you need to do is contact us and we can connect you to a suitable reseller who will visit your project location and provide you with a quote based on your requirements and specifications. It’s that easy.

What are the approximate costs?

The prices vary greatly depending on the product, model, size, operating style and colours. As a guide, Helioshade Folding Arm awnings start from around $4,000 to over $10,000 for a larger top of the range products. Costs may be higher than those seen at a home centre or chain stores, but there is no comparison in quality or lifespan.

How do your prices compare to others?

From market feedback, we find our products are competitively priced in the market. Helioshade products are custom-made to measure with specific colours you choose for your order. We don’t hold stock of pre-assembled sizes from overseas of try to use seconds from other orders.
Helioscreen Australia has been manufacturing and distributing premium sun control solutions for more than 20 years which makes us a clear market leader in this field.

All products are of high quality and precision tested for every order. We believe no other awnings assembled in Australian come close to matching our products.

What is the approximate delivery time after I order?

Delivery time varies slightly depending on season and demand. As a guide manufacturing time is normally 4 weeks from receipt of order.

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