7 Things You Need to Know About Retractable Awnings & Sun Tunnels

Roof Window

When working on a design of your brick-and-mortar business, you should pay particular attention to natural light as it will significantly enhance the allure. Not only does it open up the interior of the room, making it look bigger, but it also creates an inviting atmosphere that can attract customers. As natural lighting increases the production of serotonin, your clients will associate your business with happiness and be more likely to revisit you in the future.

However, while inviting natural light into your life is essential, sitting in a scorching sun might quickly become unbearable for anybody. That’s why you should look for solutions that will allow you to reap the benefits and avoid the inconvenience of the sun. If you want to brighten your space, sun tunnels might be for you. But if you want to create some cooling shade for your clients, why not install a retractable awning?

Before you install any of those fixtures, there are some things you should be familiar with – like what are their types and the materials used, or where you should position them. Knowing those, you’ll be able to make the most of your investment. Below, you’ll find helpful information on retractable awnings and sun tunnels.

Retractable Awnings

If you have a bar or restaurant, a charming patio could be a great addition to attract more customers; it will also add more usable space, increasing the number of customers you can serve at the same time. 

To create some shade for your outdoor space, you can invest in a retractable awning. They are adjustable extensions that cover the outside of the building. With a retractable awning, you will be able to block the sun’s rays and let people enjoy some refreshing shadow. 

Retractable awnings can come in many shapes and sizes, so if you want to create a cool shade for all those hot summer days, feel free to choose from one of the many models. Here are some things you should know about retractable awnings:

They Generate Savings

The price of your retractable awning will depend on your requirements. When you sum up the cost with a retractable awning cost calculator, you might be a little shocked at how much you have to spend.

Yet, retractable awnings can be very beneficial for your wallet, especially if you want to generate some savings for your business in the long run. They are great for protecting your building from the sun and, therefore, you won’t have to spend as much money on air conditioning or fans. You will also save on electricity because your air conditioner won’t work as hard. If you consider the benefits and the savings you’ll receive, this is a great investment for your business.

Materials Matter

The benefits of outdoor awnings are undeniable, but you have to pay special attention to the material used. The material needs to be chosen with care as it will ultimately determine the durability and ease of use of your awning. As a general rule, retractable awnings are made of vinyl, canvas, acrylic, or cotton.

Acrylic and polyester are considered some of the most durable and long-lasting. They can withstand UV rays and rapid changes in temperature, which is essential when dealing with extreme weather conditions.

Maintenance Methods Might Vary

A great retractable awning is easy to use and will last for years. Unfortunately, with time, it will show signs of wear and tear. If you want to avoid any damage or malfunction, you need to keep the awning in good condition.

The materials will determine the course of your maintenance. Sometimes, a simple wash with a hose is sufficient, but if there is a more persistent stain, you’ll have to use cleaning materials. For example, a great way to remove mildew from your awning is by using bleach. However, such treatment is not suitable for vinyl because it’ll damage the material. Instead, you could try vinegar and water.

They Can Be Placed Everywhere

Retractable awnings can be installed practically anywhere you need them because they are mounted to the exterior walls of your building. When choosing where to install them, you should consider the purpose of these awnings as well as their size and shape. 

If you want them to provide good shade from the sun, you should put them on the south side of the building, where it shines through most of the day. If you have a charming nook that would be an excellent place for a patio, you can easily order a customized awning that will cover your customers. 

Sun Tunnels

In some buildings, there are dark rooms or corridors that can have only a single little window or none at all. You might think that there is no solution to your plight, but it doesn’t have to be necessarily true – you just have to look up. 

Sun tunnels are highly reflective tubes that are installed on the ceiling of your building, allowing sunlight to enter inside and illuminate the room below. They are especially great if you have a pitched roof without the possibility to install skylights. Moreover, they’ll help you save money on electricity bills because you won’t have to rely on artificial lighting as much as before. Here’s what you should know about sun tunnels:

They Come in Two Options

There are two types of sun tunnels – rigid and flexible. Both options have their properties and, of course, benefits, so you’ll have to decide what’s more important for your business. 

Rigid tunnels have better light transmittance because they create a direct channel for light. This way, the natural light isn’t dispersed as it bounces off the tunnel’s walls. 

Though flexible tunnels reflect less sun, they definitely cost less. Moreover, they allow navigating around any obstructions in the roof space, making them better for shorter distances.

Cover Is Important

Your sun tunnel has to be covered so that no rain nor wind gets inside your building. People usually have flat-screen or rounded domes that can be seen protruding from their roofs. Though for many, it may be a choice of esthetics, the covering influences how much light is channeled inside the building. 

In the case of flat panels, some of the light is dispersed because it’s reflected by the flat surface of the glass. At the same time, rounded domes refract the light inwards, so it isn’t lost. 

Choosing Right Position Helps

Obviously, the location of a sun tunnel is also very important. For example, if you want to illuminate the room with a rigid sun tunnel for better illumination, then, of course, the channel has to be located above.

Still, you should also consider the direction of the roof. No matter whether you have rigid or flexible sun tunnels, if your roof is slanted, the light might not get directly to where you need it. That’s why you should make sure to position the tunnels on the south side, so it captures as much of the natural light as possible. For the same reason, you could install the channel as close to the apex of the roof as possible.


Natural light is a great resource that you don’t have to pay for, so you should harness it to your own benefit. Whether you want to make your business more attractive or simply want to enjoy a little bit of light or shade in your home, investing in a retractable awning or sun tunnel could be a great idea. They come in many forms, so you’ll definitely find the one that suits your needs.

Moreover, you should pay special attention to the material used for your investment. There are many types of materials, each with its own characteristics and benefits. Of course, you should also consider the cost and maintenance of your product before you decide to buy it.

After all, it doesn’t matter whether it’s a sun tunnel or a retractable awning – what’s most important is that it helps you create an inspiring space that makes you happy and lets you get more out of life.