Made in the shade: Awnings pay off in numerous ways

Return on investment comes from saving furniture from fading and relying too much on the AC

Awnings keep things cooler and protect your furniture. Photo: Courtesy
Awnings keep things cooler and protect your furniture. Photo: Courtesy

As it gets hotter and more humid here in Mexico, we get more requests for solutions that help keep things cooler.

People are looking for alternatives to running their air conditioning units full tilt both to save money and to do something better for the environment. One solution I have already written about is window tinting. Another option is installing an awning.

There are many benefits to adding an awning to your home in Mexico. Since awnings keep direct sunlight away from your windows, they lower the temperature inside your home. As a result, you should use your air conditioning and fans less and therefore lower your CFE bills. Keeping the direct sunlight off your furniture will also help keep the colors from fading. In addition to a reduction of up to 25% on your electricity bill, according to the EPA, you will also get a quick return on investment by not having to replace or recover your furniture as quickly.  

I spoke with Juan Carlos Sanchez, who owns an awning business in the Bay of Banderas, to find out more. He told me that “in addition to reducing energy costs, awnings add beauty and often more market value to your home. Under some awnings it can get up to 20 degrees cooler and depending on the material used, can block 90% of harmful rays.”

There are three categories of awnings: fixed, retractable and portable. Fixed and retractable awnings are both permanently mounted to the exterior wall or roof above the gutter. Unlike retractable kinds, fixed awnings are stationary. Retractable awnings give you the option of shade for relief from a little rain or intense sun. You can retract them when preferred. Portable awnings are temporary options. They are not generally well-anchored and therefore are less stable.

Fixed awnings are available with a straight arm or an invisible arm. A straight arm is visible and located on the sides of the structure. The arms are usually aluminum and help project the cover of the awning outwards from the wall of the home. Invisible arms support the cover of the awning, so you do not see them unless you are underneath the cover.

Retractable awnings are available as an exterior vertical blind. Alternatively, a retractable awning functions as a temporary roof over a terrace or outdoor living area. Both kinds are available with either a manual crank or motorized mechanism.

Most prefer a motorized awning option, and research shows that customers who have purchased them report a higher satisfaction level. They are more convenient, especially for those of us who are getting older and have less muscle strength in our arms.

Next week, we will cover which colors are best, how much awnings cost and how long you can expect them to last.

Interested in an awning? Contact and to get connected with some companies in Mexico. Sheryl Novak is an expat from Canada who sells furniture at

Sheryl Novak

Sheryl Novak is an expat Canadian who has owned a home in Mexico for over 10 years. She is the owner of SOLutions Mexico — the online furniture store for your home in Mexico. She is considered the expert on sourcing all styles of furniture, for all sizes of budgets, in Mexico.