Retractable Awnings and Canopies

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If you’re looking for protection in the blazing Summer months, it’s likely you’re considering a shade system that includes retractable awnings, louvered systems, pergolas, and canopies… and if you’re not you should be.

Did you know these incredible systems not only shelter your patio furniture and guests from rainy days, but they can also bring the temperature down by as much as 20 degrees Fahrenheit?  Not to mention the fact that they look pretty sleek and truly add an air of sophistication to outdoor areas. Now that’s incredible!

Breslow Home Design Center specializes in customizing retractable awnings, canopies, and pergolas… and we offer the best solutions available in the market today.


Give us a call at: 908-879-7665

Or email us at: [email protected]


As a family business that's been running for nearly 100 years, partnerships are important to us. We know happy customers are customers for life, so we select only the very best suppliers that include the following companies: 

Classic Design Retractable Awning

Modern Design Retractable Awning


Give us a call at: 908-879-7665

Or email us at: [email protected]


Under Mount Pergola Shade System

Top Mount pergolas Shade System

Apollo Opening Roofs

What shade systems are available on the market today?  

If you've been searching Google in preparation for ordering your outdoor shade system, I'm sure you've come across a lot of different options. 

Louvered Roofs, Pergolas, Canopies, and Awnings are all in the same family. So don't get confused by the terminology. There are a lot of definitions out there but at the end of the day to keep it simple, they're all just shade systems... and Breslow Home Design Center specializes in custom built retractable shade systems. We also retrofit traditional fixed canopies and pergolas with retractable systems that are either manual or motorized.

No matter what words you use, the basic function remains the same. The difference is in the execution! If you're considering canopies and pergolas, we offer shade systems that are either: 

These systems are also made from a variety of different fabrics and materials. There are some pretty amazing innovations available these days. You can select a louvered, or fabric based shade system. We also offer over mounted and under mounted retractable units.  

Adjustable or retractable louvered pergola “Retractable pergolas have a motorised awning so that with the touch of a button, you can extended or retract the covering to where you want. Similarly adjustable, louvered pergolas allow you to control the amount of sun or shade you let in without retracting the entire roof."

Better Homes & Gardens, 11 of the Best Pergola Designs 

...speaking of louvered pergola systems if you're looking for a modern touch check them out!

Louvered pergola systems are a great modern alternative to traditional retractable awnings. If you live in a minimalist space and you want to make the most of the great outdoors we can't think of a better choice. 

Louvers are operated at the touch of a button... and the best part? You're in complete control of how much light you let in. You can close the louvers to protect your guests from rain, open them slightly for some fresh air and a bit of light or rotate them a full 180 degrees to let the sunshine in.

Our custom designed louvered pergolas are incredibly resilient and hold up against the worst weather. The louvers automatically detect rain and close. No longer do you have to move your cushions in everytime it rains. Give us a call today to discuss them with a professional at Breslow Home Design Center. We'll walk you through all the details. 

Louvered Pergola Breslow
Louvered Roof Canopy Breslow Home Design Center


The difference between an under mounted & top mounted pergola or canopy system  

As mentioned previously there are many different configurations you can pick for your outdoor shade system. It all depends on what you are trying to achieve. If you have a pool and want to get a cabana "feel" why not select a free-standing retractable pergola or canopy? We've installed some stunning units over the years.

One question you have to answer is, do you want a system that is: 

  • Under Mounted, or 
  • Top Mounted you're wondering what the heck that means! Well, It's simple. Let's take a look at some examples right now.

Retrofitting a pergola with a retractable top mounted system

This customer originally installed a traditional pergola. As you can see it's a beautiful design, but they want to have more control. Unfortunately, a static pergola can't give you that.

To correct this, they called Breslow Home Design Center to retrofit their pergola with a top mounted retractable system. Installing this incredible shading system changed the whole dynamic of their pergola. Not only is this a common sense solution but it's aesthetically pleasing and adds ambiance to an otherwise cold structure. 

Our clients are incredibly happy with their retractable pergola. It allows them to entertain guests when there is light rain and it also enables them to control exposure to the sun. 

They also added sun and wind sensors so they can set it and forget it! Retrofitting their old pergola has given them an outdoor entertainment space that can be used for 6 or 7 months out of the year... while reducing their heating and cooling bills. It's a win-win.

Retrofitting a pergola with a retractable under mounted system

If the over mounted system doesn't appeal to your sense of design we can take a different route. These clients asked Breslow Home Design Center to retrofit their traditional pergola with an under-mounted system. As you can see the canopy is mounted underneath giving this shading system an entirely different feel.

The design of this retractable pergola is in keeping with the traditional design of this house. Don't let the different style fool you, the result is the same. Our clients expanded their outdoor space, reduced their energy consumption while adding an air of sophistication.

For this particular installation, the clients opted for a motorized system but they could have easily chosen a manual system to save some money. 


Give us a call at: 908-879-7665

Or email us at: [email protected]


Frequently Asked Questions: Retractable Awnings

Are Retractable Awnings Waterproof 

The short answer is, yes, some awnings are waterproof. However, a fully waterproof awning would be constructed of vinyl, which retains heat, thereby increasing the temperature below the awning. This is something you won't enjoy during the Summer months. 

We prefer water resistant awnings. They repel moisture enough to allow you to enjoy a nice light rain without getting wet... and they're constructed from new fade resistant fabric with cooling qualities. This material is patented under the name Sunbrella and is specifically designed to allow moisture and air to travel through it. This means the fabric can breathe which keeps temperatures as cool as possible. 

Don't let the terminology scare you. This material might as well be waterproof. To give you an idea of what I'm talking about, if you make a bowl out of the fabric and leave water in it, it would take weeks for a drip to form. Not only does Sunbrella make cutting edge material - they literally have hundreds of brilliant colors, stripes, and patterns, to coordinate with your home.

Awnings Are Energy Savers 

One of the best parts of installing an awning is the energy savings! The American Society of Heating and Air Conditioning Engineers found that awnings reduce heat by 55 - 65% on southern-facing windows and 72 - 77% on western exposures... and that's not all. Did you know that roughly 20% of air conditioning bills are caused by heat radiating through glass doors and windows ("heat gain")The good news is reducing “heat gain” dramatically cuts your overall energy consumption.

These findings explain why retractable awnings are being snapped up. Also, you should note, these energy savings are year 'round. A lot of clients think that awnings protect your home in summer months. This is simply not true. Retracting your awning in the Winter allows you to use heat gain to warm your house. 

You probably never thought of using an awning to cool your home. They are such an old tool, that it seems like it could not possibly work. After all, why would air conditioning have been invented if a simple awning could make such a big difference?

The surprising truth is that awnings are very effective at cooling your home. They can reduce up to 65% of the heat if they are placed on a south facing window. The savings are even more significant if you have them on a west facing window. They will trim your heat by 77%.

Blue and Green Tomorrow, These Green Alternatives to Air Conditioning May Surprise You 

Will My Retractable Awning Withstand Wind?  

So what happens when there's a storm? Lots of customers question whether their retractable awning can withstand high winds. The answer to this question really depends on the following factors: 

  • the awning
  • how it's made
  • how it's installed, and
  • the severity of the wind 

Some manufacturers of retractable awnings state their products can withstand winds up to 35 miles per hour. The problem with this notion is that unless you test your awning you'll never know... and who wants to risk that? 

Our advice? Your awning is installed to protect you from the sun and rain - NOT the wind. If you feel gusts picking up, retract it. A good rule of thumb is if you can't read a newspaper comfortably it's probably time to roll it up. To give you some idea of the impact of wind on your retractable awning here are some numbers: a 20 mph wind creates about 2 lbs of pressure per square foot. If your awning is 20′ x 13′ this is about 520 lbs of pressure!

Are Sun & Wind Sensors Good Add-Ons for You Retractable Awning? 

Retractable Patio Awning

Did you know you can set your retractable awning and forget it? Installing sun and wind sensors takes the guesswork out of maximizing the utility of your awnings. Sun sensors change the position of your retractable awning depending on the intensity of the sun. If you're sitting on your patio relaxing and the sun comes out in full force the awning automatically opens up a little more for your comfort. 

Wind sensors work in a similar way, retracting the awning if there's a strong gust. If you're planning to be away, sun and wind sensors also eliminate worry! You can protect your furniture from the punishing rays of the sun... while protecting your retractable awning from unforeseen wind storms. 

What's the difference between retractable awnings and other shade systems? 

Maybe you're torn. You love the idea of a retractable awning but have seen some other shade systems that look interesting.  Which option should you choose? Well friends, there are pros and cons when it comes to any choice. That's why you should always speak to the professionals at Breslow Home Design Center BEFORE you pull the trigger!

Retractable Awnings

A retractable awning provides protection from the elements! The best part? If there's a storm with gale force winds, the awning can be retracted against a supporting building for its protection. These awnings are also versatile, allowing you to adjust coverage depending on the weather and your goals! 

If you're on a budget, You can purchase an old-fashioned hand-crank retractable awning... but a motorized unit with a remote control saves you a lot of hassle. You can also customize your awning with sun and wind sensors too. Retractable awnings are an investment but the good news is they usually last about 25 years! 

Aristocrat Manor Awning Installation in Chatham NJ by Breslow Home Design Center
See more photos from this Aristocrat Manor Awning Installation in Chatham NJ

Canopies, Pergolas and Other Shade Systems

There are other shade systems, as mentioned above, that are not only functional but beautiful. One of my personal favorites is the louvered pergola! If there are any drawbacks to this system at all, it's the fact that it's more costly than the others. If you're looking for something more affordable, a stylish retractable awning may be more appropriate. 

You should discuss shading systems with the professionals at Breslow Home Design Center BEFORE you make up your mind. We have all the information you need and are happy to pair you with the right awning, pergola or canopy.  

Choosing Retractable Awning Colors & Fabrics

The color you pick for your retractable awning is VERY important! If you want a comfortable and warm place to sit outside your house, you'll select a soft color... but if you want more ambiance, you might choose something jazzier that conveys an air of sophistication. No matter how you look at it, this is no small decision. 

We recommend that you take a photo of your house and bring it with you to discuss your fabric choice with Breslow Home Design Center professionals. The thing is, your eyes can play tricks on you in a showroom so don't leave it to memory.

On a different note, did you know that most fabrics today meet the qualifications of the Skin Cancer Foundation? Fabrics that receive their Seal of Recommendation are of superior quality and will protect the health of you and your family. We also recommend using Sunbrella fabric because it's the best in the business. See our thoughts about this below. 

Should You Choose a Motorized or Manual Awning 

Well as you can imagine a hand-operated crank is the least expensive option!  While it's a perfectly effective method, it's much slower than motorization. It also may be less desirable if you have skylights. 

Motorization is the future when it comes to retractable awnings. The best motors use Somfy radio frequency technology (RTS), which gives you the ability to easily open and close the awning with the flick of a button. Your new system can be operated by: 

  • Radio frequency-operated remote control
  • A switch that is mounted to a wall in or outside your home

If you purchase the Somfy MyLink System with your shade system, you can also download an app that you can use from your smartphone or tablet. With this system, you can even control your retractable awning or pergola while you're away! Now that's convenience... and as a perk Breslow Home Design Center provides you with an override motor which allows manual operation of the awning in the event of a power outage. 

What Are Awning Valance Styles? 

Design is important when you're selecting an awning. Let's face it - if you're going to be using something for the next 25 years you want to make sure you love it! Retractable awnings may include a valance. This is the fabric that hangs vertically from the front bar of the awning. You can choose from the styles on the right OR you can opt to have no valance at all which will give your awning modern appeal.

That's why it's so important to meet with the professionals at Breslow Home Design Center. They will nail all of this down for you so you get the awning you always dreamed of. 

A point to note: Valances wear out faster than your awning fabric. When you purchase your retractable awning we offer you the opportunity to order an extra valance. This allows you to replace your valance and update your awning without spending a ton of cash. 


Give us a call at: 908-879-7665

Or email us at: [email protected]


Breslow Home Design Center: Awning Purchase Checklist

After much consideration, you're choosing a retractable awning because it's right for your outdoor space and you're ready to sign on the dotted line. 

Stop right there! One of the biggest issues we've encountered with our clients at Breslow Home Design Center is a lack of information. This is a costly addition to your home so you should speak to a professional before you write that check. 

There are many reasons why retractable awnings are rapidly growing in popularity. Some people buy awnings because it's the environmentally responsible thing to do, while others buy awnings because it transforms their backyard into an awesome place to hang out.

Regardless of the specific reason, installing a retractable awning will save you money, not to mention that it adds comfort and style to your outdoor space... but you want the RIGHT combination for your lifestyle. 

So let's go through a pre-purchase checklist that will save you money time and frustration. 

How do awning brands differ?

As mentioned above we deal with a number of high-end manufacturers at Breslow Home Design Center. Each company that manufactures retractable awnings tries to provide features and functionality that make their products stand out against the competition.

The result is each company offers a different “flavor” of awning that's unique and special in its own right. This makes it impossible to proffer general advice as to which sells the BEST products. 

There truly is something for everyone. The bad news is, it's difficult to wade through these choices to figure out what meets your needs. The secret to selecting a retractable awning that will make you happy for years to come is to contact experts like the professionals at the Breslow Home Design Center. 

We'll go through your budget, goals and design ideas and match you with the right manufacturer. Call us today! 

​​​​Quality, Price & Style - the BEST Awning for YOU 

Did you know retractable awning companies are fighting over your business? Yep! Which means you're in the driver's seat. That's why there are increasingly better products offered at lower price points. If you're shopping for the best awning you should know they are typically classified by three specific characteristics: 

  • Quality
  • Price
  • Style

In a nutshell, purchasing a high-end retractable awning may not be for you.There are many times when a low-priced entry awning will fulfill your needs... we all have a budget after all. 

There's no exact formula. Here are some points to note: 

  • Quality Always Matters: Even if you're purchasing an entry-level awning, you need to be sure it's good quality, well constructed and installed properly. 
  • Less Money More Hassle: A lower-priced retractable awning may be less money up front, but if it doesn’t last as long or perform well then the higher-priced awning might cost you less in the long run. 
  • Guarantees: Some higher-end retractable awnings offer 10-year warranties (or more) and lower-end awnings offer 5-year warranties (or less). 
  • Size: If you're in the market for a large awning you should also take note that you'll need stronger components and a frame. Less expensive awnings may top out at 18 feet wide and project a maximum of 10 feet from where they are affixed. 
  • Fabric: Sunbrella awning fabric is made from 100% solution-dyed acrylic which breathes, doesn’t trap heat and blocks light rain. Plastics are used on cheap awnings. Unfortunately, this sort of material traps heat under the awning which isn't comfortable.

Pricing may be deceiving: 

If you're on a budget you may be considering Sunsetter awnings. They're a great entry-level awning - low cost yet good quality. Sounds pretty enticing at first glance. The thing is they lack options when it comes to size, fabric quality and color choices.

RVs are their biggest market. Which means they primarily deal with people who aren't looking for a very big system. Their top of the line offering, the Sunsetter XL is 18' wide and has a 12' projection. That's just too small for the average customer. 

To give you an idea of what I mean, if you were to set your dining inside the shaded area, the chairs facing the yard would likely be exposed. Breslow Home Design Center doesn't recommend a system than as a projection of less than 13'. 

Another point to note is the Sunsetter XL is priced similarly to European awnings that use Sunbrella fabric, which is far superior. Companies like Eclipse, Nuimage and Alutex provide many more choices with a slightly higher price tag but in the end, you'll get more bang for your buck.

Our final advice? Don't shop for the lowest price. There are many other considerations. Remember you get what you pay for and at the end of the day, any awning is going to cost a pretty penny. 

Discuss your needs with a professional, like those at Breslow Home Design Center. We'll make sure you get the very best materials and the shading system you need to achieve your goals within your budgetary restrictions. 

Your Choice of Fabric & Sunbrella  

One of the most important considerations when it comes to your retractable awning, pergola or canopy is the fabric. At Breslow Home Design Center we use Sunbrella fabric because it's the best on the market. Not only is it of far superior quality but it offers the best possible selection of colors and designs.

They have four collections you should be aware of: 

  1. 2017-2018 Sunbrella Shade Collection:  If you're looking for modern fabrics for your shade system then this collection may be right for you. Clients can pick from unique textures such as specialty jacquards, metallic sheens and mélange effects. Sunbrella also has some new colors to choose from such as Azure and Basalt. 
  2. Sunbrella Contour:  The fabric is the gold standard of UV protection and color uniformity. This patent-pending construction is available in 15 colors. 
  3. Sunbrella SeaMark: If rain is a point of concern for you Subrella's SeaMark has a 100% water impervious backing that can withstand strong rain. If you live in an area that suffers from heavy storms this may be the fabric for you.
  4. 2017-2018 Mayfield Collection: This is an upscale boat and awning fabric, offering mostly striped patterns. 

Where Are Awnings Manufactured?

Retractable awnings are primarily manufactured  in the following three countries:

  • Europe
  • United States
  • China

You'll typically find the best quality retractable awnings come from Europe & the United States. Budget awnings usually come from China. The interesting thing is many US awning companies import components from Europe or China and assemble them in the USA, so at the end of the day, they are often international ventures. 

In terms of quality, historically Europe had the upper hand. This is because retractable awnings have been popular throughout that part of the world for a very long time. The thing is, times are changing and the best retractable awnings 2017 won't necessarily be the best retractable awnings 2018! That's the beauty of our business. 

Although we suggest sticking to US and European options as of the date of writing this article if you're looking for the following qualities: 

  • High standards
  • Tough testing
  • Certifications
  • Better Durability
  • Innovation in design & capabilities

Beware of The Very Low End

Remember the line you get what you pay for? Well, that's a fact. Some companies sell residential awnings for low prices... and for many, that's very enticing! 

These products usually come from China and may end up costing you a lot more than you bargained for. Yep - both in money and frustration.

Remember the strength of your awning is important and it's not an area where you want to skimp... especially if you want a large retractable awning. The question you need to ask yourself is: Would you feel comfortable sitting under a several-hundred-pound awning with your friends and family if its strength was in question?

You definitely want to be sure that any awning you install is strong, contains well-built components and is installed properly.

In our experience cheap awnings usually have the following issues: 

  • Low standards
  • Thinner/weaker materials
  • Minimal testing
  • Limited choices

Top Awning Brands 

So if you're on the hunt for a GREAT retractable awning the following companies make the best in the business. These are manufacturers that don't skimp on quality which is why Breslow Home Design Center recommends them: 


Give us a call at: 908-879-7665

Or email us at: [email protected]


Breslow Home Design Center:  Find the BEST retractable awning for your lifestyle 

After reading this article, we hope you understand a lot more about the sophisticated shade systems that are on the market today. Pergolas, canopies and retractable awnings aren't what your grandparents remember. 

At Breslow Home Design Center we're passionate about giving our customers the solutions that make the most sense for their particular circumstances... and that doesn't necessarily mean the most expensive option available! 

Retractable shade systems protect your family from the damaging rays of the sun, save you money AND create a beautiful addition to your outdoor space. You can design a modern cabana, traditional patio or dive into some uber modern concepts. 

Louvers, fabric, aluminum, and wood are just a few of the materials you can use to create a functional and beautiful patio. 

Speak to the professionals at Breslow Home Design Center today 

Some of the products we offer at Breslow Home Design Center include: 

  • Retractable awnings
  • Retractable pergola and shade systems
  • Louvered pergola roof systems
  • Retractable canopies
  • Solar shades
  • Window awnings, and
  • Door awnings 

If you're looking for a retractable awning NJ come visit our showroom... and if you're further afield call us at 908-879-7665 or schedule your FREE In-home consultation to learn more right now. Our professionals are waiting to speak to you.