Traditional style awnings are appropriate for historical buildings and are still popular today using a more weather resistant fabric and a rope and pulley system for retracting the awnings. Awnings without sides do not provide as much sun protection as those with sides.
This style of framed screen is typically done by professional installers, because of the specialized frames and tools required. A recent advancement is frame-less shade screens, which allows a "DIY-er" to install their own exterior shades. Solar shade screens can also be installed at the end of awnings to provide horizontal shade during early morning or late afternoon sun positions.
Awnings became a common feature in the years after the Civil War. Iron plumbing pipe, which was quickly adapted for awning frames, became widely available and affordable as a result of mid-century industrialization. It was a natural material for awning frames, easily bent and threaded together to make a range of different shapes and sizes. At the same time the advent of the steamship forced canvas mills and sail makers to search for new markets. An awning industry developed offering an array of frame and fabric options adaptable to both storefronts and windows.
Retractable awnings can include the following types: Retractable patio cover systems, Retractable lateral arm awnings, Retractable side or drop arm awnings, Portable, pop-up canopies, Retractable solar shade screens, and Retractable solar window awnings.