Retractable Awning

Retractable window awnings are traditional for many restaurants and businesses. Custom retractable awnings can be manual or motorized depending on the size needed. Select one of the many awning fabrics we have available. American Canvas & Awning has generations of experience in restaurant and store awnings.

We can recommend solutions that will work for your home or business. We also make custom exterior drop curtains that filter the light while allowing you to enjoy the view.

Retractable Patio Awning Roman Shade

American Canvas calls this style a Horizontal Roman Shade. This style uses lines and pulleys to move the fabric and fold it into soft, neat pleats. It takes experience to make a Roman Shade work horizontally, but sometimes it is the perfect solution, as in this Woodside home. This south-facing deck with a beautiful view was unusable on sunny days.

Standard Retractable Types

These are the most common type of retractable awning. They are operated with two or more arms that attach to the wall and the front bar of the awning. There is one spring loaded hinge in the middle to allow the bar to fold as the awning is rolled up. The material is on a roller that attaches to the wall. It can be motorized or manually operated.

These operate close to the same as the lateral arm. The arms telescope out via a pressurized piston cylinder. There is no weak point as the hinge is not there. The pressurized piston exerts much more force on the front bar. These are only available in motorized operation because of the increased tension

These are for smaller applications and utilize a wall mounted spring loaded hinge to extend the awning. There is a straight fixed bar that attaches from the hinge to the front bar. The projection is equal to the distance from the roller tube to the hinge. The arm can extend down past 90 degrees to cover lower on the window. It can be motorized or manually operated.

These are designed to cover larger areas and Skylight/Sunrooms where solar gain through glass is unacceptable. There are two permanent guide rails that the front bar travels along. It is attached with carriers and spring or pressurized tensioned.

These are just as they sound. There is a roller mounted above and work on gravity. There is a weighted hem bar or pipe with cable eyes at the ends. The sides can have a steel cable guide or side track. If the side track is used there is also an optional secure side system. This keeps the fabric secure inside a track and does not allow wind or insects to come inside the drop curtain.

Alpha Market

Retractable Awning for Alpha MarketThe awning along the side wall of this San Francisco storefront is retracted.

Total projection of the retracted awning is less than one foot.

This awning is 36' wide and projects 8’-6”. It has a one-piece valance and operates as one unit with a single motor. The top is three separate sections with the middle one centered over the door. In wet weather, matching panels snap on from below to direct water away from the building.

While the top could have been made with a single piece, it would have required a C-shaped cradle for the roller. The fabric would be drawn through a horizontal slot in the C-cradle which wears out the fabric prematurely.

To eliminate the C-cradle, the awning was made in three sections. A separate roller for each section was connected in series so that one motor operates all three rollers simultaneously. This provided two support points in the middle of the awning roller.

House with Roman Shades

House with Roman Shades San Francisco, CATwo Horizontal Roman Shades enhance this deck and provide needed protection from the sun. A permanent framed structure with guide wires supports the shades. The main Horizontal Roman Shade is seen shown fully extended, while the one over the side deck is retracted. Both store completely under the generous eaves of the house.

A canvas curtain can be added which drops just outside the railing to provide shade from the hot afternoon summer sun.

The combination of solar management solutions helps make this deck an ideal place for relaxation or entertaining. When dining in the evening, light and wind can be softened with the overhead awnings and side curtain.


Retractable Awning for Restaurant San Francisco, CASuccessful restaurant owners know exactly what they want, and they call on American Canvas to execute their plans skillfully. The restaurant pictured above has a spectacular view along a narrow, bayside patio. The patio is covered with a softly-draped fabric on a horizontal retractable shade system which is attached to permanent cabanas. In the strong afternoon sunlight the shades can be extended as shown.