Retractable Awnings: To Repair or Replace?

The industry rule of thumb regarding whether to repair or replace a retractable awning is called the “50 percent rule.” The basic tenet is that if the retractable awning repair cost exceeds 50% of the total replacement price, invest in a new one.

Whether you bought one to improve your home’s curb appeal, provide shade for your backyard patio, or attract customers to your small business, there are many uses for a retractable awning

Despite these applications, one thing remains constant: this outdoor accessory must be regularly cared for and maintained. That includes the repair of an awning and sometimes its complete replacement.

As an industry leader in retractable awnings, Rollac can help ensure you get the maximum benefit from your covering today and for many years to come.

What’s The Life Expectancy of a Retractable Awning?

There is no one-size-fits-all solution regarding retractable awning life expectancy. The frame material, fabric, and type of awning (e.g. retractable or stationary) all determine how long it will last. 

Adhering to the manufacturer’s instructions for usage and conducting regular maintenance is vital to extending the lifespan of a well-made retractable awning; when this is done, they typically last 5 to 15 years.


The choice of awning fabric significantly affects its lifespan. This is often why homeowners are faced with whether to repair or replace a retractable awning. High-quality materials like Rollac’s Gore Tenera thread can last between 10 and 15 years with proper maintenance, while lower-quality fabrics may show wear and tear within 5-7 years. The higher the quality, the less likely you’ll have any awning fabric repair to do.


A plastic awning frame won’t last nearly as long as its metal counterpart. Whether you select aluminum or steel, both can last over 15-20 years. Aluminum is rust-resistant but can be prone to dents and scratches. Retractable awning repair with a steel frame usually involves removing rust or corrosion.  


Though fixed awnings are usually less expensive than retractable ones, the former tend to last longer. Whether you choose a motorized or manual retractable awning, either can last over 15 years. Their ability to fold up saves them from damage during heavy rainfalls, severe wind storms, or snow.  

When to Repair or Replace my Retractable Awning?

It’s less likely you’ll have to repair or replace a retractable awning if you’ve purchased one from a reputable dealer such as Rollac. Yet there will be times when, thanks to overuse, Mother Nature, or misuse, you’ll have to decide whether you need a retractable awning repair or replacement.   

The following are a few of the most common problems owners of retractable awnings encounter and whether to replace or repair them.

Fabric Problems

Homeowners often face the dilemma of repairing or replacing their retractable awning due to its fabric. One of the first indications that the covering is aging is small holes or rips in the fabric or the awning valance starts fraying at the edges. 

Despite regular maintenance, this type of visible thinning and wear will occur. 

A simple call to your place of purchase or the manufacturer can help with this type of awning fabric repair. Typically, they can supply matching fabric swatches to patch various-sized holes. Depending on the size of the hole and your retractable awning’s warranty, you may be eligible for free replacement materials. 

However, there may be instances where awning fabric replacement is the only solution due to the tear size. The price can vary significantly between $350 and $1400, depending on the size of the awning and the type of fabric used.  

Another fabric concern is if the color of your retractable awning has faded or if you see sun splotches starting to appear. Before considering awning fabric replacement, try cleaning your awning using a color-restoring soap. Often, what initially seems to be fading is due to a layer of dirt or dust covering the awning.

Sensor Problems

A motorized retractable awning has sensors designed to retract and extend the awning automatically. These tiny sensors are programmed to react to the sun, wind, rain, or snow, activating the retractable awning’s motor.

If your sensors stop working altogether, thereby not closing your covering due to heavy winds or not extending on a hot day, you can override them and operate it manually. Yet, considering the cost of a motorized metal or fabric awning, you’d like this option to function correctly. 

It’s not recommended that homeowners repair the electrical sensors themselves. It’s best to contact your awning retailer and have a trained specialist make a house call.

Alternatively, if your sensors need to be replaced entirely, this can be done quickly and inexpensively, ranging from $30-$300, depending on the model and quantity. Fortunately, this problem does not require any other replacement or repair of your retractable awning.  

Motor Problems

The motor of an automatic retractable awning powers the extending and retracting of your covering. A simple flick of the switch, activation via a smart device, or touch of a button can make your retractable awning move.  

However, suppose the motor is not functioning correctly, and the awning is moving in a jerky fashion or not at all. In that case, it’s time to have a professional examine it.

The most straightforward answer is that the motor’s power connection has shorted a wire, which can be repaired. Another cause could be that the motor has just reached the end of its life and needs to be replaced. 

Fortunately, a motor problem does not require replacing your entire retractable awning. Typically, it costs $200-$600 to replace a motor. The repair of a motor will depend on the make, model, and problem.

Tracks Problems

Motorized awnings run on metal tracks, allowing the covering to retract and extend properly. Sometimes, the awning can come off its tracks and require realignment. This may be due to debris such as leaves or snow accumulating on the rails, a lack of lubrication preventing them from running smoothly, or misshapen tracks. 

At Rollac, we advise our customers to inspect their tracks for debris as part of their retractable awning maintenance routine. A gentle cleaning with a hose or broom is often all it takes to remove the debris. 

Additionally, if you are particularly handy, you can lubricate your tracks as part of your maintenance routine. This issue should be resolved regularly without requiring awning repair or replacement.   

However, if you live in a humid or scorching environment, your tracks may rust or become warped due to excessive heat. When this occurs, the movement of your covering is compromised. 

Unfortunately, this is not an easy job for a do-it-yourselfer. Instead, an experienced professional must inspect this retractable awning problem, assess the track damage, determine the appropriate course of action, and handle either the repair or retractable awning replacement. This is particularly crucial if you own a large commercial covering for your business; let the professionals handle it. 

Remember, a retractable awning’s tracks are essential to its system. Ignoring the problem and allowing it to run on faulty tracks may result in a more costly repair or retractable awning replacement. 

Rollac: The Retractable Awning Solution

With so many manufacturers offering a variety of retractable awnings, it can take time to select a reputable one. You want a quality product and a reputable company that can repair or replace it.

Herein lies the reason Rollac is an industry leader. With over 40 years of experience, we can sell, repair, and replace parts or the entire covering. Yes, we sell high-quality retractable awnings for homes and businesses, but we also provide our customers with the service they can depend on should a problem arise. 

If you’re looking for a new window, door, or patio covering, Rollac can assist you with your selection and provide the customer support needed to enjoy your covering today and for years to come.