Meaning when they are not in use they should go back to the wall or facing of the structure they are attached to. Mainly because these types of awnings are not made to stay out because if they catch the wind it is a good possibility they might get damaged. RV and Campers use a system called travel trailer where two arms support the roller of the awning. They simply pull out when in use and roll up when not in use. The arms can get damaged easily if exposed to weather or high wind which we can replace. Just keep in mind when we replace one of these we use between three to four people for safety so if you are thinking of fixing these yourself be very careful. Most of the time we are fixing the fabric after a storm. Sometimes the fabric tears allot of times by the roller
Yet, with a retractable you get a awning you are not going to see all the time. If you are not using it just close it up thus exposing your back deck or patio. The fabric last for ten years or longer if you get the good fabrics so you won’t have to worry about that. When it does come time to replace the fabric the nice thing is all you have to do is replace the fabric and not the entire awning. Which is a huge cost savings. Just like the travel trailer awnings the arms in a retractable can get damaged during high winds or bad weather. Most of the modern retractables have high wind sensors that will retract the awning if it senses that the weather is turning bad. This is a pretty good investment if you are going to own one of these models.