Q. What are the differences between retractable awnings
and fixed frame awnings?
A. The main difference between retractable and fixed frame awnings is movement. A fixed
frame awning is a permanent structure that offers continual weather protection and is always present for constant, uninterrupted
shade. While a retractable awning offers movement due to spring-loaded arms that support the awning and provides the option
of sun or shade.
Q. Why should I get an
awning instead of a deck or patio umbrella?
A. For starters, an awning is more durable and can be designed and
constructed to meet the unique configuration of your home. An awning can cover a larger area and set the boundaries for an
outdoor room. On the other hand, an umbrella is highly susceptible to wind damage, must always be operated manually and shades
a much smaller space.
Q. If there are no
poles on retractable awnings, what supports the awning?
A. "Retractable" or "lateral-arm"
awnings as they are technically called are designed to be self-supporting and eliminate the need for poles and framework (a
good-quality retractable awning should not need support poles). This style of awning relies on a secure structure mounting
and its spring-loaded arms for its support.
How will the awning mount to my home?
A. For applications under the eaves of your home, installers will mount
brackets that tie indirectly either to wall studs or header plates. For roof-mounted applications, installers will mount brackets
that tie indirectly into the rafters. Consult your installer for more details on the best way to mount your awning.
Q. Does the awning really make it cooler on my deck or patio?
A. Your awning will keep your deck or patio up to 20 degrees cooler, and will subsequently keep the inside of your home
cooler as well. By preventing the sun from shining through a patio door or window, the inside stays cooler, which reduces
air-conditioning costs and prevents fading of your carpets and furniture. Also, Sunbrella® fabrics are woven, which allows
air to circulate through the fabric instead of letting heat build up under your awning.
Q. If my retractable awning is motorized, how can I adjust it if my power goes out?
will generally have a manual override crank that will allow you to retract your awning by hand in case of power failure or
Q. If I don't initially install
a motor with my retractable awning, can I add one at a later date?
A. It is easier to include a motor with the
initial awning installation, but it is possible to add one at a later date. Research has shown that a motorized awning is
used four times as often as a manual unit. Also, adding a motor later will be more costly than if the awning and motor are
installed together with your initial purchase.
What is the "pitch" of an awning? Is the pitch of an awning important, and what should it be?
pitch is the angle of fall made by the front bar of an awning. The pitch determines how much water may puddle on the awning
when the awning is fully extended. The less pitch an awning has, the more impact rain will have on the awning. All awnings
will eventually fail if too much water or weight is allowed to collect on them. When set at the minimum pitch, an awning may
collect rain even when the fabric is tight. The more pitch you have, the less you will have to worry about rain collecting
on the awning. Increasing the pitch, even a few inches, will have a dramatic reduction on the awning's ability to collect
rainwater. The pitch of an awning is not a factor if the awning is retracted during rain events. It's always best to retract
the awning when not in use no matter what the weather forecast.
Adjusting the pitch can also provide better shade depending on the angle of the sun in relation to the angle of the
Q. Do I have to fully extend my retractable
A. Retractable awnings are designed so you can stop the awning at any point with the remote control
or the hand crank. There are three buttons on the remote, one for extension, one for retraction, and one to stop the awning
at your desired length.
Q. What kind of
fabric is on an awning?
A. Today, most high-quality awnings use Sunbrella® fabrics. These high-grade fabrics
have the color embedded in every fiber, ensuring that they won't significantly fade over time. Sunbrella fabrics are available
in over 140 decorator patterns and can easily coordinate with your outdoor furniture. Sunbrella fabrics block 98 percent of
the harmful UV rays of the sun and have been awarded the Seal of Recommendation by the Skin Cancer Foundation.
Q. How much wind can an awning handle?
A. There is
no definite rating for how much wind an awning can handle. Light winds of less than 5 mph (8 kph) should not harm most awnings.
However, wind gusts can rapidly reach very high speeds, and in extremely windy locations, an awning may not be suited for
For a retractable awning, it is best
to retract the awning before wind speeds reach the point of causing the awning to sway side to side or up and down. It is
best to retract the awning when not in use regardless of the weather conditions.
Excessive wind and rain are the leading causes of damage to awnings.
Q. What about rust and corrosion of the frame, cables and other metal parts?
A. To minimize
corrosion, it is essential to use the proper material during construction. Stainless steel, galvanized steel and anodized
aluminum are your best choices for prevention of rust and corrosion.
Q. How do I clean my Sunbrella fabric awning cover?
Your Sunbrella awning fabric should be cleaned regularly before substances such as dirt, roof particles, etc., are
allowed to accumulate and become embedded in the fabric. The fabric can be cleaned without being removed from the home. For
detailed instructions, please visit www.sunbrella.com.
How does Sunbrella fabric lock in color?
A. Sunbrella fabrics are made from 100 percent solution-dyed acrylic
yarns. Solution dying is the manufacturing process of adding color to fibers while they are in a liquid state. This feature
of Sunbrella fabrics allows them to lock in color, be easily cleaned and provides them with a long life.
Sunbrella® - Superior pigments are added during the production of fade-resistant Sunbrella fiber. The final result
is Sunbrella yarn and fabric with color throughout that won't fade or wash away. Think "carrot."
Other Fabrics - Dyes are added to the surface of the yarn or fabric. The color
only penetrates the outer layer and washes out or fades over time. Think "radish."