Have Questions? We Have Answers.
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.
Q. 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?
A. Awnings will generally have a manual override crank that will allow you to retract your awning by hand in case of power failure or malfunction.
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.
Q. What is the “pitch” of an awning? Is the pitch of an awning important, and what should it be?
A. The 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 awning.
Q. Do I have to fully extend my retractable awning?
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 your application.
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.