Category Archives: Awning Repair

How to Clean, Polish or Paint an Aluminum Awning

Black_White_Awning_Patio

How to clean an aluminum awning?

One of the biggest advantages that aluminum awnings are that they are both low cost and low maintenance. This makes them perfect for the homeowner on a budget. They can literally last for decades if they are cared for properly, and this includes an annual cleaning.

For all awnings created 1982 and later, you can follow these four steps during the yearly cleaning.

  1. Remove debris such as leaves, tree branches or other foreign material. These often get stuck in the gutters or in the frame so you will want to take the time to be careful. These items are not serious threats to the awning and the reason we start here is that they can become hazards when they are hit by the high-pressure water during the actual cleaning.
  2. Fill a five-gallon bucket with warm water and some standard liquid dish soap. For our outside chores, we personally use standard Ajax as it does a good job cleaning, and it does not have some of the more harsh chemicals of soaps like Lava or the heavy duty detergents. Stir the mixture fully and allow it to weight about 5 minutes while you complete the next step.
  3. If you have a high-pressure cleaner, we recommend using setting the pressure to under 100 PSI. Other guides recommend using a higher setting; however, we’ve seen this cause damage when the water stream hits windows, plants or hummingbird feeders. Using the lower pressure will still do the job; however, you may need to keep the stream on the soiled spot for longer. Once you’ve completely sprayed off the roof so that there are no visible dirt spots, you are ready to move on.
  4. With the roof free of debris and fully rinsed, we recommend using a stiff bristle push broom for the scrubbing. We’ve found that most awnings are reachable from the ground eliminating the need to climb a ladder. Additionally, there are some dedicated awning cleaning brushes for this purpose; however, we’ve found that most of our readers would prefer not to spend money on a tool they are only going to use once a year when a common household item will function almost as well.

    Dip the brush into the bucket of soapy water allowing it to set for 15 seconds to really pick up a lot of the detergent. Stand in front of the awning and place the brush at the peak of the awning, and then pull the brush forward. Take caution not to pull down too hard as you don’t want to scratch the aluminum; however, you can apply mild pressure to help with the scrubbing. Once you reach the front of the awning rinse the brush out in a bucket of clean water. From there, you can simply repeat the process of getting the broom soapy and cleaning one row at a time.
  5. Once you have complete scrubbed the entire surface of the awning, you can then rinse the entire awning with the garden hose from step 2. This is simply to ensure there is no detergent residue left on the roof.


Aluminum Awning FAQ

While the above instructions will help cover the process for most homeowners, we have compiled a brief list of questions that we’ve received on this topic.

  1. I have a spot that just won’t come clean. What can I do?
    For stubborn stains, we suggest getting a shop rag or old washcloth and soak it in a mixture of vinegar and water. We usually use a 2 parts water to 1 part vinegar solution in a small bowl, and then with it completely drenched place it on the stain. Vinegar will react with many compounds to make it less adhesive to the metal. After the vinegar cloth has set on the stain for about 5 minutes, place the brush on top of the cloth and move it back of forth rigorously. You may want to go side to side on this as well.
  2. What are the dry crystal patches? How do I get them off?
    These spots are caused by the uneven oxidation of the metal. The human-friendly cleaners that we’ve explained in our guide will not remove these. These spots can only be removed with either a strong acid or some industrial strength aluminum cleaners. Because these chemicals can cause damage to their user, we are purposely leaving them out of our guide. If you have an oxidized spot that you would like removed, we strongly recommend hiring a professional to clean and polish the awning. The polish is important as it will only add about $25 to the overall cost of the cleaning if the company is onsite, and will greatly decrease the risk of future oxidation spots for years.

  3. What if my awning was made before 1982?
    In 1981 and before, there was a separate chemical process used on the metal. If you are using the soap and water described in our guide, then you are fine. If you are hiring a professional for a clean, you will want to let them know this before they begin as they may choose to use a different type of acid for the cleaning.
  4. My awning is painted and it has uneven fading spots. What should I do?
    You are in luck as we received this question so often, we have written a guide to painting an aluminum awning.

Do you have any further questions about aluminum awning cleaning or maintenance? If so, send us an email through our contact form.

Author:
Marcion Albert

Date Published:
6/2/2017

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How to find retractable awning parts

See through glass awning
When your awning becomes slightly damaged, it can be far less expensive to replace a couple of the parts rather than purchasing an entirely new unit. If you choose to replace, you will have roughly double the installation cost as the repair person will first need to remove the old unit before installing the new one. Additionally, there is no secondary market for a broken awning so you will be out the full initial purchase price, and you may also have to pay additional fees to get the broken item hauled away depending on its size and your local regulations. For any attached sunshade, you will typically be far better off replacing a single piece than the entire unit.

Why replace parts?

The primary reason to replace the individual parts is cost. The major manufacturers will have individual components for sale, and some will even send them out for free depending on the warranty. We usually prefer manufacturers who offer a three to five-year guarantee on their work, and if you had a professional install you may be able to receive a discount on the repair by contacting the same company. Repairs are a rare occurrence, and we do not consider warranty a key decision point in our recommendation, we do place a high value on post-purchase customer service.

How to find the parts you need?

When you purchase an awning, we highly recommend you record the size, model type and number, the size, and the date of purchase. This is information you will have right at hand when you make the purchase; however, we’ve seen several people have problems when they bought components for one model when they had another. The reason that you want to record the date of purchase is that just like cars manufacturers will sometimes change over time. As a visual example, you wouldn’t expect a fender for a 2017 Toyota Camry to fit the 1989 model. While both cars are a “Camry” the year makes a significant difference when finding the right part.

The absolute best place to determine the piece you need is to review the manual that was included with your purchase. If you kept this, then you are golden as it will contain a “part list” which details every item in the package. In most cases, it will even contain the UPC or product number for each component. With that information, you can either go to eBay or Amazon.com to search for that specific item. We prefer Amazon as the vendors there typically have more experience, and we’ve seen a far lower percentage of being sent mislabeled product. Before buying on either site though, we strongly suggest contacting the maker and requesting the cost for the item you need directly from them. I normally include that I have been a very happy customer of their product with the purchase date if it’s within the last couple years and that I would consider purchasing another unit when it’s time for an upgrade.

Who are the primary retractable awning manufacturers?

The primary awning manufacturers are:

  • Sunsetter
  • Sunesta
  • Aleko
  • Awntech
  • Reed
  • Sunair

What if I have another manufacturer?

If your awning is made by another company, please feel free to contact us. We are not associated with any of the manufacturers, and we’d love to help you find the information you need. Once we find out, we’ll at what we’ve learned to our list above so that we help other readers of our site. Our goal is to be the absolute best resource for all items about awnings on the Internet so we’re always happy to add more information to make the site more helpful.

Underside of Canopy Awning

Can I substitute parts?

We highly recommend using the precise piece specified by the manufacturer? While some items may seem interchangeable like screws of the same size, they may not be made of the same metal. Some screws are composed of rolled steel and able to support load bearing structures while others that look exactly the same are made of lightweight aluminum. The aluminum screws can create major structural issues since they may not be able to provide the necessary support. Likewise, the fabric could be the same size and material but have the rivet holes drilled in different locations. This also seems minor until you actually begin to install the awning and realize the ties won’t fit. This is why we recommend using the exact item only for the repairs.

Is this a DIY project?

There are two parts to this question. The first depends on your ability with DIY projects. Something that may be a 10-minute quick fix for one person may be an utter challenge for someone else. If you set up the awning yourself, then you will likely be able to make most changes. If you hired the job done professionally, you may want to consider doing it again. The staff of NewAwning.com does not make recommendations on whether or not individual repairs are a DIY project. If you are still uncertain, we recommend contacting the customer support number for the manufacturer.

Author:
Marcion Albert

Date Published:
3/21/2017

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Awning Gallery

How To Prepare Your Awning For Winter

Guide to Energy Saving from Awnings and Sun Shades

If you are a homeowner in a northern state, you can dramatically increase the life of your awning with a few simple steps. Most residential awnings should last more than seven years, and with a little preventative care, it will be around much longer.

With proper care, the functionality and ease of use will also improve. This is why with the approach of winter, you should be able to adequately prepare so that when Spring comes, it will be in a very good condition to be used again, and again.
Before looking at how to prepare for winter, it is important to take note of the fact that there are different types. When you understand this, then it becomes easier to take care of your home and prepare same for winter. The various types of awnings are as follows:

 

  1. Open Roll Fabric Retractable Awning

    This is best suited for verandas, upper floor balconies, and underneath eaves. It is a very economical way of protecting yourself from the direct rays of the sun and mild rainfall. It comes with exposed fabric roller, with a compact rail which is positioned at the front. For this type of awning, the best covering material is very soft vinyl.

  2. Open Roll Awning With Metal Hood

    The benefits of this type depend mainly on your geographic location. For those homeowners who are in snow-prone regions, this type may not make the best purchase due to the metal hood. This is mainly because there is the possibility of snow getting trapped in-between the hood and the fabric roll.

  3. Cassette Style Retractable Awnings

    With this particular type, the retractable fabric is enclosed in a full metal casing, which is why it is called “cassette”. When the fabric is retracted, the cassette casing is what protects it from dirt, dust, wear and tear, and other elements that might lessen the lifespan. The moment retraction is initiated and the fabric is remaining just a few inches to be retracted, the arms of the cassette are raised which in turn, allows a tight connection to the front bar against the metal cassette. Finally, the torque sensing motor is able to detect a complete retraction of the bar.

These are the three types, and now it is time to look at how to prepare your awning for winter. Listed below are some tips that would help you to take proper care and at the same time, prepare it for winter. They are as follows:

  1. Check For Damages:

    Before you start preparing for winter, you should take your time to check it for damages. Some of the damages to look out for include tears, worn parts, and others. You should ensure that the stitching is not unraveling at any point. Make use of valance, you should check to know if there is any wear as a result of being exposed to harsh elements. Should there be the presence of any issues, it is important that you have the damages corrected before it is packed up for the next season.

  2. Clear all Debris

    This is a step you should take seriously when it comes to preparing winter. You should take your time to dust it off. In doing this, you remove any leaves, dirt, pollen, and other debris that has gathered on it while it was in use. This way, you will be able to minimize chances of getting tears or scratches during washing by any sharp debris that is already on it.

  3. Wash Your Awning

    The next step in how to prepare to wash it. This step should be carried out with a soft washcloth and soapy water. As tempting as it might be, never make use of any harsh cleaners that are advertised to clean tough stains. You should also stay away from abrasive scrubbers as they will only end up damaging the fabric. Rinse thoroughly with clean water after washing.
    Don’t Leave Out The Removable Parts: As you clean the fabric, it is also important that the removable parts are also cleaned. One of such removable parts is the valance. Having also faced the harsh elements, the valance is bound to be dusty. Go ahead and wash, dry up, roll up, and store the valance for the next spring season.

  4. Take Down Awning Fabric and Store for Winter

    If you have a retractable model or one in which the fabric can be removed, then this will greatly extend the lifespan. The metal bracing should be waterproof and without the material to crack during the cold weather, the entire unit will age incredibly slowly. If you are unable to remove the fabric, you may consider hiring a handyman to unfasten the brackets and store the entire unit including metal framework. This should only be handled by either a trained professional or someone who installed the unit if it is an off the shelf model. This is only necessary for people who live in the most northern states or face extreme weather. Before you pack up your awning, it is important that you leave it to dry completely. Air drying is a better option. When it is completely dry before it is packed up for the next spring, it will minimize or completely eliminate the possibilities of mold or mildew building up on the awning while it is tucked away for winter.

  5. Sweep the Awning after Snow

    If you leave it up for the winter, you will want to periodically brush the snow from the top. The frigid temperature along with the weight from the snow can lead to warping in some frames and cracking with vinyl material. You do not want to use a water hose to spray it off as the water may freeze creating a new set of problems. The two best options are either a large broom or brush with an extended handle. This allows you to push the snow aside. As you are doing this, you will want to be cautious not to create a hole in the fabric as it may be more rigid than the Summer months.

  6. Open Roll Fabric Retractable Awnings

    This is that type of awning that is best suited for verandas, upper floor balconies, and underneath eaves. It is a very economical way of protecting yourself from the direct rays of the sun and mild rainfall. It comes with exposed fabric roller, with a compact rail which is positioned at the front. For this type of awning, the best covering material is very soft vinyl.

These are just a few of the tips on how to prepare your awning for winter. If you feel it is something you might not be able to do on your own you can seek for professional help. This way, you can be sure of your investment being protected during the winter season from all the harsh elements accompanying it.

Author:
Marcion Albert

Date Published:
3/30/2017

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Five Tips To Extend The Life Of Your Awning

Beautiful Free Shade on the Tempe Lake Bridge

Apart from the fact that awnings significantly reduce energy costs, it also increases your property’s market value. This is why it is important you have a good knowledge of most of the tips to extend the life of your awning. If you cultivate the habit of keeping your awning looking its best always, then it would go a long way in making it last for you as long as possible. This is especially because most of the top quality awnings are made from specialized canvas and fabrics and in turn, require to be taken care of in a certain way.

Whether your awning is installed for your house or business, whether they are made of PVC coated mesh fabrics, acrylic, polyester, vinyl, or any other material, here are a five tips to help you take good care of your awning and extend its life. They are as follows:

  • Always Keep Them Clean: Yes, you don’t necessarily have to wait until you are ready to pack up your awnings for winter before you can clean it. This is because when dirt and debris are allowed to build up on your awnings over a long period of time, it wears out the fabric. To do this, you can make use of a garden hose and carefully rinse out all the accumulated dirt. Try doing this once a month or every two months and you will see your awning not just looking great but it will also last much longer than those that are not cleaned always. Before you start cleaning your awning, ensure that the doors and windows are properly closed. This is to avoid getting the items inside wet.
  • Use The Right Cleaning Agents: Still on the topic of cleaning your awning requires a lot of patience, especially if you start thinking that the hose alone is not doing a good job of cleaning it up. If the right detergent for the fabric used in manufacturing your awning is not stipulated, then you should not hesitate in reaching out to any of the reputable awning companies for recommendations on what to use. You should never settle for harsh industrial cleaners as they would only end up degrading your awning’s fabric and when this happens, the lifespan of that given awning is considerably reduced.
  • Always Store Your Awnings Right: If you are among those who take their time to dismantle their awnings prior to winter, it is important that you put in that extra effort to ensure that the awning is properly stored. In order to avoid damages and possible mold and mildew accumulation, you should make sure the awning is stored in a very dry space and also, away from sharp objects that might puncture the fabric, reducing its functionality. You should also ensure that liquid containers that are prone to leakages are not stored in the same space as your awnings because a bad stain would reduce the visual appeal of your awning.
  • Keep An Eye On The Frames: This is one of those tips to extend the life of your awning that you would find very helpful. If you have only had your eyes fixed on detecting faults on the awning’s fabric, you should also think about monitoring the awning’s frames. Even though it is not very common for these frames to wear out, constant exposure to harsh elements like strong winds can do a lot more damage that you can imagine. Improper installation can also cause some damage to the frames. Should you notice any slight damage to these frames, you should not waste time in getting such damage sorted out. This is especially because if left unattended to, the initially minor damage might just develop into a damage that would not only take more money but also, more time to be corrected.
  • Avoid Extreme Exposure To Heat: It is enough that the sun is already venting its anger on your awning, you should not add extra heat to it. Holding family gatherings within your awning’s enclosure is a great idea but if you have to grill, then it should be done in another location, not right under the awning. This is simply because exposure to excessive heat and smoke from your grill or any other type of fire will cause significant damages to the awning material or fabric. Save yourselves the fumes and save your awning the heat and smoke stains.

 

 Apart from these, you can also further increase the lifespan of your awning by looking out for the slightest appearance of frays, rips, and tears. Remember what they say about “a stitch in time saves nine”. Should strong winds pass through any tear on your awning, it would definitely make sure tear to grow bigger, increasing the cost and time that would go into its repair. You should also mind where you mount your awning. It might be tempting to have it positioned under the shade of one or more trees but when you consider the implications of doing so, you would surely have a rethink. For example, tree branches might fall off during strong winds and tear right through your awning.
Another issue is the constantly piling up leaves on the top of your awning. If you don’t have the time to clear this debris from the top of your awning every now and then, then the lifespan of the awning might be severely compromised. If you must mount your awning under a tree, you should ensure that the tree is always trimmed and any loose branches are cut off. Now that you know more about these tips  why don’t you take your time to inspect and take care of any issues that would reduce its lifespan? Whether it is for residential property or commercial property, taking good care of your awning will greatly extend its lifespan. From installation to maintenance, you can always reach out to a local firm to get you going.

Author:
Marcion Albert

Date Published:
12/26/2016

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