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Author Profile – Marcion Albert

Greetings and welcome to my author profile page where I will share my interests and background. Growing up my family bought, fixed up and flipped many homes. We also managed them doing a lot of the handyman responsibilities to create a stable cash flow base.

In my early twenties, I obtained a realtor license which I held for seven years. Selling real estate was never my passion as I am rather introverted, and I really love creating and building rather than selling. I have been writing online for around a decade including completing numerous writing assignments for Yahoo in your Yahoo Voices program. I was also previously the head of content production at

I have been following the shade and awning industry for several years, and I am proud to serve as the chief editor for the team. As we are a small team, I write most of the content personally. We have growth plans and hope to double our writing staff by the end of 2017.

If you have any questions or ideas for a story, feel free to reach me via the site’s contact us form.

Glossary for – All Industry Terms Defined

The researchers at understand how intimidating it can be to do a home improvement project or take on a major home upgrade. While many homeowners really want to add an awning to their patio or a nice cover for their pool for shade, there can be a lot of decision, and it seems like each manufacturer uses different terminology. After answering questions for many of our site’s readers, we created a large glossary the most common industry terms.

If there are terms on a specific shading related website that you would like us to explain, please contact us with the term and a link to the page. We will happily work with the page author to fully understand it, and add it to our list as appropriate. Similarly, if you are a manufacturer and have a new technology that you’d like us to add, please also contact us with that. We are not looking for brand information or marketing, nor are we going to choose winners and losers on this page. Our glossary is focused purely on being an informational resource to homeowners who are considering adding some external shade.

Term Definition
Awning A metal or wood frame covered by a fabric to provide shade.
Canopy A fabric covered covered metal or wood frame that is attached to the building on one side with support legs on the other side.
Popup Tent A standalone structure usually consisting of 4 metal poles and a fabric covered roof
Stationary Awning This is a type of awning that is securely attached to the building. It does not contain hinges or moving parts and either has to be in place to provide functionality or taken down before large storms.
Retractable Awning This is a type of awning that contains hinges so that it can be folded up before the winter or large storms.
Motorized Awning This is a type of retractable awning that uses an electric motor to extend the struts or wind up the leechlines.
Manual Awning This is a type of retractable awning that uses crank or leechline and jam cleat to fold up the awning.
Leechline This is a weather resistent strong cordage used in boating. For us, this is used to attach the fabric to the frame.
Jam Cleat This is a hardware fixture that is attached to the building which ties down the leechline.
Grommet This is a hole surrounded by the small metal ring in the fabric.
Classic Stripe This is an awning pattern which features the two alternating color patterns. The bars are approximately 3.8″ apart.
Acceleration Stress This occurs when the fabric is in high wind and pulls on the leechline. This can lead to either tearing in the fabric or snapping in the leechline. If you live in a region with strong wind, you may wish to check with the manufacturer to determine if this type of damage is covered in the warrany.
Epoxy Anchor For brick or stone homes, this is used to attach reinforce the headboard to the side of the building.
Aluminum Pipe This is a standard metal pipe compose of lightweight aluminum. It weighs about 1/3 the amount of a steel or galvenized pipe of the same diamter.
Anchrorage This is the term used for describing the fixtures which attach the awning or canopy to the building.
Awning Cord This is the commonly used term for leechline.
Bias This is the technical term for the slope of the awning. You may read this in manuals such as a 30 degree bias.
Bolt-Through This is the term used to describe an extremely long bolt that goes entirely through the exterior wall. This is rarely used outside of portable awnings for either vehicles or in the tiny house movement.
Braid This is a wound piece of fabric that is often used as edging or on a valance. It can be created from an entirely different color as it is a separate piece that is sewn on.
Tensile Strength This is a measure of the amount of force required to either tear the fabric or snap the awning cord.
Cadmium Plating This is a very upscale finish used to protect steel or iron framing. This is similar to galvenized pipe which use zinc; however, cadmium provides better protection from the elements.
Galvenized Plating This is a commonly used technique for protecting the steel or iron frame from weather damage. The metal is coated in zinc.
Calendaring A technique of moving the fabric between two or more rollers to produce specific patterns. This should not matter to most homeowners, and we are only including it so there is no misundertanding if it’s in the manual.
Canvas This is a type of awning fabric that is woven. It is constructed of polyester or linen. After the weaving is complete, it will be covered in a polymer to create a water resistent surface.
Cordage This is an generic industry term for describing any rope or line used for the awning.
Crazing This is a term used to describe the damage that can come from folding or creasing the fabric. This usally only impacts the look with no impact on the functionality. This is often specifically called out as not covered in warranties.
Corcking This is the industry term used when the color fades or is rubbed off. This may be covered in warranties depending on the cause. This will often be classified under the more consumer friendly name of “Color Fading”
Delamination This is when the layers of the fabric split and begin to pull apart. This is different than a tear which is when the fabric is “torn” throughout all layers of the fabric. This is more like the appearance of pulling a sticker from its backing.
Denier This is an industry term used to measure the weight of the fabric. This will determine the threadcount of the material and can be used to calculate the weight to ensure the frame is structurally sound.
Die Casting This is the process of extruding liquid metal into molds. This is commonly down with Zin and alumimum.
Dimensional Stability This is a measure of evaluating how stretching the fabric will be. Materials such as spandex or lyrca have an incredibly low dimensional stability whereas denim would be high on this.
Expansion Anchors A common mounting fixture that attaches the headboard to the side of a concrete building.
Fiber This is an industry term which defines what material is used in the awning fabric. This can commonly be wool, cottom, polyester. It is now a very broad term and can include many synthetic materials.
Fire Proof This is a material that will not catch fire under any circumstances. Most awnings are *NOT* fire proof so if you need this then please verify with the manufacturer.
Fire Retardant This is a fabric that is coated in material to resist flames. Given prolonged exposure to a fire, the material can eventually lead to the underlying materially burning.
UV Resistent This is an industry term which describes how well the material blocks the ultraviolet rays from the sun. This is often written in terms of a percentage such as 80% UV meaning that 80% of the rays are blocked.
Hydrostat Pressure This is an industry term which measures the awnings ability to standup during water pressure. This is something that the homeowner may want to check before using a powerwasher to clean the awning.
Lacing This is a process of connecting the fabric to the frame. This uses grommets places near the edge of the fabric that are attached to the struts and frame via the leechline.
Lateral Arm Awning This is a type of retractable awning in which there is a folding strut at each side of the awning. When the internal gears are turned either through a motor or manual crank, the struts straigten to create an extended awning. The process is reversed to retract the awning. Think of the struts like your elbow where they arm is straight when the awning is out, and retracted when you bend your elbow to place your hand on your shoulder.
Loose Frame Awning This is a type of retractable awning that has a headbar, forbar, and horizontal struts; however, there are no metal frame on the bias. The awning is merely held in place by the tension from the fabric.
Mildew Proof This is the process of sparying the fabric with a non-toxic chemical to prevent the growth of fungus.
Monofilament This means the fabric is composed of a single type of fiber. This is the opposite of the polyfilament fabric.
Natural Fbier This is orgranic material such as cotton or wool. This is the opposite of polyester or acryllic.
Non-Woven This is the term used for fabrics that are connected toether using epoxy or other bind agent. While they can be less expensive, we are *NOT* fans of this type of fabric, it can lead to major fails if the binding agent fails.
Polyester This is a synthetic fiber that rates high in dimensional stability. It is also fire and UV resistent. This is a top choice fiber for most consumer shade needs. The only drawback come with its ability to get a true color.
Ponding This is an industry term used when the fabric begins to sag and then prevents water from draining properly.
Seam This is where two individual pieces of fabric meet. The ends can either be sewn or glued.
Solution Dyed This is an industry term in which synthetic fibers receive their color before they are woven into the fabric. This makes the color part of the structure itself making the color far more resistent to fading.
Stainless Steel This is steel that has been forged with either nickel or chromium.
Top Coat This is the industry term for a liquid material applied to the finished fabric. It is usually transparent that is either designed to improve the water resistence, fading or UV protection.
Valance This is the fabric that hangs from the front of the awning. Because this is such a large topic, we have created a dedicated valance style guide.

Marcion Albert

Date Published:


Portable Shading ideas

What is portable Shading

We define portable shading as an item whose primary benefit is to provide cover and protection from the sun. It cannot require any external supports such as a tree, external wall or preset poles such as a clothesline or swing set. The primary uses are for tailgating, family reunions or to provide an area adjacent to a field for kids sporting events. The main products we consider are beach canopies, freestanding golf umbrellas, and popup tents.

Our Research

To understand the best option, we have looked at more than 100 items. We have evaluated each product on the following items:

  • Ease of Setup
  • Weight
  • Price
  • Portability
  • Restrictions

Ideas for Portable Shading

Our company is located in sunny Arizona which can see temperatures exceeding 115 in the summer. For us spending any significant time outside requires sunscreen, sunglasses, hydration and some form of shade. Even a quiet afternoon picnic can be uncomfortable without protection from the sun, and in many places, a fixed shelter isn’t an option. This article will feature products that are available for immediate purchase. We will have a second article for DIY portable shading if you prefer to create your own solution using common household items.

Yellow Umbrella Outdoor Tables

Ease of Setup and Weight

When we evaluate the products in terms of their setup difficulty, we are really looking at three factors. The ideal product will require only a single person with no special tools. Additionally, the entire setup or tear down should take less than two minutes each. We can unpack that statement by measuring the:

  • How Many People are Required?
  • Any Extra Tools Needed?
  • How Long Does it Take?

Of all the products that we researched the absolute best was the NESO Beach Tent. This tent weighs a mere 3.9 pounds and comes with a convenient backpack. We have included a video demonstrates just how incredibly simple and fast this product is to get up. While it was originally designed for the beach, it can also be used in areas without sand by attaching the robes to the ground with traditional tent stakes.

One other strong benefit to this product are the number of positive Amazon reviews and an incredibly active manufacturer who has answered more than 50 questions. You can read the Amazon reviews here. The only drawback to this product is that it’s designed for people who are sitting or laying rather than standing. This is ideal if you are going to have a picnic or want to have a shaded spot as an option for children playing outside; however, there are some other alternatives if you are looking for something to handle tailgate parties or family reunions.

Best Portable Shade for the Price

For the many people who are looking for covering for their tailgate parties, we recommend the Amazon Basics Popup Tent. This is a low cost, no frills option for customers’ that are seeking value over a choice. The product comes in one color, royal blue and weighs 37.5 pounds nearly double the weight of the products that we cover. While it is possible for one strong person to set up alone, we highly recommend having two people. This shelter covered 100 square feet with a cost of less than $1 per foot of coverage. The weight of the canopy can create a challenge if you are going to use this camping or away from a vehicle. It does come with a wheeled carrying bag; however, the small castor wheels failed when we tried to roll them over a grassy. This is our top pick for “Tailgate Canopy”.

Additional Considerations

The one item we want to call out when evaluating any terms of movable covers is that they can sometimes be caught by the wind so it is extremely important to have them attached well to the ground. If you are in a parking lot or other paved area, we recommend tent weights. For the times you are on a beach, you can use sandbags that are tied to the legs, and if you are camping in a grassy or wooded area, additional tent stakes are the preferred option as they can secure your structure to the ground without adding significant weight to your pack. Regardless of what environment that you are using the tent on, it is better to err on the side of attaching better than not enough.

Usage with Motorhomes and RVs

Standalone awnings are ideal for RVs because they can easily be pulled from the vehicle and placed adjacent to it. This will create extra usable living space, and it will also create a welcoming social spot. For people who frequent RV parks, a portable awning is a must have.

Shading for Pets and Livestock

While this applies to a small number of visitors, the question I have received most is about portable shading options for pets or livestock so I have created an entire section on this. Once we complete additional research, I will break this out into its own page so we would love to hear if you have any specific experience with a product either good bad. Finally, we appreciate any time you can send us an image as it really helps our information come to life.

Marcion Albert

Date Published:


Best Awning Support Pole

What is an Awning Support Pole?

This is usually a general aftermarket accessory that homeowners add to provide support for the frame. Adding these can greatly improve the structural integrity as the weight is divided between four supports rather than two. Because most awnings are attached to load bearing exterior walls, the weight pulls both down and away from the wall. When the homeowner adds the “Awning Legs”, the force pulling the unit away from the house is virtually eliminated.

Are They Required?

For most installations, they are neither required nor necessary. The brackets that are packaged with most off the shelf units should be sufficient to support the weight.

That being said, you should consider adding the poles if you plan to leave your awning up through the winter. The additional weight of a heavy snowfall can more than triple the amount of pressure on the brackets and possibly lead to a collapse of the awning and possible damage to the exterior wall. Even if there isn’t a complete structural failure, the additional weight can warp the frame or cause the fabric to tear.

Another reason to consider adding supports is that they really help against a strong wind. When there is strong airflow, the underside can create areas of imbalanced pressure. When the pressure is lower underneath, the awning works similar to an airplane wing that applies a lot of upward pressure to the bracket. This can be incredibly challenging because many brackets don’t deal well with an upward force. The poles help because they provide additional mass at the corners to offset the upward pressure.

Key Considerations

There are three primary considerations when evaluating this product, and they are:

  • Material – What metal are they made from?
  • Height Range – What are the minimum and maximum height supported?
  • Payload Capacity – How much weight can they support?

When it comes to material, we recommend either aluminum or steel. Steel is significantly more structurally sound and should be chosen for homeowners who are primarily concerned with the ability to offset snow weight. The steel supports won’t buckle or bend, and they create an extremely sound base. The also work extremely well at adding additional weight to prevent strong winds from causing the updrafts. The only two drawbacks to steel supports are that they are heavy making them more difficult to handle if they are often set up and taken down as would be the case for an RV. The final drawback is they can be more costly than their aluminum counterparts.

Aluminum supports are preferred for RVs or when the homeowner lives in a part of the country that doesn’t get a massive amount of snow. Their lighter weight makes them ideal for quick and easy setup, and they cost a fraction of the amount of the steel options.

We *STRONGLY* recommend that you do not purchase any sort of PVC or plastic support beams. These products are incredibly inexpensive; however, they don’t truly provide any of the benefits that come with adding supports. Additionally, many of these will break rather than bending like aluminum or standing true like steel.

Height range is only going to be a consideration if your home is on a hill or significant change in elevation. All of the poles we recommend will support heights from 5′ to 10′.

When it comes to payload weight, either of the two metal options is going to meet most needs. If you live in an area that gets extremely heavy snows then you may only want to consider the steel, but for most homeowners, that material is more peace of mind rather than a necessity.

Our Recommendations for Home

For homeowners who plan to leave their poles up permanently, we highly recommend the Awntech Breeze Adjustable Support Legs . Awntech is a leader in the space known for making quality products. These will fit most awnings from a height perspective and come with feet at the bottom which can be affixed to the ground to help guard against wind gusts.

Our Recommendations for Camping or RV

While we wholeheartedly recommend the Awntech model above, we have some reservations about the Naturehike Professional Support Pole. We are recommending this product only as a temporary support for awnings or sun shades that will be up for a few days. A lot of our readers are specifically looking for exactly this style of support so this is why we have included this option.

Other Names?

This product is also commonly referred to as “Painters Poles” or “Support Legs”. If you see either of these terms, they can be considered interchangeable for the term used on the website.

Marcion Albert

Date Published:


Awning Cleaning Complete Guide

Underside of Canopy Awning

Beautiful Free Shade on the Tempe Lake Bridge

Awnings are important additions to RVs such as motor homes and caravans. They add floor space to a motor vehicle parking thus giving a rich shade and personal space at any time of the year whether in the rain, in snow and hot temperature. An awning provides a perfect shade that protects the summer heat. The major types of awning include retractable and the fixed awning which is based on the kind of material used and the style used. An awning that is fit is usually good since it is stable and can work better in weather protection. Retractable awning, on the other hand, can move, and it is easier to open or close, therefore, offers several choices and is convenient.
It is important to thoroughly clean an awning to prevent against the build up of debris, mold, bird droppings and mildew because they can lead to deterioration. Dirty awnings take away the appeal of a home curb. Cleaning of awnings involves a fast and easy process, although on needs to climb a ladder. Clean awnings give a comfortable personal space that is clean and hygienic.

The best way to ensure an awning fabric looks cool is cleaning off the fabrics on a regular basis, say monthly. Regular cleaning of these materials will help in preventing dirt from being embedded deeply in the awning material as well as eliminating regular and vigorous cleaning. Never, the less, awning that requires being cleaned regularly may be cleaned without removing them from the awning frame. Cleaning of awning while on their frame needs brushing off loose dirt. A soft brush can be recommended so as to eliminate stubborn stains quickly. In case the stain persists, one can always use a cap of a bleached mixture for an easier removal of mildew.
What is used in cleaning awnings?
Use of natural soap may do the cleaning of awnings. However, awnings with terrible stains can be washed by use of a chlorine bleach mixed with a mild soap with the help of a soft brush to aid in removal of stains. An excessively dirty awning requires the use of bleach mixed in warm water for an efficient removal of dirt.
The below steps give guidance on how to clean an awning.

Step 1: Expose the entire Surface

Cleaning and maintenance of any awning begin by taking this basic step. It is not easy to clean an awning while it is folded up; therefore it requires setting it up to spread the material and allow all areas to be exposed correctly. Cleaning unfolded awning will not allow proper drying up, and this might cause the growth of fungi and mold on the awning material. Awnings are made of waterproof materials, and therefore it is essential to allow the fluids to dry up or wipe it thoroughly. An easy way of cleaning an awning is to select a day that is sunny, and the rest of the work will be done because the sun will help the awning material to dry up.

Step 2: Removing the Grime

Accumulation of grime is majorly the primary concern to many awning owners. Grime consists of debris, dirt, bird droppings and any other droppings that accumulate on top of an awning. Awnings grime should be cleaned as soon as possible to avoid damaging. The awning material is easily damaged if the water is left for an extended period. Therefore it is important to wash away any grime to avoid making the awning dirty.

Step 3: Using Water and a Soft Cloth

The easiest tools for cleaning an awning are water and a soft cloth. The two tools are simple to use thus have been proved to be the most effective. The idea is a good one since primarily an awning is made of caravans thus making it waterproof. The waterproof ability of an awning material is not easily affected when water and soft cloth are used during the cleaning process. While cleaning an awning, one should always use a light hand because using bold strokes damage the awning material. However, in the case of stacking of debris on the cleaning cloth, then scratches can be made.

Step 4: Use of Every Day Cleaners

In the market, there are several standard issue cleaners for awnings. It is advisable to contact the manufacturer of an awning to get professional advice on the most compatible filter to use. Contacting the respective manufacturers gives one the necessary boost for an efficient and faster way of cleaning an awning thus does not compromise the effectiveness of the awning material.

Step 5: Final Touches

An excessively dirty awning may require the use of bleach mixed in warm water for an effective removal of dirt. The process makes it easier when it comes to cleaning grimy awnings.

Marcion Albert

Date Published: