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FAQ: Retractable Awnings


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What is a retractable awning? top >
A shading system that is self-supporting and can provide shade when you want it and retracts when shade is not required. Sometimes called a lateral arm awning, it relies on spring loaded arms to extend the awning and apply tension to keep the awning fabric taut when open.

Do awnings save on cooling costs? top >
Awnings can substantially save you on air conditioning costs and lower room temperature by up to 15 degrees.

How long to awnings last? top >
With proper care, you can expect a minimum lifetime of ten years.

What happens when I am not using my awning? top >
A retractable awning is self-storing. It is retracted when not in use. In the retracted position, it is protected from damage that adverse weather can cause. In the winter months, some consumers elect to use a winter cover on their awning.

If there are no poles on retractable awnings, then what supports them? top >
Lateral arm awnings (a.k.a. retractable awnings) are designed to be self-supporting and eliminate the need for poles and framework many consumers find unsightly. A good quality retractable awning should not need support poles. This style of awning relies on secure mounting to the structure in conjunction with spring-loaded arms. The arm tension is created with internal springs and large radius elbows will keep the fabric tight by applying outward force.

What maintenance do awnings require? What happens to retractable awnings in the winter? top >
Awnings are very low maintenance. By design, Durasol awnings are self-storing when retracted. Customers affected by harsh winter conditions remove their loose hanging valance for winter storage, while others do nothing more than keep the unit retracted. Some customers continue to use their awnings all year long! Some consumers elect to use a winter cover on their awning for extra protection in the colder months.

What kind of wind loads can retractable awnings handle? top >
Retractable awnings are primarily for sun protection and should not be left out in very windy conditions or when the area the product is covering is not being used. Wind is an unpredictable force, and can quickly change direction and intensity. In "real life" applications the rule of thumb is: if you are comfortable sitting outdoors dining or reading the paper, then it is probably safe to extend your awning. The concern with wind is a lifting up effect on the awning rather than a downward force; therefore, the greater the pitch (the difference between the mounting height and the front of the awning), the more wind resistant the unit is.

Why would I want my awning motorized? top >
Nothing could be more convenient than simply flipping a switch or pressing a remote and watching your awning roll out effortlessly. Once fully extended or retracted the unit will stop automatically. You may also stop the awning in any position by simply pressing the button a second time. Research has shown that a motorized awning is used four times as much as a manual unit. With Durasol's new line of electronic accessories, your local dealer can create the system that fits your unique needs. And if you are concerned with loss of power while your awning is extended don't worry, we've got you covered. Durasol offers line of tubular motors that incorporate a manual override, which allows you to hand-crank the awning in the event of a power loss.

How long will the fabrics last? Can awnings be recovered? top >
Today's lightweight, 100% acrylic woven fabrics are designed to provide the homeowner with years of solar protection against rot, mildew and excessive fading. Plus, most models are sewn with Gore™ Tenara® thread, extending seam life. Durasol's warranty covers all the products they produce for a period of 5 to 10 years, depending on the manufacturer's warranty. Life expectancy, when cleaning and care instructions are followed, should be eight to twelve years on retractable awnings. Awning fabric can be replaced. The cost is approximately 40% of the original awning cost.

How do I clean my awning? top >
Acrylic awning fabric should be cleaned regularly before dirt, bird droppings, etc. are allowed to accumulate and become embedded into the fabric. The fabric can be cleaned without removing it from the frame by brushing off any loose soil and hosing off with water. Clean with water and a non-detergent soap, and rinse thoroughly to remove the soap. Do not subject the fabric to excessive heat.

When would I need a protective hood? top >
Durasol offers several optional protective hoods, depending on model, which have been designed to provide protection from the elements when structural protection is not available. On the SunShelter Elite , Regal, and Triumph, the customer has standard hood options. The SunCassette Bella comes with a hood incorporated into the awning, and the SunCassette Carina has a concealed fabric hood. The concealed fabric hood, known in the industry as a semi-cassette hood, protects the entire fabric when retracted plus reduces the possibility of bird nesting on the awning. Hoods are often purchased when the awning is roof mounted or fascia mounted and when it is not located directly under a soffit or overhang. Durasol also recommends incorporating a protective hood with any motorized awning.

What if I have a limited amount of space under the soffit or overhang of my home? For example, a single level ranch, second story bi-level. top >
Durasol has developed a roof mounting system for most of their awnings when limited mounting exists; for example, less than 8' from the deck surface to mounting location. This mounting system allows for water, wind, and snow to pass under the unit safely. The powder-coated brackets are anchored into the roof rafter and properly sealed to prevent leaking. This is the ideal mounting method to maximize strength and usability.

Are there any other weather conditions I should be concerned about? top >
Durasol's retractable awnings are primarily designed to protect you from the damaging and harsh rays of the sun. These products are not designed for rain protection; however, they can be used in drizzle or misting rains with proper unit pitch when strong winds are not present. In heavy or driving rains, the units must be retracted to avoid water from "pooling" on the fabric and causing damage or irreversible fabric stretching. Durasol's GENNIUS and Gallery are great products for when rain and wind protection are needed.

How will the awning mount to my home? top >
Factory trained professionals locate the structural framework of the home and pre-drill installation bracket holes through any siding to tie in directly to either wall studs or headers. On roof mount applications, the installers tie into the rafters. They pre-drill to avoid cracking, and add silicone caulk to the hardware and brackets for leak prevention. All mounting applications utilize 3/8" lag bolts, in varying lengths, depending on mounting surface.

What does an average sized retractable awning cost? top >
Due to the custom-made nature of all our shading systems we produce and the uniqueness of each application, prices cannot be given without verified measurements and actual site inspection. Your local representative will meet with you for a free, in-home consultation to design an awning that's right for you! The typical custom-made retractable awning system, professionally installed, will range from $2,800 up. Again, with a wide range of available sizes and a large variety of product options, this effect prices dramatically - so very rarely is one system exactly the same as the next. It may be hard to believe, but there are more than 130 billion combinations for our shading systems! The type of installation can also play a major role in the final cost. Your local representative has several different types of mounting brackets and different fasteners for all types of installations to provide you with a trouble-free installation. We're sorry that we are being a little vague but prices can range drastically, due to the variety and custom-made nature of our products. By contacting your local dealer and providing them with more details of your application, they will be able to give you a more precise range.

How long does it take to be installed once my order is placed? top >
Durasol guarantees a normal order will be shipped within 11 working days of receipt of order. Allowing for shipping time and the dealer's present workload, your awning should be installed in four to six weeks, sometimes sooner.

Does Durasol offer any other types of Shading products? top >
Durasol offers a complete line of retractable awnings, window awnings, structural products, and stationary products, as well as interior solar screens and exterior mounted solar screens for both residential and commercial applications.