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FAQ'S

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Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to manufacture and install an awning?
As with any custom-manufactured product, there is a short lead time for quality work to be accomplished. For our awnings and custom canvas products, this can mean as little as three weeks. Of course, this varies depending on the time of the year (summer typically is the busiest part of the year), and it is not unusual for this lead time to run longer, especially in seasonal climates.  Contact us to find out current lead times.

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Should I attempt to clean my awning, rather than use a professional awning cleaning service?
You can clean it yourself or use the services of a reputable professional awning cleaner. If you clean it yourself, it's important to follow these instructions:

  • If your awning is located in a commercial area, close off the area to customers and pedestrians.

  • Brush off all debris.

  • Clean from the bottom and work up.

  • Scrub the awning and valance with a soft bristled brush.

  • Cover all parts of the awning. Missed spots will show when dry.

  • Rinse the awning completely. Film left on the material will leave marks and a chalky residue.

  • Occasionally rinse your awning down with a garden hose and keep the underside of your awning clean by simply brushing with a clean household broom.

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What should I look for in an awning professional?
We invite you to come by our showroom and facility and meet us face to face, check out our operation and see all the benefits you will receive by working with Where Shade Is Made. Our quality, service, and craftsmanship are unmatched.  

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Will awnings reduce my air-conditioning costs?
Yes. Awnings conserve energy by shading windows and reducing indoor temperatures. Studies by the American Society of Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRE) have shown that awnings on windows and patio doors can reduce inside temperatures by as much as 8-15 degrees, depending on the exposure of the window, the color of the fabric and the style and method of attaching the awning.

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Can I apply graphics to my awning?
Yes, the type of graphics and method of application would depend on the fabric selection, as various fabrics accept different applications. Applying graphics directly to awning fabrics provides identification and/or advertisement without the need for "add-on" sign structures.

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What should be done with a retractable awning in the winter?
By design, the awning is self-storing when retracted. Many owners of retractable awnings remove the loose hanging valance for winter storage, while others do nothing more than keep the unit retracted and bring the crank handle in. And some owners use their retractable awnings all year long!  Where Shade Is Made also offers winter removal of your unit.  

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How do I store my awnings in the winter months?
Where Shade Is Made offers a removal and storage service for awnings and canopies. If you prefer to do this yourself, make sure to clean and dry your awnings before you store them. Give them a final brushing to remove all debris. Fold or roll the awnings, then cover and store them in a cool, dry place.

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How many styles of awnings are there?
Awnings can be made to almost any size or shape. With the use of modern metal fabrication equipment and techniques coupled with many new fabric seaming and attachment methods, design options are literally limitless.  Examples of awning styles can be found in the Photo Gallery.

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How do I keep my awning clean?
Regular maintenance generally means a once-a-year cleaning, with additional care if stains or soil age appears. The regular cleaning schedule starts the first year in which the awning is in service. Where Shade Is Made can help by offering a regular maintenance contract. Also, remember that your awning is an exterior product. In the same way you wouldn't leave your automobile outside without washing it for very long, you'll also need to clean your fabric awning to preserve and extend its good looks and service life.

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Are awnings waterproof? Can I stay out under my awning in inclement weather?
Generally speaking, awning fabrics are water-repellent, not waterproof. There are exceptions, though, which may be practical in certain environments. The fabrics' water-repellent characteristics allow you to fully enjoy the space shaded by the awning during any weather conditions that aren't severe. In other words, if the weather is nice enough for you to be outside, then it is good enough for you to be out underneath your awning.

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Does an awning need to be fire retardant?
If the awning will be installed at a commercial site, Where Shade Is Made can advise you on the local "code" requirements. Localities vary, but many require flame retardant fabric, in locations of public gathering. The use of a flame retardant fabric will usually increase the cost of your awning. In residential applications not governed by local codes, the requirement to use a flame retardant fabric becomes a personal preference. Flame retardant fabrics are available in a wide variety of colors and styles.

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Does my awning come with a warranty?
In many cases, awning fabrics are warranted for a period of 5 years or more, in proportion (pro-rata) to the useful life of the fabric. Other warranties regarding the frame and workmanship may apply and vary by job and by state. Please contact us for more details pertaining to your particular project.

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Does the fabric color I choose affect how hot it is under my awning? Or, for that matter, how dark it will be shaded underneath?
Good question. Of course, the darker the color chosen, the darker the shade effect underneath will be. There are exceptions, however. Certain fabrics have a lighter-colored underneath side than the top-side color, which gives a more pleasing shading effect. As for the temperature, while color choice has some slight impact, the type of fabric chosen and the overall ventilation of the installation will have a greater effect.

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Is there much difference between the various types of awning fabrics?
Yes, different fibers, weaves and coatings have very specific advantages. Some fabrics are breathable, some are not. Acrylic fabrics have a rich cloth appearance and are much more colorfast and fade resistant. Vinyl coated fabrics are the most water repellent. Mesh fabrics allow better ventilation and outward visibility. We will help guide you to the proper fabric for your application.

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What colors are available?
Today's fabrics come in more than 500 solid and striped colors! Remember, too, that most of the time you are enjoying your awning you are relaxing underneath it (not outside looking at it), so the underside color is probably the one you will see more often. With so many colors to choose from you are bound to find several that will enhance the look of your home or building.  Please see our color showroom links in the Fabric Gallery Section of the website.

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If I purchase a traditional patio awning, can the frame be removed for the winter months?
Yes it can. However, it's important that you inform us of this requirement, so that the awning is designed for this purpose.  Many homeowners have Where Shade Is Made remove the fabric and leave the frame up over the winter.

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What metals do you use for building your frames? How durable are they?
Metal frames are made from either galvanized steel or aluminum. Regular maintenance on a frame requires annual inspections of fasteners, connections and metal condition. Frames are also available with a painted finish or powder coating for additional protection and attractiveness.

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I live in a development governed by a homeowners' association. Are awnings allowed there?
Because canvas awnings are colorful, attractive, energy-saving design features, most homeowners' associations are receptive to adding them to the exterior decor of a building. Typically, the association's architectural committee reviews these questions. Many developments work with Where Shade Is Made so that the awning styles and colors are consistent throughout the development.

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Will awnings protect my furniture from fading?
Awnings, just as other interior window products, protect furniture, floors and carpets from fading caused by harsh sun rays. However, unlike interior products, awnings give the added benefit of energy savings by reducing the solar radiation through glass windows and doors.

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Will my awning protect me from the sun's harmful rays?
Not only does an awning protect you from the sun, but it also protects you from the other natural elements, such as rain and snow. In certain configurations, awnings can also protect you from wind. As in many shade options, the amount of protection from the sun's harmful ultra violet rays would be determined by the type and color of the fabric. Your Professional Awning Manufacturer can help you meet your requirements, through the proper fabric selection.

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Do I need a building permit for an awning?
Not for most residential awnings. However, almost all commercial situations, especially in major metropolitan areas, do require a permit.

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Are there any other weather conditions I should be concerned about?
Retractable awnings primarily are designed to provide protection from the sun's rays and not from rain. However, it can be used in drizzle or misting rains with proper unit pitch and rain and wind packages. In heavy or driving rains or wind, the unit must be retracted to keep water from "pooling" on the fabric and causing damage or irreversible fabric stretching.

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How will my retractable awning mount to my facility?
Where Shade Is Made installers locate the structural framework and pre-drill the mounting bracket holes through any siding to tie in directly to either the wall studs or headers. On roof-mount applications, the installers tie into the rafters, pre-drilling to avoid cracking and silicone-caulking the hardware and brackets to prevent leaks.  If your application is new construction please contact as soon as possible so we can recommend any additional building materials needed for proper mounting and aesthetic attractiveness.  

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If there are no poles on retractable awnings, what supports the awning?
Retractable awnings have been designed to be self-supporting. This style of awning relies on secure mounting in conjunction with spring-loaded arms. The arm tension is created with internal springs, and large radius elbows keep the fabric tight by applying outward force.

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What does an average-sized stationary or retractable awning cost?
Because most awnings are customized for each application, prices cannot be given without verified measurements.  Please contact us to discuss your project and pricing parameters.  

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What kind of wind loads can a retractable awning handle?
Retractable awnings primarily are for sun protection and should not be left out in windy conditions. However, wind is a very unpredictable force, with a tendency to change direction and speed very quickly. In a wind-tunnel test, which is a very controlled environment, a retractable awning withstood straight-on wind forces at over 50 mph. In "real-life" applications, the general rule of thumb is: If you are comfortable sitting outdoors dining or reading the paper, then it is probably safe to operate your awning. The concern with wind is the up-lifting effect on the awning rather than the downward force; therefore the greater the pitch, the more wind-resistant the unit is.

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When would I need a protective hood for my retractable awning?
Protective hoods, available at an additional cost, have been designed to provide adequate unit protection when structural protection is not available. Hoods often are purchased when the retractable awning is being roof or fascia-mounted and when not located directly under a soffit or overhang.

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Why would I want my retractable awning motorized?
Nothing could be more convenient than simply flipping a switch and watching your awning roll out on its own. Once fully extended or retracted, the unit will stop automatically. You may also stop the retractable in any position by flipping a wall-mounted switch or pushing a button on a remote.  Research has shown that a motorized awning is used four times as much as a manual unit.

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If my retractable awning is motorized, how can I adjust it if my power goes out?
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.

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If I don't initially install a motor with my retractable awning, can I add one at a later date?
It is easier to include a motor with the initial awning installation, but it is possible to add one at a later date. Adding a motor later will be more costly than if the awning and motor are installed together with your initial purchase.

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What are the differences between retractable awnings and fixed frame awnings?
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.

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Why should I get an awning instead of a deck or patio umbrella?
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.

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What is the "pitch" of an awning? Is the pitch of an awning important, and what should it be?
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.

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Do I have to fully extend my retractable awning?
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.

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What about rust and corrosion of the frame, cables and other metal parts?
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.

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