Retractable Awnings Maintenance


There is virtually no maintenance to these awnings if you don’t want there to be.  SO, in other words, your awning frame and fabric will last longer if you do a little maintenance, but there is none that is actually required.

If you live near the ocean and experience a bit of “salt air”, then it would be a good idea to hose down the awning frame with fresh water once a month or so over the Spring, Summer, and Fall from beneath to get the salt out so it doesn’t get rooted into the moving parts to corrode as badly. This should be done on a calm day and be sure to allow it to dry.

If you are out under your awning and it starts to rain, you will need to roll it in unless it is barely a sprinkle – like a mist. Even still, it should be retracted as soon as possible because retractable awnings are designed for shade, not rain. The problem is the weight of the rainwater. Retractable is not designed to hold any extra weight when out, which is what any amount of accumulated rainwater would be.  If you do have to pull it in due to rain – be sure to open it and let it dry completely as soon as you can- ideally by the next day. Remember that mildew grows on dirt, so that if you have any dirt on your awning and it stays wet while rolled up, you could run into a mildew problem down the road.

In general, though, retractable does not need to be cleaned. The best care is to use a long-handled nylon bristle brush to sweep away any dust, dirt, or leaves that should land on it. Hosing it down with fresh water usually does the trick. If you decide to use cleaners, use an only mild soap like Ivory Flakes or Draft. If you use anything more toxic than those, then you run the risk of losing the ultraviolet resistance, mildew resistance, and water resistance that the fabric came with.



Atlantic Awning always recommends that retractable awnings not be left unattended. If a storm comes up or if the wind picks up, you should be there to roll your awning in. Most retractable awnings are not designed for heavy winds but can handle some movement. The usual rule of thumb is that if you can’t read a newspaper outside, you should roll your awning in. Many retractable owners have found that on a windy day if they still need some sun coverage, they can roll their awning in halfway or more and the awning will have that much more wind resistance.

We do sell one brand of retractable awnings that have engineered wind loads on them. If a retractable awning is going to be installed in a place that tends to have higher winds, like in a coastal location for example, then we usually recommend the retractable with the engineered wind loads on them.  These tend to be a bit more costly, but you can get more use out of them in a windier location. Another way around it is to purchase a wind sensor along with your RTS motorized awning, and the wind sensor will pull the awning in automatically if it is too windy no matter what location, no matter what brand of a retractable awning.

Common Sense is also a good indicator here. If you have your awning out and the wind is blowing it around in such a way that you feel like it’s too much for your awning – then assume it is too much and roll it in.



Retractable awnings remain were installed year-round. Be sure the fabric is dry and free of dust and dirt before rolling up for the last time of the season. Many people use their awnings for the winter sun too.

Many people remove their retractable awning valance for the winter. All you have to do is take the end cap off of the front bar usually with a screwdriver. Then you can loosen the set screws in the fabric locks that hold the valance in place on each end, and slide it on out. Put the end cap back on, and roll up the valance, put it in a bag, and you are done. The valance rolls up to be a fairly small package and can be stored inside away from the elements for the winter. The valance is always exposed, no matter what, and the harsh winter winds especially can really take a toll on a loose hanging valance. By taking it down every winter, it extends the life of the valance by at least two times.



Many people call to say that their motorized retractable awnings are not working. The quick fix for this one is usually to change the battery in the remote. Nine times out of ten, that is the problem. You can call the office for any other troubleshooting if that doesn’t work.

Sometimes people that have wind sensors say that their awning is behaving erratically. For example, they put the awning out, there is no wind, and it all of a sudden, it pulls itself back in and this pattern repeats. This is, more than likely, a battery issue in the wind sensor. Change the battery in the wind sensor. This is how it works – when a wind sensor is installed, it is paired with the motor. As long as the two are paired, the motor will be searching for the wind sensor every so often to protect the awning. If the battery is dead in the wind sensor, or even if the wind sensor has been taken off and driven to another country, the motor will not be able to find it, and will automatically pull the awning in. It is kind of a fail-safe situation. If someone has a wind sensor that they no longer want or if the wind sensor needs to be replaced – it has to be unpaired from the motor in order for the motor to stop looking for it.

More information about Retractable Awnings 

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Are you the proud owner of a brand-new Retractable Awning installed by Atlantic Awning?  Maybe you are considering purchasing one? Here is some helpful information . . .

Let’s start with the type of retractable that we are talking about here. There are actually retractable window awnings, retractable roof awnings, and your basic retractable lateral arm awnings that are frequently used on decks and patios. We are talking about the last one here.

Retractable Lateral Arm Awnings are so named because the spring-loaded arms extend and retract laterally – or somewhat parallel to the ground. Somewhere in the early ’90s, these awnings became so prevalent in the awning industry that they started to be called simply: “retractable” or “retractable awnings” even though there are many different types of awnings that have the ability to be retracted by any means. For simplicity’s sake, we will be calling lateral arm retractable awnings “retractable” throughout the rest of this article.

When properly cared for, retractable awnings can give years and years and years of shaded outdoor enjoyment. Check out the new Commercial Retractable Awnings and Residencial Retractable Awnings.


MODES OF OPERATION – Manual vs Motorized

Many people choose to have a manually operated retractable, while others go for a motor. Why is that? And what are the pros and cons of each?

Motors:  No fuss, no muss, just press a button and your awning goes out. Press another button your awning comes in. Years ago, having a motorized retractable meant that the customer would also have to hire an electrician to hardwire the motor to a switch – usually interior. That would happen after the installation, and then our installers would have to come back to set the inner and outer limits of the unit after the electrician was done powering it up (limits to be discussed later on).

While the hardwired option is still available, we have found that having an RTS motor (one that can be operated by a remote) is so much better. With an RTS motor, all you have to do it plug it in, and within minutes our installers can get the remote and the motor “talking” so that they can set the limits and be done without having to schedule another trip. One and done.

Also – only with an RTS motor can you also get a wind sensor for your awning. It is actually a motion sensor. If it senses that your front bar is moving too much (because of the wind) it will automatically pull your awning in to protect it from damage.

Atlantic Awning always sells Manual Override motors on our retractable for the customer’s protection. If a motorized retractable is in the out position, and the power should go out for some reason, the awning can still be retracted via a hand crank with a manual override motor. It is extremely important to protect the awning from damage in case there is a storm, and you need to get your awning in.  A hand crank is provided with every manual override motor.

Manual Gears: Having a manual gear retractable is a great way to go too!  These days, cranking up your awning is a breeze. We make sure that we get you a crank handle that is a good length for you and a specific height of your awning for ease of use. We usually recommend a motor once the awning is 20 feet wide depending on the projection because it can get a bit tedious with a hand crank for something of that size. The gear ratios are set for whatever size the awning is for optimal ease of operation. Gear Ratio = how many times the crank handle needs to turn for one full rotation of the roller tube.

Note: Retractable awnings can be let in or out, and cranked in or out at any increment you desire. Our installers set the inner and outer limits on motorized retractable so that it always stops at those predetermined limits to protect the awning and the motor. So – the awning can be stopped and started anywhere between those limits. A manual gear retractable can be rolled in and out to anywhere desired, but it should not be rolled out past where the fabric starts to get loose. If that happens, bring it back in until the fabric is taut.



A retractable awning hood is an extruded aluminum covering that usually matches the frame and goes over the top of a retractable to protect it from the elements. Many retractable get installed under overhangs and do not require protective hoods.



Our installers set at least a 5-degree pitch on retractable, but often up to a 15-degree pitch or more is used. The greater the pitch, the better the wind resistance and the more sun coverage. The specific measurements and architectural features of a building help us to determine exactly how high to put the awning and what to set the pitch at. Usually, the bottom of the front bar is 7ft from the ground, deck, or patio. When Atlantic Awning installs a retractable awning, our installers will set the pitch on the awning before they leave based on their professional expertise, and the customer’s input. Sometimes people may have a view they do not want to be obstructed, so they have the pitch set higher. Sometimes people want a little more privacy, so they have it set lower, and so on. More information about retractable Awnings maintenance.


Nothing calls to mind romantic summer nights more than watching the sunset, drink in hand, under a beautiful, vine-draped pergola. Pergolas, or overhead arbors, are typically freestanding, though they can be attached to a structure such as your home or other building. While it is not necessary to cover them with greenery, they are traditionally adorned with flowering vines or hanging plants.

A pergola adds visual interest and can define the space of your outdoor entertaining area. Depending on the spacing, width and angle of the rafters, your pergola can also offer some shade. Additional protection from the elements can be had by adding outdoor fabric or lattice to the sides or even the top of the pergola. Today, manufacturers have extended the usage of pergolas even further by incorporating retractable canopies into their design. These shade pergolas can be designed to cover large areas, giving them many applications for commercial properties, outdoor cafes, seating areas at marinas and golf courses, senior living facilities and other large-scale locations where patrons seek sun, shade or protection, but are still affordable for the private homeowner. Shade pergolas give outdoor environments the best of all possible worlds – a traditional look with a retractable awning that is waterproof, windproof and fade resistant.

So if you like the look of a romantic Italian villa, love the smell of climbing roses or honeysuckle, or simply want to add a distinctive look to your outdoor entertaining space, a pergola may be the right choice for you.

When it’s 90 degrees and you’re sweating over your grill cooking for a crowd of thirty, sure, it’s hard not to focus on getting that awning – NOW. But unfortunately, Rome wasn’t build in a day, and neither is a quality outdoor structure, especially when it’s the busy season. Just like when the first snowflake falls and our thoughts turn to skiing and sledding (or, shoveling and plowing!), it’s not uncommon to find the shelves of our favorite sporting goods supplier bare and not a bag of rock salt or a single shovel to be found. So when the temperatures creep up and the flowers start to bloom, our thoughts naturally turn to outdoor living and entertaining and it can be disappointing to hear that your awning won’t be ready for that graduation or July 4th party.

So as it is with any snowstorm, luck favors the prepared. If you want to enjoy your awning for the entire summer, or if you have a particular event for which you’d like to have it, start your planning well in advance and, if possible, consider starting your project in the off season. Winter is a great time to start the consultation process and place your order. Scheduling your installation in February will ensure that you have your pick of service dates and, if you have an awning or structure that needs to be stored for the winter, scheduling take down and storage in the early fall ensures that your structure is safely stored before it can be damaged by the first snow storm.

With a little bit of planning, you can avoid the stress of the seasonal rush and enjoy your outdoor living space from the first blooms of spring to the last leaf of fall, all under the comfort and protection of your custom awning or outdoor enclosure.

Everyone knows that awnings and external shades provide visual interest and shade for homes, but they can also provide significant energy savings especially during the hot, summer months. Rising energy costs and tighter household budgets are bringing to light how this one-time investment can play a significant role in reducing energy consumption and expenses.

A 2012 study funded by the Professional Awning Manufacturers Association (PAMA), shows that fabric awnings or exterior shades can save homeowners as much as $200 annually on their cooling costs.

“Homeowners often ask how well awnings and roller screens will help to cool their home and make them more comfortable. So PAMA initiated this study to develop credible information about the performance of window shading, as we work to educate home owners and the industry,” says John Gant, PAMA’ s Energy Committee Chairman. “This research uses complex computer simulations for a wide range of variables to generate predictions of the energy conservation.”

The study incorporated information about weather and energy costs, and included a number of variations including location, shade design and fabric. Energy savings varied depending on the number of windows, type of glass in the windows, window orientation and regional climate. The study focused mainly on older homes that are typically smaller and less insulated than newer construction with results supporting awnings and solar shades as “smart” retrofits to help make these older homes more energy efficient.

Full details of the study, can be found at

Anything you create will only be as good as what you put into and that’s why we only use the highest quality parts and materials from only the trusted leaders in the awning and enclosure industry. We have spent decades researching and testing materials for use in our projects. We have worked hard to find and developed relationships with the leading suppliers of outdoor materials, motors, and components, companies with the same commitment to quality and service on which we pride ourselves.

When you purchase an awning or enclosure from us, you can feel confident that you’re getting only the best of the best. Whether it’s durable, weatherproof fabric; a reliable and smooth operating motor; or strong, structural elements to support your outdoor enclosure, you can count on us to deliver quality, reliable parts and service time and time again.

Some of our most valued partners include:

Dickson  |  Firesist  |  Para Industrial Group  |  Sattler

Serge Ferrari  |  ShelterLogic  |  Somfy  |  Sunbrella

When we are called out to service awnings for repair, we frequently find that the issues the owner is finding have resulted from use of low quality materials. We will always repair or replace using the top quality materials that our reputation is built on.

Based on the mission of a non-profit organization, Destination Imagination programs offer students the opportunity to solve open-ended “challenges” that incorporate STEM ( Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics), the arts, and service learning disciplines. Elementary, middle, and high school students form teams of up to seven members, and each team selects one of seven challenges to address. With the guidance of a teacher or parent, each team creates an action plan, and then the members work together for weeks, or sometimes months, to create a solution that solves the challenging problem. Each year, more than 1,200 teams from countries around the world – the U.S., China, Poland, Columbia, Brazil, and others – advance from local, regional, and national tournaments to earn a spot at the Destination Imagination global competition held in May at the University of Tennessee, where more than 15,000 attendees celebrate creativity.

This year, both of my sons’ teams competed at DI Global, and they came in 6th and 32nd in the world. Thanks to donations by fellow companies in awning and marine businesses, all the materials that we used to meet the challenge were recycled or scrap pieces. We gratefully acknowledge their donations, and invite readers to donate their leftover materials for DI program participants to recycle. Check with your local school system for details, or visit for more information.

Malignant melanoma, a type of skin cancer, is diagnosed in approximately 160,000 Americans each year, and overexposure to UV radiation, commonly known as sunburn, in children is one of the biggest risk factors contributing to Malignant melanoma. The American Academy of Dermatology (AAD) recommends limiting UV exposure as one of the most effective means of preventing Malignant melanoma. As an integral part of its SPOT Skin Cancer education and prevention program,  AAD offers a Shade Structure Grant Program for public schools and non-profit organizations.

The AAD Shade Structure Grant Program awards grants of up to $8,000 for the purchase and installation of permanent shade structures for areas where children play or learn outdoors such as playgrounds, pools and recreation spaces. Since 2000, the American Academy of Dermatology has awarded more than 307 Shade Structure Grants to organizations across the country. Together, these structures provide shade each day for more than 600,000 individuals across the country.

To be eligible for the program, applicants must be a non-profit organization or public school which serves children between the ages of 4 and 18. Applicants must also be sponsored by an AAD member dermatologist and demonstrate that they have an active sun safety program that has been in place for at least one year. AAD will begin accepting applications for the 2015 grant cycle on October 1, 2014. For more information on how to apply, please visit

This Article is from Bob Vila, this content originally appeared Here.

Homeowners looking to reduce air conditioning costs and shield interior furnishings from the sun’s harsh glare may want to consider adding awnings.

Fixed or retractable awnings can significantly reduce a home’s air conditioning usage in the summer, saving an estimated $200 or more annually, according to a study from the Professional Awning Manufacturers Association (PAMA).

“The sun’s rays through glass are responsible for almost 20% of the load on your air conditioner,” says Michelle Sahlin, managing director of PAMA. “Awnings reduce direct solar gain through windows.” The study found that awnings not only save money for homeowners but also contribute to a reduction in demand for energy, making them an environmentally responsible choice for homeowners concerned about greenhouse gas emissions.

“People don’t realize that there are more eco-friendly ways to stay cool,” points out Byron Yonce, chairman of PAMA. “While turning up the air conditioner results in higher energy bills, awnings and shades work with the air conditioner to keep your home cooler and reduce the need for additional energy.”

The American Society of Heating and Air Conditioning Engineers recommends that homeowners use “optimized and/or moveable external shading devices, such as overhangs, awnings, and side fins” to minimize a building’s heat load. A fabric awning reduces heat gain by 55% to 65% during those hours when the sun shines directly on southern-facing windows or glass doors. That figure jumps to between 72% and 77% for western exposures.

Several different types of awnings are commonly available, including portable, fixed, and retractable designs. One important benefit of the latter is that they can fold up in winter, allowing the sun’s rays to penetrate through windows and glass doors, reducing energy usage by contributing to the temperature indoors.

Some retractable awnings are motorized and can be retracted or extended with the push of a button. Manual styles use a simple pulley-and-cord system. Most awnings have variable settings, so they can be opened partially, fully, or halfway.

Awnings can be aesthetically pleasing, especially as homeowners may choose among an array of fashionable fabrics (woven, coated, laminated and mesh) and trendy colorations (solids, stripes, and patterns).

Most awning fabrics are treated with water-repellent, plus soil- and stain-resistant finishes. Some are treated with a flame retardant. Awning frames are typically constructed of either galvanized steel or aluminum.

If you are looking to cut down on air conditioning costs and beautify your home’s exterior, add an awning… and beat the heat!

On July 18, 2013, Atlantic Awning was acquired by AvalaTec Awning (AvalaTec).

Founded earlier this year, AvalaTec is owned and operated by Cheryl Yennaco and Mark Horton, former Managing Partners of Atlantic Awning. Cheryl and Mark started their new company to follow their vision of a more high-tech approach to the design and installation of awnings and are pleased to bring this highly efficient and accurate approach to Atlantic Awning customers.

Select Atlantic Awning sales and operations staff will be retained as employees of AvalaTec. Atlantic’s Senior Managing Partner, Doug Yennaco, will retire and Jeff Yennaco will be leaving the company to pursue other opportunities.