Awnings companies have their own language to describe the products, materials and installation techniques used in their industry. The glossary below may help you decipher the phrases used by your awnings provider. If you still have questions regarding the exact products you’ll be receiving as part of your deal with a local awning contractor, be sure to ask for clarification and descriptions in layman’s terms.
A material’s ability to withstand wear from flapping, friction, scraping, rubbing or other awning-to-awning contact or contact between the awning materials and the building on which they’re mounted.
Also known as: withstand abrasion, resist abrasiveness
Acrylic fabrics are those with manufactured fibers made from synthetic polymers. Acrylic fibers often stand up to weather, wear and harsh conditions better than natural fibers.
Also known as: acrylic awnings, acrylic fiber awnings, acrylic canopies, acrylic fabrics, acrylic coated fabrics
Like aluminum pipes, aluminum tubing is a light, strong alternative to steel piping and tubing. Aluminum tubing is often used to create the frame of outdoor awnings because it is available in a variety of sizes and shapes. It also resists rust and is light enough to install on eaves of homes and businesses.
Also known as: aluminum awning frames, aluminum canopy frames, aluminum pipes, aluminum tubes
Awnings are additions to homes or businesses that are used for decoration, business name advertising, and protection from the elements. Most awnings are made of a light aluminum skeleton covered with a fabric or acrylic-coated fabric sheet to keep out sun and rain. Some permanent awnings come in the form of metal awnings. Awnings may be permanently affixed, stand-alone units, removable, manually-retractable, automatically retractable or motorized. Awnings are different from canopies in that the weight of awnings are completely supported by the building they are attached to, while canopies are usually free-standing or supported on one side by separate posts.
Also known as: canopy, motorized awning, business awnings, metal awnings, patio awnings, patio cover, retractable awnings, window awnings, camper awnings, rv awning
Like awnings, canopies are fabric-covered structures that are meant to provide protection from the elements, decoration or business identification. Canopies are usually free-standing and are often attached to a building on one side and to support posts on the other side, whereas most awnings are completely supported by the building on which they are mounted.
Also known as: canvas canopies, house canopies, porch canopies, canopy tents, shade canopy, patio canopy, caravan canopy, car canopy, beach canopy, outdoor canopy, gazebo canopy, pop-up canopy
Canvas is a heavy fabric usually made from cotton, linen or synthetic threads. Canvas is identified by its tight, even weave and smooth feel. Canvas is most often used for industrial purposes, sails, awnings and canopy tops. Canvas may be dyed to provide additional decoration.
Also known as: canvas awning, canvas canopy, synthetic canvas awnings
Coated fabrics are those that are treated or covered with a substance that makes them resistant or impervious to water, fading and wear. Most coated fabric used for awnings is acrylic-coated canvas, but they can also be made from other tough fabrics coated in rubber, resin, plastic, melamine, oil, PVC, urethane, neoprene and other tough industrial coatings.
Also known as: coated canvas, coated awnings, weather coated awnings, water-resistant awning fabric, waterproof awning fabrics
The total length of awnings from the mounted wall to the farthest edge when they are fully extended is known as the drop.
Also known as: awning length
Some awnings are coated to be fireproof or fire resistant. These fabrics are treated with flame retardants that make the fabric impervious or resistant to flame. Awnings on homes in fire-prone areas should be fire resistant or fireproof for added fire protection.
Also known as: fireproof awnings, fire-resistant awnings
Most awnings attach to and are supported by a home, building or other structure. However, freestanding awnings do exist. These are awnings that are supported by posts poured into concrete footings or heavy, but moveable, bases. Freestanding awnings are sometimes considered canopies.
Also known as: temporary awnings, movable awnings, patio awnings, self-supporting awning
Awnings with built-in lighting are considered illuminated awnings, or lighted awnings. These lit awnings have lighting systems built-in behind the fabric so that the canvas of the awning is lit.
Also known as: lit awning, lighted awning
Most canvas awnings and canopies are treated with substances that prevent or discourage the growth of mold, mildew and other fungus. While most awnings can’t be made completely mildew-proof, mildew-resistant fabrics can impede the growth of mildew and extend the life of the product.
Also known as: anti-mildew awnings, mold-resistant awnings
Some automatic retractable awnings are enabled with an electrical contact that measures the air for moisture and automatically retracts the awning if it begins to rain.
Also known as: automatic rain sensor, automatically retractable awning
Retractable awnings are those that can be manually or mechanically retracted, rolled or collapsed. This is usually done to prevent the awning from being damaged by snow accumulation, rain, heavy wind and when the canopy isn’t being used. Retractable awnings are popular over patios and yards where coverage is only wanted during peak sun hours. Retractable awnings can last longer than fixed awnings because they are less likely to be damaged by bearing heavy loads.
Also known as: collapsing awnings, lateral arm awnings, retractable patio awnings, motorized awnings
Some automatic awnings are enabled with a sun sensor that causes the awning to automatically extend when the sun shines and automatically retract when the sun sets or clouds cover the sun. This prevents you from having to physically extend your awning or monitor for weather changes, while still protecting your home or patio from direct sun.
A decorative front piece that attaches to awnings to create visual appeal. Valances are often scalloped and edged with a complementary color to provide decoration. Most valances are approximately six inches long and drop down from the front support bar, which hides the mechanical workings of the awning from view.
Also known as: awning valances, decorative awning
Automatic awnings may be outfitted with wind sensors that automatically retract the awning if the wind or wind gusts become to strong for the awning. This helps prevent damage to your awning and keeps you from having to monitor the weather.
Also known as: wind gust sensor, automatic awning retraction
Some awnings are automatic, some are closed using a manual winding handle, and others have a combination that allow you to use either manual or mechanical means of retraction. Automatic winding mechanisms are usually housed in a box to protect the electrical components. Manual winding mechanisms are usually in the form of a crank handle.
Also known as: winding handle, manual winding handle, manual awning retraction, electrical retractable awning, electric awning mechanism
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