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Retractable Awning FAQ

What is a retractable awning?

A lateral or telescopic arm retractable awning uses spring or gas powered arms to provide tension to the fabric as it rolls from the drive tube. The retractable awning is unique in that it may be extended as needed and only as far as needed offering tremendous utility.

Why buy a retractable awning?

A retractable awning offers the ultimate in versatility. About 40 percent of the unwanted heat that builds up in your house comes in through windows. Although both exterior and interior shades can control this heat gain to a limited degree exterior mounted awnings provide a shade cushion that prevents heat build up through windows and doors and even on walls. Your retractable awning is far more effective, since it blocks sunlight before it enters the windows and doors preventing any heat build up. You can adjust the tilt of the awning up to 60 degrees from the straight out position. You can extend the awning as little or as much as you like. Your awning can be fully retracted eliminating the worry of weather damage while you are away.

Will I realize any savings on my air conditioning?

A properly installed retractable awning can significantly reduce heat gain in your home - up to 65 percent on southern windows and as much as 77 percent on eastern and western windows. We have awnings on our home now because it was impossible for our air conditioner to keep up with cooling the westerly rooms. We now have cool rooms and a happy AC unit since my awning was installed, not to mention eliminating the fading issue with the furniture and paintings.

How do I operate my retractable awning?

The most popular system is a manual operator using a simple removable hand brace. This system may be installed inside the home if needed or outside either end of the awning. The installation of a tubular motor provides the maximum utility for a retractable awning. The motorization of your awning provides the additional option of a sun and wind sensor that automatically operates your awning as you program it. Imagine the awning senses the sun and out it goes to provide the shade you desire. The sun goes down and your awning automatically retracts safely waiting for the next time the sun comes out.

Can I install it myself?

If you have basic carpentry skills and some knowledge of home construction, you can install these yourself. However, if you prefer not to manage the awning installation yourself, simply find a local handyman, carpenter or awning installer. We'll be more than happy to answer all of his and your questions. Click here for average installation fees.

How do I install my retractable awning?

Typically, most are installed on a wall using brackets that are solidly attached to wall studs or concrete beams. The suggested height above the ground should be between 8' and 12' high We install under soffits directly to roof trusses. This is especially popular where the overhang of the soffit is over 18" wide. We install on the fascia area at the end of the roof. This installation is utilized when the minimum 8' vertical clearance is not available using a wall mount. Additionally, we offer a roof mount bracket for the unusual situation where the necessary height is not available.

What fabric is used on the awning?

Legends Standard Awning Fabric 

On Legends Custom Awnings, we offer The Sattler “ELEMENTS” and "Sunbrella", fabrics as standard. The “ELEMENTS” is our recommendation as the color choices are brighter with more pattern choices. Both companies products are a solution dyed acrylic product. “ELEMENTS” has a TEXGARD coating that resists dirt and makes for easier cleaning.

How long will the fabric last?

Our high quality Sattler and Sunbrella awning fabrics will last up to 20 years with normal use. My awning fabric is 14 years old and looks like new.

How do I decide how large the awning should be?

First, it is wise to overlap the width of the area requiring shade by 12” or more if you have the room. This will limit the side loss of shade. The extension dimension should be the area you want covered plus 12" - 18". Remember, the sun isn't always directly overhead. Also, you don't have to extend the awning all the way. The extra 18" is cheap assurance of the shade you want. So, the width is 12" - 24" wider than you think it should be and the extension is 12" - 18" more than you think it should be.

Is the width of the awning its true width or is it larger due to the hood, end caps, and motor?

If you order a 16'-wide awning, the overall width including motor, hood and end caps is 16'. The actual fabric width will be 3" less or 15' 9" wide.

When an awning is fully extended, what is the height of the awning's front bar in relation to the mount point height?

The drop from the mount point of the awning to the front bar when the awning is fully extended is easily adjusted by you. We have a recommended pitch chart shown below. This chart provide an ideal for maximum strength. We understand that the ideal may not be possible or even desirable in many installations. This is why we have a very adjustable awning system.

The drop adjustment of our retractable awnings is as much as 60 degrees. For example, an awning with a 10' extension would have a recommended 30" drop based on the pitch chart. This means, if you mount the awning 10' high, the front bar will be 7'6" high when the awning is fully extended. Lets say you mount your awning 9' high and you want the front bar 7' high when the awning is fully extended. The drop would be 24". You could also adjust the awning to have a 5' drop or no drop at all. The adjustment is up to you. The chart is only a recommendation.

What maintenance is required?

The beauty of these awnings is the fact they are virtually maintenance free. In inland areas simply wash the frame and fabric once per year with mild soap and water. In saltwater areas we suggest rinsing the frame and cover monthly with fresh water.

How do I clean the fabric if it gets soiled or stained?

You can clean lightly soiled fabric with a solution of soap flakes and water. Cleaning instructions are provided by each fabric manufacturer.

How much wind and rain can the retractable awning withstand?

Retractable awnings are for protection from the sun and engineered for winds 15 to 40 M.P.H. (depending on the size of the awning). I generally recommend the awning be retracted if you would be uncomfortable sitting under it in windy conditions. In other words, if it is too windy for you to comfortably sit under the awning, then it is uncomfortable for the awning as well, and it should be retracted. Wind Loads Chart

Light rain will not be much of a problem if the pitch is adequate for water run off. However, the awning is a sunshade and should not be expected to protect from heavy rain or snow. I suggest you consider a motorization option with a sun and wind sensor to automatically extend and retract the awning as needed.

Can deck awnings be used in the rain?

If the awning is installed with the minimum recommended angle of pitch, it is safe to use in light to moderate rain as long as water does not cause puddles of water on the awning cover. If you see water beginning to puddle on the cover immediately retract the awning allowing any water on the cover to safely run off. A retractable deck awning should never be left extended in the rain unattended, as heavy rain could cause water to pool on the fabric and possibly damage the frame and the fabric.

Will the remote from the sun and wind package operate the awning from inside the room the awning is covering?

Yes, the remote is a radio control and should communicate with your awning from up to 60’ away.

Will the patio awning stress my wall?

When extended, the awning does exert a significant force at the point at which it is mounted to the wall. Buildings built to a current construction code should not have stress problems. However, wood frame construction will require you mount to the actual frame members inside the wall.

Can I still have an awning if I have a very low clearance above my door?

If you have low head room or a restricted mounting area where you would like the patio awning, we have specially designed roof brackets allowing the entire unit to be safely mounted on the roof.

Will the installation permanently deface my siding?

There will be some holes from the bolts used to secure the mounting brackets, but there should not be any substantial modification needed on a common type home wall.