MAINTAINING AND CLEANING YOUR AWNINGS
Keep your awnings & canvas beautiful! Awnings, including retractable awnings, are designed to be long-lasting. The hardware and frames are very durable and are designed to operate smoothly for decades. In like manner, the fabric usually lasts 10 to 12 years, possibly even longer, with just a bit of care. Below are some basic maintenance instructions for both motorized and manual crank-based patio and awning covers that can extend the life of your awnings considerably.
BASIC AWNING CARE INSTRUCTIONS
In South Florida, exposure to the elements has consequences that can limit the use of retractable awnings. However, being aware of extreme weather, along with appropriate care, even with South Florida’s at times brutal weather, awnings can last for a very long time. Please note that specifically regarding retractable awnings, they should be used only be used as a sunshade. Retractable awnings will not protect homes or homeowners against wind, lightening, rain or hail. Awnings should always be completely retracted when inclement weather is looming. Here’s why:
- Puddles of water that accumulatecan stretch the fabric. If rainy weather cannot be avoided, the pitch must be steep enough for the water to run off.
- Damage to the fabric or retractable arms can be caused by winds above 20 mph.
- Motor damage caused by retracting a wet awning after the fabric has frozen.
- Mildew that forms after retracting a wet and dirty awning.
- Awnings with a manual crank should be turned lightly. The turn should not be forced. You will want to turn the crank handle in one direction to extend awnings, then turn the handle in the opposite direction to retract. The handle should always be held at the same angle as the eyelet while turning in either direction. Note: The lateral arms will hold the fabric taut when fully extended. However, the fabric may sag. If that happens, roll the awning back until the fabric becomes taut.
- Awnings should be retracted in wind that exceed 20 mph. You will want to remove all twigs, leaves and other debris prior to rolling up the awning. The fabric should always roll off the top of the roller tube and never roll from underneath.
- Awning fabrics are water resistant. However, water may seep through the seams. You will want to give wet fabric enough time to dry out before any attempts to roll it up. If that isn’t possible for whatever reason, extend it again after the source of the water is stopped. This will allow the fabric to dry properly and thereby prevent mildew.
TROUBLESHOOTING MOTORIZED AWNINGS
Remote controlled motorized awnings are the easiest awnings to use. If, after some period time, the motor stops working, the issue is usually electrical. What to do if that occurs:
- Replace the small battery in the remote (hand-held or in-wall).
- Check the breakers in the breaker box to make sure they are switched on.
- Look to see if any GFCI or AFCI outlet has been triggered. These outlets have "Test" and "Reset" buttons. Often, just pushing the “Reset” button will work. If power is not restored, call C and C Canvas & Awnings to schedule a professional service appointment.
Lubrication of the hardware may be another issue that could require attention. Although it is not absolutely necessary, the awning hardware (aka the moving parts) may be lubricated yearly. A dry silicone spray lubricant is best to maintain optimal, quiet operation. If unusual creaking noises occur when operating, check the end of the roller tube on the side opposite the motor or gear. Applying a bit of lubricant on the axle/bushing usually eliminates the unwanted noises. Avoid spraying any lubricant on the fabric.
It is a generally a good idea to hose off the awning framework. If you are in a location where salt air is a factor, more frequent hosing is highly recommended. It is important to avoid wetting the motor area. All fasteners should be checked once a year. They should always be tight, never loose.
The best way to keep the awning fabric looking terrific, as well as to prevent dirt from getting embedded in the fabric, is to hose it down monthly with cold water (more frequently in salt air environments). A deeper cleaning is recommended every two or three years depending on weather and environment.
GENERAL CLEANING ONCE PER MONTH
- Brush off all loose dirt with a broom, including the underside.
- Hose down.
- Air-dry fully before retracting.
- Trim shrubbery and vines away from the awning because they often contain acid that can be damaging to fabrics.
For more information call C & C Canvas and Awnings at 772-221-8847 in Stuart. Whether you live in Stuart, Palm City, Sewalls Point, Golden Gate, Jensen Beach, Port Salerno, Port St. Lucie, Hobe Sound, Jupiter, Tequesta, Palm Beach Gardens, or North Palm Beach FL, we are available to discuss all your shading options today.