Frequently Asked Questions

Thank you for visiting BH Awning! Below are some frequently asked questions. However, if you have a question that isn’t included, please contact us.

How do I get an estimate and buy an awning?

Just complete the Request a Free Quote form or call us at 1-800-272-2187 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced and knowledgeable professionals. It’s free, fast and is worth your time. Someone from our team will give you a no-obligation estimate and will work with you to decide what solution best meets your needs. Your order is custom made and it will be done right – the first time. The last part of this process is the installation. Our scheduling department will call you directly to schedule a convenient day and time to install your sun control product.

How long does it take to build once I place an order?

As with any custom manufactured product, there is a short lead time for quality work to be accomplished. For canvas awnings, this can mean as little as three weeks but can vary depending on the time of the year (summer is typically our busiest season). All our products are custom built in our own factory. Some involve longer manufacturing processes, and your representative will be able to provide a more detailed timeline for your specific order.

What if I need a repair to my awning or screen?

Call us! Our company was built on a service mindset. BH Awning’s expert technicians will come to your home to analyze and correct the problem.

I’ve had my existing awning for years. The fabric is now old and becoming discolored. Can I recover the awning?

Yes. We specialize in recovering stationary awnings, retractable awnings or drop shades, even if they were originally manufactured by others. Awning product fabrics usually need to be recovered at some point. We are happy to help when that time comes.

What are Fixed Awnings and what are Stationary Awnings?

The terms “Fixed Awnings” and “Stationary Awnings” are interchangeable, consisting of a welded metal skeleton frame to which an awning fabric is attached. They come in all shapes and sizes and are custom made to order. The basic rule of thumb when designing a Fixed Awning is that “if you can draw it, you can build it”. Typically, Fixed Awnings are for smaller areas such as windows, doors, alcoves, entryways and walkways. Canopy Awnings are a form of Fixed Awnings that cover larger surfaces and require posts and/or structural supports.

When someone refers to a canvas awning, is the fabric actually made of canvas?

Not anymore. For over 25 years the awning fabrics have been made of woven acrylic. With acrylic, the thread is solution dyed before it is woven, which ensures long lasting color. Acrylic looks and feels like canvas but is more resistant to the elements. Canvas was fabricated from cotton and the color was applied much like spray painting. Cotton absorbs moisture; acrylic is water repellant. Cotton fabrics flake and peel over time, acrylic does not. Today’s woven acrylic awning fabrics are more durable, colorfast and generally far superior to the old canvas materials.

Is there much difference between the various types of awning fabrics?

Yes, different fibers, weaves and coatings each have very specific advantages and different applications. Some fabrics are breathable, some are not. Some are water repellant but not waterproof. Acrylic fabrics have a rich cloth appearance and are much more colorfast and fade resistant. Vinyl coated fabrics, mostly used on commercial projects, are the most water repellent. Mesh fabrics allow better ventilation and outward visibility. BH Awning can help you make the best selection.

Is there much difference between the various types of awning Is Sunbrella acrylic fabric really the best one to use for my awning?

Most awning companies use Sunbrella’s acrylic awning fabric made by Glen Raven Mills. Glen Raven is the largest fabric mill in the United States and has been weaving this magic for more than 100 years. Sunbrella awning fabric is the most reliable, durable, colorfast and time-tested woven acrylic fabric in the world today. The importance of using Sunbrella is sometimes overlooked when the awning is first purchased because many homeowners are not aware of the pitfalls of lesser quality imported fabrics. Offshore companies entering the market have attempted to duplicate the quality of the Sunbrella product, but we believe that a lack of experience and know-how has resulted in awning fabrics that don’t measure up.

How does Sunbrella lock in color?

Sunbrella fabrics are made from 100% solution-dyed acrylic yarns. Solution-dying is the process of adding color to acrylic thread during manufacturing while they are in a liquid state. This characteristic of Sunbrella fabrics is the key to locking in color, easy cleaning and long life.

What colors are available?

Today’s fabrics come in more than 500 solid and striped colors! Remember 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.

Where can I view the Sunbrella awning fabric colors?

Fabric information can be found under Technical Information. To view the Sunbrella fabric color options, please contact us.

Does the fabric color I choose affect how hot or how shaded it is under my awning?

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 color underneath, which gives a more pleasing shading effect. As for the temperature, color choice has minimal impact, but the type of fabric chosen, and the overall ventilation of the installation will have a bigger impact. Since awnings cover windows and patio decks outside, there is minimal heat buildup and usually this heat dissipates with movement of air.

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 are not severe. In other words, if the weather is nice enough for you to be outside, then it is good enough for you to be underneath your awning.

How long does the awning and fabric last?

Today’s acrylic woven fabrics are designed to provide you with years of protection from rot, mildew and excessive fading. Most suppliers warrant fabric covers for five to 10 years. Life expectancy of the covers, with proper maintenance and when cleaning and care instructions are followed, is typically eight to 12 years. The metal frames will last a lifetime.

How do I keep my awning clean?

Regular maintenance generally means annual cleaning, with additional care if stains or soilage appears. Also, remember that your awning is an exterior product. In the same way you wouldn’t leave your car outside without washing it for very long, you’ll also need to clean your canvas awning to preserve and extend its good looks and service life. Our cleaning instructions can be found under Technical Information.

Can I hose down Sunbrella fabric?

One of the best ways to keep Sunbrella fabrics looking good and delay the need for deep or vigorous cleaning is to hose fabrics off monthly with clean water. This practice will help prevent dirt from becoming deeply imbedded in the fabric. Acrylic is a man-made fabric and does not promote mildew. However, mildew can form on the dirt that is in the pores, or on the body, of the fabric so the best practice is to rinse this dirt off the fabric on a regular basis. Regular care will extend the life of your fabric. For further information see the Technical Information section.

In your cleaning instructions, you use the term “Mild” or “Natural Soap.” What is “Mild” or “Natural” soap?

By “Natural Soap” we mean Ivory Snow, Deft or Woolite. These gentle soaps rinse out easily and will not diminish the water-repellent finish applied to the fabric.

Do Sunbrella fabrics provide UV protection?

Sunbrella fabrics have been tested and proven to provide up to 98% UV protection from the harmful effects of the sun. This protective factor is inherent to the product and will not be reduced by usage and/or fabric exposure to the sun.

Why do you offer an 80% and a 90% shade material for Sun Screens?

An 80% screen fabric provides a 20% openness factor that allows greater light and air to penetrate the screen with greater visibility than the 90% screen. With a 10% openness factor, the 90% material allows you to maintain good visibility while maximizing sun protection. Therefore, the denser of these two materials is by far our most popular screen material we offer.

Will I see out of my Sun Screen during the day?

Yes, but the level of visibility largely depends on the color of the sun screen material you chose. Lighter colors cause reflection from the sun and diminish the degree of visibility. Darker colored fabrics will allow a better view of the outdoor.

Will a Sun Screen provide indoor privacy?

During daylight hours a sun screen offers a reasonable level of privacy. However during the evening hours, the screen offers very little privacy protection. Keep in mind that from the outside looking in, people can see better through a dark fabric than through a light fabric. For complete privacy we recommend the use of an opaque fabric such as Sunbrella.

What are the support frames made from? How durable are they?

Metal support frames are made from either galvanized steel or aluminum and will last a lifetime! Regular maintenance on a frame requires an annual inspection of fasteners, connections and metal condition. Frames are also available with a painted finish for additional protection and attractiveness.

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.

If there are no poles on my retractable awning, what supports the unit?

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.

Can I use my retractable Awnings in the wind?

Wind is unpredictable and is a variable force since it can change velocity and direction very quickly. Retractable Awnings therefore require additional homeowner attention during windy conditions. In wind-tunnel tests, retractable awnings can sustain straight-on wind forces of over 50 mph. However, winds can come from many directions and the effect on an awning is quite different under varying circumstances. The most potentially problematic condition is a sudden upward gust, and this is particularly unpredictable. For customers who live in areas where wind is known to be erratic, we strongly recommend the use of our optional Wind Sensor by SOMFY.

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.

Are there any other weather conditions I should be concerned about?

Retractable awnings are predominately designed for sun protection. In some cases, it becomes safe to deploy an awning in light rain conditions. The key is to maintain a minimum proper slope or pitch that will allow water to run off the retractable awning without pooling on the fabric cover. The decision to extend or retract an awning in the rain is a question of responsible judgment and homeowners’ discretion. Warranty does not cover this type of damage as BH Awning has no way to determine if it was preventable.

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. Some owners use their retractable awnings all year long!

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 with the wall-mounted switch. Research has shown that a motorized awning is used four times as much as a manual unit. Don’t believe it? Consider how few times you would change the TV channel if you didn’t have a remote control.

What type of awning or screen motor does BH Awning use?

BH Awning only uses Somfy motors and electronics. Somfy offers the only United Laboratories tested and approved awning motors in the United States. Somfy is the world’s leading manufacturer of specialized motors and control systems for retractable awnings, rolling shutters, interior shades, blinds, projection screens and other lift-up applications for the home. All products are tested for compliance with specific electricity standards for buildings as well as performance standards defined by Somfy. For more than three decades, engineers at Somfy have been designing quality, high-performance products that provide you with the best possible solution for comfort, convenience, shade and extra living space. Products that put a home in motion at the touch of a button or automatically also make life easier and more enjoyable.

Can I operate my shade product with a remote control?

Yes. We offer remote upgrades at the time of the original estimate as well as after your awning or shade has been installed. We can retrofit your existing awning with a remote, a remote with a timer or a remote with a wind sensor. We can fulfill your electronic needs with our full product line of Somfy motors and electronics. Somfy electronics are warranted for five years from the date of purchase.

How will my retractable awning mount to my facility?

BH Awning installers locate the structural framework and predrill 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, predrilling to avoid cracking and silicone-caulking the hardware and brackets to prevent leaks.

When would I need a protective hood?

Protective hoods, available at an additional cost, have been designed to provide 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.

I purchased a pre-manufactured retractable awning online. Will BH Awning install it for me?

No. Due to potential warranty confusion as to product and installation matters, BH Awning only installs the products that we manufactured.

Some pre-manufactured retractable awnings use laminated plastic fabric. Is this ok?

Pre-manufactured budget retractable awning fabrics are usually made with RV fabrics that cost substantially less and are less durable than the woven acrylic awning fabric utilized by custom awning manufacturers, like BH Awning. The problem with the RV fabrics is that they mildew, rot, peel and stretch and the warranty on these is often limited and/or pro-rated.

How much will an awning or patio canopy cost?

It easy, just complete the Request a Free Quote form or call us at 1-800-272-2187 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced and knowledgeable professionals. Our consultants will give you a free no-obligation estimate and will work with you to decide on a solution that best meets your needs.

What do you mean when you say custom sewing?

Just that! There are many companies that have a need for sewn fabric products but do not have the expertise nor the equipment to produce a finished sewn product. For example, BBQ grill covers. The grill company can cut, weld, grind, paint and deliver a terrific BBQ grill, but the clients want a fabric cover to fit that grill. That’s where BH Awning comes into the picture. We will help design and manufacture the cover and the BBQ grill manufacturer now has a complete product that includes a custom cover.

How can I find out if my product or idea can be made?

That’s simple, just send a drawing or sketch to us (sales@bhawning.com or fax 888-272-2197) and one of our design coordinators will contact you and help you pull the concept together and provide a quote.

What are Industrial Products?

Like with custom sewing, we provide products that are generally used in industries and are produced by many companies. The company buying a product, like flat tarps, needs another source because the current vendor cannot fill their requirements. BH Awning can serve as a backup supplier of that product.

Does BH Awning produce products for National Accounts?

The answer is a resounding yes! We provide awnings, backlit awnings and sewn products across the entire Midwest. We welcome inquiries of all types, just contact us.

What should I look for in an awning professional?

You should seek out a certified Master Fabric Craftsman, the highest level of certification offered by the Industrial Fabrics Association International. Beyond that, make sure that the company you select is an active member of the Professional Awning Manufacturers Association. Lastly, ask for references of other similar work provided by the company you are considering, along with a portfolio of work they have done. Of course, if the company has a showroom, pay a visit!

BH Awning can provide a cost-effective solution to any business. Just complete the Request a Free Quote form or call us at 1-800-272-2187 for a FREE estimate.

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Our team’s knowledge and expertise allow you to get the very best in design, creation and installation. Let us take on the heavy load — contact us today for your free quote!

“We needed tough, we needed fast, and we needed it right the first time. BH came through for us.”