Frequently Asked Questions

How do I go from viewing the web page to getting an estimate and buying an awning?
Just complete the GET A QUOTE section of this web page or call us at 1-800-272-2187 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced and knowledgeable professional consultants. Its free, it’s fast and it is worth the time. Our consultant will give you a free no-obligation estimate and will work with you to decide on a sun control solution that best meets your needs. We can suggest a wide range of colors, sizes and styles, whether you’re looking for a fixed awning, a retractable awning or one of our energy saving sun screens. Your order is custom made and it will be right – the 1st time. The last part of this process is the actual installation. Our scheduling department will telephone 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. Of course, this varies depending on the time of the year (summer typically is the busiest part of the year). All of our products are custom built in our own factory. Some however involve longer manufacturing processes. Retractable awnings and sun screens are also custom built to your color and size requirements but can be manufactured quickly from existing raw materials, leaving turnaround time more a question of seasonal workloads

What if I need something repaired on my awning or screen?
Call our office. The company was built on a service mindset. We have a full time Service Department dedicated to ensure that our customers benefit from continuous trouble-free satisfaction and enjoyment for years to come. B.H. Awning & Tent Service Technicians will come to your home to analyze and correct the problem. We do not use independent contractors or free-lance labor to manufacture, install or service your awning or screen products. All of our Service Technicians are factory trained and only use original factory parts where replacement is required.

I’ve had my existing awning for years. The fabric is now old and becoming discolored. Can I recover the awning?
Yes. In most cases awning fabrics can be installed on existing awning frames. We will be glad to give you an exact written estimate to recover the awning or drop shade fabrics. 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 and we will be happy to be your awning company of choice when that time comes.

What are Fixed Awnings & what are Stationary Awnings?
The terms “Fixed Awnings” and “Stationary Awnings” are interchangeable, consisting of a welded metal skeleton frame to which a awning fabric is attached. They come in all shapes and sizes, all being custom made to order. The basic rule of thumb when designing a Fixed Awning is that “if you can draw it, it can be built”. Typically Fixed Awnings are for smaller areas such as windows, doors, alcoves, entry ways & walk ways. 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 out 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 ensuring 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 would absorb moisture, acrylic is water repellant. Cotton fabric’s used to 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 have very specific advantages and different applications. Some fabrics are breathable, some are not. Some are water repellant but not water proof. 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. B.H. Awning & Tent can help you make the best selection. B.H. Awning & Tent only offers the best fabrics for awning project. The cost between the best quality and the lower grade fabric is not in the clients’ best interest for B.H. Awning & Tent to offer the lower grade.

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 over 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 recently 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, and, having no track record, are suspect as to durability.

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, too, 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?
Right here on B.H. Awning & Tent’s website. You can also arrange with us to view the Sunbrella fabric book in person.

Does the fabric color I choose affect how hot it is under my awning? Or, for that matter, how dark it will be shaded underneath?
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-colored underneath side than the top-side color, which gives a more pleasing shading effect. As for the temperature, while color choice has some slight impact, the type of fabric chosen and the overall ventilation of the installation will have a greater effect. Since awning are covering windows and patio decks and the awning are outside there is minimal heat build-up and usually this the 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 aren’t severe. In other words, if the weather is nice enough for you to be outside, then it is good enough for you to be out 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 these fabric “covers” for a period of five to ten years. Life expectancy of the covers, with proper maintenance and when cleaning and care instructions are followed, is typically 8 to 12 years. The metal frames will last a lifetime.

How do I keep my awning clean?
Regular maintenance generally means a once-a-year 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 automobile 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.

Can I hose down Sunbrella fabric?
One of the best ways to keep Sunbrella fabrics looking good and to delay the need for deep or vigorous cleaning is to hose fabrics off on a monthly basis with clear 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 “FABRIC CARE AND CLEANING” section of our Website.

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 Sunbrellaï 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. This is why 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 the daylight hours a sun screen does offer a reasonable level of privacy. However during the evening hours the screen offers very little privacy protection. Keep in mind however 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 inspections 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.

What about using 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 very 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 m.p.h. 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.

Can I use my retractable awning in the rain?
Retractable awnings are predominately designed for sun protection. In some cases, it becomes safe to deploy an awning in light rain conditions. Retractable awnings have been used in light rain all over the world for over 100 years. 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, on any given day, is a question of responsible judgment and homeowners’ discretion. Warranty does not cover this type of damage as B.H. Awning & Tent has no way to determine if it was preventable.

Are there any other weather conditions I should be concerned about?
Retractable awnings primarily are designed to provide protection from the sun’s rays and not from rain. However, it can be used in drizzle or misting rains with proper unit pitch. In heavy or driving rains, the unit must be retracted to keep water from “pooling” on the fabric and causing damage or irreversible fabric stretching.

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. And 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 B.H. Awning & Tent use?
B.H. Awning & Tent 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, shading and extra living space. Products that put a home in motion at the touch of a button or automatically. Products that 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 long after your awning or shade has been installed. We can retro-fit 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 5-years from the date of purchase.

How will my retractable awning mount to my facility?
B.H. Awning & tent 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 hood, available at an additional cost, have been designed to provide adequate 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.

What does an average-sized retractable awning cost?
Because most retractable awnings are customized for each residence, prices cannot be given without verified measurements and on-site inspection.

I purchased a pre-manufactured retractable awning on-line. Will B.H. Awning & Tent install it for me?
No. Due to potential warranty confusion as to product and installation matters, B.H. Awning & Tent only installs the products that were manufactured by us.

Some pre-manufactured retractable awnings use laminated plastic fabric. Is this OK?
Pre-manufactured budget-type retractable awning fabrics usually are made with RV fabrics that cost substantially less and are less durable than the woven acrylic awning fabric utilized by custom awning manufacturers, like B.H. Awning & Tent. 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 do I know how much an awning or patio canopy will cost?
It easy, just complete the GET A QUOTE section of this web page or just call us at 1-800-272-2187 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced and knowledgeable professional consultants. Its free, it’s fast and it is worth the time. Our consultant will give you a free no-obligation estimate and will work with you to decide on a sun control 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. Example, BBQ grill covers, the 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 B.H. Awning & Tent comes in to the picture. We will help design and manufacture the cover and the BBQ grill manufacturer now has a complete product that includes a perfect fitting cover.

How can I find out if my product or idea can be made?
That simple, just fax (888-272-2197) or send a drawing or sketch to us ( and one of our design coordinators will contact you and help you pull the concept or product together along with costing.

What are Industrial Products?
It is also most the same as custom sewing, however, the big difference is it a product that is generally used in Industries and is being produced by many companies. The company buying the product like flat tarps needs another source because the current vendor cannot fill their requirements. Thus, they look for another company like B.H. Awning & Tent as a backup supplier of that product.

Does B.H. Awning & Tent produce products for National Accounts?
The answer is a resounding “YES” we provide awnings, backlit awnings, sewn products across the entire mid-west. 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 (IFAI) (IFAI is the worldwide trade association for the industrial-fabrics industry.) Beyond that, make sure that the firm you select is an active member of the Professional Awning Manufacturers Association. Lastly, ask for references of other similar work provided by the firm you are considering, along with a photographic portfolio of work the firm has done. Of course, if the firm has a showroom, pay a visit!

B.H. Awning & Tent can provide a cost-effective solution to any business. Just complete the GET A QUOTE section of this web page or call us at 1-800-272-2187 for a FREE estimate.