Frequently Asked Questions

THESE ARE SOME OF THE MOST COMMON AWNING QUESTIONS RETAIL CUSTOMERS WILL ASK (FAQ'S).

What is a Retractable Lateral Arm Awning?

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A lateral arm retractable awning uses spring-loaded arms to provide tension to the fabric as it rolls from the drive tube. The springs push out the arms to keep the fabric tensioned while the awning is extended. The motor or gear retracts the unit by winding up the fabric on the roller tube. The arms fold as the fabric is rolled. The retractable awning is unique in that it may be extended as needed and only as far as needed offering unlimited utility. Retractable awnings are commonly used to shade outdoor areas like a deck or patio, and are operated with a manual crank or remote-controlled motor to extend or retract the awning.

Why Buy a Retractable Awning?

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Several reasons: first, they make a sunny deck or patio habitable and much more enjoyable on hot days. They block from 40% to 98% (depending on fabric) of the sun’s harmful UV rays, protecting people from sun damaged skin, reducing sun generated heat gain by 10 to 15 degrees, and reduce sun bleaching of rugs curtains and furniture near patio doors and windows. Retractable awnings add that final touch to other investments you make in outdoor living. Unlike a stationary awning, the benefit of a retractable awning is that on cloudy days and in winter time the awning stays retracted maximizing natural light through the windows. In addition, a retractable awning does not have to be removed and re-installed seasonably.

How do I order a Sunair Awning?

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Simply request an in home estimate from one of our dealers on our web site by clicking “Find a dealer”. Fill out the information request form and we will have the nearest dealer contact you.

Why are there no support poles on Retractable awnings?

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None are needed. The awning is especially designed to provide sun and light rain protection without poles. Besides, support poles block the view.

Are they wind sensitive?

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Sunair Awnings are engineered to tolerate light to moderate wind below 25 mph. They can also be equipped with an automatic wind sensor to retract at winds above those levels. However a wind control is not a replacement for common sense. If the wind makes you want to go in, so should your awning. On sunny, but windy days you can keep the awning partially extended and still keep your windows shaded.

Why a retractable awning instead of a fixed one?

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Retractable awnings allow you to open it when you need it and close it when you don't. On dreary days, you can get all the available light on your deck or patio and light inside the house.

How long does the fabric last?

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Our fabrics are 100% solution-dyed acrylic fabric. The fabric is warranted for 6 - 10 years by the manufacturers (See separate warranties from each manufacturer). The fabric will often last from 10-15 years. The thread is usually the weak link for the fabric. Sunair® uses only Tenara® thread by Gore Tex which is a Teflon. Unlike regular synthetic thread commonly used by others, our thread will not break down before the fabric.

What colors are available?

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Sunair has its own selection of over 100 solid and striped solution dyed acrylic fabric choices from Para, plus all the Sunbrella, Sattler, and Dickson patterns.

What sizes can a retractable be made in?

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Sunair retractable awnings can be up to 35 feet wide as a standard order with up to a 14 foot projection. Wider than 35 feet units can be manufactured, but must ship partially assembled because of shipping limitations. Our Pergola® Awnings line can project out over 20 feet.

What do they cost?

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We sell thousands of awnings annually. Prices can range from $2000 to $5,000 depending on model, size, and accessories. These quotes are for delivered and installed awnings.

Can I install it instead of using a dealer?

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You can…. It is false economy. A dealer installed awning is warranted, and supported after the sale. Installation requires drilling holes in your house or roof. Don’t you want an experienced person doing that? In our experience, you greatly benefit from having an experienced awning person visit your home, help select frame color, fabric selection and make accurate measurements for width, pitch and projection to make sure your awning will shade you like you want, and will fit and function properly.

How long should they last?

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With proper care, they can be expected to last a minimum of 10 years before service may be needed. The Sunair frame enjoys a 15 year limited warranty. We often recover a serviceable Sunair frame older than that.

How long does it take to get one after I place an order?

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Normally it takes about two – three weeks for a retractable. Special fabric and frame colors take a few days longer. White, Sand, and Mocha frame colors are the most common, and therefore typically experience the fastest delivery.

I have seen mesh fabric used in a valance. What’s the deal?

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Mesh fabric blocks the sun but allows you to see through it. You can have a longer valance for west and south west facing decks that give shade and view. Order either the “Valance-Plus”, which is a retractable valance extension, or you can order an additional Velcro valance that can be attached by hand when needed.

Can I get a small retractable for a window or door?

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Absolutely. Retractable window awnings and screens are available in all sizes

If I have a business, can I get lettering on the awning?

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Certainly. We can get that done for you or you can have a local sign shop do it.

Why pick Sunair over other manufacturers?

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First of all, we have been in the awning industry since the 1960’s. We are committed and will be around long enough to service any warranty 10 years from now. Others may not be. Secondly, we offer superior quality products with the industry’s widest range of frame and fabric choices at competitive prices.

What will a Retractable do for my air conditioning costs?

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It will definitely put shade on the deck, patio, windows, walls and /or sliding doors under it. This greatly reduces heat and solar heat gain particularly on Southern and Western exposed windows. Each installation varies, so it is tough to quote dollar savings, but you will notice that your AC unit cycles less frequently. Not only will you get utility savings but will add extra years of service to your air conditioning system. Please ask your sales person for a copy of the “Awning” energy savings study, completed by an independent laboratory that states that you can save up to 25% off your energy costs. Feel free to look at our “Benefits” page on our web site for more information.

How Do I Operate My Retractable Awning?

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One option is manually operated using a simple removable hand crank. The better approach is to include a motorized capability with a hand held remote which makes it easier to operate, and will increase your usage of the awning. You may specify your motor or gear either the Left or Right end of the awning. The motorization of your awning provides the additional option to include a Sun & Wind sensor that automatically operates your awning as you program it. A My-Link system is also available to control your awning with a smartphone.

How Do I Install My Retractable Awning?

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Typically, most are installed on a wall using brackets that are solidly attached to wall studs or headers, through your siding, wood paneling, or brick etc. In some cases it is recommended to add a header board. The suggested height above the ground should be between 8' and 11' high depending on the projection. We can install under soffits directly to roof trusses. This is especially popular where the overhang of the soffit is over 18" wide. Additionally, we offer an adjustable roof mount bracket for the situations where the necessary wall height is not available.

What is the Warranty on a Retractable Awning?

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The frame on the Sunair has a limited 15 year warranty. The fabric cover is warranted for 8 - 10 years. The motors and controls are warranted for 5 years (See separate manufacturer’s warranties for fabrics and motors).

How Do I Decide How Large the Awning should be?

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First, it is wise to overlap the width of the area requiring shade by 6" - 12" on each side, if the deck faces south. The reason for this is that the shade shifts on the deck during the day from left to right, and making the awning wider helps keep the deck shaded as much as possible as the sun shifts. Extending the projection beyond the deck is more important if the deck faces west. The extension or projection should be the area you want covered plus 12" - 18". Remember, the sun isn't always directly overhead. In addition, you don't have to extend the awning all the way at all times. The extra 18" is cheap assurance of the shade you need. So, the width may need to be 12" - 24" wider than you think it should be and the projection maybe needs to be 12" - 18" more than you think it should be.

Is the Width of the Awning its true width or is it different due to the hood, end caps, and motor?

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If you order a 17'-wide awning, the overall width of the awning frame including motor, and end caps is 17'. The actual fabric width (Fabric coverage) will be 5" less or 16' 7" wide. The hood will be about 1 inch larger at 17’1” to fit on the 17’ frame.

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

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The drop from the mounting point of the awning to the front bar when the awning is fully extended is easily adjusted by you. First determine how high you want the front bar to be off the ground when the awning is fully extended. Typically the front bar should be between 7’ or 8’ off the deck when the awning is extended. The valance then hangs another 8” below the front bar. We recommend that for every foot of projection out from your house you go, you measure up 2 to 3 inches from the desired front bar height when the awning is extended. This is the point where the awning should be mounted on the wall. 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 adjustment of our awning can be up to 45 degrees. Most typically for example, an awning with a 10' extension or projection would have a recommended 30" drop. This means, if you mount the awning 10' high, the front bar will be 7'6" high when the awning is fully extended. Let’s 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. However, the closer to 3 inch drop (pitch) you have, the better the awning will function. The awning will then have a better chance of shedding light rain, and be more stable in the wind. However, the very largest projection awnings don’t shed water very well at all as the fabric is not as tensioned at its full projection as a smaller awning. Remember that the larger the awning is it is also more sensitive to wind gusts. Best to only buy as much projection on your awning as you absolutely need.

Do I Need a Protective Hood?

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If your installation is under an eve or soffit, no. If the awning fabric will be exposed to sunlight and weather, it is a worthwhile purchase. A hood protects the awning and motor from water and dirt when not in use. It is like a garage for your car. Without a hood, dirt will lay on the top exposed part of the fabric on the roller tube, and will ruin the fabric over time.

What other optional systems are available from Sunair?

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If you want you can order the Suntube® model which has a built in hood and the fabric is stored and protected by the tube when retracted. Not only is this a great option, it is a more attractive looking awning as well. We also have more economical options like the Sunstar® and Sunchoice® models.

What maintenance is required?

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These awnings are virtually maintenance free. For inland areas simply wash the frame and fabric once per year with mild soap and water, NOT Detergent. In salt water areas we suggest rinsing the frame and cover monthly. Use Ivory snow or Woo lite instead of detergent. We also recommend spraying all movable parts with a silicone, to protect against corrosion (See Sunair warranty) and also the cleaning and care instructions from the fabric manufacturer of your fabric.

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

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Remember the fabric has a coating on it. You can clean lightly soiled fabric with a solution of soap flakes and water. Severely soiled or stained fabric can be professionally cleaned to look like new. Use a long scrub brush on the exposed part of the fabric under the awning. The exposed visual part of the fabric you see, is actually the top of the fabric which gets the most dirt. Clean an area, and then extend the awning a few inches, and repeat until the entire fabric is clean. After cleaning, let the fabric thoroughly dry before retracting the awning.

Can these be used in the rain?

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Water won’t hurt it but water weight will. 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 the water is not allowed to accumulate. However, it should never be left in the rain unattended, as heavy rain could cause water to pool on the fabric and possibly stretch the frame and damage the fabric and frame. Once the fabric is stretched, it will never be the same. Remember, larger projection awnings do not shed water as well as smaller awnings do.

Will the awning stress my wall?

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When extended, the awning does exert a significant force at the point at which it is mounted to the wall. The load is generally spread between a numbers of installation brackets mounted about every 4 ft. These awnings can be installed on typical 2"x4" stud construction walls without any adverse effects. Even under excessive force, the mount will generally release before any structural problem could occur. However, make sure that your wall is a supported wall and the awning is properly fastened with the correct type and size of bolts.

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

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If you have low head room or a restricted mounting area where you would like the awning, we have specially designed roof brackets allowing the entire unit to be safely mounted on the roof. The roof is actually the best spot to install the awning, as long as the brackets are properly caulked against leaking. The roof beams are heavier than a typical wall stud, and the awning is mounted higher up in the air, which gives a better pitch and slope. In addition, the mounting surface is harder with less flexing of the brackets than a typical wall installation with siding and insulation.

Why would I want a motor for my retractable awning?

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A motor makes operation both easier and more convenient. It sure is nice to simply push a button to roll your awning in or out, plus you can add an automatic Wind and Sun sensor or a remote control. It is proven that the customer will use the awning more if it is motorized rather than manual.

Can I add a motor to my awning later?

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Yes, you can always add a motor later at a slightly higher cost due to the extra labor involved. Adding a motor can usually be done on the job site without removing the awning, as long as the motor is not in a corner of the wall.

Do I need an electrician if I want a motor?

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If you order an RTS series motor, then NO you can just plug it in to a wall outlet with the supplied molded cord and plug. You may still want to have an electrician wire the motor. If so, simply cut off the molded plug and have an electrician hardwire the motor.

Will the installation permanently deface my siding?

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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.

How Long Does it Take to Receive My Awning?

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Two to three weeks from the date Sunair receives the order. Less if you order PARA fabric

Customers Say

Just wanted to let you know we are happy with the reinstallation of our awning. The installers were great answered our questions are did a...

– Mike O’Neil

During this winter, on sunny days we raised our sunair windowscreens, allowing sunlight to warm and brighten our rooms. Sure beats window tint!

– Mike H

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