Awning Terms Glossary

Awning Terms Glossary

Learn the technical terminology that describes retractable patio and deck awnings. Understanding the components that comprise an awning can help you make a more informed buying decision.

Retractable awnings – Retractable awnings, also known as lateral arm awnings, extend and retract with arms and no support posts. Retractable awnings give the flexibility of extending or retracting the awning when needed. They also can cover large deck and patio areas. Available sizes range up to 60-feet wide and up to 18 feet in projection.
Fixed awnings or canopies – Awnings which require support posts. They do not retract or extend.

Arms – Arms positioned laterally that move in and out to retract or extend the awning.
Frame – The frame consists of the mounting bar, arms, and roller tube.
Shoulder – The shoulder is the part that connects the mounting bar to the arms. The shoulders need to be very strong.
Mounting bar – The mounting bar traverses across the back of the awning. The mounting bar attaches to the brackets that mount the awning to the building.
Roller tube – The roller tube holds the fabric.
Front bar – The front bar is the front edge of the awning. This is the leading edge of the fabric and is where the valance (ad drop screen) extend from.
Hood – The hood is a cover typically made from solid aluminum to protect the awning from the weather when retracted. It is mounted permanently on top of the awning. The hood is essential with a motorized awning because the motor will not be covered under warranty without one.
Valance – The valance is a decorative fabric that drops from the front bar to hide the arms underneath from plain view.
Drop screens – The drop screen is a material made of woven plastic to provide sun protection in the front. It drops from the front bar and is a worthwhile addition to an awning if available.
Wind Sensor or Motion Sensor – These sensors retract the awning to protect it from damaging winds. The sensor detects wind and triggers the awning to retract, but it will not work quickly enough to protect against a wind gust and is inoperable during a power outage. So care still needs to be taken to retract the awning when it is no longer being used or when weather becomes windy.
Powder Coating – A highly-durable coating to protect the awning frame and other components.
Sun Sensor – Extends the awning to provide shade when sun is detected.
RTS Motor – Radio Technology system is a motor that operates via a radio frequency remote control. This is better than an infrared remote since line of sight is not necessary.

Awning Fabrics
Canvas – A natural fiber that can fade and rot when exposed to the elements.
Vinyl/Plastic – Doesn’t breath like solution-dyed acrylics. They trap heat underneath the fabric.This material is better than canvas however.
Solution-dyed acrylic – Fade resistant and will not rot. Solution-dyed acrylics breath allowing heat to escape from under the awning creating the coolest shading environment. Sunbrella is the global leader in these outdoor awning fabrics.

Mount – The place at which the awning is mounted. Typically the wall, soffit, eve, or roof.
Projection – The projection is the maximum forward reach of the awning.
Load – The strength of the awning. High-end awnings can withstand winds up to 30 miles per hour.
Pooling – A build up of water that can pool on the top portion of the awning if there is not enough pitch.
Pitch – The downward angle of the awning which enables rain to run off and not pool and also provides more shade from the front part of the awning

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