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How Long Does Awning Fabric Last?

How Long Does Awning Fabric Last?

There is nothing more comforting than relaxing on your patio in the early morning or chilling with family and friends in the evening. However, when summer approaches, the scorching heat from the sun is the last thing you want to face while resting outside.

Awnings provide shade and privacy in yards, on decks, and on porches

Thankfully, we can use an awning to protect us from the harmful and intense sun rays and let us enjoy the outside view with comfort. The awning is made up of fabrics that can protect us from the sunlight and can endure changing weather. With time, the fabric and the frame of the awning will gradually deteriorate and will be no longer usable unless repaired or changed.

The lifespan of an awning depends on the fabric and frame material used. The general lifespan of an awning is between 5 and 15 years which depends on the type and quality of material used.

How long do Retractable Awnings last?

There are two types of Awnings used- Fixed and Retractable. As the name suggests, the Fixed Awning is permanent and non-movable. Thus, not only the cost of moving parts is reduced but due to the absence of mechanical parts, the lifespan is also better.

The problem with this type of awning is that it can take serious damage in harsh weather. Awnings cannot tolerate storms or heavy rains and tend to damage if left open in such weather. So, a lot of people prefer Retractable Awnings. As it uses moving parts, the awnings can be tucked back. Retractable Awnings can be manual, motorized, or remote-controlled which can be helpful in protecting the awnings in a storm or heavy rain.  

This means the use of different types of parts and frames. While Retractable Awnings that use motors need more maintenance, their frames require somehow less maintenance than the fixed ones as they use good quality aluminum pipes and aren’t exposed to the harsh weather all the time. Generally, the frame can last up to a lifetime and it all comes down to the type of fabric you are going to use.

Can awnings be re-covered?

Awning fabrics are detachable from both fixed and retractable awning frames. That means, you can not only clean your fabric but also change it. It’s best to take care of the fabric to prevent the build-up of debris and mold to achieve a long lifespan but in case you are already at the end term of your fabric, it’s time to change it for better performance.

Hire an Awning Technician to install or repair your awning

In case your awning fabric hasn’t worn out too much to be replaced, you can clean it by yourself or even hire an expert awning company. The cleaning process requires 3-4 steps to make it as new as it was before. Before you proceed to use a cleaning solution, make sure you sweep away all the dirt, leaves, and debris. After that, you can clean the rough dirt with the help of a hose with plain water.

To remove the stubborn dirt, you will need a cleaning solution. It’s recommended that you avoid any type of harsh industrial cleaner as it may result in fading of the cloth. You can use soap or a laundry detergent with lukewarm water to scrub the stubborn dirt off the fabric.

The last step is to again spray the water to rinse the fabric and it will be like new again. Lastly, if you are still not content with the current state of the fabric, you can buy a new one.

Concerning the frame, you need to clean the steel or aluminum pipes at least once in a few months to avoid them looking dirty and rusty. While aluminum or steel aren’t affected by moisture similar to iron or any other metal part, you still need to take care of the frame, especially the moving parts like the motor which needs oiling regularly.

What is the most durable awning fabric?

Before you proceed to purchase the fabric, it’s important to choose the type first. The most common fabrics used are Canvas, Vinyl, and Acrylic. Each has its own merits over the other with Acrylic being the most durable one that can last up to 12 years. It is highly resistant to fading as well as water, dirt, and debris.

Vinyl, on the other hand, can also last up to 7 years but it comes with its disadvantages of not being flexible and prone to tears in a storm. Also, there aren’t a lot of color options to choose from. The least durable is the traditional canvas fabric, which is made up of cotton, and most brands, do not offer it, as it is more prone to fading and debris build-up.

As I stated, Acrylic fabric is the most durable one and will last more than a decade with proper maintenance. However, they are more difficult to clean than the Vinyl ones. In addition, Acrylic fabrics are costlier; therefore, make your choice depending on your budget and your dedication to its maintenance.

There are several brands that produce good-quality fabric. Some of the most popular ones are Sunbrella, Sunsetter, RECacril, and Sattler. While all of them produce high-quality fabrics, Sunbrella is the most popular one and is known to produce the best fabrics. Sunbrella is a 50-year-old company that produces fabrics that protect from UV rays. They also have The Skin Cancer Foundation Seal of Recommendation as their fabrics are solution-dyed with high UV-stable pigmentations.

Sunbrella offers a lot of color options for your fabrics. Compared to Sunsetter’s 28 color options, Sunbrella has more than 100 color options for awning fabrics. Another recommended brand is RECacril which produces very high water-resistant fabrics as their fabrics have a high thread count but smaller yarn. These fabrics are also UPF-rated to protect from harmful sunrays and are very durable.

How do you weatherproof awnings?

It is a good habit to regularly clean your awning to make it last longer but to make it more weatherproof. A few simple methods can really make the difference that will result in even lower maintenance. Simple water spraying every few weeks over the fabric will avoid any stubborn dirt and debris to settle over it.

As time goes by, your awning will be exposed to rain, strong winds, and dirt that will keep the moisture stuck to the frame resulting in fast rusting. Hence, removing rust and its prevention through the anti-corrosive coating is highly recommended. This will protect your frame for several years with very low maintenance.

When the weather is very hot, avoid the exposure of the fabric to heat as much as possible. Do not grill under it as it can do some serious damage to the fabric as the heat is now affecting both its upper and lower part.

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