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Retractable Awning Maintenance Guide

Awning Cleaning & Care Tips
For ERS Shading Awnings & Pergola Awning Covers

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Keep your awnings & covers happy!

European Rolling Shutters’ retractable awnings are designed to be long-lasting. The hardware and frames are very durable and operate smoothly for decades. Likewise, the fabric usually lasts 10 to 12 years - or longer - with minimal care. The following simple maintenance instructions for motorized and manual crank-based patio and pergola awning covers will extend product lifetime indefinitely.

BASIC AWNING CARE

Our retractable awnings are self-storing, so they require little attention. Nevertheless, exposure to the elements has consequences, which may limit their use. Being mindful of extreme weather, along with proper care and handling, awnings can last practically forever.

A retractable awning is not a trampoline, umbrella, kite or cat hammock and should not be used for anything but a sunshade. It will not protect homes or homeowners against wind, rain or snow.

Awnings should always be retracted completely in inclement weather to avoid these problems:

  • Puddles of water that can stretch the fabric – While it is not recommended by ERS, if it is to be used in rainy weather, the pitch must be steep enough for the water to run off.
  • Damage to the fabric or retractable arms can be caused by winds above 20 mph.
  • Motor damage caused by retracting a wet awning after the fabric has frozen.
  • Mildew that forms after retracting a wet and dirty awning.

Note that European Rolling Shutters does not cover storm and wind damage in our warranty. Should damage occur, however, we can quickly replace the fabric, hardware or the motor should damage occur.

OPERATING TIPS

Opening the Awning

Awnings with a manual crank should be turned gently - do not try to force it. Turn the crank handle in one direction to extend awnings; turn in the opposite direction to retract. When turning, always hold the handle at the same angle as the eyelet.

The lateral arms will hold the fabric taut when fully extended. If the fabric sags, roll the awning back until the fabric tightens.

Typically, the arms are never fully straight; trying to force the awning fabric to roll out past the gear stops where the elbows lock can damage it. However, ERS is one of the few companies that actually sets a stopping point on our manually-operated retractable awnings, while most companies do not. With a set outer limit, you don’t have to worry about accidentally rolling the awning out so far that it rolls backwards and damages the awning.

Retracting the Awning

Awnings should be retracted in wind exceeding 20 mph. Remove all twigs, leaves and other debris before rolling up the awning. When retracting, do not jam the front bar tight against the rolled fabric. The fabric should always roll off the top of the roller tube and never from underneath.

The awning fabric itself is water resistant; however, water may seep through the seams. Give wet fabric time to dry out before rolling it up. If that is not possible, extend it again as soon as the rain stops, so the fabric can dry properly to prevent mildew.

Adjusting the Pitch

European Rolling Shutters will install awnings at the level that provides the best shade for the owner’s liking, however the pitch can be changed any time later with this adjustment:

  • Get an 8 millimeter Allen key to use on the shoulder bracket (see drawing below).
  • Extend the awning about 2 feet.
  • With one hand, slightly lift the front bar, with the other hand, take the Allen key and turn the pitch adjustment, (blue).
  • Turning clockwise will raise the awning, counterclockwise will lower it.
  • Turn both adjusters the same amount to make sure front bar is level.

Troubleshooting a Motorized Awning

Remote - controlled motorized awnings are the most convenient and easy to use. If, after time, the motor stops working, the issue is usually electrical.

  • Replace the small battery in the remote (hand-held or in-wall).
  • Check if all the breakers in the breaker box are switched on.
  • Look for any GFCI or AFCI outlet that has been triggered - these outlets have “Test” and “Reset” button and often just pushing the “Reset” button will work.
  • If power is not restored, call European Rolling Shutters for advice or to schedule a professional service appointment.

Lubrication

Although it is not necessary, the awning hardware (moving parts) may be lubricated once a year. A dry silicone spray lubricant is best to maintain optimal, quiet operation. If unusual creaking noises occur when operating, check the end of the roller tube on the side opposite the motor or gear. Applying a bit of lubricant on the axle/bushing usually eliminates the unwanted noises. Avoid spraying any lubricant on the fabric.

AWNING CLEANING

Hardware

European Rolling Shutters uses aluminum components that are designed to be maintenance-free. However, it is a good idea to hose off the framework and wipe it with a soft cloth at the start of the outdoor season; more frequently in salt air environments is recommended. Avoid wetting the motor area. Check all fasteners once a year to ensure they are tight.

Fabric

European Rolling Shutters typically uses Sunbrella® fabrics. The best way to keep the fabric looking good and prevent dirt from embedding in the fabric is to rinse it monthly with cold water. In most environments, this is the only regular maintenance needed besides a deeper cleaning once every two or three years.

General Cleaning Instructions – once a month

  • Brush off all loose dirt with a broom, including the underside.
  • Hose down.
  • Air-dry fully before retracting.
  • Trim shrubbery and vines away from the awning because they contain acid that can damage fabric.

Deep Cleaning Instructions – every 2 to 3 years

  • Brush off all loose dirt with a broom, including the underside.
  • Hose down.
  • Prepare a cleaning solution of cool water and mild soap, such as Woolite or Ivory Snow (no detergent).
  • Scrub with a soft bristle brush, working from the bottom up.
  • Allow soap to soak in.
  • Rinse thoroughly until all soap residue is gone.
  • Air-dry fully before retracting.
  • Trim shrubbery and vines away from the awning because they contain acid that can damage fabric.

Products to Use for Stubborn Stains

  • Bird Droppings - Dawn, Greased Lightning, Clean Rite Purple Power
  • Iron Rust - Carbona Stain Devil #9
  • Mildew – Clorox bleach and Dawn
  • Oil – Acetone 100%
  • Paint – Paint remover, oil or grease remover
  • Tree Sap – Turpentine 100%, Dawn