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Knowledge Base

How to Maintain a Retractable Awning

Retractable awnings give you the best of both worlds: shade and shelter when you need it, sun when you want it. It takes just a bit of maintenance to get the best out of your retractable awnings and to keep them looking and working great for decades to come.

At Humphrys, our warranty covers many aspects of wear and tear that can occur to awnings, and we stand behind our product. Nevertheless, there is no substitute for giving your awning a little TLC from time to time.

General Care of Retractable Awnings

Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations when caring for your retractable awnings. Each brand and model may have specific instructions that are important to its use and care. 

It’s a good practice to fully extend your awning when it’s in use to prevent sagging, which over time could permanently stretch the fabric. 

The metal frame and roller should be cleaned out occasionally to keep the mechanism running smoothly. Treat the moving parts of your awning annually and when required with spray lubricant. Both automatic and manual retractable awnings will benefit from occasional lubricant application.

Should any part of the frame, mounting, fabric, arm, or roller become damaged, it is important to have it repaired before you resume using it in order to avoid further damage.

Cleaning Your Awnings

Taking a few minutes every month to care for your awnings while they are in use should be plenty to keep them looking great and to extend their life. A quick spray with the hose will remove any surface dirt and debris and prevent it from getting ground into the fabric. Use a brush or broom to go over the underside of the awning to remove anything that has become stuck to or lodged in the fabric. If your awnings are retracted for more than a week at a time, make sure to open them for a quick hose-off to avoid staining with dust and dirt.

Before stowing your awning for the colder months, take the time to spray it thoroughly with the hose and gently scrub both sides with cool water and a mild soap. Rinse the soap away completely and make sure that the fabric is totally dry before storing it. Keep your awning in a breathable bag or box in a dry place to avoid accumulation of dust and dirt in the winter months.

If you’ve stored it properly, prepping your awning for the summer should be a snap. Just wipe any metal parts with a damp cloth and give it a spray with the hose if needed. 

And most important of all: while you should never say never, the exception is when it comes to power washing your awnings. NEVER power wash awning fabric!

Keep Awnings Clear of Plant Matter

One key to keeping your awnings looking like new is to keep them free of leaves and plants. Surprisingly, leaves contain an acid that can damage and stain fabric. Try to have your awning installed away from trees that may drop leaves onto it. Short of this, it is advisable to remove adjacent tree branches. Likewise, do not allow vines or other plant life to extend up to your awnings; always keep these trimmed back.

When to Retract Your Awnings

While awnings can protect you and even some of your indoor furnishings from the effects of the sun, this is not so for other weather conditions. Keep your awning retracted during periods of hail, heavy rain, and winds above 20 mph, which may damage the arm and even the fabric. Remember that an awning does not double as an umbrella; it should be retracted during periods of rain. Rainwater that is allowed to pool on the fabric can stretch and damage the fibers, even leaving them permanently misshapen. 

Keep in mind that an awning’s warranty is unlikely to cover damage from exposure to wind, rain, hail, and other weather events. In order to stay in compliance with your warranty, it is wise to retract the awning when it’s not in use and especially when there is a threat of a storm or other inclement weather. Retracting your awning at the end of a day of use is a good habit to get into--if a storm hits while no one is at home, the awning will be protected.

Ensure that the surface of the awning is free from dirt and debris before retracting it. This will avoid damage from objects that could get lodged in the cassette. NEVER retract an awning that is not completely dry. This could cause mold growth or even damage to a motorized unit if it is opened when the fabric has hardened from frozen water.

Return to the Ultimate Guide to Retractable Awnings