Over the past few years awnings have become more then just weather protection for your business. Awning graphics placed on a unique aluminum frame are eye-catching and bring customers to your front door, and isn’t that the goal of any company. Weather you’re a coffee shop or an accountant, with the right signage and graphic you have a greater chance of being noticed with a visually exciting graphic on your awning or canopy.
There are more fabric selections, from a wide variety of companies then ever before. By adding a bold fabric selection with an eye catching graphic your awning is now more then just sun shade, it delivers sharp, clear advertising for your company. Thinking outside the box with your awning graphics will move your business forward by adding the pizzazz you want.
There is always a challenge of being noticed on a street when your surrounded by businesses have awnings. By choosing a rich color or textured material along with dimensional graphics your business will shine among the others.
Meeting our customer’s needs is Fabric Forms priority and we will see that all aspects of your awning or canopy are taken care of completely. We understand an attractive location shows the customer your product is important. Ultimately, when thinking about enhancing the facade of your company, Fabric Forms has the solution.
By extending your living space with a beautiful fabric awning on your home your adding functional square footage that will extend your living space outdoors for your family and friends to enjoy for many years. The addition of a fabric canopy or awning will not only improve the how much you use your outdoor space, it will enhance the style with color and dimension. Installing fabric canopy over a deck or patio will protect it from the harsh elements, reducing maintenance and prolong it’s life. Add custom made window awnings to every window on the front of the house for added curb appeal or just on the sunny side to protect your carpet and furniture from fading. Along with sun protection, window awnings will help save you money by keeping the house cooler in the summer taking the stress off your air conditioner.
Most fabric awnings can be used year round and have a life span of 10-12 years. After the fabric wears out the frame and hardware can be recovered with new fabric for many more years of use. If desired the fabric can be taken
off a canopy frame and stored for the winter, many people enjoy the sunshine in the cold months. If you have pull
up style window awnings and do not want them providing shade in the winter, they should be taken down and stored,
not pulled up for extended periods of time. If an awning is pull up for the winter, expect to find a birds nest
or even worst a squirrel making a winter home. Many customers let down there awnings in the spring to find them full of holes.
Aesthetic and Functional Value of Window Awnings
Before the invention of air conditioning, keeping a house cool in the heat of the summer was difficult. Opening the window and using a fan were the best options. Unfortunately the sun would still beat through the window raising the temperature inside the house. That is why custom fabric window awnings were so popular, houses would have an awning on every window that got a lot of sun. As air conditioning became affordable for everyone, the need for window awnings declined as a functional element to keep the house cool. As more colors and stripe patterns were developed, window awnings started to be used more for their aesthetic value than functional value.
Installing a fabric awning on a window that gets direct sunlight will help to lower the internal temperature of your house, which means the air conditioner does not have to work as hard. The traditional pull up style awning can be used in summer during hot weather and easily taken off the house and stored in the winter to allow the sun to help warm the house during cold months.
Regardless of whether fabric awnings are being used for their functionality or aesthetic value the styles and materials will continue to evolve to meet the needs of homeowners in the future.
Contact Fabric Forms today to get curb appeal and energy savings with a custom fabric window awning. Call 513-281-6300 to get started!
Fabric Forms uses a variety of fabric, the type of fabric sometimes is determined by the desired color but most often it is determined by application. All of the fabric we use are made to be used outdoors, some are flame retardant, which is required in most commercial applications and any installation that is indoors. All have warranties against excessive fading and rot ranging from 5 years to 10 years.
There are two classifications of fabrics
I usually separate fabrics into two classifications, woven synthetic and vinyl fabric. In the Cincinnati area vinyl fabric, which is broken down into either laminated or coated types, is generally used in commercial/industrial projects. Vinyl fabric is waterproof, flame retardant, easily cleaned, stable and accepts vinyl graphics. Woven synthetic fabric with brand names like Sunbrella, Recaril, dominate the residential awning market nation wide. These fabrics are solution dyed, meaning the yarn is dyed first then woven allowing for a wide variety of bright and long lasting solid and stripe patterns.
How long will the awning fabric last?
Typically fabric used in a residential application will last 8-12 years depending which direction the awnings face on the house, what kind of thread is used, if the fabric is reinforced at stress points and perhaps the most important issue, how much of the fabric blows in the wind. I have had Sunbrella fabric last more than 15 years in both commercial and residential applications. Fabric Forms uses both Sunbrella and Recacril on a regular basis. I sell them as equal, there are technical differences that I see when sewing or stretching the fabric, but the main determination in which brand I use usually comes down to color. Both brands have the same basic solid colors that vary in shade. I often
take samples of both to the job site, trying to match paint colors and the closet one wins. When customers are trying to make a color selection I generally provide both sample books. If a solid color is desired the two brands are equal, however if the customer wants stripes Sunbrella is the winner by a large margin.
After the first warm weekend in March, the phone starts to ring with customers interested in providing shade for their deck or patio. The first question they usually as is what kind of fabric does Fabric Forms sell. They should be more interested in what kind of frame do we build.
There are two basic building methods
One uses round tubing and is connected with aluminum slip fittings and other hardware that bolt together. The other method uses square or rectangular tubing with welded connections. I first ask my customers do you want the fabric up all year or do you want to take it down for the winter. If the cover is to be stored then a pipe frame will work. If the fabric is to remain up 365 days a year then a welded frame, built to withstand 25lbs/square foot of snow load is required.
Fabric Forms always specifies welded frames unless the customer lives in a condominium, most have existing pipe frames. We the like to match the construction to existing frames. I prefer welded frames because they are stronger and provide a higher quality finished product. The entire frame is fabricated in house and then fabric is fitted to the frame in our shop. This results in a much tighter and better looking cover . The frame is the most important component of the stationary canopy but most people only notice the fabric selection.
The difference in materials
The two main materials that frames are fabricated from are aluminum and galvanized steel. Aluminum tubing is light weight and non corrosive but is not as strong as galvanized steel. The other issue is that it is harder to weld then steel. Aluminum welds can be brittle and crack if there is too much flex in the frame, so a little extra structure is required. Steel is definitely easier to weld but takes more effort to clean and weld properly so it does not rust after painting.
Using an experienced fabricator
Regardless of the type of tubing used to build your canopy frame, an experienced fabricator such as Fabric Forms will design the structure to support the wind and snow load dictated by state building code. Besides being structurally sound, all frame elements should by symmetrical with no sharp edges and the frame should be square and level after installation.