Selecting the Right Awning Fabric and Awning Shape

Examples of classic awning shapes, a fixed valance and popular loose valance styles:

We can custom design awnings in any shape awnings and canopies for your space. Because our family has been designing, fabricating and installing custom awnings and canopies in the San Francisco Bay Area for more than 100 years, we know, and love to tell, the history of canvas awnings.

We'd love to work with you on your new awning, canopy, shade, or tent design. We typically work with general contractors, interior decorators, and home owners to design the perfect awning for your space.

If you have an idea of what you want, you can send us a drawing or concept for new custom awnings.

For retractable awnings, we can create a design with these options in mind:

  • Standard lateral arm awnings up to 13 feet projection
  • Telescoping arm awnings that can extend to 16 feet
  • Widths start at 10 feet and can be up to 40 feet wide
  • Tensioned front bar track guided shades that extend up to 21 feet. These are best for gazebos, solarium rooms, large skylights, and window areas that need shade.
  • If you need cover for an open patio, there are also free-standing units. They range from simple shade to all weather protection.
  • Drop curtains for windows and patio sides. They can be simple drop curtains to secure side curtains that stop wind and insects.

The awning and canopy products we use are shown in the links below. If you're not sure what you need, we'll be happy to make a recommendation.

Woven, Solution-Dyed Acrylic

This "wonder fiber" came into use in the late 1960's and is the primary awning fabric in use today. The fiber is formed from a vat of liquid acrylic. The material color is added to the liquid and mixed. Then the liquid is shot through small holes to produce fibers. These extruded fibers are collected and spun into yarn. Finally, the yarns are woven into fabric and treated with a fluorocarbon solution. Sunbrella® is the largest supplier of this UV-resistant fabric in the U.S., and Sattler from Europe has been making it as long as Sunbrella® and is equal in quality. UV-resistant Acrylic is also available with a urethane or vinyl backing bonded on. Because the color is throughout the fiber these materials are practically fade proof, with the blues lasting a little better than red, orange or yellow. The patent has expired on this acrylic blend and there are now many generic fabrics becoming available, which we have tested. Not all have performed well in our tests, but we continually assess new products to find strong, reliable, innovative fabrics.

Coated Fabrics

Valance Styles
Popular loose valance styles can be custom designed to your specifications.

There are many variations of coated fabrics. The old painted fabrics are a type of coated fabric. Now both sides are coated and the base is cotton/polyester blend. Other vinyl coated fabrics include polyester, Dacron®, nylon, and fiberglass base material. Most are coated with some variation of PVC (polyvinyl chloride). These materials are expanding in use and new high tech fabrics are being produced to improve colors, reliability and strength.

Mesh Fabrics

Mesh fabrics are ideal for vertical drop curtains and screens. A beautiful view can be enjoyed while blocking 70% to 96% of the light. Some sunscreen mesh fabrics are woven from vinyl coated threads. Others are woven polyester, nylon or fiberglass coated with vinyl or polyester resin. Because they are loosely woven, these mesh sunscreen fabrics do not hold water so they can be used effectively as horizontal covers on patios and gazebos. Talk to us about making your retractable awning cover with a mesh to solve drainage problems on too flat of awning.

Acrylic Material links

Other Fabrics and Hardware links

Retractable Awnings, Shades and Curtains links

Email or call us for assistance in selecting the right fabric and shape for your new awning, or the right fabric to recover an existing frame. Every application has its own requirements and with the right information we can recommend a fabric for each particular need.