Frequently Asked Questions

Q: How do I go from viewing the web page to getting an estimate and buying an awning?

A: Just complete the CONTACT US section of this web page or just call us at 1-800-332-2866 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced and knowledgeable professional consultants. Its free, it's fast and it is worth the time. Our consultant will visit your home and give you a free no-obligation estimate and will work with you to decide on a sun control solution that best meets your needs. We can suggest a wide range of colors, sizes and styles, whether you're looking for a fixed awning, a retractable awning or one of our energy saving sun screens. Your order is custom made and it will be right - the 1st time. The last part of this process is the actual installation. Our scheduling department will telephone you directly to schedule a convenient day and time to install your sun control product.


Q: Is an in-home estimate more reliable than a phone quote?

A: We offer in-home free estimates, phone quotes, e-mail quotes and mailed quotes. Keep in mind that estimates are only as accurate as the description, sizes and installation details provided. Sometimes, actual awning requirements can only be established by way of an in person, on site, assessment. Best results are usually obtained via a free in-home written estimate. This has the benefit of expert counseling on suitable alternatives, measurements you can trust, and pricing that matches the true requirement.


Q: How long does it take to get the product installed after I place my order?

A: Delivery time varies from 2 to 4 weeks depending on the product type and the time of the year. All of our products are custom built in our own factory. Some however involve longer manufacturing processes. Accent Awning Company powder coats the frames on its custom stationary awnings and this process is done by professional powder coaters and therefore requires more lead time. Retractable awnings and sun screens are also custom built to your color and size requirements but can be manufactured quickly from existing raw materials, leaving turnaround time more a question of seasonal workloads.


Q: What if I need something repaired on my awning or screen?

A: Call our office. The company was built on a service mindset. We have a full time Service Department dedicated to ensure that our customers benefit from continuous trouble-free satisfaction and enjoyment for years to come. Accent's Service Technicians will come to your home to analyze and correct the problem. We do not use independent contractors or free-lance labor to manufacture, install or service your awning or screen products. All of our Service Technicians are factory trained and only use original factory parts where replacement is required.


Q: I've had my existing awning for years. The fabric is now old and becoming discolored. Can I recover the awning?

A: Yes. In most cases awning fabrics can be installed on existing awning frames. We will be glad to come to your home and give you an exact written estimate to recover the awning or drop shade fabrics. We specialize in recovering stationary awnings, retractable awnings or drop shades, even if they were originally manufactured by others. Awning product fabrics usually need to be recovered at some point and we will be happy to be your awning company of choice when that time comes.


Q: What if I purchased a pre-manufactured awning from a "big-box" store and I don't like it?

A: Most reputable "big-box" chains selling "mass produced" awnings have a return policy. Usually the awning needs to be repackaged in its original container and the cost of shipping must be paid by the consumer. Accent Awning Company provides a full "turn-key" experience and may be an alternate choice before or after the big-box purchase.


Q: I purchased a pre-manufactured retractable awning on-line. Will Accent Awnings install it for me?

A: No. Due to potential warranty confusion as to product and installation matters, Accent Awnings only installs the products that were manufactured by us.


Q: Some pre-manufactured retractable awnings use laminated plastic fabric. Is this OK?

A: Pre-manufactured budget-type retractable awning fabrics usually are made with RV fabrics that cost substantially less and are less durable than the woven acrylic awning fabric utilized by custom awning manufacturers, like Accent. The problem with the RV fabrics is that they mildew, rot, peel and stretch and the warranty on these is often limited and/or pro-rated.


Q: When someone refers to a canvas awning, is the fabric actually made out of canvas?

A: Not anymore. For over 25 years the awning fabrics have been made of woven acrylic. With acrylic, the thread is solution dyed before it is woven ensuring long lasting color. Acrylic looks and feels like canvas but is more resistant to the elements. Canvas was fabricated from cotton and the color was applied much like spray painting. Cotton would absorb moisture, acrylic is water repellant. Cotton fabric's used to flake and peel over time; acrylic does not. Today's woven acrylic awning fabrics are more durable, colorfast and generally far superior to the old canvas materials.


Q: Is Sunbrella® acrylic fabric really the best one to use for my awning?

A: Most awning companies use Sunbrella's acrylic awning fabric made by Glen Raven® Mills. Glen Raven® is the largest fabric mill in the United States, and has been weaving this magic for over 100 years. Sunbrella® awning fabric is the most reliable, durable, colorfast and time tested woven acrylic fabric in the world today. The importance of using Sunbrella® is sometimes overlooked when the awning is first purchased because many homeowners are not aware of the pitfalls of lesser quality imported fabrics. Offshore companies recently entering the market have attempted to duplicate the quality of the Sunbrella® product but we believe that a lack of experience and know-how has resulted in awning fabrics that don't measure up, and, having no track record, are suspect as to durability.


Q: Is there much difference between the various types of awning fabrics?

A: Yes, different fibers, weaves and coatings have very specific advantages and different applications. Some fabrics are breathable, some are not. Some are water repellant but not water proof. Acrylic fabrics have a rich cloth appearance and are much more colorfast and fade resistant. Vinyl coated fabrics, mostly used on commercial projects, are the most water repellent. Mesh fabrics allow better ventilation and outward visibility. Your awning professional will help you make the best selection.


Q: Where can I view the Sunbrella awning fabric colors?

A: Contact Accent Awnings and we will send a knowledgeable consultant to your home or office to view the Sunbrella fabric book in person. You can also view the colors on this website in the Fabric Showroom, under Fabric & Fabric Care.


Q: I have seen awnings where the seams are coming apart. Why is this?

A: This is typically caused by poor quality thread. Most awning companies (Accent excluded) use either a poly-cotton blend or polyester. Cotton thread loses 65% of its original strength in three years and can break shortly afterwards. The thread used in joining the fabric panels together is the most important factor in assuring the overall life and strength of the fabric body. Since 2005, Accent Awning Company has used a special and enormously stronger TEFLON thread called "PTFE" by COATS®. Unlike poly-cotton and polyester threads, TEFLON is specifically designed for long-lasting outdoor use.


Q: What thread does Accent Awnings use and does it differ from other awning companies?

A: Accent Awning Company uses TEFLON thread by COATS®. The COATS® "PTFE" thread is considerably stronger than any other awning thread on the market. Most awning companies avoid disclosing or discussing which thread they utilize in the sewing of their fabrics. Accent is proud to hi-lite and advertise the thread in its awning fabrics. As a homeowner, it is important to ask "What thread does your company use?"


Q: What type of awning or screen motor does Accent Awning use?

A: Accent Awning only uses Somfy motors and electronics. Somfy offers the only United Laboratories tested and approved awning motors in the United States. Somfy is the world's leading manufacturer of specialized motors and control systems for retractable awnings, rolling shutters, interior shades, blinds, projection screens and other lift-up applications for the home. All products are tested for compliance with specific electricity standards for buildings as well as performance standards defined by Somfy. For more than three decades engineers at Somfy have been designing quality, high-performance products that provide you with the best possible solution for comfort, convenience, shading and extra living space. Products that put a home in motion at the touch of a button or automatically. Products that make life easier and more enjoyable.


Q: Can I operate my shade product with a remote control?

A: Yes. We offer remote upgrades at the time of the original estimate as well as long after your awning or shade has been installed. We can retro-fit your existing awning with a remote, a remote with a timer or a remote with a wind sensor. We can fulfill your electronic needs with our full product line of Somfy motors and electronics. Somfy electronics are warranted for 5-years from the date of purchase.


Q: What are Fixed Awnings & what are Stationary Awnings?

A: The terms "Fixed Awnings" and "Stationary Awnings" are interchangeable, consisting of a welded metal skeleton frame to which a awning fabric is attached. They come in all shapes and sizes, all being custom made to order. The basic rule of thumb when designing a Fixed Awning is that "if you can draw it, it can be built". Typically Fixed Awnings are for smaller areas such as windows, doors, alcoves, entry ways & walk ways. Canopy Awnings are a form of Fixed Awnings that cover larger surfaces and require posts and/or structural supports.


Q: Why do you offer an 80% and a 90% shade material for Sun Screens?

A: An 80% screen fabric provides a 20% openness factor that allows greater light and air to penetrate the screen with greater visibility than the 90% screen. With a 10% openness factor, the 90% material allows you to maintain good visibility while maximizing sun protection. This is why the denser of these two materials is by far our most popular screen material we offer.


Q: What is the difference between Galvanized Steel and Stainless Steel nuts & bolts?

A: Galvanized steel is an anti-corrosion metal that is zinc coated. Galvanized steel does rust where it is has been welded, scratched or over stress. The galvanized coating disperses over time which also leads to rusting. Stainless steel is somewhat misleading in that it is available in many levels or series of quality. 304 Series Stainless Steel shows signs of rust in some areas located closer to the ocean in 6 months or less. Accent Awning company uses 316 series Stainless Steel to ensure that our product cannot rust under any circumstance. This may not appear to be an issue before you buy your stationary awning, retractable awning or sun screen but imagine having to clean a rust stain bleeding down the side of your wall. This is just one area that Accent Awnings takes the added precaution that comes with the highest quality stationary awnings, retractable awnings and sun screens in the awning industry.


Q: Why do some awning manufacturers' paint their awning frames & others use powder coating?

A: Many awning companies merely spray paint their metal awning frames. Others use a "Wet-Paint" process that is inexpensive and somewhat similar to spray painting. In wet-painting, the metal used in the awning or sun screen is sprayed with a liquid paint and left to dry. The amount of actual protective paint is considerably less than that of powder coating. Accent Awnings only uses the powder coating process on all of its retractable awnings, stationary awnings, sun screens and window awnings. The powder coating process is better suited than wet-painting for exterior products because the paint coating is much thicker and the coverage protection is more evenly spread over the metal surface. When powder coating, the metal surface is then electrically charged with positive ions while a fine powder mist is sprayed through an application gun that is negatively charged. The dry powder then bonds to the metal. The powder coated retractable awning, stationary awning, sun screen & window awning hardware surface is then baked in a very large oven. The end product is a consistent thick baked on enamel coating that resists scratching and peeling for many years.


Q: What about using my retractable Awnings in the wind?

A: Wind is unpredictable and is a variable force since it can change velocity and direction very quickly. Retractable Awnings therefore require additional homeowner attention during windy conditions. In wind-tunnel tests, retractable awnings can sustain straight-on wind forces of over 50 mph. However winds can come from many directions and the effect on an awning is very different under varying circumstances. The most potentially problematic condition is a sudden upward gust and this is particularly unpredictable. For customers who live in areas where wind is known to be erratic, we strongly recommend the use of our optional Wind Sensor by SOMFY.


Q: Can I use my retractable awning in the rain?

A: Retractable awnings are predominately designed for sun protection. In some cases, it becomes safe to deploy an awning in light rain conditions. Retractable awnings have been used in light rain all over the world for over 100 years. The key is to maintain a minimum proper slope or pitch that will allow water to run off the retractable awning without pooling on the fabric cover. The decision to extend or retract an awning in the rain, on any given day, is a question of responsible judgment and homeowners' discretion. Warranty does not cover this type of damage as Accent has no way to determine if it was preventable.


Q: Can I hose down Sunbrella® fabric?

A: One of the best ways to keep Sunbrella fabrics looking good and to delay the need for deep or vigorous cleaning is to hose fabrics off on a monthly basis with clear water. This practice will help prevent dirt from becoming deeply imbedded in the fabric. Acrylic is a man-made fabric and does not promote mildew. However mildew can form on the dirt that is in the pores, or on the body, of the fabric so the best practice is to rinse this dirt off the fabric on a regular basis. Regular care will extend the life of your fabric. For further information see the "FABRIC CARE AND CLEANING" section of our Website.


Q: In your cleaning instructions, you use the term "Mild" or "Natural Soap". What is "Mild" or "Natural" soap?

A: By "Natural Soap" we mean Ivory Snow, Deft or Woolite. These gentle soaps rinse out easily and will not diminish the water-repellent "finish" applied to the fabric.


Q: How does Sunbrella® lock in color?

A: Sunbrella fabrics are made from 100% solution-dyed acrylic yarns. Solution-dying is the process of adding color to acrylic thread during manufacturing while they are in a liquid state. This characteristic of Sunbrella fabrics is the key to locking in color, easy cleaning and long life.


Q: Will I see out of my Sun Screen during the day?

A: Yes, but the level of visibility largely depends on the color of the sun screen material you chose. Lighter colors cause reflection from the sun and diminish the degree of visibility. Darker colored fabrics will allow a better view of the outdoor.


Q: Will a Sun Screen provide indoor privacy?

A: During the daylight hours a sun screen does offer a reasonable level of privacy. However during the evening hours the screen offers very little privacy protection. Keep in mind however that from the outside looking in people can see better through a dark fabric than through a light fabric. For complete privacy we recommend the use of an opaque fabric such as Sunbrella.


Q: Do Sunbrella® fabrics provide UV protection?

A: Sunbrella fabrics have been tested and proven to provide up to 98% UV protection from the harmful effects of the sun. This protective factor is inherent to the product and will not be reduced by usage and/or fabric exposure to the sun.


Q: Why are pre-manufactured retractable awnings less expensive and only available in certain limited specific sizes?

A: Accent's pre-manufactured retractable awnings have manufacturing specifications intended to incorporate the economies of mass production, efficient minimum labor, and bulk purchasing of single color fabric lots. One of the aspects of minimizing labor is to eliminate some of the fabric cuts. This practice reduces labor costs. Accent's pre-manufactured awnings are therefore built to exact fabric panel widths and using pre-cut extrusions. This limits the available widths but, without sacrificing quality, passes these savings on to the buyer who does not require a custom size.


If you did not find the answer to your awning question in the Frequently Asked Questions, contact Accent Awnings for more awning information about the services that we offer.

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