Awnings refer to exterior coverings attached to walls to act as shades or offer protection against the sun, strong winds or rain. Awnings may be made of canvas, fabric, fiberglass, metal or even vinyl. Today’s awnings are mostly made of fiber whose life span is not as long as that of iron sheets or roof tiles hence their maintenance is very important to elongate their service.
MAINTENANCE OF AWNINGS
To ensure the long life span of an awning, the first step is to ensure you correctly install the awning. It is advisable not to use a knife when opening up the protective cover as you may cut the awning itself. When setting up the awning, use the help of an assistant and if possible, use the services of an awnings expert.
After the awning has been set up, you may apply a reproofing wax which offers protection to the awning. Employment of a professional to apply the wax would be better as this work may be laborious and time consuming. The wax is applied on the entire surface of the awning.
Cleaning an awning is the most essential part when taking care of it and should be cleaned regularly. Professionals advise regular cleaning to be done at least once a week if your awning is not retractable and once or twice a year for a retractable awning. If carrying out light cleaning, a soft bristled brush is used to remove dust and debris and a mixture of water and mild natural soap used to clean the awning. Do not use detergents when cleaning. If cleaning stubborn stains, a bleaching agent may be introduced. The liquid to clean should contain one full cup of the bleaching agent and a quarter cup of mild soap (such as Dawn dish washing liquid) in each gallon of water. The liquid is allowed to soak in the awning and a soft bristled brush is used to clean. For a longer life, re-treating the fabric is advised. This can be done using fluorocarbon. Re-treating helps the fabric repel water and should be done each time you clean the awning. It should be noted that mildew may be present especially in canvas awnings. Mildew is stubborn and requires deep cleaning. It may be necessary to take the awning down for better or professional cleaning. A bleaching agent should be used and after cleaning, the canvas should be sprinkled with bicarbonate of soda, cleaned once more and air dried. Do not leave any section of the awning untouched.
Although cleaning may seem as the only way to take care of your awning, other maintenance activities such as checking of the awnings’ metal frames are very important. If maintaining a retractable awning, make use of the retraction manual when retracting the awning. If in a position to do so, employ a professional. Keep vines away from the awning. Any holes on the waning should be mended on time to avoid further damage.