Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Commonly Asked Questions About Vintage Trailer Awnings by Kristi

I frequently receive the same questions, about  Vintage Trailer Awnings by Kristi. So I am copying and pasting the answers, from my business Facebook page. Maybe this will be helpful to you; compiling the answers all into one post. You might have had some of the same questions yourself, but were afraid to ask!

Answer to a commonly asked question:
"Do I need to spray water repellent or UV protection on Sunbrella marine grade awning fabric awnings?"
No! Do not spray anything on marine grade awning fabric. It is 100% solution dyed acrylic fibers, intended to be out in the sun, wind and rain, providing protection for many years. Picture of my awning during a heavy rain storm that blew in unexpectedly last year. My awning is over 5 years old

Since commercial awnings and boat covers are exposed to the elements constantly. After years in the pelting rain, and vigorous deep cleanings, the water repellent quality may be reduced. So, I did find out that there is a spray on product, for old awnings, that no longer adequately bead up water.Here is the video.
However, since our vintage trailer awnings are only used occasionally, and usually just receive spot cleanings, expect years of protection from the original fluorocarbon water repellent top treatment. The recommended routine cleaning is to remove any obvious debris and hose down the awning and let air dry. I carry a small broom to sweep off storm debris before hosing off my awning. 

I looked up the definition of inherent, since UV protection is an inherent part of Sunbrella marine grade awning fabric. It also means intrinsic, existing as an essential constituent, a permanent inseparable element, or a basic part of something. So, my understanding is that Sunbrella's UV protection can not be warn off, it is part of each fiber, incorporated into the solution dying process. Color and UV protection to the core of each fiber.UV protection against the harmful effects of the sun, and to keep the awning from fading.

Answer to another commonly asked question:
" I need my awning by such-n-such a date, will I have my awning by then?" I do my best to meet deadlines, however------
Because I never know: If an when my sewing machine will breakdown, if and when I will have an illness, if and when a deep freeze will make the basement too cold to work, if and when the power will go out, and on and on. Thank you for understanding that I am not in control of every situation that might happen, or the postal service delivery. For example: Right now I am waiting for Sunbrella Braid Trim and shock poles to arrive in the mail, for me to be able to complete several orders.

Answer to another commonly asked question:
"What size awning do I need for ____ brand of trailer, that is ___' long?" I need the length of the most level section of your own, installed, c-channel, awning rail, not the length of your trailer. Awnings are made to fit the installed awning rail. Do not include in your measurement where the rail curves downward on the ends. Awning rails may be installed along the roof-line, or they might be on the flat, front facing, surface of the trailer. For example: An Airstream trailer might be 16' over-all length, but their awning rail is only 6' long.

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To prevent sagging on the side of an awning, only use one tie-down line pulling off of the corner at an angle. Using two lines, off of one pole, like in this picture neutralizes the forces creating sag.

Answer to another commonly asked question:
What is the Turn-Around time for a new awning order?
As of today, there are three awnings in line and a Rock Guard awning. However, if you need an awning in a hurry, I do have several 10' awnings pre-made and several 7 1/2' awnings pre-made. Make sure the level section of your awning rail is at least that long.

Answer to another commonly asked question:
"What type of tent poles do you use?"
After many years of using Coleman adjustable height tent poles, followed by other steel, inexpensive, tent poles, we graduated last year to aluminum, 8', Eureka, tent poles. Since we camp in extreme weather conditions, we always had extra poles in our trailer, just in case we needed one. Didn't want to worry about the poles, just wanted to enjoy a good rainstorm. However the telescoping, steel, adjustable height tent poles needed maintenance. In humid or rainy conditions, the sections needed to be separated, dried off, surface rust removed and stored in a dry place.

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See how there is only one tie-down line pulling off of the corner pole at an angle. This is a 15' X 9' awning, so there is a spring on the tie-down line to give extra tension.

 Answer to a commonly asked question:
"How much are your awnings?"
There is not enough information in this question to give an informative answer. Awnings are not "One-Size-Fits All".
Of course a small awning takes less fabric, thread, edge binding, vinyl welt, shipping cost and insurance, than a large awning. An awning with fringe, pockets for shock poles, plus the shock poles, adds to the price as well, plus shipping/insurance cost. The more information you provide me when inquiring about an awning, the closer an estimate I can provide for you.

"What are the advantages of an arched awning?"
There are several advantages to an arched awning:
1) The awning can be set up in the traditional Rope And Pole style or Arched up with shock poles. The pockets are hidden in the facings, so it looks fine either way.
2) Shock poles provide lift for extra height underneath.
3) Shock poles provide incline for rain run-off.
4) The tension on the shock poles makes the awning taut. So even when the ground is too soft, or saturated to hold tent stakes with tie-down lines in, the tie down lines can just be anchored with weights and the awning will still be taut. Sometimes vendors need to set up on hard-packed soil, or on concrete. Again, with weights on the tie -down lines, to keep the wind from catching the awning, the taut appearance is provided by the tension on the shock poles.

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When staking out an arched awning, do not put a lot of tension on the tie-down lines. The shock poles will make the awning taut, so tie-down lines are just to keep the wind from catching the awning.

Sometimes I am asked, "Will you make me an awning from fabric that I will mail to you?" The answer is: Sorry, I only make awnings from my inventory of marine grade awning fabric.
More often than not, the fabric they want to send me is 54" wide outdoor upholstery fabric, which is not intended for awnings. Making an awning is very labor intensive, so I choose to use fabric appropriate for the job; fabric that will provide years of use, looking new, plus providing protection from the sun and rain.

A few years back, a business vendor needed an awning immediately for an event. They needed specifically a brownish color, that their tobacco product sponsor, demanded be set up for the event. No time to make one, but I asked if they would be interested in my old Sunbrella Heather Beige 15' Awning, that was packed away in my trailer. They were thrilled, when it arrived, that the fabric still looked like new. So instead of being worn out, sometimes we just want a new look for our trailers. So now, my old awning has a new life providing coverage for folks indulging and imbibing! Definitely not my cup of tea!

Answer to another commonly asked question: "How long does it take to make an awning?"
It generally takes about a week, to make a medium sized awning, plus 2-3 days more for priority mail shipping in the USA. Large awnings, plus awnings with shock poles, take longer to make.

I will be happy to answer
 your awning related questions online. I try to answer them throughout each day. Contact me:
My Facebook business page is

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