These are a few of the questions we hear from our clients.


Q. What size of patio awning do I need?
A. First, you need to determine the scope of your need for shade. For example: do you need simply a small area for 2 people to sit under for meals? Or do you need a larger area for larger gatherings or for separate sitting and eating areas? Consider how much of the deck will be used.
Remember also that the angle of the sun will determine how much shade is cast by the awning. During different times of day, a too-small projection can put the shade on the wall instead of the deck and too small of a width can put the shade 1/2 way across the deck – instead of where you want it to be. A good test is to go onto your deck during the time(s) of day you would be using it and hold your hand up over your head and see where the shadow from your hand is cast. It’s always advisable to go a bit larger than you think you’ll need – the cost is fairly small in relation to the added usable square footage of shade provided.

Second, do you want to shade windows as well as create a shady sitting area? Remember that a patio awning will do more than shade a spot on your deck, by shading windows beneath, thereby keeping your home cooler inside.

Thirdly, what direction does your deck face? If you are facing north, the sun will be behind your awning most of the time and you won’t need as large of a projection. If you’re facing west or south, consider that the sun will quite often be in front of the awning and any shade cast will be pushed back toward the house as the sun moves. A maximum projection would be advisable in this case.

Q.You have so many models … which one is right for me?
A. Our awnings differ in not only appearance, but also in how they function. For example:

One of our most popular awnings is the Imperial and the Imperial Marcesa – with it’s centre beam the Imperial Marcesa is suitable for all applications, but  especially good for low headroom (low mounting point) as well as south facing decks. We have found it works well with as little room as 7’4″ between the floor and the mounting point. Most other awnings need to be mounted AT LEAST 8′ high – and 8 1/2 feet is ideal. Because of the ‘double slope’ created by the Marcesa beam, the front of the awning is a bit lower which gives you lower angle sun control without sacrificing height in the middle.

The Imperial and Imperial Marcesa are available with an optional screen drop valance which comes in handy with low angle sun and glare … or privacy issues.These exceptionally strong awnings are also the only models available with an amazing 13 foot projection!

The Royal and Royal Marcesa comes standard with a great feature for even more low angle sun control – called adjustable pitch control. This allows you to raise or lower the end of the awning as the suns’ angle changes, making it ideal for south or west facing patios, decks outdoor cafes and restaurants.

The Empress and Empress Marcesa are ideal for high exposure situations. Waterfront or roof-mounted applications are two spots where these cassette awnings might be called for – the fabric and mechanisms retract completely into a self-contained cassette, protecting the awning fabric from the elements.

The Imperial Crossover is ideal for narrow width, large projection applications. Please note however, the Crossover needs to be mounted at least 8 1/2 feet – 9 feet high to allow head clearance under the lower (crossed over) arm.

Still don’t know which one to choose? No problem. Our staff is very helpful and knowledgeable and can help steer you to the model best suited for your location/shade requirements.

Q. Do I need a motor, or is a manual crank ok?
A. Consider your age and physical condition. What is easy for a healthy 17 year old may not be so easy if you’re 75 and arthritic.

The smaller the awning the easier it will be to manually crank in and out. A larger awning with 3 arms can become more difficult because each arm has a set of highly tensioned springs that you’ll be winding against. A 4-arm awning is not recommended for manual control. Please note however – that we use 3:1 geiger bevel gears in all awnings up to 19 feet wide and 8:1 bevel gears in awnings larger than 19 feet. This makes for the easiest, fastest, smoothest gearing system on the market!
Another consideration is ease of use and convenience. You may not need a motor, but it sure is a nice touch! A motor is certainly the most convenient method of operation – just push a button and out it goes! When something is easier to use you will definitely use it more often!

Q. How much room do I need to mount a patio awning?
A.First, you’ll need at least 7’4″ of space between the deck/floor and mounting point – and that’s only with our ‘Imperial/Marcesa or Empress/Marcesa’ models of awnings. Any other model requires at least 8′ and in the case of an ‘Imperial Crossover’ a minimum of 8’6″ is required. As for a mounting point, wall mounting is the usual method and you’ll need from 7″ – 10″ (depending on the awnings style) of free wall space to attach the brackets to. When mounted, the awning will take up about 12″ or so of space, so if the space is tight you have to make sure you have no out-swinging doors or windows that will hit the awning. If you don’t have the free wall space, the awning can be mounted under and directly on to the soffit (again making sure you have enough room for any out-swinging doors or windows). If there’s still not enough room, we can mount your patio awning directly to the roof. We use special brackets made specifically for this purpose. We seal all the holes up tight and guarantee not to damage the integrity of your roof.

Q. Do I need a hood cover?
A. Unless the awning is mounted directly underneath a soffit it is advisable to have some sort of protection for your awning when it is rolled up. Certainly on a roof mounted application awning protection is imperative. If your awning is motorized, it must be protected or the warranty will be void should the motor fail due to water damage.

Q. Is it better to get a darker coloured fabric or a lighter colour?
A. It really is personal preference. Keep in mind that while both light and dark will give you the same protection, a darker awning will make it appear darker underneath while a lighter colour will appear lighter. But … the lighter colour of awning will show dirt more readily, so if you’re in a heavily polluted area or are concerned about bird droppings etc,. perhaps a darker colour or stripe will work better for you.

Q. How much maintenance will my awning need?
A. Very little! Our frames are all aluminum so they will not pit or corrode. A little light lubricant on the adjustable pitch housings a couple times a year will be sufficient. For the fabric, simply hose down the top and bottom at least once a month and allow to air dry. Any spots will come out if rinsed off immediately – simply use a soft brush if they’re stubborn. DO NOT use detergents or harsh soaps on the fabric – it will destroy the protective coating that keeps the fabric rain and dirt resistant. If you never wash your awning, dirt will accumulate with mold and mildew forming on the dirt. If left untreated, the fabric and stitching will eventually disintegrate. If your awning is in this shape now, it’s best to get it professionally cleaned. We can recommend a cleaner in our area.

Q. Will I need to remove my awning in winter?
A.No. The awnings are meant to be left up year-round. If you like, you can remove the valance (the scalloped piece hanging down from the front profile) as it is a separate piece of fabric. Simply remove the end cap and slide the fabric out of it’s groove. It is held in place with a length of spline. Roll the valance up and store till spring (folding will crease the fabric).

Q. Can I use my retractable patio awning all year long?
A. Retractable patio awnings are not meant to be a constant, all-weather protection. If you are looking for something to cover your patio furniture, keep your dog dry or keep snow off your deck, a retractable patio awning is not the product you need. They cannot withstand strong winds, heavy rains and definitely not snow accumulation.
However, if you want to use the awning occasionally in the rain as you barbeque or to sit out on a spring afternoon, then it is perfect.

Q. Can I install the awning myself?
A. Yes. If you prefer you can certainly install any of our awnings by yourself. We will provide all the installation instructions and hardware needed. Keep in mind that if you install the awning we do not guarantee the installation under warranty. Also, installing an awning yourself will save installation costs, but will make it necessary to charge you PST. (Installed awnings are considered an installed home improvement and not subject to PST)

Q. How long will my awning last?
A. Our awnings are the best made on the market today. There is a full 5 year warranty on all parts and fabric. The fabrics are so good they are guaranteed not to begin to fade noticeabley for 5 years. We have found that with a minimun of care (see above) your awning should last easily for 15 – 20 years!

Exterior Screens

Q. Which screen colour is best – dark or light?
A. For exterior applications, dark is always better. Dark colours absorb more light, thereby transmitting less towards the glass. Dark colours also give a more natural view while white or lighter colours tend to give a ‘foggy’ apearance to your view.

Q. How do I keep the screen clean?
A. By simply hosing them off occasionally.


Q. How do I clean my shutters?
A. The outside of the shutters can be hosed off or use a soft brush or cloth with a solution of water and mild soap – a car wash solution works great! For the inside of the shutters (the part you see from the inside when they’re down) you need to remove the panel box lid and have someone run the shutter up or down in increments while the other person cleans the section showing on the roll. Call us for more detailed information on this matter.

General Info

Q. I live up island, do you visit and install products in Parksville?
A. Yes, we have customers all over the South Island – please call to book a consultation for one of our weekly “up island” days.

Q. What if the power goes out? Can I still operate my motorized awning/shutter/screen?
A.If you have chosen the optional ‘manual override’ option on your motor you can still operate the unit. In any case, it is advised to retract your awnings at night, when you’re away from home or during stormy weather.

If you do not see an answer to your question, please do not hesitate to call us at 361-4714 in Victoria or 1-800-563-5558 out-of-town … or email us at
Thanks for stopping by!

Comments are closed.