Your Complete Guide to Awnings

Retractible awning example

Introduction to Awnings

This guide is intended to provide a general overview of awning supplies, design, basic installation techniques, cleaning tips, and more. Whether you're new to awning fabrication or you're a veteran of the awning industry, we hope you'll find some value in the information below.

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Awning Supplies

Fabricators and engineers know that even the most basic awnings require a considerable amount of supplies to complete. Trivantage® works hard to source all the awning supplies you need, from fabric to hardware to cleaning solutions.

The products we carry suit applications for fixed window awnings, retractable awnings, patio coverage, residential shade, commercial canopies, and umbrellas. These materials are built to withstand wind, snow, rain, and sun.

Explore our offerings below in awning fabric, hardware, tools, trim, thread, cleaning supplies, and more for your next awning or canopy project.

Awning Fabric

Awning on store front

The most important element in making an awning stand out is the fabric. If you're wondering where to buy awning fabric, we carry over 800 styles in our awning fabric selection. We carry trusted brands, like Sunbrella® Dickson®, Herculite®, Serge Ferrari, Phifer® and Glen Raven®. The outdoor awning fabrics can be used as awning replacement fabric or for new structures.

They feature benefits like flame resistance, water resistance, dimensional stability, mold and mildew resistance, UV protection, printability, and heat-sealing ability. For carefree assembly and maintenance, these awning fabric materials are durable and easy to clean.

Working on a patio enclosure or clear awning structure? Check out our clear vinyl options.

Awning Hardware & Tools

Awning tools and hardware

The hardware and tools you choose play a vital role in the structural integrity of your awnings. High-quality awning hardware ensures stability and longevity. From Z brackets and rails to Eye ends and hinges, each component contributes to the secure installation of your awnings.

Keep things mounted and connected with high-quality awning hardware supplies. As one of the top awning hardware suppliers, we're proud to stock over 300 essential hardware items used by awning fabricators.

Awning Braid & Trim

Blue spools of awning braid

The right awning braid adds reinforced support and a finished look (ideal for valance binding). Find the style and performance features you need with our awning trim products. We supply 100 varieties in decorative awning braid to best match your color scheme and project size. With a low profile, these woven awning braids are long lasting, colorfast, and offer a smooth edge.

Lacing Line

Neoline polyester cord white

Lightweight rope and cord are great for awning models that require lacing and tying. Made with high-grade materials, these awning lace products offer high strength and low stretch for years of service.


Gore thread-7

Nearly all of our sewing thread and pre-wound bobbins are suited for outdoor awning applications. They offer attributes like UV protection, bleed and fade resistance, lubrication, and anti-wicking treatment. We carry mostly left twist threads with some available in a right twist (used on a double needle sewing machine).

Cleaners & Protectants

Cleaners, protectants, adhesives for awning and marine fabric

Protect and maintain your awning—before and after installation—with the proper cleaners and protectants. Shop reliable awning cleaning products, protective sprays, and tape through Trivantage.

Common Awning Designs

There are many different ways to design an awning. The style will depend on your specific project. Is it for a commercial or residential application? Do you need it to be stationary or retractable? How big of a space are you working with?

For models of the most common awning styles—including traditional, dome, and vertical screen—look to our Standard Awning Styles page.

Need help with your design? Let our Awning Composer® software help you finish your next project in half the time.

  • Exterior Window Awning

      Exterior window awnings are a stylish addition to residential and commercial spaces alike. Designed to shield windows from direct sunlight, these awnings enhance energy efficiency by reducing indoor heat gain, thus minimizing the need for cooling systems.

      They come in various styles, from sleek modern designs to classic awnings that complement traditional architecture. Exterior window awnings provide aesthetic appeal while serving a practical purpose.

  • Slide-on Wire Canopy

      Slide-on wire canopies offer a unique and contemporary look to outdoor spaces. Characterized by their minimalist design, these canopies use tensioned wires to support the fabric, creating an unobtrusive shading solution. The absence of bulky frames allows for an open and airy atmosphere.

      Slide-on wire canopies are popular for modern patios, balconies, and outdoor entertainment areas, where they provide shade without obstructing views.

  • Patio Canopy

      Patio canopies are versatile shading solutions designed to extend outdoor living spaces. Whether attached to a building or freestanding, patio canopies create comfortable outdoor lounging and dining areas.

      These canopies come in various shapes and sizes, accommodating different patio configurations. With a wide range of fabric options, you can customize the canopy to match your outdoor aesthetics while enjoying protection from the sun and light rain.

  • Vestibule Awning

      Vestibule awnings serve as protective entrances to buildings, offering shelter from rain, snow, and harsh weather conditions. Commonly seen in commercial settings, such as restaurants and shops, vestibule awnings provide a welcoming transition space for patrons. They enhance curb appeal while ensuring visitors are shielded from the elements as they enter or exit the building.

  • Hipped Canopy

      Patio canopies are versatile shading solutions designed to extend outdoor living spaces. Whether attached to a building or freestanding, patio canopies create comfortable outdoor lounging and dining areas.

      These canopies come in various shapes and sizes, accommodating different patio configurations. With a wide range of fabric options, you can customize the canopy to match your outdoor aesthetics while enjoying protection from the sun and light rain.

  • Vertical Screen

      Vertical screens are innovative shading solutions that offer privacy, protection, and temperature control. Installed vertically on windows, patios, or outdoor spaces, these screens can be easily rolled down or retracted to adapt to changing weather conditions. Vertical screens reduce glare, block harmful UV rays, and create comfortable environments while preserving views and aesthetics.

  • Gable or Round Marquee Awnings

      Gable and round marquee awnings are characterized by their eye-catching shapes. Gable awnings feature triangular peaks that add height and visual interest to buildings, making them suitable for entrances and storefronts.

      Round marquee awnings offer a softer and more organic form, often chosen for their whimsical and nostalgic appeal. These unique designs enhance architectural aesthetics and contribute to a distinctive visual identity.

How to Install an Awning

There are many types of awnings, including but not limited to the following.

  • Types of Awnings

      • Stationary awning on a building (such as a storefront awning)
      • Exterior window awning
      • Retractable awning
      • Slide-on wire canopy
      • Patio canopy
      • Vestibule awning
      • Hipped canopy
      • Vertical screen
      • Pergola awning
      • Gable or round marquee awnings
  • There are, however, some basic rules of thumb when making any fabric awning.

  • Rules of Thumb

      • Almost every awning will require a frame to hold the fabric.
      • Be sure to take precise measurements of the space where the awning will be installed (width, drop, projection, depth, etc.), and mark where needed. You'll also need to account for tubing and hardware when measuring total lengths.
      • Consider visibility and access when installing an awning. For a window awning, how much of the window do you want the fabric to cover? For a marquee, is the awning's edge in line with parts of the existing structure? Is it installed in a way that it can be easily cleaned or repaired?
      • Consider using the Steel Stitch Staple-In Awning Frame System if you're strapped for time and the project allows.
      • Pick a fabric based on what's most important to the project. Does the fabric need to be flame retardant? Will the awning be backlit? Does it need to be waterproof? If you're printing on it, how important is the quality of the graphics? Does it need to stretch and conform easily to the frame? Does it need to provide full shade or will a translucent mesh fabric work?
      • Always add about 6 inches of fabric to allow for hems, extensions, and size variance.
      • Stainless-steel hardware works well for awnings since it is highly corrosion resistant.
      • Aluminum tubing works well for awning frames since the material is lightweight.
      • Pergola awning
      • For eradicable fabrics:
        • Never allow the eradication fluid to sit on the vinyl. This causes the vinyl underneath the topcoat to turn yellow (this damage is permanent).
        • If you spill or splatter eradication fluid on the vinyl where it is not supposed to be or if the awning is damaged at the jobsite, model paint can be used on the fabric. Since there are multiple colors of model paint available, selecting the color of your choice should not be an issue.

How to Clean an Awning

Our Care & Cleaning page will provide cleaning tips for specific awning brands. However, there are some general guidelines for cleaning any awning fabric, including window awnings, camper and RV awnings, and more:

  • Remove and rinse off dirt, dust, and debris from the awning fabric before cleaning
  • You can use a cleaning product formulated for awning fabrics or create your own with mild soap and warm water (Sunbrella awning fabric may be cleaned with a bleach and water solution for stubborn stains, mold, and mildew)
  • If you're unsure if a cleaning product is compatible, test the cleaner on a small area of the fabric first
  • Do not use harsh chemical products
  • Always follow instructions provided for each cleaning product
  • Wear gloves and clean in a well-ventilated area
  • Use a soft scrub brush or cloth to wash then rinse thoroughly and hang to dry
  • Do not pressure wash as this can damage the fabric
  • To extend the time between cleanings, use a fabric protectant

Looking to clean your awning hardware too? Refer to our Cleaners Guide for information on all of our cleaning products and their recommended applications.

Common Awning Questions

References & Related Notes

Go out and get building with all your awning supplies in hand! Find all the awning materials you need in one place on our Shop by Market Awning Page.

Think we've missed something? Or have any additional questions? Let us know.