investment in a quality long-term recreational product, installed by
professionals, will prove to be a decision that you and your family
will enjoy for years to come.
important to select the proper combination of the product, the
company who made it and the company who installs it. To insure that
your expectation will be met please use this check list as a guide.
A Well Designed and Engineered Product
awnings will provide you with shade, not all awnings are created
equal. It all starts with the quality construction of the awning.
Retractable awnings or lateral arm awnings are self-supporting
shading systems that are used for protection from the sun’s harmful
rays and to keep your home cooler in the summer. These units are
mounted to a solid structure with no vertical supports and should
not be used in severe weather (strong winds and/or rain). Awnings
can be motorized. Durasol, Eclipse, and Sunair have created the best
designed and engineered retractable lateral arm awning systems in
Durasol, Eclipse, and Sunair customers have rated their awnings as
the top retractable awnings in the country; 98% of Durasol, Eclipse,
and Sunair owners would recommend the product to a friend or
relative! Retractable awnings are a lot like automobiles – there’s a
large variety to choose from. From a distance, most cars appear to
be similar – they all have fenders, doors, wheels, etc. Much of the
value is unseen or unclear until it is pointed out to you. Price
depends on what you want in terms of quality, comfort, durability,
maintenance, options, and all the other goodies you can add to a car
to make it just right for you. You get what you pay for.
Motorized or hand operated retractable awnings are much the same
way. There are many models to choose from; finding the right awning
for you depends on what your personal needs are. Listed below are
some of the features you should look for in a "quality" retractable
awning as a long-term investment for your home.
comparing other awnings, be sure to look for the following:
One of the most important features of a retractable awning is it
parts. Awnings that use state of the art manufacturing of key
component parts will be stronger and more durable. Durasol, Eclipse
or Sunair use vacuum injection-cast molding or the forged casting
process. These processes eliminate the possibility of any
microscopic air pockets forming in the finished part. The benefit
you receive as a consumer is a stronger and more attractive awning.
Compare this to other awnings that use a less expensive extrusion
process and most likely you will find an inferior product.
purpose of the torsion bar is to absorb movement and flex
from the complete system. All mechanical parts of the awning
are attached to this "backbone" bar. Durasol, Eclipse, and
Sunair offer the choice of a steel or aluminum torsion bar
on their units. Typically, we would recommend the steel
torsion bar for the high amount of energy absorbing load
that they can handle. We’ve engineered our thick-walled
aluminum bar for seashore areas where an added level of
corrosion protection is desired.
roller tube is what the fabric is attached to and where the
tension is provided on the fabric when the awning is
extended out. Durasol, Eclipse, and Sunair incorporate steel
roller tubes into their shading products. Steel roller tubes
allow for 21 feet wide by 10 feet projections without the
use of a center support. Comparatively, aluminum roller
tubes have much more deflection from the tension and weight
of the fabric, which would require a center support at
shorter widths and lesser projections than steel. Aluminum
roller tubes may require the use of center supports for
widths as small as 13’.
RETRACTABLE LATERAL ARMS:
role of the lateral arms is to work in conjunction with the
front bar and the roller tube to keep the fabric taut. The
benefit of having lateral arms is that you can easily walk
underneath the awning without having to walk around any side
supports or poles. When comparing lateral arms, consumers
typically take notice of the arm cables. Lateral arms
usually come with either one steel cable or two. Durasol,
Eclipse, and Sunair use a single 4mm stainless steel cable
constructed of 128-strand aircraft quality 10,000 pound-test
cables. Numerous awning companies will use two cables in
their arms, but the two cables that they use are not 4mm.
These companies rely on two 2mm cables to handle the stress
needed to keep the fabric taut. Imagine trying to pull a
tree stump out of the ground using pull cables and a truck.
Would you prefer to use two smaller cables hoping that if
one broke the other can support the weight load, or would
you use a single heavy-duty cable? Hopefully you would use
the heavy-duty cable to ensure you have a high-quality
product to do the job effectively. Arm cables work in the
same manner. The larger arm cable can handle the weight load
of the awning more efficiently.
Connection from the arm to the torsion bar is
made with the arm shoulders. With arm shoulders, you want to
have a minimum number of parts to avoid play and
instability. When the shoulder is extruded, it consists of
parts that are bolted together. Cast arm shoulders require a
much greater investment in molds and dyes, but they provide
a “cleaner” look and a more stable awning that requires less
"readjustment" after installation.
These sturdy mounting brackets attach to the
wood frame studs or masonry of your home. Durasol, Eclipse,
and Sunair utilize a bracket that can be mounted on both
walls and soffits. To accommodate every type of mounting
area, this bracket, combined with additional parts, can also
be mounted on the roof of your home. If you have less than
eight feet of clearance or desire a longer projection, we
strongly recommend you consider a roof mounting application.
The vacuum-injection cast molding of these brackets provides
unsurpassed strength and durability. Over the years, we have
recognized that customers may move or put an addition onto
their homes, which requires the removal of their awning. The
versatility of the installation brackets allows for the
customers to have their local dealer re-install the awning
on a different mounting surface or area. Many customers are
happy to know they can go from a wall mount to a soffit
mount and vice versa without the purchase of additional
Durasol, Eclipse, and Sunair use a front bar that is
unmatched in quality to prevent sagging, bowing, and
deflection. Most competitive systems use a single or double
chambered bar that offer less than half of the stiffness of
the Durasol, Eclipse or Sunair bar. The arms, fabric and
valance are all connected to the front bar. The front bar is
the outer most point of the projection. On lateral arm
awnings, the fabric is only connected to the roller tube and
the front bar. When the wind gets underneath the awning, the
arms will bend or react to changing weather conditions, thus
allowing the awning to billow up. The stress is transferred
to the connection on the roller tube and front bar. There
are items you can buy to lock down the front bar, such as
legs and poles. Remember, a lateral arm awning is designed
to have the fabric billow up and the arms fold inward during
wind. This eliminates stress on the wall and the rest of the
system. When the wind dies down, the arm extends back out
using the fabric as a cushion.
Retractable awnings are self-storing when retracted, but the
need for additional protection may be required depending on
the mounting area. The majority of units we sell will
require a protective hood if the unit will be roof mounted
or mounted on a wall that does not have an overhang or
soffit in close proximity. The hood may also be utilized to
protect the unit from ice, snow or any other type of harsh
weather when the awning is not in use. A hood will also keep
the fabric cleaner and reduce the amount of maintenance
Homeowners have the option of motorized or manually operated
awnings. Over 85% of the awnings that Durasol, Eclipse or
Sunair produces are motorized. The average time it takes to
extend a motorized awning is about 20 seconds, using a hand
crank can take up to 2 minutes. By simply pushing a button,
you can save considerable time and effort, as well as avoid
possible unit damage associated with rolling it up
incorrectly or extending it too far. Another thing to
consider about motorized awnings is the various electronic
options that can further suit your needs. Durasol, Eclipse
and Sunair offer an assortment of electronic options
including remote controls, indoor and outdoor switches, and
FABRIC CUTTING AND SEWING:
For an awning to have the best fabric fit possible, nothing
beats computerized cutting of the fabric panels and
computerized sewing of the seams.
Computerized cutting insures that all cuts are straight,
square and concise. These cutting machines are accurate to
within 1/100 of an inch!
Computerized sewing provides consistent and straight sewing
with turned a tailored edges. This allows the fabric to lay
better and provides a more visually pleasing appearance. It
also guarantees a square cover, for better performance. Lock
stitching is used in the sewing process so that the panels
will not separate if a link in the stitching is broken.
Quality and consistency at this level cannot be achieved
without the aid of computer assistance. Many companies are
still cutting and sewing their awning covers by hand.
first thing to consider is what type of fabric will best
meet your needs. The fabric choices today for lateral arm
awnings are acrylic or vinyl. The waterproof nature of vinyl
fabrics makes them ideal for commercial applications and for
use on trailer-type Awnings. These types of systems have
limited dimensional stability requirements for fabrics,
relying mostly on the unit’s framework. The lack of
dimensional stability found in vinyl fabrics does not make
them an ideal candidate for lateral arm awnings. With
changing weather conditions, vinyl covers will heat up and
stretch, affecting the performance and factory settings of
your awning – not to mention the smell of the plastics
Today’s acrylic fabrics are woven specifically for use on
retractable awnings. This heavy-grade acrylic fabric
provides protection from harmful UV rays, while allowing
most of the sun’s energy to be deflected. Acrylic fabric on
your lateral arm awning will allow the area under the
awning, as well as the nearby indoor areas, to be much
cooler. Acrylic fabric is woven, which it allows it to
“breathe” and increase resistance from moisture and mildew.
Durasol, Eclipse, and Sunair use solution dyed acrylic
fabrics from Sunbrella, Dickson, Para and Statler – both
woven by the world’s leading producer, Glen Raven Mills.
Solution dyeing (adding color while still in a liquid state)
locks the colors into the acrylic fibers. This process
reduces fading and increases the aesthetics of the product,
making each fiber much like a carrot – the same color all
the way through. The second thing to consider is which color
will work best. Durasol, Eclipse or Sunair offers over 200
designer colors and patterns to choose from. Many consumers
wonder if they should choose a dark or light color fabric.
Dark color fabrics will provide anywhere from 95-98% UV
protection, while light color fabrics will resist 94-96% of
these rays. If you are considering an awning to conserve
energy, then lighter color fabrics are your best choice.
Please keep in mind that the lighter the fabric, the more
dirt will typically show over time, which may require
A Dependable Manufacturing Company
An awning is a long-term investment in the comfort
and the beauty of your home. You need to be sure the manufacturer of
that awning will be able to supply any replacement parts, should you
ever have the need for them. Durasol, Eclipse and Sunair were
founded in 1970’s and 80s’ and are the largest manufacturers of
awnings in the United States. They each have over 100,000 square
feet of floor space dedicated to the manufacturing of retractable
arm awnings. Their size and depth enables them to have a large
selection of replacement parts on the shelf, ready for immediate
delivery. In fact, they continue to have parts availability for
every awning they have ever manufactured. Be certain that any other
awning you are considering has this type of factory support. You can
get a feel for the stability of a potential manufacturer by asking:
1. If they have had significant turnover in ownership
or key management positions in recent years, or months.
2. If they are currently up for sale, or have been so
3. If they are currently profitable and have been
over the last several years.
4. How long they have been in business.
The warranty put on a product is also indicative of
the strength of the product and the company behind it. Durasol,
Eclipse and Sunair warranty all components for 5 years and frame
components for 5, 10, or 12 years.
An Established and Well Respected Local Dealer
Southwest Shade Solutions has been in business since
1993. We are the largest Durasol, Eclipse or Sunair retractable
awning dealer in Texas. We have the experience and stability
necessary to provide you with the peace of mind you want when making
an investment in a retractable awning or solar screen system. We
carry $2 million of liability insurance should any unusual or
unforeseen circumstances arise. Ask the other companies how much
insurance they carry. We are members of the Better Business Bureau
and the Industrial Fabrics Association International.
A Flawless Installation by Factory Trained Installers
A poor installation is your worst nightmare.
Improperly installed awnings can put you family at risk and the
integrity of your home in jeopardy. In a windy environment like
North Central Texas do not take chances, a poor installation can
cause sever damage to your home.
You can purchase various systems from several dealers in your area.
The best place for you to purchase a Durasol, Eclipse or Sunair
awning is from Southwest Shade Solutions. We are factory trained and
will ensure that your awning is professionally installed and
serviced. Consider the awning will be mounted directly over the
heads of your family. Do you want to risk having an installation
failure? Why not leave your installation to the professionals? It’s
money well spent. Durasol, Eclipse and Sunair dealers are selected
to provide you with peace-of-mind. Knowing you have chosen a quality
local company that stands behind their work and can provide
references on request.
Buy a Quality Product, From a Quality
Manufacturer, Installed by a Quality Company
Remember an awning is a long-term investment in your
comfort and safety. Be certain that you are choosing the right
solution to deliver these results.
Eclipse or Sunair awnings are the best-engineered and designed
systems for a basic retractable lateral arm awning today. These
companies are some of the few if not the only awning manufacturers
that are not concerned with how many dealers carry their product
line. Instead they are more concerned with the quality of the
dealers that they partner with. Not everyone can be a Durasol,
Eclipse or Sunair dealer – only the best will do. That’s why we have
over a 98% nation-wide customer satisfaction rate. Your investment
in a quality long-term shading product that is installed by trained
professionals will prove to be a decision your family will enjoy for
years to come. We back your purchase with a factory-registered
warranty, something unheard of in today’s market.