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Various types of awnings are available to provide shade and protection from the elements. With the possible exception of small ornamental awnings, the two most common types of these awnings are made from aluminum or retractable fabric. These two types of canopies are very different in construction, each requiring specific awning hardware.
Aluminum awnings are generally larger than retractable fabric awnings. These permanent structures consist of aluminum sheeting covering a steel or aluminum frame. These sheets are attached by three-eights of an inch to two-inch (0.95 to 5.08 centimeters) sheet metal screws.
Once the frame of an aluminum sunshade is constructed, it is often placed on I-beams for additional strength. Aluminum beams sold for this purpose range between four and seven inches (101.6 to 177.8 millimeters) in width and can be purchased in 20- or 24-foot (6.09- or 7.31-meter) lengths. The entire structure is then placed on posts.
Awning posts are standard aluminum awning hardware. These posts are made from heavy-gauge aluminum or steel and are generally three inches (76.2 millimeters) wide and eight to 12 feet (2.43 to 3.65 meters) long. They are placed for support every seven to 12 feet (2.13 to 3.65 meters) to provide support for the overhang. These supports are generally set into post brackets that have been attached to a concrete foundation by a three-eighths of an inch (0.95 centimeter) bolt or set inside newly poured concrete footers. Rarely, the supporting posts of small aluminum awnings may be attached to wood decking.
Retractable fabric awnings rely mainly on their mounting equipment for support. The primary supporting awning hardware for the mount is a base plate that is three-sixteenths of an inch to four inches (0.47 to 10.16 centimeters) thick and made from steel or heavy-gauge aluminum. This base is bolted to the support structure with one or more thick anchor bolts. Two to four mounts are screwed onto the base plate to support the tube that the fabric is wrapped around. The size and shape of these mounts are reliant on awning tube design.
The awning roller tube, the metal rod that the fabric wraps around, usually ranges from one inch to four inches (2.54 to 10.16 centimeters) in diameter but can be much thicker in industrial retractable awnings. This piece of awning hardware is generally slightly longer than the width of the awning. Much like retractable blinds, this tube generally contains spring mechanisms that aid in the retraction of the structure. These springs are covered by endcaps. The whole roller tube assembly slides into the awning mounts.
For ease of operation, some larger retractable sunscreens are motorized. These small motors are usually attached to the awning roller tube. Other retractable awning hardware may include fabric clamps and the assorted screws, nuts, or bolts need for mounting.
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