Below: The same awning with a new cover.
There are many reasons why people choose to recover their awnings or canopies. The end of a fabric’s life, new branding or a new color all head down the same path to a beautiful new awning or canopy recover. On this page we’ll discuss the recover process and provide information on how we deal with common scenarios in the recover process such as rust repair, fabric removal and painting. Your salesman will walk you through the process.
We have a unique process that allows us to successfully refurbish almost any awning or canopy cover. There are some frames that we’ve encountered over the years that were made by people who don’t understand basic principles of fabric attachment, and there have been even fewer scenarios in which we were unable to recover a frame. We employ a variety of tradesmen and women that allow us offer custom fabric making services, frame repair, on-site or off-site painting, and professional installation of our covers. Your salesperson will be your guide to help specify and price out your options, or determine if it is more cost effective to go with a new product. Your awning or canopy may or may not require the following steps:
In this stage our salesperson will do an onsite inspection. They will determine if your product can be recovered. They will also do a cursory inspection of potential rust damage. Significant rust needs to be addressed early on to avoid surprise charges later on. The paint job will be reviewed and options discussed. They will also present you with fabrics that are appropriate for your recover. In this stage, the salesman collects general pricing information.
Depending on the product, one or more recover prices may be presented.
If the price is acceptable, we will process your order and order your materials. Fabric is ordered per job and usually takes anywhere from 14-21 days to arrive by boat. If much rust repair is needed, it can begin here.
- Rust Repair
Tropical J’s professional weld team can fix almost all rust issues. We will use a variety of techniques from on site welding, bondo and splicing in pre made sections to repair the frame. We will help make the decision if we can or should bring the frame back to our shop. If we have to fix it in the field we will have to close the area for safety. See Rust below for more information.
Once a frame is repaired we’ll want to protect the frame by applying a commercial, NON-LATEX paint to your frame. It is not uncommon for others to paint the frame, but please see Paint below for more information to ensure a successful paint job.
Measuring is unique to each frame. If Tropical J’s made your cover previously, we have your file saved and we can digitally cut another cover. If not, we’ll have to do on site measuring after any frame repair is completed. On site measuring may or may not require the removal of the fabric. We understand your cover may be integral to your business, so please let your salesman know if you need to have it replaced IF we have to remove it (as it might incur additional installation expense). If fabric removal is required, we will wait until your fabric is on island BEFORE we schedule any on site work. If rust is discovered at this point, we will do our best to price our frame repairs as soon as possible. Sometimes this happens and it’s unavoidable. See Measuring/Fabric Removal for more information.
If we have to remove your cover, we strive to be back to install your cover in 5 business days or less. Installation is usually done between the hours of 7:00am and 3:30 pm. Make sure to discuss with your salesman if you require installation outside this window.
Rust can be in plain sight or may be hidden just underneath the fabric. When fabric fails, water penetrates the cover and will sit wherever the frame and fabric meet. It is most common in the bottom bar of awning frames and can usually even be seen through the fabric as something that resembles coffee stains. You will also be able to pinch an awning frame through the fabric and hear a “crunch” if rust is present.
Pricing: Our salesman or welders will conduct an on site visit to survey the amount of time and materials it will take to fix the frame and provide you with an estimate for frame repair. It is possible however to expose more rust damage during the repair process than is possible during the survey portion. We will communicate the new scope and continue to work towards the estimate. If our welders anticipate going over the estimated time and materials due to new discoveries, your salesman will create a change order. If our welders finish under the estimated time, we calculate the time and materials and apply the difference as a credit towards your order.
Rust repair is organized in two categories; on site and off site repair.
Off Site repair: If the frame can be removed or transported easily, we will usually bring it back to our shop where we can use the full resources of our weld department.
On Site repair: On site repair can be difficult depending on the situation and will always require the area to be blocked off. Safety to both property and people will be our major concerns. We employ professional welders and will have someone on fire watch for all welding. You know your area best so be sure to work with your salesman to educate him on all the hazards of your site. We try to create barriers when possible to prevent exposure of welding flashes to the public.
Our welders operate between the hours of 7:15 am – 3:30 pm. Overtime work is possible but priced differently, make sure to discuss with your salesman.
When an awning is recovered, it is a great time to paint the frame. If the frame is able to come back to our shop, our painter will prep it and spray it. If we can’t return the frame to our shop, then we can paint it in the field using either brusher roller techniques. We exclusively use Pittsburgh Paint’s High performance coatings line of paint and primer. The primer is a two part epoxy that is designed for outdoor pipes while the paint is a commercial enamel available many colors.
If you choose to paint your frame yourself or have someone else paint it, the following is critically important to the success of the fabric attachment. Failure to follow these two rules will most likely result in our installers unable to install the cover or paint coming off the frame onto the fabric. Both situations are very undesirable and result in unwelcome change orders.
Rule #1. NEVER PAINT YOUR FRAME WITH LATEX BASED PAINT. USE ONLY OIL, ENAMELS, OR TWO PART EPOXY PAINTS.
Rule #2. ALWAYS ALLOW FOR (3) DAYS BETWEEN THE LAST THING PAINTED AND FABRIC INSTALL.
Our painters operate between the hours of 7:15 am – 3:30 pm. Overtime work is possible but priced differently, make sure to discuss with your salesman.
All Tropical J’s awning covers are digitally designed by our professional design team. New awnings (fabric and frame) are designed together while awning recovers are done from on site measurements, or by bringing frames back to our shop. The CAD patterns are sent to our digital cutter that cuts and labels each component for precise manufacturing. We manufacture awning covers from two types of fabrics, Solution dyed acrylic weaves which we refer to as Acrylics, and Vinyl coated or laminated polyesters which we refer to as Vinyls. Acrylics have a woven look similar to canvas and vinyls tend to be much smoother and shinier (although there are some exceptions).
Your salesman will provide you with fabric cards so you can see and feel the different textures of all the fabric types and get a an accurate sample of the individual colors for each fabric line.
The frame component of a awning sale will have a firm price while the cover price changes depending on the fabric. We charge for our covers based on the current market price of $$ per yard for each fabrics and our salesman will normally be able to provide several pricing options depending on the type of fabric used.
Acrylics: For commercial applications, code requires fire retardant fabrics. This allows us to offer Sunbrellas Firesist fabric collection. The woven construction of the material gives it a furniture grade look which most customers relate to “residential”. Sunbrella’s yarns are solution dyed, which means that the yarn is dyed before it is woven. This gives each yarn better UV protection and much longer color steadfastness.
Sunbrella Firesist: The mill coats this fabric with a film that creates fire retardancy and meets the current code for fire retardant fabric. It’s an expensive process so they offer this collection in a much smaller color pallet.
Vinyls: There are many options when it comes to vinyls. Vinyls are composed of an inner weave, called a scrim, that is then coated with a manufacturer’s unique composition. The thickness of the coating usually yields greater warranties and also increases the cost per yard. The composition of the coating determines the sheen, and each manufacturer offers their lines of fabrics in unique color pallets. Your salesman will help determine which vinyl will fit your needs.
Weblon Coastline: A high performance value vinyl fabric. Weblon does not have such a heavy top coating which gives it a lighter weight and shorter warranty of 5 years. Roll width 60 inches.
Patio 500: A high performance value vinyl fabric. Patio 500 is very similar to Weblon but it is slightly heavier. It carries the same warranty. Roll width 60 inches.
Serge Ferrari Pre Contraint 502: A very high performance vinyl. Ferrari has a thick topcoat which hides the scrim and gives it a very smooth look. It has an 8 year warranty. Roll width 70.87″
Weathertyte: A very high performance vinyl. Weathertyte is unique in that after the fabric is made, it is run through two rollers that stamp it and embed a pattern in it that makes it look woven. It has a warranty of 8 years. Roll width is 74 inches.
v Measuring/Fabric Removal
Manufacturing: If we’ve manufactured your cover before, we have your digital pattern on file and may need to only take check measurements to ensure success. If we don’t have your cover on file, we will need to measure your frame. We do not manufacture new covers based on old covers, as fabric tends to stretch over time. Our fabric designer will review your job and determine if they need to remove the fabric in order to collect the information they need from the frame. Remember, we need to measure the frame to ensure the fabric fits and sometimes that is not possible with the fabric on. Measuring usually takes anywhere from 1 to 5 hours for most products. We mainly use ladders to access the frame although sometime we may need scaffold or even lifts for access. We are very adept at working around employees and customers. If in this stage additional rust damage is discovered, your saleperson will be notified and a change order will be submitted.
Fabric Removal: Every so often we need to remove the fabric to measure the frame. Concerns in this stage are debris collected on the fabric, as well as disruption of services. Our normal procedure for fabric removal is to remove and dispose of the cover as reinstallation can be costly and sometimes impossible. We strive to return in under 5 business days if we remove the cover, but please discuss with your salesman if some intermediate solution is neccesarry.
Our designers operate between the hours of 7:15 am – 3:30 pm. Overtime work is possible but priced differently, make sure to discuss with your salesman.
Our salesman will collect the information that our professional installation team will use to install your products. Most installations usually take 1 day. We install into structural elements in your building using Hillman stainless steel fasteners. Our most common fastener attachments types are expansion anchors, self drilling/tapping screws, toggle bolts, and epoxy set all-thread. Each installation is unique in it’s attachment but there are some common elements to consider so our salesman may price out installation accordingly.
Insurance: Tropical J’s is a licensed, bonded and insured company, but if you need additional insurance there may be an up charge for that.
Vehicle Access: Our work fleet consists of vans and flatbed with vehicle heights of 7’2″. If they do not have access to on site contractor parking, please work with our salesman to determine the nearest parking.
Hours of Operation: Jobs are quoted out during our regular scheduled working hours which are 7:00-3:30. If you require installation outside these hours, there may be overtime charges.
Power: Most installations require the use of one electrical outlet during the course of installation. Please help our salesman establish the nearest one.
Bathrooms: In the event that there is a restroom available please inform our salesman.