awningsWe offer custom manufacturing services.  Our sales and design team can design an awning custom tailored to the specific needs of your home.  Our Weld department can manufacture custom frames out of steel or aluminum and our paint department will electrostatically apply commercial paint of your color choice.  Our fabric designs are digitally cut and our sew department can sew or weld covers of almost any size.  Finally our professional installation team can install these products to your home where you will enjoy a long term solution to your unique shade needs.

Awnings do not normally project more than 6 feet off a structure and need sufficient attachment points.  They hang on wall clips that are attached to structural elements like studs or headers.  Your salesman will help determine what awning style, size, frame type and fabric type will suit your particular needs.  There are downloads to the right and more information below.  If you are looking for something that projects more than 6′ or that has posts, you are looking for a canopy.

  1. i Awning Styles
  2. ii Valances
  3. iii Specifying Size
  4. iv Fabrics
  5. v Fabric Attachment
  6. vi Frame/Frame Color
  7. vii Installation

i Awning Styles

Awning shapes are referred to as styles.  Each style can be made with custom widths, heights and projections.  Each style can also have a hard or soft valance.


ii Valances

There are two types of valances, hard and soft.   An awning can have one, the other, both, or neither.  Both types of valances can be added to any style to create unique awning shapes and also can serve as a background for graphics.

Hard Valance:  Hard refers to valance being part of the frame as seen in the above picture.  This valance can be any custom height and it’s used to create a distinct style of awning and/or  used in place to put graphics/addresses on.  Hard valances are usually anywhere from 6″-8″ but they can be any size specified.  The “traditional” frame style as pictured above has examples of hard valance.

valanceSoft Valance:  Soft Valances are a decorative fabric that hangs from the perimeter of the awning cover.  They are available for an up charge.  Valances are made from the same fabric as the main cover and are available in many styles as illustrated in the chart To the right.  They are finished with an accent fabric called “binding” which is available in many color options.  In the picture on the right, the light blue represents the fabric and the dark blue represents the binding.  Downloads of the valance styles and binding color options are available here or at the top of the page.

iii Specifying Size

Awnings don’t normally project more than 6 ft, and can be almost any width or height specified.  Each awning is specified according to specs, plans, or on site measurements.  Frames from 25′ to 100′+ get assembled in multiple sections and then one cover is usually stretched across the entire frame.  Awning sizes are communicated by the following specs:

  • Height
  • Projection
  • Width
  • Hard Valance
  • Soft Valance

Below are examples of a traditional awning and a barrel awning.


If an awning is to have a hard valance, the height of the hard valance must be specified.  This is rigid welded vertical portion of the frame.  Heights usually range from 6 inches to one foot, but can be any size.


If an awning is to have a soft valance, the type of soft valance must be selected and it’s height must be specified.  Normal drops are 6 to 8 inches, but we can manufacture to any size.


An awning can have a soft and a hard valance.


iv Fabrics

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 residential applications, we do not have to use fire retardant fabrics.  This allows us to offer Sunbrellas complete Awning and Marine Grade fabric collection.  The woven construction of the material gives it a furniture grade finish 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 Awning and Marine Grade:  This collection has over 150+ solids and patterns to choose from.  8 year warranty

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 like a woven fabric.  It has a warranty of 8 years.  Roll width is 74 inches.

v Fabric Attachment

When you put fabric over a frame, you have to tension it in order to get the wrinkles out and promote water drainage.  There are three different types of attachment for fabric to frame, and these 3 style can be mixed in match depending on the awning.


Lace:  Lacing is the most common type of fabric attachment.  This is when the cover has a line of grommets sewn into it and a rope is laced throughout the grommets to the frame.  Cutouts for the frame are reinforced using colored braid. The rope is a double braided nylon rope which does not rot, mold or mildew.  White rope is standard, black rope is available for an up charge.


Steel Stitch: Steel stitch is a fabric attachment system where the fabric is stretched across the frame and actually stapled to an inner bar in the awning frame.  A decorative strip is then placed into the slot to protect the hardware, and provide a clean finish.  The closure strip or zip strip is available in 26 colors and is available here, or at the top of the page in the downloads section.




Screws:  In this mode of fabric attachment, a pocket is sewn into the perimeter of the cover, and steel flatbars are cut to fit inside.  These lengths are used to tension the fabric with stainless steel self drilling screws.  These screws pierce the flatbar, and then tap into the frame essentially bolting the cover to the frame.

vi Frame/Frame Colors

Frames:  Most frames are made from steel tubing.  We can also manufacture from aluminum or even stainless steel for an up charge.  Our frames are all individually designed and their unique specifications will dictate what size materials to use.  Our weld staff will cut, assemble, and weld each frame.  We design our frames so that there are no open tubes, each tubes is mitered or terminates on another piece of material. 

Frame Color:  We protect our frames with a commercial grade primer and 2 part epoxy paint from Pittsburgh paints.  Our topcoat is available in white, black, or custom colors for an up charge.  The paint is designed for exposed commercial applications so it is very successful when it is protected by a fabric cover.  We apply our coatings using an electrostatic application, which means the paint and the frame are both electrically charged so the two attract for superior coverage.  Because of our painting process, we do not usually paint with our customer’s paint.  Instead we’ll match the color as best we can, below is an example of our color pallet.  More paint specs and a larger color pallet are available in a .PDF here.


vii Installation

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 6′ 8″.  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.