Exterior Curtains - Rope and Pulleys

A Tropical J’s Rope & Pulley system is an affordable and durable exterior or interior shade solution.  Their sturdy construction and tensioning systems allow them to be utilized as not only privacy screens but also as medium to heavy duty wind blocks, depending on their attachments.  They can be made from a wide variety of solid vinyls, acrylics such as Sunbrella, mesh material, or even clear vinyl.  When in use, the systems are fully deployed and tied to set anchor points.  When not in use, they roll up out of the way.  Operation is by means of a control rope, which quickly raises or lowers the systems.  If you are looking for a shade that is remote driven or can be raised or lowered to many different intermediate stops, then you should consider a Tropical J’s Wire Guide system.





I System/Tiedowns/Valances

Frames: We handcraft our frames with pride and Aloha here in Hawaii on a per order basis.  We use American red oak rib stock to cut all the spars and ribs. The finial, hub and runner are also glued together from American red oak, hand turned on a lathe and then bored out for the specific pole size.  Each pole is cut to length depending on rib tip clearance specified.  After manufacture, all components are hand sanded and dipped in a commercial grade Polyurethane.  This process is repeated 3 times to give the components a superior coating.  The components are then assembled using solid Hillman stainless steel hardware.  Our umbrella pole has a protective stainless steel sleeve epoxied on the bottom to prevent swelling of the umbrella pole while in a base where moisture might be present.  Depending on the application, we can horizontally drill through the sleeve for acceptance of a stainless steel through pin and lock or a nut and bolt to secure umbrella to base.Frame

Rib Tip Clearance:  Rib Tip Clearance (RTC) refers to the clearance from the ground to the perimeter of the umbrella cover.  We can manufacture to almost any specified  RTC from 6′ 8″ to up to 8′.  Standard RTC is 6′ 8″ for umbrellas up to 11′, with 7′ 0″ or higher for our larger diameter umbrellas.  With larger umbrellas, the ribs become so long that a taller RTC is required so that the umbrella is tall enough to close. Sometimes RTC must also be increased so that umbrellas can close over tables.  Your salesperson can help you with your special circumstances.  A Rib Tip Clearance.pdf is available for download that helps to determine how to specify RTC in different circumstances.

Pulleys:  As our umbrella sizes get larger, they get heavier.  They open like a traditional umbrella where you push up on the runner and then use a pin to lock it in place at the desired height. However, our larger sizes weigh more than traditional umbrellas and as they get bigger, they can be very difficult to open without the aid of a pulley system.  A pulley system is included on each umbrella in the Grand Ali’i series. Pulleys are available on any umbrella, in any series, for an up-charge.  We use marine grade Harken pulleys which are also used on America’s Cup.  These pulleys are simple and effective in design and never freeze up.  Excess pulley rope occurs when our umbrellas are fully opened.  The excess rope is put inside the pulley bag and the bag can then be placed on the umbrella’s upper rib cage for storage while the umbrella is opened.  The pulley bag and the umbrella cover are made from the same fabric.


II Widths/Drops/Seams

widthsSizes Widths:  Widths of these system can be anywhere from 2 feet up to 18 feet wide.  We do not recommend going more than 18 feet on a single unit for weight and control issues.

Sizes Heights:  Normal heights (drops) can be anywhere from 2 feet  to 12 feet.  After 12 feet drops, we decrease the maximum width of the system to keep them manageable.

Seams: We do our best to stay away from seams, but sometimes the size of a shade requires us to manufacture more than one panel of fabric.  There is an industry term called railroading, and it refers to using the running width of the fabric to create a seamless panel.  This is possible when the drop is less than the usable width of the fabric roll.


III Operation Videos
Tying off to a cleat:  When your system is up in the air you want to ensure that it is securely tied off to prevent it from rolling down and causing personal injury, damage to your property, or damage to the shade.

IV Fabrics

Fabrics:  A Rope and Pulley system can be made with virtually any fabric.  The example below shows how you can even mix and match fabrics to create dual functions.  Function should be the driving factor.  Do you need to block wind?  Do you need to block rain? Do you need heat/UV protection? Is the view important?


fabric selection


Mesh – Textilene – For heat and glare protection while maintaining a view,  TJ’s primarily uses Textilene meshes in 80% or 90%.  The percentage describes how tight the weave is and how much light/UV it blocks.  Each percentage is available in 6 colors.


When choosing a color, note that the darker colors will allow you to see more detail.  The darker the color, the greater the contrast equates to the clearest view.  The warranty for this fabric collection is 10 years.  See .PDF for more info.

Acrylics – Sunbrella  – Sunbrella’s marine grade awning fabrics work great for these systems.  These fabrics will block 100% of the view but will provide much better protection that a mesh fabric.  They are available in a variety of colors, including stripes, and generally have a very nice residential look and feel. SunbrellaThese shades are sewn with Tenara  thread.  The fabric manufacturer’s warranty for this fabrics collection is 10 years; 8 years inclusive with the last 2 years prorated.  See .PDF for more info.

Specialty Fabrics – We can manufacture with Phifertex’s collection of specialty fabrics. Their yearly collections include wicker weaves, colorful patterns and solid colors.  The fabrics all have unique pricing.  See your salesperson of rmore information.specialty


Vinyls – Weblon™ or Ferrari™

Vinyls are PVC based fabrics.  They are  inherently waterproof and some are fire retardant.  The finished look of the fabric is dependent on the manufacture and they tend to have a shiny look and commercial feel.  They block 100% of the view and will provide the best form of barrier.  Tropical J’s primarily manufactures with Weblon™ or Ferrari™.  Each brand has a specific color palette available and warranties run from 5-8 years. See .PDF for more info.




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′ 3″.  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.

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