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How to Install a Cloth Retractable Awning

Retractable awnings can be used to shade a house, cover open patios, windows or entryways.

By providing shade, retractable awnings protect windows and doors from the power of the sun. Pat Simpson and Jodi Marks of Fix It Up! show how to install an awning, creating a beautiful shaded patio.

Installing a Cloth Retractable Awning

Materials and Tools:

cloth retractable awning kit (see bottom for info)
brackets (included in kit)
2 ladders
utility knife
measuring tape
2' level
3" galvanized lag screws w/ washers
socket wrench
chalk line


1. Unwrap the plastic sheet covering the awning and allow the awning to rest on the plastic. Make sure the awning is resting so that the front faces out and the valence is facing forward and hanging down. Set the brackets (figure A) to the side.

2. Measure the length of the awning and transfer the measurements to the wall where the awning will be mounted. Write an "E" to locate where both ends where the left and right sides will be. Measure for the hardware locations on the awning and then transfer those dimensions as well--writing a "B" where the mounting brackets are located (figure B). All four brackets will be evenly spaced for maximum support.

3. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions, using these instructions as a guideline. Next, position the first bracket and mark the drill holes with a pencil (figure C). Be sure to check the pencil marks for plumb with a two-foot level.

4. Drill through the marked drill point to make sure that there is a stud, band or top plate that can act as a sturdy anchor. Once this has been determined, continue to mark both bracket holes, use a two-foot level to draw a line through both marks, drill pilot holes, then attach the brackets with three-inch galvanized lag screws and washers with a socket wrench (figure D).

*Note: Don't overtighten the lag screws because the will strip. Also, install the outside brackets first, pop a chalk line between the two to determine level, then install the inside brackets.

5. With the four brackets in place, carefully lift the awning and set it in place. The ends of the awning should match up with the "E" marks.

6. Next, close the brackets by slightly lifting the front of the awning and then sliding the bracket cover over the square tube of the awning. Then attach the hardware to clamp the bracket shut (figure E). Use a socket wrench to tighten the hardware (figure F). Repeat this procedure for all brackets.

7. Remove the safety bands from the arms and open the awning using the crank. Check the height and level of the front bar. If you aren't satisfied, adjust the pitch and angle of each arm separately. You can use an alum wrench to adjust the angle of the arm (figure G)--turning clockwise will raise the arm, counterclockwise will lower it. Be sure to adjust both arms to the height you want and make certain to check that the front bar is level (figure H).

8. This project costs around 1500 dollars and takes a day to do (figure I). The cost varies greatly with the size of the awning.

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