How to clean and repair fabric awnings and their frames

Awnings can shade a terrace or keep a house cool in summer. Fabric awnings have two main parks, the cover and the frame. Covers can rot, rip, fade, and stain. Frames may suffer from corrosion and loose fastenings. Traditional covers are of sailcloth, a cotton canvas that lasts 5 to 7 years before the sun fades and weakens it. (For a higher price, awnings can be made of acrylic fabric that will last 8 to 11 years.) Remove covers and store them for the winter in a clean, dry place to extend their lives.

Rainwater running off the roof will stain covers. Periodic hosing with water and, if necessary, a mild detergent can prevent much of the discoloration. Water-repellent spray or liquid applied to a terrace awning will prevent leaking.

Old canvas rips easily. To mend a rip, cut a patch from a similar fabric large enough to extend 1 inch beyond the tear. Glue it on with flexible outdoor glue; sewing will weaken the old fabric. Think about replacing old covers before the following summer. Maintaining frames.

If frames become corroded or rusted, brush them with a wire brush, apply a coat of rust-inhibiting primer, and then repaint them to match the rest of the frame. Check screws and other fastenings and tighten any that are loose. If the frames sway in a strong wind, anchor them with ropes attached to their outer corners and stretched to cleats on the house.