Awning kits -- wow, pricing shock!

I've been looking at fabric awnings on the 'net for the last few days, visiting sites all over the US with a focus on DIY kits. I am amazed at the cost of these things -- it's a couple of swaths of canvas sewed together draped over an aluminum frame and prices range from $200 apiece and up. They typically only come with 5 year warranties at that! This is insane -- why on earth are these things so expensive??
James
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it isn't canvas for one thing it is a special material and the frames are labor intense to build. $200 is actually a good price.
candice
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These days getting a worker out of bed and on time to work is labor intensive.
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snipped-for-privacy@aol.com (Randd01) wrote in message

Maybe if you paid them a living wage and gave them interesting work you'd get better results. Or are you talking about Chinese slave labor? In that case, I wouldn't want to get out of bed either.
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especially
well there is your answer, go buy the materials and build your own.
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JNJ wrote:

I make tents.. (well, small pavillions) for a hobby, and the materials for a 12x12 square marquis with vertical sides costs me in excess of $300, including poles, spikes, metal fittings, grommets, nylon carpet-thread, and expected needle breakage, these are substantially larger than a window awning, but the specialized fittings probably more than make up for that.. People are unlikely to take down their awnings when it gets blustery out, nor are they usually willing to put out storm-stays. So the hardware has to be pretty robust.
And 5 years of near-continuous exposure is really about all you can expect for a fabric structure.
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I used to be a steel erection contractor. We did ornamental metal (wrought iron), awnings, and welding repair and construction.
We used Raven Mills Sunbrella fabric. It would easily last five years, and realistically around ten. It had to be made correctly, and tensioned periodically. I sold the company years back. But I have purchased welding and fab equipment to make more of these and other items for my properties and for sale on ebay.
One can make quality awnings from tubular steel and Raven Mills Sunbrella for a VERY reasonable price compared to what contractors get. Rocket science they ain't. Even if you don't weld, you can find a garage shop guy to get the frames made for a reasonable price. Canvas is a no brainer, and can be done labor only by almost any upholstery guy. If you do have a wirefeed and a saw, you got most of it right there.
Lots of bang for not too many bucks.
Now, if you are a contractor, you have to tack on a location, security, bonding, licensing, insurance, advertising, labor, theft, phone, electricity, printing, gasoline, maintenence, tool purchases, tool replacement, equipment purchases, equipment replacement, bottled water, tenant improvements, phones, fax, computers, cell phones, office furniture, walkie talkies, safety equipment, fasteners, consumables, and about fifty other things, so, YES, Martha, the price goes way up when buying even cheap stuff from a supplier/manufacturer.
Oh, I forgot to include any profit in the above paragraph.
Steve
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Are you aware of any references on how to do this or are there any caveats in particular to watch out for?

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These prices are not from contractors, they just sound like contractor pricing (to me anyway).
James
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I was thinking of using grommets to connect three panels of fabric to the framing. This would both look good (IMO at least) as well as do double duty by allowing air to circulate.
Our current awnings are aluminum and attach to the same wood as the window mounts -- I figured this would be strong enough to hold fabric awnings, especially since aluminum are much heavier of course.

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That would be good to see -- I enjoy viewing others' works in progress plus it's always good for ideas. I'll be doing some more major rennovations in my house in the coming months -- I'll likely do the same on my site as well.
Thanks for the info!
James
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duty
I went on a trip once when I was first making awnings. The trip was to Disneyland, and southern California. I saw many examples of the use of canvas, and got a lot of new ideas. Many were just what you refer to. They were triangular pieces of canvas that were mounted in various configurations. They allow shade at certain times of the day/year, and sunlight in the complimentary time space. They allow for air flow, letting the high pressure release, and reducing lift. I did see several applications, though, where ropes were sewn into the fabric all along the edge, and the loops on the ends were used as the anchors instead of grommets. This made them a little sturdier during windy periods. Grommetting is acceptable, but it depends on the quality of canvas and the quality of the grommets/grommetting, and may have to be taken down during periods of high winds. But, that is what makes them so easy to take down or put up. A few upright poles in the back yard with triangular sail shaped panels on them would give one a very colorful functional large shady area. Correctly orienting it to the sun would allow for morning sun, but provide afternoon shade. Fabrication would be very reasonable, and possibly done by the DIYer who had or had access to a sturdy sewing machine.
The ideas are endless, and really not a lot of work. In many places, the panels can be attatched to existing fascia, fence, post, eave, rafter end, tree, etc. with eye bolts, and then either bungeed on or tied on with ropes. Even airplane cable harnesses would be very easy and durable. A three point attatchment between the house, a tree, and a post would allow one to put up a very large sun shade in the back yard. Using other points of attatchment would allow for multiple "sails." Your backyard could easily become a multicolored area with more shade.
Speaking of airplane cable, you could put two parallel runs of it, and put a rectangular grommeted canvas in there that would then be retractable, sliding on the cables.
I believe that canvas and ornamental metal framing are some of the most overlooked solutions to various problems and design criteria there is. Again, you get a lot of bang for the bucks. I mean, stringing some colorful sail shaped pieces of colorful canvas here and there to get new shade areas. Totally changeable. Totally removeable. Very versatile. Some metal framing with canvas work inserts.
Steve
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JNJ wrote:

I just had a 60" awning recovered locally for $275. I removed the frame from the condo & delivered it to the shop, picked it up when completed. Reinstalled it myself. They wanted an extra $75 to come remove/install it.
$200 sounds like a deal, as long as the fabric is of good quality.
--
John L. Weatherly
Nashville, TN
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it.
You just paid $275 for $30 worth of canvas. And you did half the work for them.
But if you are happy, that is the important thing.
Steve
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