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What Is Wrong with My Awning? 5 Solutions to Common Awning Issues

An awning is a valuable investment for your home. It provides shade, protects your deck or patio from the elements and adds a pleasant visual element to your home. Awnings can also improve your home’s energy efficiency and increase the value of your home. The installation of a new, motorized retractable awning can cost a little under $2,000.
The best awnings will last for many years, but, like any piece of your home, they require proper maintenance. Whether you have a retractable awning or a manual awning, age and regular use necessitate care and cleaning. When issues occur, awning repair doesn’t have to be difficult. Get to know the most common awning problems and how to fix them.

Common Awning Problems and How to Fix Them

1. Sensors
Motorized retractable awnings have electric sensors, which extend and retract the awning automatically. The sensors, which are usually quite small and easy to install, will react to different weather conditions, such as sun, rain or wind, and activate the motor.

  • The problem. A few issues can affect electric sensors. For example, if the power at your home is out, you will need to use the manual function to retract and extend the awning. This is often a temporary problem, but in some cases, the electronic sensors will stop functioning entirely. If the electronic sensors fail to activate while you are home, you can take action and move the awning manually. But, if the sensors fail while you are away from home, your deck or patio furniture could be unexpectedly exposed to the elements. Sensor failure is one of the most common awning problems, but it is also one of the easiest to remedy.
  • The solution. While you can operate your motorized retractable awning manually, you invested in a more expensive model that automatically retracts and extends. You want to be able to enjoy this function. If you find your sensors are not reacting properly to weather conditions or are failing entirely, it is time to call in the professionals. A trained awning expert will determine if the electric sensors need to be recalibrated, reinstalled or completely replaced. Whatever the problem is, a professional can handle the solution quickly and effectively. Replacing the electric sensors is typically inexpensive and quick. It may be frustrating to see your awning malfunction, but new sensors will readily address the issue. And, fixing this problem does not require fixing or replacing any other piece of your awning.

2. Motors

Retractable awning motors are responsible for actually moving your awning. Rather than using a hand crank, as you would with a manual awning, motorized awnings move with the simple press of a button. If the motor is malfunctioning or broken, that movement can be jerky, or the awning may remain stuck in one position.

  • The problem. Awning motors can overheat and struggle to do their job. Other times, a motor may simply fail and no longer work. The motor itself can be the issue, as well as the retractable arm. If your awning’s motor is not working properly or is completely defunct, you will need to manually operate the awning. Instead of getting up and moving the awning yourself, you can find a solution to your motor trouble.
  • The solution. A simple issue may have to do with the motor’s power connection, such as a shorted wire. In other cases, the motor may have reached the end of its usable life. Whether the solution is a relatively easy repair or a replacement, it is best to call in a professional for help. Retractable awning repair parts will vary depending on the manufacturer and the model of your awning, making it difficult for homeowners to find and buy the correct parts. A professional will be able to quickly examine the motor and determine if a new part is needed or if an entirely new motor is necessary to solve the issue. If the retractable arm is an issue, this part may need to be replaced as well.

This problem does not mean you need to replace your entire awning, but it can be an expensive issue. The exact cost of the fix will depend on the brand of the motor and the time it takes to replace it. A motor replacement will typically cost $200 to $600. The retractable arm will likely be less expensive, costing between $30 and $200 to replace.

3. Tracks

A motorized or manual retractable awning runs on tracks, usually made of some type of metal, as they extend and retract.

  • The problem. An awning that comes out of its track will not function properly. If this happens, it could be because the awning jumped the tracks and needs to be realigned. An awning may not be running smoothly in its tracks for other reasons, such as a build-up of debris, a lack of lubrication or warped tracks. Whatever the cause, an awning’s tracks are essential to the smooth operation of the entire system. If you allow your awning to run on faulty tracks, you risk more extensive and costly damage to the rest of the system.
  • The solution. When the tracks of your awning feel sticky or stop running as smoothly as they once did, there are a couple of different solutions. First, you should examine the tracks for debris. Over time, dirt and other gunk can accumulate in the tracks. When this happens, the movement of your awning in its tracks will be hampered. Lack of lubrication can also cause your awning to feel like it is sticking in its tracks. You may also find that an unpleasant sound accompanies the awning’s movement from extension to retraction and back. In either of these cases, a professional will be able to clean the tracks and apply proper lubrication. This is a simple, quick process that will likely be inexpensive.

The tracks of your awning can also have more serious problems, such as rust or warping. Homes in areas with extreme weather, such as heavy snow or high humidity, may be more likely to experience this type of issue with their awning tracks. If the tracks are bent out of shape or rusty, the unpleasant aesthetic is, of course, a concern. But, you also need to worry about how the awning functions. In either of these cases, the damage is severe enough that the tracks will need to be replaced completely. This is not a do-it-yourself kind of project. A professional will need to assess the damage to the tracks, determine the appropriate replacements and handle their installation. A professional may also be able to recommend a more durable type of track to withstand the weather conditions that led to the rust or warping.

4. Fabric

Fabric is what gives your awning, whether manual or motorized, its overall look. Awnings can be made with a variety of different fabrics, such as canvas, vinyl, polyester or acrylic. Often the fabric will be a blend of materials. Newer awning fabric typically includes antimicrobial properties. You can expect the fabric of your awning to last for more than a decade.

  • The problem. Fabric can fade, tear and degrade. Some types, such as canvas, can easily become moldy or start to rot, even with a protective coating. Synthetic fabrics and fabric blends will typically live longer and better resist issues like mold and mildew but are not immune from problems such as tearing and fading. Exposure to sunshine, rain, snow and other weather elements, any fabric will eventually cause any fabric to rip and fade. These issues will reduce the efficacy of your awning and create an undesirable look for your home.
  • The solution. If your canvas awning is suffering from mold or rot, the solution is simple: it will need to be replaced. Choosing a synthetic model will likely improve the longevity of your awning, but deciding which type of synthetic fabric to choose can be tricky. A professional will be familiar with the weather in your area and be able to recommend the fabric best-suited to lasting in those conditions.

When it comes to small tears, you may be able to enlist a professional to patch the fabric. This solution makes the most sense when tears occur to a newer awning that is otherwise in great shape. For example, a tear caused by a fallen tree branch or hail may not require the fabric to be replaced in its entirety.
If you are concerned about maintaining a cohesive aesthetic or the damage to your awning’s fabric is extensive, replacement is the best solution. The price for replacing your awning’s fabric will depend on the size of the awning and the type of fabric you select. The new fabric will likely cost between $250 and $700.

5. Age


  • Quality awnings, both manual and retractable, are built to last, but age will still take its toll. While proper care of your awning can maintain its aesthetics and operation, age-related issues can and will still occur.
  • The problem. Age-related issues are unavoidable. Some age-related problems may be electric in nature. The problem may be related to the structure of the awning, which means the tracks have reached their limit. Aesthetic concerns are one of the most common age-related issues. An awning with rusty parts and faded fabric may be functional, but it can negatively affect your home’s curb appeal.
  • The solution. If you are wondering how to repair an awning, any serious issues are going to be best handled by the professionals. If your awning’s age problems are electrical, the answer is almost certainly going to be replacing the problematic parts. Repairing an older awning’s motor or sensors is likely just delaying the inevitable. Those parts will need to be replaced at some point, and when you have reached the point of frequent malfunctions, it makes sense to invest in new parts. If age has rendered the tracks of your awning rusty and unable to facilitate smooth movement of the awning, they will need to be replaced as well.

If aesthetics are your main age-related concern, you are probably looking to a solution to your fabric woes. Though you may have regularly cleaned the fabric and shielded it from the more damaging effects of the weather, it will still fade and fray after its time in the sun. At this point, it is time to talk to a professional about replacing the fabric. You can have fun with selecting the color and pattern of your new fabric, while a professional will guide you to an option that has the weather and UV-resistance necessary to help it stand up to the test of time.
At some point in time, you may find that multiple parts of your awning are suffering the effects of age. When this happens, it may be time to replace the entire system. When this happens, you can opt for a similar style of awning, or you can explore different types of retractable awnings and determine what will work best for your home.

Fixing Your Awing

Awnings are designed to withstand regular use outdoors, but issues can occur. The electronic sensors or motors on retractable awnings may need to be replaced. The tracks of either a manual or retractable awning may need to be periodically lubricated. Harsh weather can strain and tear the fabric of the awning, while simple age can lead to issues like rust. Some issues are easier to diagnose than others.
Regardless of the problem, you will want to fix or replace the awning so you can enjoy the shade it provides and its ease of use. If you are experiencing any issues with your home’s awning, reach out to Liberty Door and Awning. We offer free consultations. During our visit, we will take a look and let you know what solution your awning needs. Trust that the professionals will help you find the right solution and get your awning back in top condition.

If you’re interested in replacing your awnings altogether, Liberty Door & Awning also offers a large selection of awning products:

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