Hi I’m Jason from the brand Blockout Blinds and this video is all about how to look after your brand new external awnings.
Now if you have a new awning, you’ll have one of two fabrics — you’ll either have a canvass fabric, such as the blind we have here, or you’ll have a PVC mesh fabric.
Now, the mesh fabric is much more durable than the canvass fabric, though they both need care and attention.
The blind behind me is a canvass and it’s 30 years old, and the canvass has lasted the test of times. If you’ll look after your awnings correctly, they will last a long time and much longer than their warrantied period. However if you don’t look after them correctly they can wear out in 4 or 5 or 6 years and not be covered by warranty.
So it’s one of those things that you just need to take a bit of care and time and remember to look after your awnings. Don’t just get them and forget about them or else they will start to deteriorate.
So the first thing you need to do is when you get your awnings, you need to make sure they’re pulled down, fully down to the bottom, and they’re left there for at least 4 days in the down position.
Now of course if you’ve got lots of wind or storm coming or something, we encourage you to put them up. But if it’s besides that let your awning stay down for 4 days.
Now why is this you ask — well, it lets the fabric tighten and condition itself.
This prevents the fabric from wrinkling or puckering later on down the track.
So it’s really important to let it fully down in 4 days before you put them up.
It’s also a good idea when you pull them down and they have been in the partial position etc…is to pull them down give a little bit of spray with the hose getting them wet just to last them condition a bit better as the sun heats up and evaporates the water out of the material.
Now I need to cover expectations; awnings generally looks nice and flat and really smooth, but what we need to remember is that these awnings are made of fabric. Now fabric will shrink and expand day to day, month to month, as humidity changes as it gets wet, so don’t expect your awnings to always be a hundred percent flat — it’s natural to get some waves in it, a little bit of variation, some little wrinkles here and there.
It is fabric, its outdoors, and that’s just the part of having a fabric product.
When it also comes to leaving your blind in the fully down position, it is good to put it up periodically as well. The reason for that is something as you can see it’s happened to this blind — when the blind is down for a long period of time, the wind heats it and obviously the middle is quite tall because it’s in the middle that the edges are loose as we can see here.
And what will happen as the wind blows and blows is the edges would just start to stretch a little bit.
And you’ll end up with a blind being quite tight in the middle, and a little bit loose on the ends.
Now this can be even worse if you’ve got the blind halfway down for a long period of time because what you’ll have is some of the fabric is rolled up; some of the fabric is exposed. The fabric that’s exposed is flopping, but the fabric that’s in the head box is not and you’ll end up with a loose piece and then a tight piece.
So it’s really important to put your blind all the way down when you can, all the way up when you can, and it’s also important not to just pull them down and leave them down for months on end.
If this does happen, you’ll end up with a fabric being a bit looser on the sides. You’ll need to go back and do the conditioning or you’ll leave the blind down for 4 downs after wetting them. And depending on the severity it will come good or it might improve.
Now, we’ve spoken about the wind flapping it, it’s a good idea to treat an awning a bit like you got an umbrella at the back. If it’s windy, or going to be windy or there’s a storm, you need to put the blind up.
So another thing to remember is if you’re leaving the home and you may be leaving for a period of time, a week or a few days you’re going on holiday — don’t leave your blinds down because you just never know when a storm or some really sever weather is going to come along. And the last things you want to do is come home and see that the blind is ripped off the wall, which is a very rare thing to happen.
But we’ve seen cases where the winds being so strong but it’s ripped the brackets out it’s ripped the fabric out off the rail etc… And of course that’s not covered by warranty, you need to take care of your awnings.
Now while we’re taking …now while we’re talking about warranty and maybe some things not being covered, what we highly recommend when you buy an outdoor product from Blockout Blinds such as an awning or a ZipTrak blind or something, is to add it to your home and contents insurance because the products are covered by a home and contents insurance that should a storm come and ripped your blinds apart or rip them off the wall or whatever might happen, you’ll be able to get that covered by your insurance.
So that’s a little tip that we recommend everybody follows.
When it comes to water, it is fine to let your fabrics get wet; absolutely fine. But what you don’t want to do is roll the fabric up or put the blind up while the fabric is wet. What’s going to happen is it’s going to be up wet and that could cause mould and mildew to occur.
Now the blinds are mould and mildew protected that’s how they come that’s how the fabric comes from Blockout blinds; however mould and mildew can grow on any impurities that are in the fabric.
So when I say impurities — bits of dirt, dust, bird poo, whatever it might be…so if you do notice any mould or mildew on there, you need to brush if off straight away.
If you don’t address it straight away, it can spread and it can end up going through the material even though it is mould and mildew protected.
Now there are cleaners out there from your hardware store are bleach based which are designed to get this mould and mildew off. However, you want to use that as a last resort because they’re quite severe chemicals. You’ve got to be really careful; you need to follow the instructions to the T.
And because they’re so strong, they can actually slightly remove or fade the fabric by the dye coming out.
So it’s better to address the problem early by checking them regularly and removing any impurities than to let it get too far and have to use the bleach. Talking about impurities, there’s many things that can get on to your blind. You’ve got that poo — bird poo — you can get any sort of animal excrement on there. You can get leaves stuck up in the head box and in the fabric just dirt over time.
It’s absolutely imperative that if you have any of these things on there you need to clean them off straight away.
I’m not sure if you’ve seen what can happen to your car when a bit of bird poo gets on there. It’s not addressed it actually eats through the paint.
So if you’ve got some bird poo on there or something, you need to brush it off give it a clean which we’ll get to in a minute, because once again these things are not covered by warranty and if you don’t address that then you pull off the bird poo 6 months later, you’ll have a big patch where it was because it would have eaten through and it would have altered the colour of the fabric so you don’t want to do that.
You also want to avoid putting any solvents on this — solvents are not good for the fabric when we wash them we strictly use water unless we’re trying to get that mould and mildew off that’s gone into the extreme point that we have to use the bleach.
So, there also comes a little bit of maintenance; you need to clean your blinds at least once a year. And you’ll say ” why would I need to clean these blinds?”
Well let’s have a look at this photo here and this is an older blind, and as you can see the fabric is torn all the way along the bottom. Now that’s one of the first things that happen if you don’t clean your awnings.
Why is it?
Well as you can see here, we have our blind and we have the weather valance hanging down here. What happens is dirt over time builds up into the fabric and it gets in between the warp and weft.
Now if it’s dirt inside the fabric, what happens is every time you put the fabric up and down, you’re making the fabric move also in the wind the fabric is moving. And what happens overtime is as the fabric is moving, the little bits of dirt end between the fabric and they’re grinding away at the fabric and over time, they grind through and cut the fabric in half.
And that’s why you end up getting the rip and generally you’re getting the rip along the bottom rail because that’s where the fabric is folded and it moves the most when you put it up and down and it also where it moves the most in the wind.
So you definitely need to clean them once a year to get the dirt out of the fabric and if you do that you’re blinds will be beautiful for many years to come.
It’s also a good idea when you do your once a year check, you have your arms here they have little rollers on them — little brass rollers. Sometimes it can be an idea to give them a spray with a little bit of silicon spray or a little bit of WD40 or something just to keep them moving smoothly if you’re starting to notice that they’re not quite rolling the same as they used to when you first got them.
So there you have it, just some simple to do’s and not to do’s to make sure you’re brand new awnings (will) look brand new for many years to come. And at least you need to do it once a year so set a reminder or maybe you decide at the end of summer you’ll commit to giving your blinds a clean.
So there you have it you’re new awnings, you know how to look after them, so make sure you do it and then you can enjoy them for many many years.