Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Custom Outdoor Drapery Panels

One of the easiest ways to dress up your outdoor patio is by adding decorative drapery panels! These can either be decorative "fixed" panels OR decorative and functional panels.  For decorative panels you need only small corner draperies on a short rod to add color, style and warmth to your extended living area.  Depending on how large the overall patio area is you may use one width of material (standard drapery fabric width is 54") or two widths of material, which stacks back nicely to the side or corners of your porch.  Custom drapery hardware is available for short pieces of 24" or longer if desired.

Functional panels that draw across and enclose your patio have many benefits.  They provide privacy to your area, block the sun during sunrise and sunset, and also cut down on the heat making it cooler to enjoy your veranda.  During winter months it also reduces the wind and provides some insulation from the cool air.  On rainy days you can close off the patio to limit moisture and spray from damaging furniture and protect your cushions from getting saturated.

When selecting your header for drapery panels please keep in mind the fullness requirements when they are functional.  The Rod Pocket header style requires a minimum of 1.5 times fullness while when using the Over-Sized Grommet header style with the inside diameter being 1.5" or greater - requires a minimum of 2 times fullness. Tracking systems or outdoor shower curtains require use of Small (size #2) Grommets for the header and these require 1.5 times fullness.  The Tab Top header style is typically recommended to have 2 times fullness; however, if you are on a budget you may opt to use only 1.5 times fullness and it will still function and achieve the overall decorative look for your draperies.  Other header styles are also available which require more fullness to achieve their overall look.  When a greater fullness than that of 2 times is used on exterior applications especially over long expanses you should consider the ease of removing and re-installing the panels when cleaning is required.    

There are many manufacturers in the industry today of all-weather outdoor material ideal for drapery applications.  One of the most popular is Sunbrella by Glen Raven Mills.  They are the leader in high-performance fabric manufacturing and are the only mill with a 5-year warranty on their furniture grade material.  Their warranty coverage is for fade, mildew and water resistance.  However, if you are frequently washing your drapery panels you may wish to re-treat the material with a fabric guard should the need arise.

Bella Dura is another all-weather textile manufacturer who has beautiful colors and styles of material available.  Their yarn is a patented blend to withstand the harsh weather environments and has one of the highest yarn durability of 30,000 double-rubs!  They offer a 3 year warranty against fade, mildew and water resistance.

Production time is always a factor when ordering your custom drapery panels.  A reasonable custom production allocation time table is 2 to 3 weeks from the time your order is placed.  If you have to wait 4 to 6 weeks for material or production OR you cannot speak to someone on the telephone to discuss your order - be aware they may not be the best or most reputable choice for spending your hard earned dollars!

Ordering your custom production drapery panels should be fun and easy.  Be sure to request individual fabric cuttings to ensure you are completely happy with the color selection, style and feel of your fabric.  Complimentary samples are a must for clients ordering custom production.  Although they may charge  $1.00 for the initial samples to be sent...always ask for a credit back when you order.

Now that you have the knowledge you need - receive a custom drapery quote to ensure your order falls within your budget.  The following is a link to the drapery estimate request form which can be used to receive your quote.  Replies to drapery estimates should be received within 24 hours.  If you do not get a reply back within that time - call and verify your request was received!  

Drapery Panel Estimate Request

Here are a few images of the header options described above:

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Cleaning Sunbrella Material

Care and Cleaning Instructions with Great Stain Chart!

Some of the most frequently asked questions about Sunbrella ® fabrics concern care and cleaning. The good news is that Sunbrella is designed to be easy to maintain. By following a few simple care and cleaning steps, the fabric will maintain its good looks for many years.

Important Background

Sunbrella fabrics are made from 100 percent solution-dyed acrylic yarns. Solution-dying is the process of adding color to acrylic fibers during manufacturing while they are in a liquid state. This characteristic of Sunbrella fabrics is the key to locking in color, easy cleaning and long life.
Because Sunbrella fabrics are woven, they are also highly breathable, which is why they dry quickly with only air exposure. It's also important to know that Sunbrella fabrics are treated with a fluorocarbon finish, which enhances water repellency. This finish requires replenishment after vigorous cleaning.
Sunbrella fabrics will not support the growth of mildew, but dirt on the fabric can lead to mildew growth, which makes regular cleanings important. No set timetable exists for when fabric should be cleaned, and the local environment has a great deal to do with determining cleaning frequency. Cleaning is required less frequently in a dry environment than in a humid one with heavy foliage.
Sunbrella awning and marine fabrics carry a five-year limited warranty and Sunbrella furniture fabrics are warranted for three years. With proper care and cleaning, you can expect excellent service from Sunbrella fabrics far beyond warranty periods.


One of the best ways to keep Sunbrella fabrics looking good and to delay the need for deep or vigorous cleanings is to hose fabrics off on a monthly basis with clear water. This practice will help prevent dirt from becoming deeply imbedded in the fabric and eliminate the need for more frequent vigorous cleanings. In most environments, a thorough cleaning will be needed every two to three years.
When it's time for a thorough cleaning, Sunbrella fabrics can be cleaned while still on an awning frame or a boat or, size permitting, they can be removed for cleaning in a washing machine.
When cleaning Sunbrella fabrics, it is important to observe the following:
  • Always use a natural soap. Never detergent.
  • Water should be cold to lukewarm. Never more than 100 degrees.
  • Air dry only. Never apply heat to Sunbrella fabrics.
If you are cleaning Sunbrella while still on a frame or on a boat, follow these simple steps:
  • Brush off loose dirt.
  • Hose down.
  • Prepare a cleaning mixture of water and mild, natural soap (no detergents).
  • Use a soft bristle brush to clean.
  • Allow soap to soak in.
  • Rinse thoroughly.
  • Air dry.
If stubborn stains persist, you can use a diluted chlorine bleach/soap mixture for spot cleaning of mildew, roof run-off and other similar stains.
Prepare a special cleaning mixture:
  • Four ounces (half cup) of chlorine bleach.
  • Two ounces (one-fourth cup) of natural soap.
  • One gallon of water.
  • Clean with soft bristle brush.
  • Allow mixture to soak for up to 20 minutes.
  • Rinse thoroughly.
  • Air dry.
  • Repeat if necessary.
If an awning or boat cover is suitable in size for a washing machine, these steps should be followed:
  • Use only natural soaps. No detergent.
  • Wash and rinse in cold water.
  • Air dry. Never put Sunbrella fabrics in your dryer
Re-treating the fabric

As part of the finishing process, Sunbrella fabrics are treated with a fluorocarbon finish, which enhances water repellency. This finish is designed to last for several years, but must be replenished after a thorough cleaning.  Fabrics should be retreated after thorough cleaning or after five years of use. Check with your local Sunbrella dealer or distributor for more information.
Applying Fabric Guard™

Fabric guard should be applied to Sunbrella fabrics after each thorough cleaning, which typically removes the original fluorocarbon finish and reduces the fabric's water resistance. After cleaning the fabric, allow it to air dry completely and then apply the fabric guard in a thin, even coat. After allowing the first coat to air dry, apply a second thin, even coating. Two light coatings are more effective in restoring fabric water resistance than a single heavy coating. A 15-ounce aerosol provides coverage of up to 50 square feet of lightweight fabric.

Professional cleaners

You may have access to professional cleaning firms that service awnings. In evaluating the services of a professional firm, you should inquire about a firm's experience in working with Sunbrella fabrics and knowledge of cleaning and re-treatment requirements.

Stain Chart

Sunbrella® fabrics are treated with a fluorocarbon finish that acts as a sealant resistant to water & stains. Sunbrella® is able to hold up against inclement weather and even most stains. For those occasions when stains may occur below are our recommended cleaning methods for Sunbrella® for some of the most common and toughest stains.
Recommended Cleaning Solutions
liquid detergent, white vinegar
liquid detergent / ammonia (3-6% water)
detergent / ammonia (3-6% water)
volatile solvent (acetone)
vacuum, then liquid detergent
liquid detergent
volatile solvent (acetone)
liquid detergent, ammonia water
detergent, white vinegar, volatile solvent (acetone)
liquid detergent
paint, oil or grease remover
liquid detergent
liquid detergent
liquid detergent
volatile solvent (acetone)
paint remover, volatile solvent (acetone), detergent
oxalic or citrus acids, water
paint, oil or grease remover
paint remover, volatile solvent (acetone), detergent, water
1/2 cup of bleach and 1/4 cup natural soap per gallon of water
liquid detergent
volatile solvent (acetone)
volatile solvent (acetone)
liquid detergent, water
liquid detergent, water
paint, oil or grease remover
paint, oil or grease remover
volatile solvent (acetone)
apply heated iron over towel, volatile solvent (acetone)
Pine Power® or pine oil detergent
liquid detergent
liquid detergent
turpentine, liquid detergent
liquid detergent, white vinegar
detergent, water, white vinegar
liquid detergent, water, white vinegar
apply heated iron over towel, volatile solvent (acetone)
liquid detergent / ammonia (3-6% water), white vinegar