Motorized Awnings Guide: All You Need to Know

Person using a remote control to retract a motorized awning

While there are many retractable awnings still operated manually, more people have in recent years discovered the joy of having motorized awnings. Looking great and easy to operate, these awnings can be found at homes and businesses everywhere. But like anything that is motorized, these awnings require specific types of maintenance and care to stay at their best. If you’re eager to find out how to maintain your retractable awning motor and extend the lifespan of your awning, your Rollac professionals are here with all the answers.

Can You Motorize an Existing Awning?

If you originally bought a retractable awning years ago that is operated manually, you may now be envying everyone else who has a modern, stylish, and motorized retractable awning. In fact, you are probably thinking there is no way you can convert your manual retractable awning into an electric awning. However, that’s not the case at all.

Here at Rollac, we regularly help people with this problem. All that is needed is a gear to motor conversion kit, which is easy to install and affordable. Costing well under $1000, these kits require you to have a nearby electrical outlet, and tend to work best with awnings that are no more than 20 feet long. 

Along with having a remote control to make operating your newly-motorized retractable awning even easier to use, these kits also come with a manual back-up system, meaning it will work with your awning’s existing crank handle.  

How Long Does an Awning Motor Last?

If you take care of and maintain your awning, the investment you make in it with time and money should pay off for perhaps two decades or more. As with any type of awning, the frame should last at least 20 years if properly cared for and rust is not allowed to set in. 

The fabric can last 10 years or more, especially if it contains added coating to protect it against inclement weather. 

As for the motor itself, its lifespan can be as low as five years to as much as 15 years or longer. Like the motor for anything, your awning’s motor will last longer if you keep it cleaned and perform regular maintenance.

How Much Does an Awning Motor Cost?

If you are buying a conversion kit for your manual awning, you will pay an average of $750 for the kit. Should you need only a motor to replace the one that died in your electric awning, the price can range from $350-$650. What you pay will depend on many factors, including the size and power of the motor. As you would expect, the more powerful motor you need for your awning, the more it will cost.

How Much Does it Cost to Install an Electric Awning?

Once you decide you want a high-quality awning that will withstand wind and look great while doing so, the good news is that our Rollac team can help you find an electric awning that fits any budget. Should you want a small awning, you may be able to get by with spending between $1000-$1500. However, if you have your heart set on a large 20×20 electric awning with all the various bells and whistles, the cost to purchase and install this type of motorized awning can be between $4000-$10,000.  

How Do You Replace a Retractable Awning Motor?

Eventually, you will need to replace your retractable awning motor. To do so, you’ll need to unplug it, then unbolt the chain from its drive shaft. After loosening the bolts, lift it out of the housing. Once this is done, just install it, tighten the bolts, connect the chain, plug it in, and let it work its magic. An easy DIY project you can do on a weekend, it should take you no more than one hour.

Maintenance and Care Tips

Keep the Fabric Clean

Once you make an investment in your motorized retractable awning, giving it some regular maintenance and TLC will help it stay in great shape for decades. To keep the fabric looking great, spray it with a hose to rinse off loose dirt and debris. Next, use a mix of warm water with dishwashing liquid to get rid of stains on the awning’s fabric. Make sure you thoroughly rinse off the soap, since it can leave chalk-like marks on the fabric.  

Examine the Motor

As for your motor, examine it once per month to make sure no dirt or debris has accumulated on it. If you don’t, any accumulation may cause the motor to work harder than normal, decreasing its lifespan. If you’ve noticed it is not operating as powerfully as before and it has some age on it, now may be a good time for a replacement.

Lubricate the Moving Parts

When opening your awning, remember that the lateral arms will never extend completely straight out. If you try to make this happen, you’ll break your awning. While doing this, also grab a can of lubricant spray and give the moving parts a shot of silicone lubricant. Easy to do, this will help everything work easier, eliminate squeaks, and help stave off any rust or corrosion that may be trying to form.

Retract the Awning When It’s Windy

If it is a really windy day, you may also want to consider retracting the awning. Although Rollac awnings can withstand strong winds, we usually recommend our customers retract their awnings when wind gusts exceed 25-30 miles per hour.  

Do Not Fold It

Finally, also be careful when storing your retractable awning for the winter. Try not to fold it much if at all, since this can lead to creases forming in the awning’s fabric. Also, never store the awning if it is wet, and always keep it in a place where rodents or other pests can’t chew on it all winter long.

Contact the Awning Experts

If you are looking for high-quality, motorized retractable awnings, don’t hesitate to contact us here at Rollac. Once you take advantage of our vast experience with motorized awnings, all of your questions will be answered.