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choose your folding arm awning fabric choose your folding arm awning fabric

How to choose your folding arm awning fabric for optimum everyday comfort

Folding arm awning fabric should never be chosen at random. Do you like to work from home or have a nap in the shade of your patio? Would you like to draw out summer evenings until late into the night? Would you like to enjoy the outdoors even in light rain? Whatever your lifestyle and habits, Dickson will help you choose your fabric, by offering high-performance acrylic fabrics, which will cleverly combine the following parameters:  thermal comfort  visual comfort, both inside and outside the house (glare, brightness, view etc.)  UV protection.

In addition to these criteria, there is also the colour. It is a determining factor in choosing your fabric, as it contributes to improving your everyday comfort, while bringing a personal and aesthetic touch to your home.

Follow our step-by-step recommendations to choose the right Dickson awning fabric for your needs.

Choosing the right material for your awning

Choosing the right awning fabric is paramount, as it is the most visible part of your installation! A good awning fabric should be efficient, decorative and of course durable. The fabric material is a main selection criterion as it influences the thermal comfort, but also the life of the fabric and colour fastness. To help you find a quality fabric that meets your solar protection needs, here is an overview of the fabrics on the market.

Acrylic fabrics

The result is a range of fabrics that are widely represented on the market, have a low carbon footprint, are made in Europe and are designed to last.


These are the most popular and the most successful fabrics, both for individuals and professionals and this is no coincidence! This synthetic fabric, equipped with the latest technological innovations, has major advantages:

  • Optimum solar protection. For example, Orchestra Dickson fabrics filter out at least 90% of UV rays and are guaranteed for 10 years.
  • They are treated against moisture and mould.
  • They are very resistant to wind and bad weather, as is the case with Max folding arm awning fabrics, with its reinforced waterproof treatment and Infinity, thanks to its Dickson Resilient System technology.
  •  Very good colour fastness, ensured by the solution-dyed acrylic fibre: the colour pigments are mixed into the acrylic solution before spinning. The obtained thread is dyed to the very core of the fibre and guarantees excellent durability of the fabric over time.
  • A wide range of very trendy colours; there are no less than 173 colours available at Dickson for Orchestra fabrics, not forgetting the Opera Jacquard fabrics with very elaborate patterns. Enough to give your home a real personality.
  • Most of them have Oekotex certification! The guarantee of a fabric free from harmful substances and respectful of your health.

The result is fabrics that are widely represented on the market, with a low carbon footprint, because they are made in Europe and designed to last.

Polypropylene fabrics

Probably the most affordable fabric on the market with very satisfactory properties, at least in the first 2 years of use. It will be necessary to apply an additional water-repellent and antifungal treatment over time to maintain its characteristics. It is therefore suitable for occasional use and on a facade that isn't very exposed to bad weather.

Polyester fabrics

Their quality has certainly evolved, and some polyester fabrics (too few) stand out from the crowd! Overall, these fabrics have little resistance to tearing and remain very sensitive to UV rays. These fabrics are therefore interesting in terms of price and recyclability, but they quickly prove to be disappointing in the long term as their performance drops drastically after 2-3 years.

Micro-perforated PVC fabrics

Another option is micro-perforated PVC fabric. These fabrics are all the rage but be careful: even if they shade you from the sun, these fabrics won’t protect you from short-lived showers. Made from a polyester base then coated with PVC, these fabrics provide satisfactory shade by blocking a good part of the heat and promoting its escape thanks to the microholes. The challenge is to find the right balance between light and heat input.
Dickson’s SWK15 fabric, with 15% openness, blocks up to 83% of heat and is suitable for most outdoor installations: vertical blind, shade sail, canopies, pergola awnings and conservatory awnings. It is without doubt the lightest and most resistant on the market!

In summary, this comparison table will help you identify the strengths of each material.



Thermal comfort

Wind/bad weather resistance

Durability/Mechanical resistance

Colour fastness



Acrylic fabric

Very good




10 years

€ € € €

Polyester fabric

Very good




5 years

€ € €

Micro-perforated PVC fabric





5 years

€ € € € €

Polypropylene fabric





3 years

€ €

Colour and maintenance: two other important criteria for choosing an awning fabric

Colour: look at your surroundings and take your personal taste into account

The awning fabric brightens up the patio, which then becomes a real living space. In addition to providing comfort, the awning makes your decor beautiful, which is why particular care must be taken when choosing the colour.

Dickson fabrics will undoubtedly meet your expectations in terms of style and decoration with more than 200 acrylic fabric products. To choose the right colour for your awning fabric from this wide range, you have two options:

1. Blend the colour with your exterior surroundings: identify the dominant shades in your materials (facade, shutters, tiles) and create a soft balance:
2. Extend your interior design to the outside: choose your colour to match the room adjoining your patio: materials, colours of the floors and walls, shades and style of furniture...

Whatever option you choose, be aware that a given colour offers a range of tones and textures (tone on tone, subtle or contrasting stripes) that will make your awning the centrepiece of your decor. We will guide you step by step in choosing the colour of your fabric.

Also, the manufacturers are not to be outdone in offering you structures (arms, boxes) in the colours of your facade with varnished or metallic finishes... for ever-improved performance and aesthetics. Don’t hesitate to discuss this with your Dickson approved blind manufacturer. Thanks to the RAL equivalents offered by Dickson for its fabric colours, you will find the perfect balance between your fabric and the frame of your awning.

Dickson has an inspirational software that will allow you to project any of its fabrics on your style of living and decoration. In just a few clicks, select several Orchestra fabrics, order several samples or ask for a quote from your nearest approved distributor !

The maintenance of your awning, a question of material and color

Choosing a solution-dyed acrylic fabric is the guarantee of an outdoor fabric that will stand the test of time. Thanks to the Cleangard procedure, Dickson acrylic fabrics have all the necessary characteristics for outdoor use: water repellency, resistance to mould, stains, fading and wear and tear. A quality acrylic fabric will help you to easily maintain your awning.

Whether you have chosen a light or dark colour, remember to look after your awning fabric regularly to prevent long-lasting settlement of external elements due to pollution, bird droppings, vegetation etc. This should be done even if the fabric is treated. In the case of a sensitive environment (heavily vegetated, exposed to pollution), it may be wise to choose a colour that is neither too light nor too dark with a structured effect (flecked, quilted) to reduce the visibility of marks and extend the aesthetic appeal of your awning


Warmth, visual comfort, UV protection: three essential technical criteria for choosing the right fabric

In addition to the choice of material and colour, three technical criteria come into play when choosing your awning fabric: the fabric's thermal performance, UV protection and visual comfort. Let's take a look at them together.

With a folding arm awning, you can enjoy a softer, more calming warmth both inside and outside your home. The temperature is more pleasant, wherever you are: you are perfectly protected against the harmful effects of the sun. Installed in front of your bay windows, Dickson fabrics block up to 95% of the sun's rays, which reduces the interior temperature by at least 5°C.

When choosing your fabric, you can check its thermal performance with an indicator: the solar factor, also called Gtot.

Gtot determines the percentage of solar energy that penetrates the room through the awning and the window: the lower the percentage of energy, the more efficient the fabric. The thermal performance of the fabric can be assessed using a standardised class system, from 0 to 4 (EN 14 500 and 14 501 standards).

How do you determine the optimum thermal comfort for your home?

  • For a south-facing house in a sunny region, choose a class 3 or 4 fabric for good thermal performance. The folding arm awning will then act as a barrier against the heat in your home.
  • On the other hand, if your home is naturally cool and you want to protect yourself from glare, thermal comfort may be less of a priority for you. In this case, you can opt for a class 0 to 1 fabric, which will preserve natural light.

Visual comfort: a determining factor in the choice of an awning fabric

A folding arm awning is an intelligent solution for controlling light levels and minimising glare both indoors and outdoors. Note that the colour of the fabric has an influence on the brightness: a dark fabric will limit glare on the patio and in the adjoining room. On the other hand, a lighter awning fabric provides more light (although the UV protection will be 5-10% lower). This means you can enjoy the benefits of natural light without its inconvenience for optimum wellbeing. The effects of the fabric on glare control and the use of natural light are assessed using the same system of standardised classes from 0 to 4 as for thermal performance. For example, a Class 4 natural light fabric will offer greater protection from glare than a Class 0 fabric.


Sample test
We encourage you to order several samples to better assess how the fabric will look in your surroundings. To see what your fabric colour will look like once installed, expose it to the sun’s rays by holding it above you and allowing the rays to filter through the fabric

Take into account the UV protection when choosing the color of your awning

Finally, UV protection is an important criterion when choosing your awning fabric. Note that the darker the fabric colour, the greater the UV protection. It may therefore be worthwhile to opt for darker colours for a fabric with a lot of exposure.

Dickson places great emphasis on UV protection. That's why all Dickson Orchestra fabrics filter out at least 90% of UV rays and at least 99% of UVB rays, which are the most harmful to health. They offer excellent protection against the harmful effects of the sun's rays and are ideal if you are looking for high coverage.


Our advice and recommendations


Our main advice is to always analyse your needs carefully before choosing your fabric, depending on your uses and the positioning of your house. Heat, light, UV protection, aesthetics, durability, cost etc.

To help you, refer to the specific classes for each colour.

Review the factors that are most important to you in order to find the right balance between all of these criteria and, most importantly, don't hesitate to ask your Dickson approved blind manufacturer for advice and to get samples of the fabric.

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