How to reduce natural waffling

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Did you know? Waffling is a natural phenomenon that affects all sun protection textiles, whether they are made from polyester, PVC, fiberglass or acrylic materials. Awnings experience daily stress due to weather, operating conditions, unusual installations, differences in winding diameter and so on that place fabric under constant strain. This can cause natural waffling at hems, seams and in the middle of awnings over time, depending on the degree of stress.

Fortunately waffling does not alter the qualities of your awning.

It is also possible to reduce it to a minimum, as confirmed by European sun protection organizations. 

Level wall to prevent waffling

An uneven wall can change the shape of an awning case and eventually contort its inner winding tube. To prevent waffling, your awning should be wound and unwound on a straight tube.

A perfectly straight wall ensures awnings are wound correctly and reduces the likelihood of waffling.

Quality awning manufacturing

Manufacturing is a painstaking process. Material panels must be manufactured on the right equipment and accurately sized and squared. Even tension should be applied to both panels during stitching and hot-metal adhesive assembly. Trim strips must be taut to avoid warping and set in channels.

The right awning frame

The likelihood of waffling increases if your awning is stretched between a winding tube and a front bar that bend under stress. Even a top-quality awning needs a solid frame. For greater peace of mind, use tried and tested equipment to support the fabric. A quality winding tube and front bar improve the overall performance of your awning.  For larger widths, use a more rigid tube or one with a larger diameter, and additional pole supports, if necessary.

A quality motor

The winding tube is fitted with a motor. Placed at one end, its weight and strength can cause mild tension on the right or left of the awning, eventually damaging the fabric and increasing the likelihood of waffling.

A quality power unit adapted to your awning’s specific requirements reduces the risk of waffling.

Initial winding and unwinding adjustments

When your installed awning is extended and retracted for the first time, the fabric can come under an unusual amount of strain at the end of the winding cycle. If the fabric is stretched beyond its elastic limit, it may wrinkle during winding and increase the likelihood of waffling. Modern mechanisms allow for adjustments to your awning at the end of the cycle and make it easier to modify your equipment. As a rule of thumb, end-of-cycle adjustment on opening should stop at 90% of arm tension for optimal fabric tension. For total satisfaction, contact a professional.

Pitched not straight

An awning pitched at the right angle is under less strain than a horizontal one. This prevents the formation of depressions and sagging, spreads weight more evenly, increases water flow and reduces the appearance of soiled strips – which is good for your awning mechanism and your fabric!

A minimum pitch of 14° (25%) reduces the likelihood of waffling.

Correctly dimensioned awning

A single-span awning with a large surface area is more prone to waffling, according to European sun protection organizations. 

A longer fabric with more layers of wound material is more likely to develop fold marks. Wider awnings usually have seams that increase movement between strips. As a result, the awning is heavier and more prone to depressions. If your awning is intended for large areas, install several reasonably sized awnings rather than one overly large one.

The right number of articulated arms

For a medium-sized awning, two articulated arms are enough to evenly spread the tension required by the fabric and reduce the likelihood of waffling. This is not the case for larger awnings. Two arms, spaced at a greater distance from each other, no longer prevent fabric sagging. One or two additional articulated arms, depending on your awning, make a good investment, since they reduce the likelihood of waffling. Arms should be fixed under 10 cm from wall frame fixtures, if possible.

Anti-humidity measures

If rainwater or snow collects on fabric - especially on large awnings - they form depressions that place the textile under strain. If the fabric is sufficiently taut, a correct pitch enhances water drainage. If accidently soaked, the fabric should be extended in low wind conditions to dry and tighten it again before retraction. The right pitch and natural drying go a long way to prevent waffling. According to European sun protection organizations, the use of awnings during rainfall should comply with the EN 13561 standard.

Wind resistance class

Fabric absorbs gusts of wind which temporarily strain the awning structure. When wind speeds reach the limit in your guide, retract the awning to protect the mechanism and avoid problems such as waffling. If you know your awning wind class, you’ve already got a head start! For greater peace of mind, install an automated system to automatically retract your awning in the wind.

Darker patterns, stripes or tones

The sun or strong light causes incident light which highlights where fabric is raised. Waffling is particularly visible on the blank surface of plain or light-colored fabrics.

Striped, patterned or plain chiné, tweeds or darker awning fabrics tend to make waffling less visible.

Quality awning fabrics are manufactured to high technical standards that guarantee performance, durability and visual appeal. According to European sun protection organizations, there are a few simple ways to help prevent waffling, allowing you to enjoy the outstanding and very long-lasting qualities of your Dickson® awning fabrics for optimal comfort and satisfaction.  

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