Glossary of Terms

We take great pride in making our clients feel confident about their jobs during the production process. Use our Glossary to gain a better understanding of your project and the terms commonly used in our industry.


Abrasion Resistance: The resistance of a surface to rubbing or friction. A measure of durability as opposed to hardness.

Acceleration Stress: Additional stress placed on rope due to increasing the velocity of load.

Acrilan: Acrylic staple and filament fabric composed of at least 85% acrylonitrile, a liquid derivative of natural gas and air.

Acrylic: Generic term for manufactured fiber in which the fiber-forming substance is any long chain synthetic polymer composed of at least 85% by weight acrylonitrile units. Made in both filament and staple forms.

Adhesive: Applying a pressure sensitive vinyl to the surface of an awning. This can be done through the process of eradication, painting or welding (heat sealing).

Adhesive Anchors: Used on veneer brick surfaces and fasteners located close to corners, where the high pressures associated with expansion anchors could raise the risk of being pulled out. Adhesive anchors are bonded directly to the substrate by filling an oversized drilled hole, which contains the threaded fastener, with an epoxy adhesive.

Aluminum Pipe: Manufactured with the same dimensions as steel pipe, it weighs only one-third as much. On the other hand, it is only one-third as stiff as steel pipe. Temper is lost at welded joints.

Aluminum Tubing: Often used in lieu of steel, aluminum tubing is available in a variety of shapes, sizes and tempers.

Anchor Line: Rope with a thimble spliced into one end for attaching an anchor.

Anchorage: This involves the location, style and strength of connections from the awning or canopy to the building or foundation.

Anodizing: A process used to improve corrosion resistance of aluminum and aluminum-based alloys. The material is cleaned, then immersed in a bath of acids. The metal is the positive pole, or anode, in the acid bath. A current is applied and oxidation occurs. After the item rinsed, a second step or sealing treatment is applied. This is also when chromate is added, resulting in various colors.

Applique: A motif or design made separately, then sewn or otherwise affixed to a cloth or garment.

Awning Cord: Small-diameter cord used for tying down awning covers and for many utility purposes; most commonly a cotton braid with stretch resistant fiber core.

Awnings: An awning is an architectural projection that provides weather protection, identity or decoration and is wholly supported by the building to which it is attached. An awning is comprised of a lightweight, rigid skeleton structure over which a rigid covering is attached.


Backlit Awnings: A lighting system placed behind the material structure causing it to be illuminated.

Basket Weave: Plain weave with two or more warp and filing threads interlaced to resemble a plaited basket. Has flat look, porosity, and looseness or “give”. Can be very heavy or lightweight and made of any fiber.

Bitt(s): A post or pair of posts with or without a crossbar (norman) for securing heavy lines; usually in the bow of a boat.

Bollard: A round heavy post for securing lines; sometimes on a boat, but usually on a pier.

Bolt: A bolt of fabric is usually rolled around a flat piece of cardboard or other inner core. It can also be flat folded which means it is actually reefed into a flat bundle. A bolt is usually 50 to 60 yards of fabric.

Bolt-Through: Bolt and the nut are manufactured to controlled specifications, and there is a wealth of data on the strength provided by such connections.

Braid: A narrow textile structure formed by plaiting several strands of yarn. Braid is usually used in trimming. Braids may also be made by plaiting several strips of fabric.

Breaking Strength: The measured load required to break a fabric or rope under tension; also called tensile strength.

Bull Rope: A large rope used in hauling, lifting, or hoisting.


Cable Twist: A yarn or rope construction in which each successive twist is in the opposite direction to the preceding twist. Defined as “S-Z-S” or “Z-S-Z.”

Cable-Laid Rope: A rope made of three ropes of three strands each, all twisted into a cable.

Cadmium Plating: An electro plating process which protects iron and steel. Salt spray tests indicate cadium is superior to zinc in corrosion resistance.

Calendering: A process of passing cloth between rollers (or “calendars”), usually under carefully controlled heat and pressure, to produce a variety of surface textures or effects in fabric.

Canopy: A canopy is an architectural projection that provides weather protection, identity or decoration and is supported by the building to which it is attached and at the outer end by not less than one stanchion. A canopy is comprised of a rigid structure over which a rigid covering is attached.

Canvas: Cotton, linen, or synthetic in heavy weights with an even firm weave, for sails and many industrial purposes. Awning stripe canvas has printed or woven strips.

Chalk and Mason Line: Small cords of various, fibers, braided or twisted, used in construction for marking straight lines; the cord must have a rough texture to hold chalk.

Coated: Fabrics that are coated are usually done so with a liquid or semi liquid product. Coatings can be urethanes, acrylics, PVC, neoprenes, and other substances. 1) Knife over roll: the material rolls past a knife that acts to spread a liquid substance across the width of the fabric. 2) Extrusion: dry chemical mixes are heated and mixed through an extruder and then passed through a roller or die to flatten and spread the substance across the width of the fabric.

Coated Fabric: Fabrics coated, covered, or treated with various substances to make them stronger and/or more resistant to weathering elements. Coating substances include rubber, resins, plastics, PVC, melamines, and oil finishes.

Coefficient of Friction: Gripping ability important for rope use on winches and in situations where slipperiness can be dangerous or cause problems. Gripping depends upon the friction or texture of the rope itself, its elasticity, creep (or taffy effect, as in monofilament polypro), the area of contact, and the ratio of rope size to bitt size.

Convex: An awning configuration characterized by a series of parallel bows in the shape of a convex curve. It produces a radius shape with flat ends.

Cordage: The general term that covers all rope, cord, lines, and string.

Count: 1) Number size of a yarn. 2) Number of ends and picks per inch of a weave, or their sum, as 200 count sheeting.

Crazing: This describes the condition of scratch marks on the surface of fabrics. These can occur as a result of abrasion or folding. It’s usually a topical condition and does not affect the fabric’s performance except from an aesthetic point of view.

Crimp: To bend, kink, curl, or wave a fiber to give it more loft.

Crocking: Rubbing off of color as a result of improper dye, poor penetration, or fixation.

Cut-Out Lettering: Lettering or graphic elements that are cut out of a fabric and replaced from behind with letters or graphics of another material.


De-Sizing: A finishing process which removes the original sizing from warp yarns.

Delamination: This describes the separation of the individual plies in a laminate. Laminates are typically made of two or more plies that are fused together under combinations of heat, pressure, and adhesive. When a lamination comes apart, delamination has occurred.

Denier: Unit of weight indicating size of a fiber filament based on weight in grams of a standard stand of 9,000 meters. The higher the denier number, the heavier the yarn. Used in connection with silk, rayon, acetate, and most man-made fibers.

Die-Casting: The forming of parts by forcing molten metal into metal molds. Castings made with this process can be made to very exacting tolerance. Zinc and aluminum are most common.

Dielectric: A non-conductor or poor conductor of electricity. Polypropylene has excellent dielectric properties.

Dielectric Welding: Certain fabrics with thermoplastic properties, such as vinyl, can be welded together with various machines that use high frequency electrical impulse. Thermatron is a manufacturer of such machine. A high frequency electric impulse is sent through the fabrics by means of a bar or table and this mixes up the molecular structure of the thermoplastic materials. When the bar or table is removed, the two fabrics are melted or welded together. This differs from Hot Air Welding, but the end result is the same.


Electro-Galvanized or Electro-Plated: This is similar to Hot Dip Galvanized except the application process is different and the final appearance is smoother and brighter. Instead of dipping the metal into a hot zinc solution, the metals are charged with positive ions and put into a negative ion solution on the metal in a more uniform manner.

Eradication: Eradication is usually used for illuminated or back-lit awning. It involves eliminating with special chemicals, an existing color from a white vinyl fabric that has been pre-coated at the factory with eradicable inks.

Expansion Anchors: Used to fasten awnings to concrete surfaces. They develop their essential strength by pressing hard against the side of the drilled hole in which they are set.

Extrusion Coated: When some coated vinyl fabrics are produced, the vinyl is applied in a semi-liquid (molten) state and calendared on by means of heavy cylinder. The vinyl is extruded in the form of a semi-liquid bar and pressed between large cylinders to spread it onto the fabric.


Fiber: The fundamental unit that makes up a textile raw material such as cotton or woven acrylic.

Fire Proofed: A fabric or substance which has been treated so that it is absolutely impervious to flame, and will not, under any circumstances, support a flame. Erroneously used in reference to fire retardant goods.

Fire Retardant Finish: A finish rendering a cloth which will repel flame, or which will prevent the spreading of flame, or which will not support a flame. Usually tested for length of time it takes for a flaming portion of the cloth to extinguish itself.

Four-Bar: This is the term commonly used to describe a stripe in awning fabric. This is the approximate number of colored four-inch stripes across the width of 31-inch fabric. Also known as a classic stripe.


Grab Tensile: This is a property of fabrics where a machine will try to pull the fabric apart in opposite direction in both the filling and warp directions. The resulting effort to do this is measured in pounds.

Guy Rope: A rope used for steadying or supporting something, such as a rope to stregthen an upright pole used to support a tent.


Hand Painting: A process whereby graphics are hand-painted directly on an awning.

Heat Color-Transfer: A graphic process that utilizes heat and a vacuum applicator to adhere color to the fabric. Any number of colors can be applied simultaneously, as pigments and resins are embedded into the fabric.

High-Strength Steel Tubing: This is cold-worked, thin-wall steel tubing that is available in round, square, and rectangular shapes. Popular sizes for the awning industry are under two inches. High-strength steel tubing normally is furnished with corrosion-inhibiting surface treatments. It is also easily bent to designer shapes, relatively lightweight and easily welded.

Hot Dip Galvanized: This refers to a finish that is the result of metal being dipped into a hot solution of zinc to add a protective, sacrifical coating to the metal. Awning iron and some malleable fittings have typically been hot dip galvanized.

Hydrostats: More formally, hydrostatic pressure. This is the pressure, measured in pounds per square inch, that it takes to pass water through a fabric.


Illuminated Awning: A lighting system placed behind the awning material causing it to be illuminated.


Jacquard Weave: The type of weave to be seen in damasks, brocades, trapestries, and other complicated cloths. Made n a Jacquard loom which provides mechanisms to control the action of each warp yarn individually, if necessary.


Lacing: This is the most traditional technique of attaching a fabric cover to an awning frame. Grommets are placed along the edge of the fabric cover. The cover is tied to the frame by lacing thin rope through the grommets.

Laminate: Laminated fabrics are made of two or more plies fused together under a combination of heat, pressure, and adhesives. Welblon, Herculite and Lam-A-Lite are examples of laminated fabrics.

Laminated Fabric: A three-layer fabric, normally constructed of a plastic top and bottom layer, and an intermediate scrim layer.

Lateral Arm Awning: These awnings resemble typical traditional triangular structures except they rarely have end fabric panels. They also include a manual or electric cranking system that allows the awning to be folded up or retracted against the wall.

Load: A load is anything that causes force to be exerted on a structural member. 1) Dead Load: This is the self-weight of the awning or canopy frame, fabric and hardware. This load must always be included with other design loads since it is always acting on the structure. 2) Wind Load: Basic wind load is a function of its wind speed. Basic wind pressure can be computed as the product of 0.00256 times the square of the wind speed (mph). 3) Snow Load: A load imposed on a structure from snowfall. Snow leads vary considerably from region to region. 4) Live Load: All changing loads exerted on a roof.


Malleable Iron: A cast ferrous alloy consisting principally of iron and carbon which is made stronger and ductile by heat treatment (annealing). The heat treatment removes the brittleness normally associated with most cast iron and adds resistance to breakage under heavy impact or distortion.

Mesh: Any fabric, knitted or woven, with an open texture, fine, or coarse.

Mildewproof: It is unlikely that any fabric can be rendered permanently mildewproof under all conditions.”Mildew Resistant” is a more proper term. This usually refers to a treatment on a cloth with various non-toxic chemical compounds that poison or discourage the growth of mold and fungi. Effectiveness is directly proportional to the type of fungicide and the quanity of fungicide contained in the finished cloth(to the point of maximum potency). The treatment may be durable or non-durable.

Modacrylic: Generic name established by the Federal Trade Commission for “a manufactured fiber in which the fiber-forming substance is any long-chain synthetic polymer composed of less than 85% (but at least 35%) by weight of acrylontrile units, except when it qualifies as rubber”.

Modulus: This is a measure that tries to explain how a fabric reacts when it tensioned and relaxed. It is used to expain things like snow and wind loads, elasticity, memory, stretch, and shrinkage.

Monofilament: A single filament of man-made fiber used as yarn.


Natural Fiber: Any organic fiber such as cotton, jute, manila, or sisal.

Non-Woven: Neither woven, knitted, nor spun. A material made of fibers in a web or mat held together by bonding agent.

Nylon: Any of a family of high strength, resilient synthetic materials, the long-chain molecule of which contains the recurring amide group CONH.


Painted Cloth: Cloths which have been finished by painting in solid colors or in assorted strips. The paint is generally applied to the surface of the cloth from fonts as the rolls of cloth pass under them. Used for awnings, outdoor furniture, and umbrellas.

Pigmenting: The process of applying color to fiber stock, yarn, or fabric.

Plain Weave: One of the three basic weaves. In plain weave, each filling yarn passes successively over and under each warp yarn with each row alternating.

Polyester: A synthetic fiber used for it’s strength and resistance to ultraviolet deterioration. It does not have the stretch and elasticity of nylon and, as a result, will often last longer.

Polymer: A synthetic material from which fibers are formed. Usually composed of large molecules (monomers) with each other.

Ponding: This involves establishing a steep enough pitch, properly spaced bows or rafters, as well as maintaining a taut fabrics, so draining water or melting snow cannot cause the fabric to sage and collect water on the surface.

Pre-Stress: The effective long-term stress for which an awning is designed; the load in the awning that results when the fabric is pulled tight on the frame. This stress exists in the awning fabric and acts on the frame, even when the awning is not acted upon by the service loads.

Pressure-Sensitive Graphics: Pressure-sensitive vinyl film is cut by hand or by computer to a desired design and then adhered in the proper register on the fabric as decoration.

Pro Rata: Literally means “in proportion”. In textiles, the term is uaually employed in relation to prices or weights of cloth.

PVC: Polyvinyl Chloride. A polymer used for vinyl fabric.


Radio Frequency (RF) Sealing: RF sealing fuses two or more vinyl substrates using pressure and radio waves to create a seam or fabric joint.

Retractable Awning: A cantilevered structure, entirely supported from a building, and constructed so that the awning cover and supporting frame retracts completely against the building. This relieves the awning from wind, rain and snow pressure and/loads normally associated with extended fixed frame awning or canopies.

Right Hand Twist: An “S” twist or a twist that would be unlaid in a counter-clockwise direction.


Scotchguard: A fluoride-based, stain-repellent, rain-repellent finish. Special formulations are made for leather.

Screen Printing: Graphic application method capable of printing great detail and color.

Screws: Fabric attachment that uses screws for fastening. The cover is stretched tightly over the frame and attached using self-tapping hexagonal screws.

Scrim: Open-constructed fabric used as a base material in coated and laminated fabrics.

Seismic Load: These are earthquakes or earth tremor loads.

Shear: Force that causes a body to shift away from the acting force where it is not supported.

Silk Screen: Graphics accurately transferred to the awning through the use of screens cut specifically for the application. Ink is spread evenly over the top of the screen and “printed” onto the face of the fabric.

Spray-Painting or Air Brushing: Hand painting made sophisticated as it can achieve color blending or shading plus sharper edges by spraying inks on fabric.

Stainless Steel: As the name implies, this is a special steel alloy that is made more stainless than regular steel, due to higher concentrations of chromium and nickel.

Staple on Extrusions: The fabric is stapled into “slot” built into specially designed framing. The slots are then covered with strips of vinyl trim.

Staples: A fabric attachment that uses staples to attach the fabric to a frame system instead of screws. The fabric is stretched over a frame, then stapled to the frame.

Steel Pipe: This material can be characterized as a relatively thick, round section of mild steel. It is easily welded, bolted and threaded, and is adaptable to many shop environments.

Steel Tubing: Steel tubing is similar to steel pipe, but available in a range of wall thickness and shapes, including round, square, and rectangular. It is easily welded or bolted, and can be obtained in higher strengths than steel pipe.

Strain: The measure of the change in size of shape of a body under stress, compared to its original size or shape. It is usually measured as the change (in inches) per inch of length.

Substrate: The surface to which an awning frame is attached. A substrate also is a base fabric.


Tongue Tear: This is a property of fabrics where a machine will tear a strip of fabric across the warp and filling. The resulting effort to this is measured in pounds.

Top Coating: The coating intended for the front, side or top of a fabric or membrane.


Ultimate Strength: The maximum strength under which an awning material is capable of sustaining a gradual and uniformly applied load.

UV Resistance: Ability to withstand decay due to the damaging effect of the ultraviolet rays of the sun.


Warp: Threads that run through the length of a roll of fabric.

Water Repellent Finish: A finish either durable, applied to cloth which makes it relatively impervious to the effects of water repellent finishes does not close the pores of a cloth.

Waterproof: The use of the term in relation to treated cotton ducks is prohibited by the “Fair Trade Practices Act” unless :the product shall be impervious to the passage of any water so long as the fabric may endure”. “Water Resistant” is the proper designation for cloths treated to resist water penetration and leakage.

Weave: The configuration of threads running perpendicular to one another. A plain weave places weft thread over the warp thread in sequence, then reverses for the next row of threads.

Webbing: A sturdy fabric woven in narrow widths for use where strength is required, such as seat belts or head bands.

Weft-Fill: Threads that run in the crosswise direction of woven fabric. Weft also is referred to as “fill”.

Weld: The process that connects pieces of material by heating until molten and fused together.

Welt: A strip of material seamed to a pocket opening as a finishing and a fabric strengthening device.

Welt Cord: A tape or covered cord sewn into a seam as a reinforcement or trimming.

Wickability: The property of a fiber that allows moisture to move rapidly along the fiber surface and pass quickly through the faric.

Wood Lag Screws: Screws which are tapered to a point and do not utilize nuts. Their strength is proportional to the hardness of the wood in which they are embedded. In many awning applications that require fastening to wood framing wood lag screws may be the best available option.

Working Load: Also known as “Working Strength,” this is the weight in pounds that is recommended for safe working conditions. It is applied to new rope in good condition with approprite splices and only under normal servic econditions. Where dynmic loading may occur, the recommended working load should be adjusted accordingly.

Woven Fabric: Fabric composed of at least two sets of yarns — one warp (longitudinal) and one filling (crosswise) — laced at right angles to each other.

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