Your Guide to ShadeFX Canopy Fabrics

Every canopy project starts with an exchange of information. It’s how our customers get familiar with our product and company, and it’s how we learn about our customers and what they want to achieve. Top of the list in the information gathering process for the customer is canopy fabric.

What colors are available? What is the difference between waterproof and water resistant? Why are some colors more expensive? Why can’t I match my Sunbrella awning fabric to my Sunbrella furniture fabric? The list goes on.  So rather than keeping the answers hidden in the FAQ’s page, or close to the vest in the heads of our customer service department, I decided to take them out, dust them off, and put them in the blog for all to get the answers they seek in one place.


Let’s start with fabric colors. We use Sunbrella commercial awning fabric that is made in the USA. You can choose any of the colors or patterns for the Sunbrella Awning Fabric Catalog here. The majority of the colors are ‘standard’ awning fabric and the ShadeFX price includes the cost for those ‘standard’ Sunbrella fabrics. A portion of the fabrics in the catalog are more expensive due to smaller run quantities, special high cost dyes (anything with red in it) and fancy patterns (stripes). Browse the Sunbrella Awning Fabric Collection

We regularly get asked, “What’s the best color to resist dirt?” One thing is for sure, it’s not white. And regardless of our advice, people still buy white for its clean bright look. This will endure in seaside or island locations but urban air has too much ‘particulate’ in it for any of the light awning fabrics to hold up their color. Of course you can clean regularly to keep the light colors looking good, but it’s not practical. For urban areas, we recommend the medium to darker beiges and medium greys. Harbor Time coated fabrics are better with the sticky stuff like tree and bird droppings because of the coated finish.

Waterproof or Water Resistant

Waterproof is another high profile concern with the difference between waterproof and water resistant being the main question. It’s like this: Water resistant will protect from light rain and showers for about 24 hours without leaking through. When the fabric becomes saturated and starts to leak through it will drip in a few areas then start dripping through all over the place. That happens over another 24 hour period or so. Waterproof is not susceptible to leaking through at all. It is impermeable to water and therefore can be relied upon in light or heavy rain over the duration of its service life.

There is no link between Sunbrella awning fabrics and Sunbrella outdoor furniture fabrics. Each range of fabrics is driven by the fashion demands of two completely different markets. Word on the street is that Sunbrella is looking into matching some colors up, but I don’t see it happening for practical purposes. The furniture market requirements for colors and patterns are simply different than the awning fabric market. Sometimes we get asked to use a match the canopy fabric with the fabric used on outdoor furniture. Unfortunately, furniture fabrics cannot be used as a canopy fabric. They have different characteristics that do not allow them to be interchanged from one use to the other.


Warranties are an important part of determining the quality of the product you buy. The fabrics we use are designed for durable long term commercial outdoor use. The warranty is outlined here, and we tell our customers with full confidence that Sunbrella and Harbor Time fabrics will retain their great looks and be a valuable asset to their homes for 10 to 15 years. We don’t have the experience to extend that confidence to the high UV climates like Arizona and New Mexico, but in any event these fabrics are the most UV resistant money can buy and that’s why they are so expensive.

See my earlier blog regarding fabric care for cleaning instructions. We don’t get asked about that much during the selling process, but it comes up after a customer has had a canopy for a year or so.

Ultimately, quality materials such as Sunbrella and Harbor Time fabrics deliver long term performance, and more importantly, long term owner satisfaction.

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