Retractable Solar Screens

How large can the Retractable Screens be made? MagnaTrack screens have the largest maximum size in the industry: 30’ wide by 24’ tall, with an 85 mph wind warranty.

What color screen material is easiest to see through? Dark colors are the most translucent.  So black is the most translucent and white is the least translucent in any density of weave.

Can you see through the Sun Screen?  Yes!  Screen densities range from 30% opaque to 100% opaque.  Only the 100% fabric is not translucent.

Can retractable screens be used on porches?  Yes. In fact, the most common mounting place for motorized retractable shades is on a porch.  The second most common mounting place is west-facing windows.

How do Retractable Solar Shades protect me from insects? Most certainly.  At a minimum, the shades form a barrier against insects.  Denser fabrics also protect from the rays of the sun and keep a patio warm in the winter months with the assistance of a propane heater.

What happens if Exterior Sun Screens are left in the down position in high winds?  Standard zipper-track retractable shades must be retracted in 30mph winds in order to prevent the fabric or associated zipper from tearing.  Ordinarily, a wind sensor is installed to raise the screens automatically, which is an inconvenience at best if you happen to be hosting a party.  By contrast, MagnaTrack motorized shades are designed and warranted to withstand winds up to 85 mph. Is a storm on the horizon? Lower your MagnaTrack screens to protect your guests and property.

Retractable Awnings

How long do retractable awnings last?  The lifespans of retractable awnings relate directly to the quality of the components.  The manufacturer’s warranty is a good reflection of anticipated lifespan. Our Sunesta awnings are made mostly of state-of-the-art European parts including Sattler fabric.  Woven in Austria, Sattler is the world’s leading brand of outdoor fabric. Thus, Sunesta’s warranty is tops in this industry.

Can retractable awnings be used in the rain?  Most awnings are water-resistant and can be extended in a light rain without damaging the awning.  Sunesta is the only brand of awning that can be installed legally in Miami-Dade County. The superior European components make Sunesta awnings the most durable on the market.  See the videos on our website of Sunesta retractable awnings in wind tunnel testing and in an actual hurricane.

Are retractable awnings resistant to wind?  The degree of wind resistance varies by brand.  A wind sensor is supplied with Sunesta awnings so that they retract automatically in gusty winds.

How far can a retractable awning extend?  The maximum projection of a Sunesta awning is 14’8” and the maximum width is 40;.

How will the awning be mounted to my home?  The awnings are mounted to the home via brackets that hold the awning and 6” bolts that hold the brackets to the structure.  There are three mounting points:

  • To the soffit, which is also known as the eave of the home.
  • To a wall on the home.
  • To the roof.

How quickly can I get my awning installed? The turnaround time from ordering to installation varies by season.  A typical installation occurs 4-6 weeks after the contract is executed.

Retractable Roofs

How long does the Retractable Roof fabric last? Sunesta retractable roofs are made of Sattler fabric, the number one outdoor fabric world-wide.  The warranty is 5 years on this fabric when applied to this Sunesta Sunplus.

Can retractable roofs keep the inside of my home cooler?  As is the case with retractable awnings, one of the great benefits of the retractable roof is that it provides shade on walls and windows, this keeping your home cooler.

What are the benefits of retractable roof systems?  These systems:

  • Make outdoor living areas comfortable by providing shade for family and pets
  • Prolong the life of patio furniture and decks
  • Protect furniture, flooring, and fabrics inside the home from the effects of the sun.
  • Allow for outdoor living in mild rains and include a built-in gutter system.


What is a pergola for?  A pergola is a decorative garden structure that provides minimal protection from the elements.  Fabricated of widely-spaced rafters, the Mediterranean style of pergolas is popular, but not useful.  In central Texas, pergolas usually are made of wood that must be maintained regularly and lasts only 5-7 years.

What is a louvered roof?  A louvered roof, also known as an operable pergola, is a motorized roof with slats similar to those of a louvered window blind.  As is the case with the window blind, the louvers rotate to allow direct or indirect sunlight as desired. For example, during winter months, a client might want to leave the louvers rotated so that the sunlight floods the patio keeping it light and airy.  At high noon during the summer, she likely will close the louvers completely in order to keep out the heat and protect the patio furniture from sun damage. The Arcadia system rotates 170 degrees, allowing the benefit of indirect lighting nearly all day. When paired with a ceiling fan, the area under the Arcadia feels 30 degrees cooler on a summer day.

Is a louvered roof watertight when closed? Some brands are watertight or watertight in light rains.  Some brands merely block sun rays and are not watertight. The Arcadia operable pergola is watertight in all conditions.

Where does the water go when the louvered roof is closed?  The Arcadia system includes integrated rain gutters and downspouts for control of the water that the roof collects.

How is a motorized pergola configured?  The potential shapes and styles depend upon the brand.  In the case of the Arcadia system, virtually any shade can be configured, including triangular ones.  Without special modifications, a span of 24’ can be supported by two posts.

How long does the Louvered Roof system last?  Warranties and lifespans differ by brand.  Many brands include steel components, particularly the louvers, which rust over time.  Whether the roof is finished in enamel or powder-coat also affects lifespan. Arcadia roofs carry the best warranty:  15 years on components and powder-coated finish; 5 years on the motor.

How long does it take to install a motorized pergola? A standard residential  system takes 2-4 days to complete.

Do louvered roofs require permitting?  In most jurisdictions, permits are required if the louvered roof is connected to the home.  Free-standing units often don’t need permits.

Some cities, such as Austin, impose impervious coverage limitations.  Is an operable pergola classified as impervious coverage? Unfortunately the City of Austin considers louvered roofs to be 100 percent impervious coverage.  However, free-standing units sized under 200 square feet don’t require permits and thus can be placed regardless of impervious coverage limitations.

Can operable pergolas be configured as screen rooms?  Yes!  Most clients install motorized patio shades on their Arcadia roofs to keep out sun and insects.  Also, doors and windows can be installed as desired.

Pergola Covers

How much sun does a pergola block?  A typical pergola only blocks 15% of the sun’s rays.  A pergola simply does not provide protection from the elements.  It is a decorative structure that requires a lot of maintenance.

How does a pergola cover work?  The operable pergola cover is mounted on top of the pergola.  Fabrics are typically 90 percent opaque, meaning that they block 90 percent of the sun’s rays.  The pergola cover is motorized and operated by a remote control. So it can be extended and retracted as desired.

What are the benefits of a motorized pergola cover? 

  • The cover allows your family to enjoy the space under the pergola on sunny days by blocking most of the sun’s rays.
  • The cover can be retracted at night or in the winter months so that you can enjoy the sky as desired.
  • When extended, the pergola cover protects the pergola itself, thus drastically reducing the need to sand and stain the pergola

What is the process of installing a pergola cover? Each pergola cover is measured and fabricated to exactly fit your pergola.  Installation of mounting brackets, the rails, and the fabric cassette usually take one day.


If you have more questions, or would like some additional information on our Austin, TX outdoor products, contact us today at 512-872-2880. 

What Our Clients Are Saying


Shade Outdoor Living Solutions out of Austin just completed our Arcadia Louvered Roof here in the Canyon Lake, TX area. After looking at some other options out there, this was an easy choice in regards to durability, low cost of maintenance, and the 10 year warranty on the work and structure itself. The install took two days. The crew was great, on time, knowledgeable, and kept us informed and involved throughout. I have and would recommended this product to my closest friends and family members. Very happy with the purchase!

— Charles T.

I hired Shade Outdoor Living Solutions to install an Arcadia Louvered Roof system at my house. I am extremely pleased with the results. It looks great and has totally changed the look and feel of my outdoor space. My specific project included a single support beam with two sides of the porch attached to my roof. It’s very stable. I also had them wire the system for a ceiling fan and two LED lights. Before adding the porch, we had no desire to spend time in the back yard because it was too hot. Now, it’s very inviting and we’ve added some party lights to make it look and feel even better. In fact, one of my teenage sons said “the porch looks cool and modern and now it makes the rest of your house look old.” So there’s that. I’m extremely pleased and would highly recommend the Arcadia louvered roof system from Shade Outdoor Living Solutions. It looks awesome and completely changed my back yard. Everyone that has been to my house also really likes it.

— Greg B.

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