Shadepergolas FAQís

  1. How big can it go?
  2. Can you match a custom fabric?
  3. What is the warranty and who underwrites the warranty?
  4. How can you offer a 12 year warranty when the product hasnít existed for 12 years?
  5. What can a Shadepergola do that a rollout awning canít?
  6. What do I do in the winter?
  7. How hard is it to operate?
  8. How does the rain shed off it?
  9. What if I want rain to runoff to one side?
  10. Is it waterproof?
  11. Whatís the difference between waterproof and water resistant?
  12. How does it handle the wind?
  13. Can it handle a snow load?
  14. Do I need a permit?
  15. Can wildlife damage it?
  16. How long will it last?
  17. How long does it take to deliver?
  18. How long does it take to assemble/install?
  19. How do I maintain it?
  20. Why is it so expensive?
  21. How does the shade operate?


  1. How big can it go?

    Shadepergolas can be any size you like provided posts are able to support it. The maximum beam span is usually 20 feet between posts. The canopy can be up to 20 feet wide and any length. Extra large Shadepergolas use more than one canopy to cover the entire area under the pergola.

  2. Can you match a custom fabric?

    We use Sunbrella® brand awning fabrics for all water resistant canopies. We use Sattler fabrics for all waterproof canopies. There are over 100 colours and patterns. However, waterproof fabrics are limited to about 10 different solid colours.

  3. What is the warranty and who underwrites the warranty?

    Shadepergolas are covered by 4 individual warranties. They are:

    • Pergola Warranty by Walpole Woodworkers: 25 years. See Walpole Woodworkers for full details.
    • Pergola finish warranty by Sherwin Williams: 25 years.
    • ShadeFX Warranty by ShadeFX Canopies: 12 years. See ShadeFx Canopies for full details.
    • Fabric Warranty

      by Sunbrella®: 5 years. See Sunbrella Fabrics for full details.

      by Sattler: 5 years. See Sattler for full details.

    • Motor Warranty by Somfy: 5 years. See Somfy Systems for full details.

  4. How can you offer a 12 year warranty when the product hasnít existed for 12 years?

    There are a number of ways to test the service life of a mechanism in an accelerated fashion. Each canopy system we have on display at trade shows is considered to be in a life cycle test. During the display demonstrations we typically cycle the canopy a couple hundred times a day. At the end of the trade show season we have a number of canopies (small and large) that have been cycled thousands of times each. In this way we are confident of the design reliability. However these canopies are indoors and operate without the extremes of cold, wind loading, rain loading and the potential for interference from fallen branches etc. There are a few ways we have designed to ensure outdoor reliability.

    First, the drive mechanism can overpower the motor. So any forced stoppage due to a tree branch or kids with hockey sticks simply stalls the motor which will not be damaged.

    Second, the components we use for the drive system come from food machinery conveyor equipment. These components are designed to run at 80% of their strength 100% of the time. Our canopies demand 60% of their strength only about 1% (at most) of the time.

    Third and finally, the components themselves, motor, transmission, bearings belt, and pulleys, are exposed to extreme heat and cold and wash-down cycles in the food conveyor industry. There is no doubt these components are heavily overdesigned for use as a canopy drive, and based on that we take great pride in our outstanding durability and 12 year mechanism warranty.

  5. What can a Shadepergola do that a rollout awning canít?

    Lots! Shadepergolas can project any distance from a wall or stand alone in the yard. Awnings need a wall and can only project about 13í maximum from them. Shadepergolas are designed for wind and rain resistance. They protect the area underneath from even heavy rain downpours. Awnings are not designed to resist wind and are not recommended for rain resistance because the fabric may bulge with accumulated water rather than have it run off. This is because fabric tension is all that holding the awning fabric. A Shadepergola using a ShadeFX canopy is structurally supported by aluminum frame pieces we call Ďwingsí.

  6. What do I do in the winter?

    The quality of the materials we use require no special care of maintenance for many years (see warranty info). The cellular vinyl pergola is low to no maintenance. The fabric is maintenance free (aside from reasonable washing off of debris and accumulated dirt), and the canopy drive mechanism is maintenance free.

  7. How hard is it to operate?

    Rope drive canopies are easy to operate up to about 170 sq-ft. Beyond that a motor drive is recommended and over 200 sq ft a rope drive is not available. A practical guide is that setting a 200 sq-ft canopy is best done with a pair of work gloves.

  8. How does the rain shed off it?

    The ShadeFX canopy system uses a patent pending monorail drive beam that supports the entire canopy in the middle. This naturally causes a high point in the middle, shedding rain left or right of the drive beam. The canopy can be tilted to direct water all to the left or all to the right but not to the front or back. This is because the canopy wings would act as dams on the fabric surface.

  9. What if I want rain to runoff to one side?

    See above answer.

  10. Is it waterproof?

    The standard canopy is water resistant. This means that light rain will not leak through for a number of days. In a hard rain, the water will mist through and Ďwickí over about 24 hrs, developing drip points. All the canopy seams are welded so the water resistant canopies are entirely suitable for residential use and protection from light rain for family events. The waterproof fabric is a tighter and coated weave that will never leak or wick through regardless of how hard the rain is. It is ideal for commercial applications where extended periods of rain have no effect on the canopy performance.

  11. Whatís the difference between waterproof and water resistant?

    See above answer.

  12. How does it handle the wind?

    The ShadeFX canopy system uses aluminum frame pieces, we call them wings, to support the canopy. When a canopy is extended it is fully supported by a frame of great strength. Other awning systems use fabric tension to support the canopy. This is a very weak but inexpensive way to make a sun shade. For this reason, most awnings cannot be left out in the wind or the rain.

  13. Can it handle a snow load?

    The ShadeFX canopy system is not designed to withstand a snow load when extended. It will hold the snow load that will accumulate on a retracted canopy provided it is installed properly to the frame.

  14. Do I need a permit?

    Permits are the domain of your local city or county law.

  15. Can wildlife damage it?

    Wildlife can damage anything. However, when a ShadeFX canopy is retracted for the winter, it is free to move in the wind and does not become a snug place for a nest to be built. Regardless, you should be vigilant of any animal activity in our around your Shadepergola.

  16. How long will it last?

    The Walpole pergola is designed to last 25 years. The ShadeFX canopy will hold up to the elements and keep rich and even colour for about ten years before showing significant signs of aging. During that time the water resistant fabric may require an application of fabric treatment to maintain is water resistant performance. You need not worry about seam or thread degradation as all the seams are welded. Every canopy has its own serial number. So replacement is readily available on at about 50% of the original purchase price.

  17. How long does it take to deliver?

    Most Shadepergolas ship within 2 weeks of order receipt. Custom Shadepergolas ship in an average of 4 to 6 weeks. See Shipping Policy.

  18. How long does it take to assemble/install?

    Shadepergolas require posts to be sunk into concrete for proper installation. One day is required for that. Then allow one day for standard pergola and canopy assembly.

  19. How do I maintain it?

    Our Shadepergolas are designed to be maintenance free. Reasonable care to remove accumulated dirt and debris is all that is required to get 10 or more years of enjoyment out of your ShadeFX canopy and 25 or more years out of your Walpole pergola.

  20. Why is it so expensive?

    More than 50% of our cost could be eliminated with the selection of lower cost materials. However that would significantly reduce the service life. We make Shadepergolas to be an excellent value. When you look at their cost vs how long you will enjoy them, we think youíll agree just like hundreds of customers before you: The satisfaction of buying quality is your best reward.

  21. How does the shade operate?

    The ShadeFX canopy is operated with a rope pulley system. It can be upgraded to a motor drive that is remote controlled. However, any canopy under 200 sq-ft can be easily extended and retracted like the curtains in a hotel room. The cord exits the drive beam parallel to the ground and turns at the post and comes down the post to about hip height. Drawing down on one cord extends it. Drawing down on the other cord retracts it.

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