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The folding lateral arm awning a/k/a retractable awning is one of the most timeless designs in architecture. It is the perfect blend of simplicity and functionality. Retractable folding lateral arm awnings add some complexity (and additional usefulness and longevity), but the underlying simplicity is still there.
The retractable awning models offered through RetractableAwnings.com® are distinguished by the quality in their details. There are several key areas to compare our models:
Frame designs and options
Movement / Motorization
Common features for all lateral arm retractable awning models
Size, smallest to largest
Certifications and testing
|Size notes||The largest lateral arm awning available from RetractableAwnings.com, in width||The largest lateral arm awnings available from RetractableAwnings.com, both in width and projection / depth||Largest width full cassette model in the industry||Longer projection than the Palermo, Palermo Plus and Venezia|
Manufacturing width increments
|1/8 inch increments for precise dimensions||1/8 inch increments for precise dimensions||1/8 inch increments for precise dimensions||1/8 inch increments for precise dimensions|
|Origin||Europe (Italy)||Europe (Italy)||Europe (Italy)||Europe (Italy)|
|Valance||Included in any one of six styles; Made up to 12" in height||Included in any one of six styles; Made up to 12" in height||Not available due to streamline, clean design||Included in any one of six styles; Made up to 12" in height|
|Motor and sensors||Yes||Yes||Yes; Torque-sensing motor available on most sizes||Yes|
|Adjustable arms (pitch/angle)||60 degrees from horizontal||70 degrees from horizontal||40 degrees from horizontal||45 degrees from horizontal|
|Interesting notes||An optional arm lowering kit which allows the Palermo to project / extend outward longer than or equal to the width of the awning. This allows for an oversized awning space.||
Fully-enclosed case (full cassette) which surrounds the fabric roller and seals it off when retracted. Does not allow bird to nest or squirrels, rodents to chew the fabric
|Largest folding lateral arm awning projection in the world|
Every folding lateral arm retractable awning has four major components: a torsion bar (a/k/a torsion or back bar) which is installed in the bracket; the front bar (a/k/a moving bar); the folding arms; and the roller tube. The way that these are configured creates different profiles and movements for each awning model, even if the parts are the same.
|Palermo and Palermo Plus||The roller tube is slightly in front of the back bar, creating an elongated and slightly angled profile. This is enclosed with an end cap.|
|Venezia||This combines the back bar and roller tube. The front bar is wide and forms a hood/cover; when closed, it entirely encloses the fabric and frame. The Venezia has a circular profile when fully closed.|
|Roma||This sets the roller tube directly on top of the back brace, creating a half-moon profile. This profile is enclosed with an endcap.|
There are two different styles of folding retractable lateral arm awnings: a traditional and a full cassette. A full cassette is a case that surrounds the roller tube, hardware and fabric to provide protection when the awning is retracted. All of the RetractableAwnings.com® lateral arm awnings are traditional models, with the exception of the Venezia, which is full cassette.
|Model||Valance||Design / Hood|
|Palermo and Palermo Plus||Yes||
All RetractableAwnings.com® folding lateral arm retractable awning models are made of 6063 aluminum with Qualicoat brand powdercoating for durability and color quality and 316 marine grade stainless steel components. Different models are available in different colors.
The last critical aspect of the retractable awning frame is its country of origin. RetractableAwnings.com® sources all of its frames components from European manufacturers which emphasize state of the art engineering, quality, design, sustainability and options.
|Palermo and Palermo Plus||
Each lateral arm retractable awning model allows a variety of different fabric choices.
|Model||Fabric Manufacturers||Total Number of Options|
|Palermo and Palermo Plus||
All folding lateral arm retractable awning models can be extended or retracted (closed) either manually or using a Somfy or Simu motor. Even when motorized, they have an optional manual override in case of a power outage.
In addition to the Somfy and Simu motors, all lateral arm awning models can have additional options to help automate the awning:
Rain and sun sensors
All of the retractable awning models have an adjustable pitch, meaning that the angle of the awning slope can be changed. The amount of change varies by awning model.
|Model||Degree of Pitch|
|Palermo Plus||70 degrees|
|3D rendering||RetractableAwnings.com® has a unique 3D rendering tool, which allows you to select different frames, fabrics, and other options and create a conceptual image based on your photographs and specifications. The 3D rendering tool can create images of all four folding lateral arm awning models.|
|Roller tube||The roller tube is at the back of the lateral arm frame, and is what rolls and extends the fabric. All lateral arm models use commercial grade, heavy duty 70mm or 78mm roller tubes. The size used depends on the size of the awning.|
The torsion bar (also called the square bar) is the back brace of the lateral arm awning frame, which is mounted inside the brackets. The torsion bar provides a counterbalance to the lateral arm awning as it extends. For strength, all torsion bars for lateral arm awnings have the same specifications:
All lateral arm awning models can be mounted in the same locations, with the appropriate brackets:
|Powder-coated aluminum frames||Powder-coating is more durable and rust-resistant than regular paint. Additionally, aluminum itself is rust resistant. All frames are Qualicoat® brand powder-coated. The Palermo, Palermo Plus, Roma, and Venezia models all use a patented powder-coating method called Qualicoat®.|
|Goretex Tenara thread||The fabric for all lateral arm awning models is sewn using Goretex Tenara thread. Tenara is specially engineered to be UV resistant and to resist breaking or wear from UV rays or weather. Goretex Tenara thread has a lifetime warranty against seam separation.|
|Model||Max Width||Width manufacturing Increments||Max Projection
|Venezia||39'4" / 1198.88cm||1/8 inch||13'6” / 411.48cm||
|Roma||39'4" / 1198.88cm||1/8 inch||16'0"
|Palermo||52'6" / 1,600.20cm||1/8 inch||11'10” / 360.68cm||
|Palermo Plus||52'6" / 1,600.20cm||1/8 inch||13'6” / 411.48cm||
All four lateral arm awning models are German TUV certified. TUV is a European testing standard that specifies quality requirements for every step of manufacturing, from staffing and initial project planning to final product inspections.
The Venezia, Palermo, Palermo Plus, and Roma models are all CE certified. CE (an abbreviation for Conformité Européenne) is a statement by the manufacturer that a product meets all applicable EU regulations. Each manufacturer must do a conformity assessment and technical file to ensure that they have evaluated and met all of those regulations. This mark is required to sell products for all countries within the EU.
The Beaufort wind force scale is a way to measure the effect of wind on objects on land or at sea. This is an empirical measurement, based on observation. The full range goes from 0 (no wind) to 12 (hurricane force winds, over 73 mph / 118 km/h). The wind scale rating for all retractable awning models means that the awning frames are designed and tested to withstand winds of those speeds.
|Model||Beaufort Rating||Wind Speeds|
|Palermo||5||18-24mph or 29-38km/hr|
|Palermo Plus||5||18-24mph or 29-38km/hr|
|Venezia||4||13-17mph or 20-28km/hr|
|Roma||3||8-12mph or 12-19km/hr|
Additionally, each lateral arm fabric manufacturer has its own certifications for quality and environmental safety, as well as specific treatments and finishes for performance. These are detailed on the Lateral Arm Awning Fabric Manufacturers Comparison page.