By Maura Keller
When you have a five-star-rated hotel, situated on a pristine beach in Watch Hill, R.I., you need to feature awnings that stand up to the hotel’s esteemed reputation and it’s ocean-side location. That’s why Ocean House began partnering with New Haven Awning Co., New Haven, Conn., more than four years ago for all of its awning service needs.
At the time of their initial partnership, Ocean House had completed a large renovation of its facility, and since that time, New Haven Awning has provided a number of custom print awning projects, including covers for two large retractable awnings, a patio bar cover, drop shades, roof coverings for an outdoor bathhouse, and a beachside restaurant patio canopy.
“A variety of fabrics had been considered based on the specifics of each application with color retention, water repellency and crazing as the primary deciding factors,” says Daniel Barrick, co-owner of New Haven Awning. “Ocean House wanted a clean, high-end looking finished product that complemented their beach environment.”
Most recently, Barrick and his team partnered with Herculite Products Inc., Emigsville, Pa., to remake a canopy awning that had been destroyed by Hurricane Irene. As Barrick explains, the same specifications and design had been used in the fabrication of the current frame but an alternative fabric needed to be considered.
“Additionally, this is a three-season canopy,” Barrick says. “The cover was installed in the spring and removed in the fall, so a fabric that can take the constant season handling was required.”
The prior canopy had an acrylic cover on which digital printing was added. “Using this material and top coat we found an excessive amount of mildew had set into the underside of that cover and could not be washed out,” Barrick says.
New Haven Awning and Ocean House chose Herculite’s Natura Digital white because it gave the appearance of a traditional acrylic material but provided the water and mildew resistance of a vinyl product. Clear Star Type C laminate was rolled onto the cover after fabrication was completed.
The new canopies feature a frame built out of 1×1 and 1×2 Gatorshield, with a white high-gloss electro static paint, specifically the Dupont Imron paint with hardener. “Because canopies are seasonal and are not carrying a snow load, we did not need to truss any rafters,” Barrick says.
Additionally, all sections of the frame are welded with additional bracing members for wind loads and are designed to handle 125 mph winds, with three-second gusts. Rafter and lacing pockets were added to cut down on the vibration of the cover and to avoid wearing on the frame.
The beach side canopy wraps around the entire restaurant—approximately 200 linear feet. And the hotel patio awning wraps a six-side walkup bar, an additional 80 linear feet.
“The bath house covers are in lieu of a hard roof and give an open air feeling,” Barrick says. “All covers are laced on and feature an 8-foot loose valance.”
The primary challenges of the project were all based around printing the fabric. According to Barrick, 235 yards of fabric were printed on New Haven Awning’s Mimaki CJV30-160 printer using ES3 eco-solve inks.
“The machine time to print this project was 85 hours—three-and-a-half complete days,” Barrick says. “We paid close attention to keeping a consistent stripe color and spacing moving from fabric roll to fabric roll. In the end, the project was completed on time and on budget and the customer is extremely happy with the finished product.”