Creating a beautiful and functional shade structure for your commercial space involves choosing the right materials and product for the application. Options include solid wood structures, solid metal structures, or a combination of metal and fabric. Understanding the pros and cons of each will help you determine the best shade structure and material for your project.
How to Choose the Best Shade Structure Material
Consider the following elements to choose the best shade structure for your business:
The way your visitors behave in outdoor areas determines the coverage your business needs. Determine where visitors to your location could most benefit from a shade structure. If you own an athletic field, shade structures that protect visitors from the sun’s UV rays and increase airflow are an excellent choice. For tourist attractions and restaurants, shade structures can serve as a focal point to provide shade while strengthening your business’s brand.
The weather will also impact which shade structure material you choose.
If your business is in a hot, muggy climate, having adequate shade will be vital for keeping guests cool. Some shade structure materials can increase the airflow beneath, giving visitors some welcome relief from the sun’s rays.
You might consider choosing a more durable shade structure if your area experiences a lot of wind. Planning for your climate will help you pick a lasting shade solution.
3. Installation Requirements
Installing a shade structure often involves considering architectural and legal requirements for your business. Each state has building requirements that you should follow for different projects to avoid fines. Cities and municipalities also have local codes, and there may be unique requirements that pertain to your line of work. It is best to research all regulations thoroughly before installing a shade structure.
Solid Metal and Wood Shade Structures
The materials you choose for your shade structure offer different advantages and disadvantages, including durability, design and ease of installation. Two popular materials for shade structures are solid metal and wood. Each material has its benefits and drawbacks.
Benefits of Solid Metal and Wood Shade Structures
Solid metal shade structures, made from aluminum or steel, bring these benefits:
- Structurally durability
- Customizable for color and style
The benefits of using wood for your shade structure include:
- Flexible design — wood can be used to build a pergola or gazebo
- A natural look that can complement the aesthetic of a building or location designed to mimic nature
- Relatively inexpensive to build
Disadvantages of Solid Metal and Wood Structures
Despite their apparent durability, inclement weather like harsh storms can be much harder on solid metal or wood shade structures than fabric shade structures. Since wood has no flexibility or breathability, pieces can easily come off solid wood structures, making them more susceptible to weather-related damage. Steel and aluminum structures are more durable than wood but need regular maintenance to keep them in prime condition.
Permanent steel or aluminum structures also need to be cleaned and maintained often so debris does not accumulate and weigh down the roof of the shade structure.
Additional disadvantages of solid wood and metal structures include:
- Damage or injuries caused by falling pieces of debris falling off the roofs.
- Regular maintenance to keep a clean appearance.
- Regular inspections for rot or pests in wood shade structures.
- Completely blocking sunlight, which may prevent the growth of grass and plants under the shade structure.
- Lack of air circulation under the shade structure, which may trap heat and cause the “heat island” effect.
- Bats, birds, and other pests roosting under solid shade structures.
One of the most popular shade structure choices on the market combines a steel frame with fabric canopies. Fabric shade structures from USA SHADE offer a much wider variety of styles, custom colors and price points than solid wood or metal structures. This variety allows you to customize your shade structure to get exactly the appearance and functionality you want.
Benefits of Fabric and Steel Shade Structures
Businesses often choose fabric shade structures over wood and metal because of their aesthetic versatility, enhanced UV protection and aeration. Fabric shade structures are also easy to clean and customize to suit your business’s needs. Additional advantages of fabric and steel structures include:
- Fabric canopies improve air circulation, which helps reduce the temperature of the shaded space.
- This design allows enough soft light to filter through so no additional lighting is needed and plants can thrive.
- Fabric shade maintenance can be more cost-effective than replacing or repairing wood or metal roofs on shade structures.
- Different fabric types offer more choices better suited to your need, like HDPE and PVC options.
- Fabric shade structures are versatile. They come in various colors and offer varying levels of UV and weather protection, translucence and fire retardancy.
- You can customize fabric shade structure by shape, color, size and design to match the aesthetics of your venue.
- Solid metal and fabric structures offer greater flexibility and durability in high winds — we also engineer our structures to meet certain wind loads.
- Fabric shade structures with USA SHADE meet North American building codes.
- Fabric shade structures, including those made out of high-density polyethylene (HDPE) mesh, are easy to clean and maintain, ensuring a long product life.
Disadvantages of Fabric and Steel Structures
Fabric canopies on shade structures might need to be removed before strong storms to keep them in the best condition. USA SHADE offers fabric shade structures with superior durability. Our canopy designs can withstand wind loads of up to 90 mph, and the steel frames can withstand speeds of up to 150 mph. However, you can easily remove all fabric canopies with a wrench in the event of adverse weather conditions.
Fabric shade structures also require minimal maintenance. We recommend regular cleaning using a power washer and diluted detergent to remove dust and keep fabrics in top condition. Our fabric shade structures can last up to 12 years with proper maintenance, giving you a considerable return on your investment.
Contact USA SHADE for Your Shade Structure Solutions
If you are trying to decide between a wood, fabric or metal shade structure, contact USA SHADE to understand our full capabilities and options for your shade solution. Our fabric shade structures work well in any environment, providing sun protection, airflow and designs that enhance the aesthetic of any location. We offer a wide variety of products, from modular standard structures to full customization and innovative choices. With a wide range of budget options, you are sure to find the right choice for your business.