A canopy structure always consists of a steel frame and a sheltering material. These are designed to be placed outdoors, but the type of materials used determines how long the structure will last outdoors. The strongest type of canopy has a galvanized steel frame and a polyethylene cover, and these structures are used generally as carports and portable garages. But similar structures that use powder-coated steel frames and a weaker sheltering material aren’t designed to be placed outdoors long-term. Regardless of what the canopy is used for, the shelter needs to have some protective properties to be functional outdoors for whatever people, vehicles, or objects are using the canopy as shelter.
A polyethylene canopy is geared to be left outdoors for several months, if not an entire year. Because of this, the shelter is designed from the strongest materials. The polyethylene, in particular, should be heavy-duty and treated to be UV resistant, waterproof, and mildew and mold resistant. As a vehicle may be left under this shelter for several months, water and UV rays need to stay away from the surface of the vehicle. Similarly, the canopy material needs to last several years and dry rot, mildew, and mold building up on its surface won’t make it last as long. The steel material also needs to withstand the elements, and, to prevent corrosion, the steel is galvanized – or combined with zinc to form a protective coating on the outside of the frame.
Other canopies have a temporary outdoor purpose, such as party tents, wedding tents, garden canopies, and pop-up canopies. Pop-up canopies are temporary structures that can be taken to the beach, a flea market, or trade show and set up or taken down in minutes. As the structure is designed for being outdoors temporarily, the frame is made of powder-coated steel and the canopy, polyester. As people and objects may be protected by one of these tents, the polyester shelter needs to have the same basic properties as a polyethylene one, mainly being waterproof and UV resistant. Garden canopies have a similar concept, except the material used for shelter is mesh polypropylene. Although the mesh lets in some sunlight – about 25 percent – and air, the polypropylene is still treated to be UV resistant.
Going to a canopy retailer can be somewhat daunting, especially with many types of shelters. Before purchasing one, know what you need to cover first and what types of properties the shelter should have. Although obvious to a shelter dealer, a pop-up canopy shouldn’t protect a car, while a portable garage shouldn’t be used for a backyard party or a day at the beach. Once you’re familiar with the type of structure you need, you can look through the various types of canopies to find a high-quality design in your price range.