Elevate your outdoor space with a highly versatile and attractive fabric canopy. If you are deterred by permanent roof structures or expensive contractors, consider the beauty, flexibility and functionality of a fabric canopy. They come in all shapes, sizes and colors so you can customize them to any space in your home or business.
What Exactly Is A Fabric Canopy?
First let’s distinguish the main differences between awnings and canopies. The Canvas Works does not fabricate awning structures or remove/install awnings from buildings. so we’d like to clarify.
Both awnings and canopies serve the purpose of providing shade and are a great way to enhance any outdoor area whether it is a school, community park, pool, restaurant or home.
The Difference Between Awnings and Canopies
Awnings typically attach to exterior walls and cantilevers at an angle over a window, door, or patio to provide shade. They influence temperature on the inside of a building by blocking sun on windows or doors. Awnings tend to be installed as a permanent, year round structure.
Canopies are horizontal fabric coverings made to provide shade on a freestanding or semi-attached structure. Fabric is installed over a wooden or metal structure to provide protection from sun and rain. Canopies can be designed to be removable and maximize protection with flexibility.
4 Basic Types of Canopies:
- Stationary/Fixed: permanently installed to the building exterior.
- Portable: freestanding so that it can be moved from place to place. These are typically prefabricated and purchased as one unit.
- Retractable: The canopy can be retracted, rolled or folded when it’s not in use.
- Motorized: This is a high end option for convenience and ease of use. Canopies can be motorized but require specialists and tend to be the most expensive option.
The Canvas Works fabricates predominantly Stationary Canopies and Retractable Roman Shade Canopies. Here we will look into some of the options within these two types of canopies.
Retractable Fabric Canopy:
- Roman Shade (aka: Cable Shade or Wave Shade) – *Roman Shades are retractable fabric panels that easily pull back when shade is not desired or when foul weather is threatening. The fabric typically runs back and forth along stainless steel supporting cables. We can make custom sized shades for an existing trellis or to fit within a new stand alone frame. *Fun Fact – – The Roman Shade got its name from the canopies at the Roman Coliseum that spread above the seats to protect spectators from the bright Mediterranean sun.
Fixed Fabric Canopy:
- Cable Tension Canopy: Like shade sails, cable tension canopies are anchored to a structure, however, they are often square or rectangular in shape and permanently attached to a structure at multiple anchor points. Unlike Shade sails which anchor at only 3 or 4 points, the fabric canopy fixed over a structure, will be tensioned and attached consistently all the way around the shape. If a water resistant fabric like Sunbrella is used, it can provide shade as well as protection from the rain.
- Shade Sails: A shade sail is derived from the basic technology of a ship’s sail. They provide a visually appealing option to protect from sun and heat. Shade sails are fabricated out of a flexible, UV-resistant fabric which is typically tensioned between 3-4 anchor points at different heights. Because the fabric is permeable and the sides are open, they are not the ideal option for providing protection from other inclement weather like rain, sleet, or hail. Because of this, they are best suited for open air venues such as pool areas, splash pads, and play areas.
Shade sails work as a standalone canopy, can be layered together in groups, or configured as multiple sails. The Canvas Works has fabricated many shade sails over the years so we know how to work with you to design, fabricate and install long lasting shade sails.
Benefits of a Fabric Canopy
Canopies are aesthetically pleasing for one but installing a fabric canopy is also a very effective way to create protection from sun and rain so you can fully enjoy your outdoor areas. A range of fabrics can be installed in creative ways to create a protective cover over your space.
No doubt, a fabric canopy can be an attractive alternative to permanent roof structure and is a great way to get protection with added flexibility and convenience.
What is the Best Fabric for My Canopy?
The olden days of cotton duck canvas have moved on. Canopy fabric has progressed to long-lasting synthetics, which perform much better outdoors than the traditional duck canvas.
This is great news! Fade resistance, durability, UV stability, mold and mildew resistance and tensile strength have dramatically improved. Fabric options for residential and commercial applications are more abundant than ever.
Vast improvements to synthetic polyester and acrylic fabrics include improvements to pigments which allow customers a wide selection of colors and prints. Learn more about fabrics.
Although many fabric options exist, at The Canvas Works, we use the following fabrics for outdoor applications:
- PVC – vinyl coated polyester
Canopy Fabric Options
First things first – let’s clarify terminology. Although PVC and Vinyl are somewhat interchangeable, for our purposes we will stick to the term PVC.
What’s the Difference Between PVC and Vinyl?
Vinyl is commonly used as a shorthand name for polyvinyl chloride (PVC) plastic. It is used in a wide range of products including canopy fabrics. Most commonly, when a product is referred to as “vinyl,” it is composed primarily of PVC.
PVC – Vinyl Coated Polyester PVC-coated polyester is 100% polyester with a smooth polyvinyl chloride coating on the back and a subtle texture on the front. This fabric is waterproof and does not fray, rip, or tear, making it strong and durable for some canopy applications. It has incredible strength and comes in different colors and prints, and weights ranging from 5.5 to 18 ounces. And cool fact: you can print text and logos on it!
Soltis Horizon 86 is an environmentally friendly, open weave fabric with a custom color selection guaranteed to enhance any outdoor space. It has a 14% open weave so it offers an excellent combination of outward visibility and natural light transmission. It is a strong, attractive fabric for any type of canopy or awning application.
Sunbrella is an industry standard for all kinds of outdoor applications. It is a fabulous choice for canopies because style and color choices are abundant. It is easy to make a statement or create an outdoor haven with Sunbrella fabrics based on their wide assortment of classic, bold and timeless fabrics. Sunbrella is built to last with a 10 year warranty. It is UV and fade resistant, mold and mildew resistant, stain and water resistant and easy to clean.
SoloMesh is an innovative fabric using polymer technology, perfect for medium-sized shade sails, custom awnings, and other shade structures. It is made from highly stable HDPE monofilament and tape so it has strength, value, and longevity. This lightweight fabric performs well in areas with lots of sun exposure like parks, playgrounds, and patios. SolaMesh is available exclusively from Trivantage in 16 colors and supported by a 10-year warranty.
Serge Ferrari Stamoid Top is another durable, waterproof option for canopy projects. It has great UV and mold resistance and is great because it’s surface is easy to clean. It also comes in a long lasting array of colors.
Although other fabrics exist, all of the fabrics we use are commonly used in outdoor applications including canopies. They all provide superior strength, mold and mildew resistance, UV blockers and color steadfastness.
If you are not sure whether to use vinyl, acrylic, polyester, or a combination, let us help you choose the proper synthetic fabrics and coatings for your application.
The Fabric Canopy Structure & Installation
If you are looking to build a structure or you already have one, you are probably wondering if it’s equipped for a fabric canopy. Canopy structures can be created out of wood, concrete or metal and can be either freestanding or connected to a structure.
The great part is the fabric can be customized to fit an existing, or soon to be built, structure. The addition of fabric on your structure will provide a more complete barrier from the sun and rain and ultimately create a more comfortable outdoor environment.
Leave the installation to the experts. Installing a fabric canopy requires expertise, special equipment and time. It is best left to us because we know the hardware needed and the proper functionality.
The Canvas Works canopies can be designed, fabricated and installed over a pergola, gazebo, pavilion, carport, deck, patio, pool, porch, floating home, community park, school playground, restaurant seating area and more.
Fabric Canopy Options for Home or Business
Imagine a delicate, lighted garden seating area, a bustling backyard BBQ or a thriving restaurant dining patio. All of these can be protected and enhanced with the convenience and flexibility of an overhead fabric canopy.
Unlike prefabricated awnings or canopies, The Canvas Works canopies are highly customizable to provide you with maximum style and fit. We have the expertise to install your canopy on free standing structures or between two structures.
Whether you have a commercial space or a home patio, an outdoor canopy will increase the livability and comfort of your outdoor space. In addition, they add an architectural element that looks cool.
Lastly, if you are looking to luxuriate in some shade or add some architectural beauty to your space, a fabric canopy is for you.
If you have plans to build or purchase a pergola or other shade structure, consider adding a fabric cover for extra shade, rain protection and enhanced comfort.
No matter what structure you have or plan to build, The Canvas Works will work with you to design, fabricate and install an attractive and functional fabric cover that is custom fit to your outdoor space. We make it happen!