Buying a Shade Canopy: What to Know

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Shade canopies are a wonderful addition to your house and yard and keep harmful rays from reaching your skin as well as providing a much-needed cool area for hot summer days. However, there are numerous types of canopies ranging from small to large areas of coverage and there are also different styles, such as those you hang on the side of your house or those that are free-standing.

Shade Canopy Types

The major types of canopies are free-standing and those that are attached to your home. Free-standing canopies are great when you don't have a patio that sits alongside your house or if you have special occasions that call for having a portable canopy. These are usually very easy to set up and take down. Attached canopies can be used as carports or a cool area to enjoy nature. There are also awnings. These connect to your home and many have an automatic retracting mechanism or a lever in which you use to roll it back or out.

Shade Canopy Shapes and Sizes

It's a good idea to determine the size and shape of the shade canopy you want before going to buy it to avoid long shopping excursions and the possibility of being disappointed in your purchase. Free-standing canopies come in almost any shape and size. Simply measure the width and length of the space you want it to fit and you are bound to find the exact length, or very close to it, at your local canopy dealer.

Attached shade canopies are primarily used for carports. Unless you have an over-sized vehicle, these will come in standard sizes and there's no need to measure. Awnings, though, come in a variety of sizes. Generally you have a lot of options with these and can customize them. A good-sized awning starts at about 10 feet in length and 8 to 10 feet in width. It is a good idea to get precise measuring and also measure the smallest and largest sizes you could use so you have a little variety to work with.

Shade Canopy Material

Three main materials that shade canopies are made of are acrylic fabric, laminated fabric, and canvas. Canvas is popular if you like a cloth, retro look. Cotton canvas protects against all UV rays, but still lets enough light in so you can enjoy a sunny day without being uncomfortable and at the same time avoiding health risks. Acrylic and laminated fabric will both protect from rain and, though they are generally not washable, a quick power washing will do the trick.

Laminated fabrics are usually heavy-duty and are less susceptible to mold and bacteria since they are not very porous. Acrylic fabric is generally woven and protects from sun but the fabric itself is plastic so it will wear down much faster than a laminated canopy. However, the acrylic fabric is usually cheaper so if you are looking to buy on a budget and want to spend more later down the road, acrylic fabric is a good choice.