What’s the best material for school canopies?

Posted on | Posted in Education, Helpful Guides

When it comes to optimising educational space, choosing the best material for school canopies is important. From wooden to metal and fabric to glass, each material used on an individual part of a canopy offers something different, each with distinct advantages and considerations.

In this guide, we’ll take you through the most common and best materials for school canopies, taking a closer look at their pros and cons so you can make an informed decision.

Aluminium canopies for schools

Aluminium is a practical, versatile choice for a school canopy material. With its sleek and modern aesthetic, aluminium offers many great benefits that are well-suited to the needs of a school. At Canopies UK, we incorporate aluminium into some of our canopy designs – for example, on the fascia which runs around the edge of the Connekt canopy. It’s a great option for enhancing the strength and overall durability of a school canopy so that it can withstand the elements.

Pros of aluminium canopies for schools

  • Naturally resistant to corrosion
  • Lightweight
  • Great for a contemporary look
  • Low maintenance

Cons of aluminium canopies for schools

  • May not be as strong as steel
  • Can have a higher upfront cost

School Playground Canopy

Wooden canopies for schools

Wooden canopies for schools offer a lot of natural charm. However, there are essential considerations to keep in mind if you’re considering a wooden canopy for your school – primarily maintenance. Being exposed to sunlight, rain, snow and humidity can cause wood to deteriorate. When out in the elements, wood can fade, warp or even decay. It’s also susceptible to infestations from insects like beetles and ants. To stay on top of a wooden canopy for a school, you’ll need to regularly maintain it with cleaning, sealing and staining to protect it and prolong its lifespan.

Pros of wooden canopies for schools  

  • Natural, rustic charm
  • Wide range of sizes and styles available
  • Eco-friendly and sustainable

Cons of wooden canopies for schools

  • High maintenance needs
  • Vulnerable to weather
  • Limited lifespan

Steel canopies for schools

Steel is a commonly used material for canopies as it’s incredibly strong and durable. At Canopies UK, we use steel for the posts of many of our canopies as it provides great stability and its weight securely anchors the canopy to the ground. With its great durability, it’s highly resistant to bending or warping so guarantees structural integrity over time. It’s also resistant to rust and corrosion, so it’s perfect for outdoor use.

Pros of steel canopies for schools

  • Exceptionally strong and durable
  • Can withstand adverse weather
  • Can be welded and customised to meet design requirements
  • Long lifespan

Cons of steel canopies for schools

  • Can have a higher upfront cost, although this is often justified by its longevity
  • Production can have a higher environmental impact than other materials, however it is highly recyclable and its long lifespan minimises the need for replacements

Fabric canopies for schools

For many schools, a fabric canopy or a shade sail is an attractive, low-cost option. A fabric canopy is usually made from steel or timber posts which support a fabric material for coverage. They are more affordable than a permanent structure, making them a budget-friendly option for schools with limited funds. They are also versatile and flexible in design. There are some key limitations when it comes to fabric canopies, however. They need regular cleaning and maintenance to prevent mould and mildew. Fabric canopies don’t provide the same level of durability as materials like metal, particularly in harsh conditions. Exposure to the elements can cause the fabric to fade quickly, so schools should budget for potential replacement costs in time.

Pros of fabric canopies for schools

  • Affordable and budget-friendly
  • Versatile shapes and colours

Cons of fabric canopies for schools

  • Regular maintenance needed
  • Doesn’t offer the same durability as other materials
  • Susceptible to damage from weather
  • Wear and tear resulting in replacement costs

Tailored canopies with site-specific calculations

At Canopies UK, we understand that every school environment is unique, with its own set of challenges and requirements. That’s why we offer site-specific calculations as standard with every canopy we install. This meticulous approach to canopy design and installation means that every solution is tailored to each individual school. Our site-specific calculations include assessments of:

  • Terrain
  • Wind speed
  • Snowfall
  • Altitude
  • Canopy height
  • Roof shapes and adjacent buildings

Carrying out these calculations allows us to design a canopy that’s safe, durable and customised to your school’s needs. We’ll always prioritise using the best material for school canopies to guarantee performance and longevity – so you’ll get a canopy that not only boosts your outdoor space but also offers peace of mind for years to come.

Find out more: Site-specific calculations: an explainer guide

Are you ready to transform your school? Get in touch today! We can tailor a canopy solution to your unique needs using materials that are long-lasting and durable, all with site-specific calculations included as standard.