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Commercial Shade Structures: Go Beyond Function to Elevate & Add Value

Posted by Fibergrate Marketing on Sep 25, 2023 11:03:00 AM


From inviting patios to sophisticated outdoor lounges and shaded walkways, commercial shade structures have the potential to offer more than just sun protection. With careful planning and deliberate material selection, a commercial shade structure project can elevate aesthetics, enhance property value, and even create new revenue streams for businesses and property owners. 

Here, we will explore the ways these shade structures can transform outdoor spaces and contribute to the overall value of commercial properties. We will also examine real-life examples of how fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP) materials have helped create impactful commercial shade structure installations.

shade structureThe Versatility of Commercial Shade Structures

A well-planned commercial shade installation has the potential to deliver 4 main benefits:

  • Sun Protection
    At its core, a shade structure's primary purpose is to provide respite from the sun. The goal is to create comfortable, sun-safe environments where people can relax, dine, or play without exposure to excessive UV radiation.

  • Temperature Regulation
    By reducing direct sunlight exposure, shade structures keep outdoor spaces cooler, making them enjoyable even on hot days.

  • Aesthetic Enhancement
    Whether part of new construction or added to an existing building, commercial shade structures are design elements that can enhance the beauty of outdoor spaces.

  • Functional Expansion
    One of the most valuable aspects of commercial shade structures is their ability to expand the usability of outdoor spaces. 

Consider the potential impact of:

  • Additional dining space for a restaurant
  • A sheltered play area for a daycare
  • A covered waiting area in a public space
  • A simple façade that helps decrease indoor energy use

These are just a few examples of how a commercial shade structure can help maximize the usefulness of a particular space.


Commercial Shade Structure Options

Each type of shade structure has its own purpose and advantages:

  • Sunscreen: These structures are ideal for enhancing the exterior of buildings. They provide excellent sun protection and can be customized to fit different architectural styles.

  • Awnings: Awnings are versatile and many are designed to be extended or retracted as needed. They are commonly found in restaurants, cafes, and storefronts to shelter patrons from both sun and rain.

  • Canopies: Canopies offer comprehensive coverage and are often used in larger outdoor spaces, such as event venues and parks.

  • Pergolas and Gazebos: These structures add an elegant touch to outdoor spaces and are perfect for creating defined areas for relaxation or dining. They may be used as trellises to add a touch of greenery.

  • Shade Sails: Fabric shade sails have a modern, minimalist look and can be arranged in various configurations, providing flexibility in design.

  • Large Umbrellas: Umbrellas can be a cost-effective option for smaller outdoor spaces, providing portable shade wherever needed.


Commercial shade structureFactors to Consider When Choosing Shade Structures

Selecting the right shade structure involves careful consideration of several factors:

  • Purpose and Intended Use
    First, define the intended purpose of your outdoor space. From dining and recreation to waiting and simply transitioning from one space to another, different purposes may require different types of shade structures. And if it is possible, it may be worth exploring one or more purposes in a single space. 

  • Location and Orientation
    Consider the sun's trajectory as well as the prevailing wind direction in your area. This information will help you determine the optimal placement and stability of your shade structure.

  • Material Selection
    Choose materials that can withstand local weather conditions. Options include fiberglass reinforced plastic (FRP), steel, aluminum, and fabric. Each material has its strengths and maintenance requirements—as well as limitations when it comes to useful life. In addition, FRP grating products have varying degrees of UV resistance. Choosing a good level of UV resistance is important since it will affect the lifespan of the product.  

  • Design and Aesthetics
    When you harmonize your shade structure's design with the existing architecture—or ensure the structure coordinates with the planned look in a new construction project—the result is a more cohesive outdoor environment. This is why it can be worth exploring customization options to tailor the structure to your specific needs.


Commercial Shade Structure Inspiration: A Real-Life FRP Installation

Commercial Sun ScreenThe American Bank of Texas in Austin needed a shading solution capable of filtering the intense Texas sun, delivering shade during the state’s long summers. Architecturally, this client had a high-tech, industrial vision in mind. Although stainless steel seemed like a natural choice at first, there were concerns about the rising price of steel, the material’s substantial weight, and the expense associated with future replacement due to inevitable corrosion. Instead, the bank chose an FRP grating system from Fibergrate with the look of steel but at a fraction of the weight and with high corrosion resistance. Read more about how FRP provided the optimal solution.

This is just one example of how FRP can help make commercial shade structures more than just sunblockers. With planning and informed material selection, a shade structure can be a catalyst for creating vibrant and functional outdoor space.

We invite you to explore the possibilities of using FRP grating as a durable material and remind you to consider the specific UV resistance requirements for your project. Reach out to your local Fibergrate sales representative for help enhancing your outdoor space today, and discover how these structures can go beyond function to elevate and add value.




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Topics: FRP, Benefits, Corrosion Resistant, Architecture, architectural, shade structure, outdoor, uv resistance

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