Creating a beautiful and functional shade structure for your commercial space involves choosing the right materials and the right product for the application. Options include solid wood structures, solid metal structures, or a combination of metal and fabric. Understanding the pros and cons of each will help you determine the right shade structure and material for your project.

Solid Metal and Wood Shade Structures

Despite their apparent durability, inclement weather including harsh storms can be much harder on solid metal or wood shade structures than fabric shades. Since wood has no flexibility or breathability, pieces can easily come off solid wood structures, making them more susceptible to weather-related damage. Steel and aluminum structures are more durable than wood, but need regular maintenance to keep them in prime condition. Permanent steel or aluminum structures need to be cleaned and maintained often so debris does not accumulate and weight down the roof of the shade structure.

Additional disadvantages of solid wood and metal structures include:

  • Damage of injuries caused by falling pieces or debris falling off the roofs
  • Regular maintenance to keep a clean appearance
  • Regular inspections for rot or pests in wood shade structures
  • Completely blocking sunlight, which may prevent the growth of grass and plants under the shade structure
  • Lack of air circulation under the shade structure, which may trap heat and cause the “heat island” effect
  • Bats, birds, and other pests roosting under solid shades

Fabric and Steel Shade Structures

One of the most popular shade structure choices on the market combines a steel frame with fabric canopies. Fabric shade structures offer a much wider variety in styles, custom colors and price points than solid wood or metal structures. This variety allows you to customize your shade structure to get exactly the appearance and functionality you want.

Additional advantages of fabric and steel structures include:

  • Improves air circulation, which helps reduce temperature of the shaded space
  • Allows enough soft light to filter through so no additional lighting is needed and plants can thrive
  • Fabric shade maintenance can be more cost-effective than replacing or repairing wood or metal roofs on shade structures
  • Different fabric types offer more choices better suited to your need, like HDPE and PVC options
  • Solid metal and fabric structures offer greater flexibility and durability in high winds — our structures are also engineered to meet certain wind and snow loads
  • Fabric shade structures with USA SHADE meet North American building codes

If you are trying to decide between a wood, fabric or metal shade structure, contact CERIA SHADE to understand our full capabilities and options for your shade solution. We offer a wide variety of products from modular standard structures to full customization and innovative choices with a wide range of budget options to find the right choice for your business.