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How Architectural Canopies Transform Facades

The facade of your building or business is often the first impression and the mental picture people have of your location. If you think about some of the stores, businesses, or even buildings you’ve visited recently, the front entrance is probably one of the first things that comes to mind. This is no accident. Designing an attractive and memorable facade is a key element to branding a brick-and-mortar store or even designing a welcoming building, and architectural canopies are vital parts of the overall design process.

If you have yet to consider how architectural canopies work in the overall aesthetic of your building or storefront, you probably have a few questions. For instance, how do canopies enhance the design of your building’s facade? What materials are best for canopies that will look good and stand the test of time? Can wood be used for outdoor canopies? What kind of lighting options are available to enhance the area in front of your building? Finally, where can you find custom-made architectural canopies for your home or place of business?

In today’s guide, we will answer all of these questions and more, but first, let’s look at exactly how different canopy materials can enhance the overall design of your building:

Canopy Materials As Design-Enhancing Elements

Aluminum is the tried-and-true material to look for when shopping for durable canopy materials and designs. However, this doesn’t mean that your entire canopy needs to be made of aluminum. In fact, you can find many other materials that enhance the design and aesthetic appeal of your canopy without taking away from its essential functionality.

Glass and wood are two very popular choices that are easy to clean and maintain. Aluminum, glass, wood, and durable fabric can all serve as the roof of the canopy. Both wood and fabric rooftops can be treated to be completely water resistant, while reinforced aluminum and glass are more naturally resistant to the elements. Depending on the style of canopy you want, you may have the option to use aluminum or wood for the louvers. These can also be covered by glass to act as an additional rain protector.

It’s important to consider that there are other options out there, though they may not be the best long-term options. That said, there are many ways to make less common materials enhance the look of your canopy. Some potential options include:

  • Steel – Reinforced steel is a solid material that can provide ample strength and dependability to the frame of your canopy. However, it comes with some significant drawbacks. Besides for the finish not being as nice as aluminum, steel is far more dense than aluminum, which means it requires much greater structural support. This can make installation and even maintenance more costly and time-consuming. In addition, steel is not as resistant to rust like aluminum.
  • Polycarbonate – Polycarbonate plastic is harder than fabric. In addition, some polycarbonates are less resistant to cracks and other damage caused by the elements and extreme temperature changes. If polycarbonate doesn’t suit your needs, acrylic is another type of plastic that offers greater durability and optical clarity.
  • Greenery – Organic and non-organic greenery can serve as canopy covers, though they are substantially more difficult to maintain and control. This is especially challenging with organic greenery, as you’ll need a suspended system to provide water and nutrients to the plants, and ensure that they are regularly trimmed.

Canopy Frame Design

Canopy frames can be as simple or complex as you like, and there are virtually no limits on how you can customize your frame (as long as the design maintains its structural integrity). The frame profile, or the exterior border of your canopy frame, can vary in height and width. Most standard sizes range somewhere between 6” x 2.75” (outer edge height by inner edge height) all the way up to 12” x 5”. To ensure the best possible sturdiness, frame profiles should use heavy extruded aluminum or a similarly durable material.

While the roof and frame profile make up the bulk of an architectural canopy frame, other elements complement these parts in both support and aesthetics. For example, profile add-ons give you even more customization options, extending the versatility of your frame profile and your canopy frame as a whole. You might also want reveals (elongated and stylized protrusions) or indents (elongated and stylized indentations) to add a more textured and multifaceted look to your architectural canopy.

Every canopy design is unique, but most will require roof pans or similar drainage systems to allow water to flow in a controlled way and prevent the collection of moisture and debris. Though roof pans and other drainage systems serve a very important function, they can (and should) add to the visual experience of your canopy. Roof pans and gutters will often serve as extensions to the canopy roof and frame profile, which means they are highly visible. Choosing designs that naturally incorporate drainage systems can help make your architectural canopy even more appealing.

The Role Of Canopy Lighting

Lighting plays a huge role in canopy architecture and design. Regardless of the time of day or night, lighting fixtures on the bottom or exterior profile of a canopy can help draw people in and make your facade stand out. Some popular design options include 3” or 5” downlights, as well as 1” or 2” LED strips. In either case, you can help your canopy — and the facade of your building — make a much greater impression on visitors and even passersby with the right lighting.

Properly implemented light fixtures can also enhance the architectural design of your canopy and facade. You might use them to highlight the form and materials of your canopy, create visual interest in the space, or simply accentuate architectural details. Even if you just want lighting for safety and security purposes, it can still be used to improve the general ambiance outside of your building, complementing the theme and architectural style.

Canopy Material Colors

There are virtually no limits when it comes to the final color of your canopy. However, many property owners choose colors that have universal appeal and are less likely to strain the eyes. Some popular choices for aluminum powder coating finishes include RAL Black, Bronze Matte Metallic, Black Matte, Anodized Silver, and White Fine Texture. If you opt for a glass design, you may want something entirely clear, frosted, or tinted. Alternatively, if you incorporate wood in your architectural canopy design, colors like IPE, Cumaru, and Tigerwood are all excellent choices.

Duralux Architectural Canopies

Are you looking for architectural canopies for your home or place of business? Do you want to make a long-term investment in your building’s facade? Finally, do you want to find the absolute best luxury canopy designers in the industry? If so, Duralux has the expertise and designs to see your architectural dreams come to fruition.

From our Alumilúx extruded aluminum canopies to our DuraWood wooden canopies on aluminum frames, we have dozens of customizable designs, materials, colors, and lighting options to meet your needs. Our architectural canopies are specifically made to bridge the gap between lasting functionality and superior style, giving you more room to customize the perfect facade for your residential building or place of business.

Interested in designing an architectural canopy to transform your facade? Reach out to the experts at Duralux today!