by Samuel J. Armijos
An awning is defined as a lightweight, rigid frame clad with fabric that is attached to a building. A canopy is similar to an awning, but is self-supporting or attached at minimal locations to a building.
Awnings and canopies have improved markedly with the advent of new materials and framing systems, and today they provide a cost-effective way to transform a building or space. As an architectural element, awnings and canopies come in all shapes and sizes and can be installed relatively easily on both existing and new construction. The materials used for these structures vary in weight, life span and cost.
Lacing is the most traditional technique of attaching a fabric cover to an awning or canopy frame. Grommets are placed along the edge of the membrane and the cover is tied to the frame by threading thin rope through the grommets and around a lacing bar, which is attached to the frame. Alternatively, fabric can be attached to the frame by screwing mechanical fasteners directly into the frame. Another approach to attaching fabric to an awning or canopy frame is with industrial strength staples which hold the fabric to a specialized frame or extrusion that is then covered with a custom vinyl strip.
As awnings and canopies become larger, their frames can become quite heavy relying more on the fabric’s structural characteristics to the point that they become tension structures.
It can’t be more simple. Try one on for size.