Choosing Canopies: Which Shelter is Right for Your Investment?

Boat canopy. Photo from Canopies Elite.Summer and fall are long past, and now you’re wishing your vehicle had better protection. Soon you will wake up to a foot of snow blanketing the street and your driveway, and before you go to work, you not only need to dig a path for your car but you also need to dig out the vehicle itself. Ice, as well, is an inconvenience; after rain in colder temperatures, the water freezes on your windows. If your home isn’t equipped with a garage, adding a canopy structure might be necessary.

If you go to a retailer, you might see several types of canopies. All, as you can see, have a powder-coated or galvanized steel frame. Most have a polyethylene tarp on top, although some are made entirely of steel. Which one is best for your vehicle?

For everyday storage, go with a valance style. Valance-style canopies, also called carports, offer a standard level of coverage. The steel frame can withstand high winds (usually up to 95 MPH for most models) and heavy snow. The polyethylene tarp or steel top also keeps out UV rays and water. Not only protected from the sun and moisture, your vehicle will be dry nearly every day.

Portable shelters like canopies may be needed for a specific use, such as to cover a boat or RV in colder months. Instead of leaving the vehicle outdoors (this actually damages the surface over time), protect it with an enclosed canopy. With the same steel and polyethylene composition, these canopies have walls on all sides and a zipper or roll-up door. As moisture buildup is another concern, these structures allow air to circulate underneath.

Location and time are two additional factors to consider. Will this portable building be used all year long, or is it only erected in the colder months? If the canopy will be kept permanently outdoors, galvanized steel is better for long-term use; powder-coated steel does not have as long of a lifespan. Location, as well, must be considered. Some towns, cities, and neighborhoods have ordinances for portable shelters, in which location and size are restricted.

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