Steel vs. Fabric Shade

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There are many benefits to adding shade to outdoor spaces. They create great gathering areas for people to relax and live. From schools and child care centers to parks to zoos, there are many different kinds of spaces and uses for shade structures. When choosing a shade, there’s a lot to consider when deciding between a steel shelter or a fabric shade. Let’s take a look!

Does your region experience high winds or snow?

If your region experiences high winds and/or heavy snow, consider a steel shelter for year-round use. One of the main reasons is that a steel shelter is a pre-engineered permanent structure whereas the fabric on a fabric shade is temporary. In harsh weather and during winter seasons, the fabric will need to be removed so it’s not damaged by rain, wind, or snow. However, our Glide Elbow mechanism makes it easy to quickly remove fabric before harsh weather hits! The framework of our steel shelters are engineered to withstand high winds and heavy snow loads.


  • Steel shelters have a wind load of up to 90 mph.

  • Shade fabrics have a wind load of up to 76 mph (Hurricane Force 1) and 3-second wind gusts of 90 mph. Steel frames have a wind load of up to 150 mph with fabric removed.


  • Steel shelters have a snow capacity of 20 pounds per square foot.

  • Fabric from fabric shade should be removed because it’s not designed to withstand snow. Our Glide Elbow quick release mechanism makes this an easy process!

Create functional spaces.

Metal pavilions and shelters are available in a variety of shapes, structural designs, and optional elements that aren’t available for fabric shade structures. These include ornamental lattice and handrails, aluminum weathervanes in bronze or pewter, and gutters and downspouts.  


  • Cupolas
  • Columns
  • Weathervanes
  • Electrical cutouts
  • Lightning protection package
  • Ornamental lattice, handrails, and corner bracing
  • And more!

Shelters are available for all budgets.

When investing in a shelter, you’re guaranteed to get a low-maintenance permanent metal pavilion. Even while on a budget, a durable steel shelter is still affordable with our value line! It’s a collection of our most popular designs that are competitively priced and pre-engineered for a faster lead time.

Uses for steel shade and fabric shade.

No matter if you choose a steel shade or a fabric shade, you know you’ll receive a quality structure that can be used for many applications. From military bases and sport complexes to parks and zoos, we provide steel shelters for many markets and locations. Check out our project galleries for inspiration!

Be Inspired

Shelter Project Installation Galleries

Take a look at some of our most impressive projects to get inspiration for your next pavilion, gazebo, pergola, and more!