Steel Structures vs. Fabric Shade Structures

There are many benefits to adding shade to outdoor spaces. They create great gathering areas for people to relax and make memories. 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 structure. 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. Continue reading for the engineered wind and snow load for our shelters and shade structures.

Wind Load:

  • 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.

Snow Load:

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

  • Shade fabric is not designed to withstand the weight of snow and therefore should be removed prior to inclement weather moving in. Our Glide Elbow quick release mechanism makes this an easy process!

Create Functional Spaces with Steel Shelters

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.  

Shelter Design Options and Accessories

  • 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 production time.

Uses for Steel Shade and Fabric Shade Structures

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 to get inspired for your next project!

Request a Catalog

Check out our latest catalog to be inspired on how you can create unique outdoor spaces. To view our digital catalog, click our Download link.

To request a printed copy of our catalog, please fill out the form below and check "Printed Copy". Please note, we are not able to ship to USPS PO Boxes.

* Required Fields
Please enter country of residence.
2 + 5 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.