Everything has a reason or purpose. According to architects and contractors, aluminum has four.
We know because, as an experienced aluminum canopy manufacturer and provider with a long-term outlook on business, we work with architects and contractors on a regular basis. We also listen to what they say about aluminum versus steel and why they choose aluminum for their projects with us.
When planning a project with either aluminum or steel in mind, our customers care about two standouts:
- Aluminum does not corrode/rust
Steel canopies are painted to slow down corrosion. But no matter what paint you throw on top of steel, the underlying material still rusts. Owners are forced to repaint as often as every two or three years if they want the canopy to look as good as it did on installation.
Aluminum is much better in this way because the material does not rust. We typically see finished aluminum canopies last six or seven years without showing obvious signs of wear and tear.
- Aluminum canopy systems drain internally – No more exposed downspouts!
Aluminum canopy systems drain internally. That is, water drains down the support beams and out small exit points near the ground, as you can see in the picture below.
Our clients value two aspects of this approach over steel gutters. Firstly: exposed downspouts can be sources of damage across the life of the canopy. And aesthetically, internal drainage looks more professional, elegant and modern.
Those two reasons tend to be the decision-makers, but the next pair can be important, depending on who you talk to.
- Aluminum is lightweight and easier to install than steel
Even though aluminum canopies are composed of durable structural members, they are light enough that most canopy systems can be installed without heavy equipment. Our crews typically need nothing more than the building materials and ladders to install our canopy systems. That helps keep prices down and installation simple.
- Aluminum structural members are prefinished by our extruder
Our customers ask us all the time whether the canopy top will be the same color as the bottom. They have to ask because sheet metal is often not painted on both sides, and they fear that a finished canopy will look cheap from the second or third floor as opposed to the ground level. This is not an issue you need to worry about with extruded aluminum.
Our parts are finished on all exposed sides – every single member, every single side. So whether the viewer is above or below, the visual presentation will be the exact same.
These advantages are particularly exciting because aluminum has taken a few steps forward in the last few years.
If you are new to aluminum, or have been away from the aluminum canopy market, you will be happy to know that aluminum members are now available in larger sizes, enabling more elaborate builds than were possible even two or three years ago. This opens up the field for projects that were previously only possible with steel.
Check out our full menu of aluminum columns, decking, flashing, and beams to see the sizes you can use in your projects.