Engineering and Design Criteria that Affect Canopy Systems

metal canopy system

At Mitchell Metals, we value quality over everything else. And we ensure quality not only in our aluminum canopies, but also in the service we provide. We want to be open and transparent with our customers at all times — even during the design process. There are specific design and engineering criteria that can affect your overall canopy system. Don’t find these things out the hard way, instead read below, and ask questions of our knowledgeable staff.

Factors that Affect Aluminum Canopy Systems


  • Width of canopy coverage:

    The wider the coverage, the larger the structural members will need to be to support it. Also, larger widths will require a long ways canopy system to sustain it, or additional framing members.

  • Height of columns/canopy system:

    The higher the canopy, the stronger and larger the columns will need to be to support it.

  • Spacing between columns or support rods:

    Spaces cannot be too broad between rods — it weakens the overall structure.

  • Cut outs in column vs. underground drain:

    Above ground drainage makes a column weaker as you are taking material from the structure itself.

  • Longways vs. shortways:

    The direction the canopy decking runs affects how the canopy supports are stressed or loaded.

  • Projections of overhead supported canopy: 

    Similar to the width of canopy coverage, overhead canopies cannot be structurally supported if they are projected too far.

  • Columns with baseplates vs. Styrofoam blockout inserts:

    A column that uses Styrofoam blockouts with concrete foundations can support more load than a column with a welded baseplate. This is because welding a baseplate to the column reduces the strength of aluminum to around 35 percent of the original strength.

We want to be a part of the entire process, from to design to installation. Mitchell Metals has an experienced staff that can design, fabricate, ship or install a canopy to your exact needs and specifications. Contact us if you want an aluminum canopy, or check out our custom CAD designs for guidance.

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