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Selecting the Right Commercial-Grade Outdoor Patio Enclosure

The addition of new outdoor spaces (or the upgrading of existing outdoor spaces) is a great way to add interest and boost value to commercial buildings.

 

A layer of protection from the elements may be necessary depending on the location. An outdoor patio enclosure can provide this protection. Enclosures can make outdoor spaces more functional, whether they’re year-round or seasonal.

 

What is the best fabric for your outdoor patio enclosure? Here are some things to consider:

Weather

You should take into account your patio enclosure’s location when choosing a material. Different materials work better in different climates and weather conditions.

For example, if the enclosure will be exposed to frequent rain and high humidity, a mildew-resistant material like vinyl is a must, while significant sun exposure requires UV protection.

Temperature

Consider the time of year the patio will be in use. In particular climates, a year-round enclosure will need to withstand extreme heat and cold.

Some vinyl fabrics can crack and become brittle when exposed to low temperatures. When comparing different materials, check the temperature limitations and ensure that the temperatures fall within the expected range where the enclosure will be installed.

Additionally, lower temperatures may call for a slightly thicker material to promote insulation.

Flame-resistance

In most commercial buildings, flame-resistant materials are required even though building and fire codes vary. Flame resistance is especially important if heat sources (such as patio heaters) will be near the enclosure.

Clarity

Over time, subpar clear fabrics can develop significant distortion, including haziness, fish-eye effects, and dimples. Select a product with superior optical clarity and dimensional stability for uninterrupted views.

Durability

An enclosure for a patio must be durable. Since they must withstand the elements (e.g., UV rays, wind, rain, dirt, debris) as well as frequent cleaning, you should choose a fabric that will last. This is why warranties are so valuable.

Patio enclosures that are durable are also easier to install. It may be necessary to stitch colored vinyl in between the clear panels, interfering with the view, if the fabric is too weak.

Make sure you choose a clear vinyl that is strong enough to stitch together, or that you can RF weld if clarity is important.

Energy efficiency

Energy-efficient materials are becoming increasingly popular as sustainability gains traction. In the long run, a strong, well-insulated fabric will conserve heat (or air conditioning).

Affordability

A second important factor is the cost. Prices and installation costs differ among materials. Vinyl is more affordable than glass.

Weigh the material and installation costs against quality and durability — you’ll get years of use out of high-quality material, and save money on energy, maintenance, and replacement in the long term.