Garden Canopy Roofing Guide

Gardens are turning into an essential part of our homes more than ever. As an additional living space and place to relax, designing a space to enjoy all months of the year is important. However, adverse weather conditions can often impact your outdoor living plans if you aren’t prepared.

The first step to making your outdoor area weatherproof is to install a cover. Garden canopies are a great way of doing this! A canopy for your garden can easily be installed to ensure you can enjoy your outside space whatever the weather.  

There are so many roofing options for garden canopies including glass, polycarbonate sheets and corrugated plastic so in this guide we will explain the choices for you.

What is a Garden Canopy?

A garden canopy roof is a cover or structure designed to extend over a patio or outdoor living area to give protection from the elements and shade. They can be freestanding or lean-to against a house wall – a lean-to canopy tends to be the most common. As with other garden structures, canopies are easily configurable to lots of different setups so are also often used as an embellishment for a pathway or house entrance.

For cost reasons, garden canopies are usually built of wood but with the invention of aluminium self supporting glazing bars you can also choose an aluminium structure for a longer lifespan. Self-support glazing bars remove the need for timber, which can weaken and rot over time.

What is the difference between a canopy and an awning?

An awning is made of fabric and a canopy is a rigid structure with a glazed roof. There is no doubt, awnings can look excellent in the first few months. However, patio awnings main disadvantage is that the fabric can easily get ripped in the wind or bad weather and is very susceptible to mould growth. This is why if you are going to invest in your garden, then a canopy is the way forward for a long- term solution.

Garden Canopy Roofing Options 

Choosing a canopy for your home/garden can be a time-consuming process with so many different options available. Size, material, and overall style are just some of the important factors people consider. So here are the best canopy roofing options to choose from when it comes to adding a stylish shelter that will suit for all year round.

Here are the top garden canopy roofing materials which we will compare:

Top Garden Canopy Coverings 

Glass

Glass is often the first material people think of as an option for a canopy for their roof. Primarily this is down to the appearance as visually it is a fantastic option for modern homes. Using glass for your roof on a canopy is a premium style option. It is long-lasting and the glass look will bring elegance and luxury to your home.

A glass roof canopy is created using an aluminium canopy system and glass panels. Considering all options a glass canopy provides the lightest outdoor living space, creating a bright airy space with a quality feel, meaning it is often considered the ultimate option.

However, with a premium look comes a premium cost. If you require glass that is over 2 meters in length, then it can be an expensive option. When considering the price of your project, you need also to factor in the cost of distribution. Not only does the glass itself cost more but there is more cost to ensure the glass is delivered in one piece.

Another factor which can be a disadvantage of glass is the shatter risk. Safety is of prime importance in home installations, especially where there are children present. Glass carries the inherent risk of shattering – whether from kids playing football in the garden or debris from stormy winter weather. 

So, with glass as an expensive option and a potential health and safety issue, what other options are there for people to consider? Well, there is a cheaper and safer alternative that is commonly used to give people the same glass looks without the safety implications or the costs faced with glass; solid polycarbonate. Look below to learn more.

Polycarbonate Garden Canopy Roof

With some polycarbonate sheeting options being 200 times stronger than glass, it is safer and easier to install. There are two types of polycarbonate sheets to consider for covering your garden canopy.

Solid Polycarbonate

Solid polycarbonate sheets look like glass but without the high cost and the potential shatter implications. No need to compromise on that ‘glass look’ with a quality clear sheet. A hugely popular option that is used around the world, polycarbonate sheets are virtually unbreakable.

Solid Polycarbonate sheets are easy to cut to size or shape to create a waterproof canopy roof. Drilling is also hassle-free, with no need to worry about your sheets cracking when drilling. Simply follow our video about how to cut solid polycarbonate.

What do you use to install a solid Canopy? Well, the best option is self-supporting Glazing Bars. They allow you to create a fully aluminium structure which has a big wow factor visually, whilst lasting longer. There are also aluminium glazing bars for rafters if you have a timber canopy frame.

Clear Polycarbonate Sheets are the most popular choice for creating a sun canopy. Solid sheets are very much the same as glass in terms of having great transparency for good light under the canopy, which in turn creates a bright airy space with a quality feel.

If you feel the solid look is for you, don’t settle for a cheap plastic alternative as lower grades are often brittle and non-UV protected so don’t have the same benefits. However, if your budget is smaller don’t worry. When you're planning and looking into garden canopy ideas it is best to consider all price options so for a lower cost polycarbonate read on to learn about twinwall polycarbonate.

Axiome and Snapa Veranda Lean To Review Image

Multiwall & Twinwall Polycarbonate Sheets

If you a looking for a low cost way to create a canopy for your garden then twinwall or multiwall polycarbonate may be the best option for you. Twinwall and Multiwall sheets are practically identical with exception of the number of ‘walls’ used in each type of sheet; twinwall tends to have only two layers whereas multiwall, as the name suggests, can have multiple!

It’s a great low-cost option and so is the most popular of all garden canopy roof options. As it is a cheaper alternative to solid sheets it’s not got the same visibility but equally, it has a great light transmission and will create a bright space under any garden canopy. 

Multiwall and Twin wall polycarbonate is arguably one of the easiest plastic sheets to cut and drill. The perfect choice for DIYers with just a small amount of experience. They can be trimmed down very neatly so you don’t need to worry about the overall finish for your garden canopy!

When planning your garden canopy, tints can also be a deciding factor. Bronze polycarbonate is a fantastic option for reducing the sun’s glare while also providing shading under your sun canopy. On the other hand. Opal is a good option if you’re looking for some shading while still creating a clean bright glow. It can also reduce heat build-up by approximately 35% making this an excellent option for a sun canopy. 

No matter what thickness option you choose, your sheets will need glazing bars to join the sheets and provide maximum support to your structure. These provide a waterproof seal between glazing sheets to create the perfect waterproof garden canopy. Aluminium Rafter Glazing Bars are typically the most popular for medium to large projects at home and commercial projects where roof lifespan and quality are key factors. Whereas PVC Glazing bars help you create the look you want but most importantly lowering your project cost and sticking to your budget.

Corrugated Plastic

Using corrugated roofing sheets is completely different from flat sheets. The appearance is naturally different, but the biggest difference will be how you install these sheets.

Flat glazing sheets like polycarbonate and secured to rafters which run down the slope. Corrugated plastic roofing is fixed to purlins, running horizontally across the roof, using corrugated screw fixings that are fixed on the peaks of the corrugations on each roof sheet.

Stormproof Corrugated Sheets

Corrugated Stormproof sheets are the strongest most durable sheets available. They are manufactured from a virtually unbreakable plastic resin making this sheet a robust option to consider. If high quality is an important factor for your sun canopy, then look no further! 

Unlike cheap alternatives, Stormproof has a UV protection layer. This ensures they don’t go brittle and therefore have a longer life span than all other clear corrugated sheets. 

One of the key reasons Corrugated Roofing Sheets are so popular is that they’re seen as one of the easiest sheets to install. They are installed by overlapping sheets, creating a watertight cover, sealing the roof, and avoiding any leaks. They are then fixed down using screws.

PVC Corrugated Sheets

If you are looking for a budget corrugated option, then PVC Corrugated sheets are a good option for projects on a very tight budget!

PVC sheets are a cheaper alternative as they are not as robust, and durable compared to Stormproof Sheets. Although they are not as durable, they are a very effective choice for low-cost projects. Like all our corrugated sheets, installation is very easy and requires little DIY Skills. 

What is the best garden canopy roofing material? 

 Reason Sheet Type
Best Flat Roofing for Canopies Solid Polycarbonate
Budget Flat Roofing for Canopies Multiwall Polycarbonate
Best Corrugated Roofing for Canopies Corrugated Stormproof
Budget Corrugated Roofing for Canopies Corrugated PVC

 

Well as discussed earlier this depends on two main factors which are budget and the structure of the canopy.

If you decide you would like to cover your canopy with corrugated sheets, then Stormproof is the ultimate sheet to use. This roof sheet is the toughest and longest-lasting corrugated sheet.

If selecting flat sheets and your structure has rafters, then polycarbonate sheets are going to be the best option. As discussed earlier if you want the best-looking option then this is Solid Polycarbonate. They are great for where a high degree of strength is required to protect against impact and provide a safe glazing solution in the place of glass.

If budget is a key factor you need to consider then Multiwall or Twinwall are both excellent options for your garden canopy that will still provide coverage and create a bright and airy feel.

 

Need Help with your Garden Canopy Project?

If you are needing help building quote for your garden canopy roof please get in touch. Our Team will be happy to assist on our Live Chat or you can email shop@clearamber.com where our we will provide you with all the advice and support you require for your project.

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