Is a Canopy Building the Right Solution for You?

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  • A steel canopy offers quality without the walls

Walls or No Walls – That is the Question

Depending on the location that you plan to build, you may want to consider a metal building with no walls, also known as a canopy. At first you may think the obvious, that a canopy building is for those who want exposure to the outdoors while also gaining a covered space, but there are far more factors in selecting a canopy as your structure of choice.

In this week’s industry related article, we will examine advantages and disadvantages to constructing a canopy, as well as which type of canopy may be best for your project.

Types of Canopies

Because canopies are so versatile, they can be used in place of almost any project that needs protection from the elements. Canopies are a great economical option because they only require concrete piers rather than a full slab, which can be a huge advantage for lower-budget projects. They can also be as simple or complex as required by your intended use. Here’s an idea of the types of canopies you may have come across:

  • Canopy Tents
  • Tube Buildings
  • Wood Buildings
  • I-Beam Buildings

Each of the type of canopy building listed above has appropriate applications as well as advantages and disadvantages, shown below:

Advantages and Disadvantages

Canopy TypeAdvantagesDisadvantages
Canopy Tents
  • Lowest price point
  • Can be assembled by anyone
  • Durability
  • Versatility
Tube Buildings
  • Affordability
  • Can protect a vehicle
  • Storms can easily damage
  • Limited on size
Wood Buildings
  • Stronger than tube canopies
  • Can be larger than tube buildings
  • High price point
  • Not as durable as steel
I-Beam Buildings
  • Can be any size
  • Durability
  • Loaded differently
  • Can be higher price point

Which is the Best Option?

If you’re looking for a bit of covered space in your backyard or if you’re looking to protect a vehicle from the elements in an area without harsh weather, a tent canopy or tube building may be the best choice – especially if price is a key factor.

If you require a more durable space, then you should consider steel canopy buildings. Steel building kits have grown in popularity compared to wooden buildings because of the clear advantages that pre-engineered steel buildings provide over their wood counterparts. In brief, wooden buildings have quickly gained a reputation for failing in severe storms whereas metal buildings have become known for their extreme durability. For more information on this comparison, this pole barns vs steel buildings article takes a more in depth look at these types of buildings side by side.

Deeper Look at I-Beam Steel Canopy Buildings

There are a multitude of reasons to choose a steel canopy building other than the specific advantages and disadvantages outlined above. One of the biggest considerations is what you will do with the open space. Some choose to leave it open just for the sake of having the walls open to the surrounding environment and others choose to leave the walls open in order to create a different type of wall while still benefitting from the I-beam construction.

A More Secure Steel Building

For example, some developers of warehousing districts will choose to purchase a canopy building with the intent of building cinder block or concrete walls from the foundation to the roof. This is usually because these developers must provide a more secure structure from vandalism and robberies in a secluded warehousing park. You may think at first that a steel building should be great for this type of application, but the sidewalls can be cut through relatively easily while block or concrete walls are much more difficult to enter. It should also be noted that a steel building will still inherit the characteristics that allow it to stand up to some of mother nature’s most vicious storms because the building is still loaded to do so. On the other hand, loading a building for this type of durability typically costs more than a building with metal sidewalls because it must be loaded for an updraft of wind.

General Steel Canopies

The General Steel canopy building featured above was built in New Jersey for a transportation company who needed to protect its fleet of vehicles from New Jersey’s hot summer sun and harsh winter conditions. Below is additional project information:

Canopy Features

  • All red iron steel beam construction
  • No interior columns
  • Classic green trim
  • Standing seam roof

Project Information

Building Size

35 x 80 x 20


Elizabeth, NJ

Building Use

Vehicle Storage

Building Type

Garage | Canopy


Looking for more project inspiration? Listed below are additional ways to use a steel canopy for your home or business:

Outdoor Sports Coverage

Many parks, residences, and churches nationwide choose General Steel canopies to cover their existing tennis courts, basketball courts, and batting cages. The durability of our product in combination with it’s sleek appearance is a hit with our customers.

Hay Storage for Farmers

Ran out of room in your barn? When a fully enclosed storage building is unnecessary and unaffordable for something as simple as hay storage, a steel canopy is the perfect solution. It offers the necessary protection from the elements at an affordable price.

Gas Stations

A General Steel Canopy is ideal for Gas Stations. It is a non-combustible way to cover your pumps and protect your customers from rain, snow, and the beating sun. Your customers will thank you for this! Conveniently, we can also provide you with a cost-effective convenience store.

Lean To

Canopies can also be attached to any existing or new building in the form of a Lean To. This is a very popular and economical way to add additional coverage and protect utilities, vehicles, equipment. Another option is to add a covered parking space, or a steel carport, for your cars, RVs, boats, etc.