Business owners who have canopies installed often take the benefits of aluminum for granted, including its durability and ability to withstand heavy snowfall. However, these canopies are still prone to typically weather-related damage as effectively as any other canopy structure. This is especially true in areas with a particularly snowy winter season or where leaves frequently fall onto the surface of an aluminum canopy.
Leaves falling on canopies are not only unsightly—they can weigh down beams and bars, causing potential damages that may result in costly repairs. Likewise, snow accumulations can also cause harm to coverings if they become too heavy. The weight required for products to sustain structural damage is three times that of a traditional beam or bar, meaning that canopies are significantly more susceptible to damage from snowfall.
However, the good news for canopy owners is that there are cleaning and removal methods to remove snow that can save your commercial canopy investment from extensive weather-related expenses. By using simple maintenance procedures regularly, you can ensure the canopy remains free from dirt and debris accumulation at all times.
Before the next major storm, here are some great tips on how to prepare your aluminum canopies for harsh weather:
1.) Remove/Clean Leaves From Your Commercial Canopy Pre-emptively
The easiest way to do this is simply by using a leaf blower or pushing back leaves manually with a roof rake. Remember that canopies are highly susceptible to rust damage, so the more time you have before snow accumulates on surfaces, the better.
2.) Remove Heavy Snowfall Quickly
Not all of our customers experience crazy snowfall, so this may not apply to you, but if it does know that the longer you wait to shovel off heavy accumulations of snow from canopies, the greater risk there is for beams and bars to bow under pressure. Large amounts of accumulated ice or snow can quickly create dangerous conditions making it difficult for people to walk safely underneath your canopy. Shoveling regularly will ensure that your canopy remains free from any over-weight accumulations of ice and snow at all times.
3.) Use Ice Melters Carefully
While salt and sand mixture is often used in a heated state to melt snow and ice from surfaces, companies recommend doing this with caution. Salt is known to corrode aluminum and other metals when it’s hot enough, and too much can create hazardous conditions for anyone who walks underneath your canopy. As an alternative solution, companies also suggest using a specially formulated commercial grade cleaner that melts ice without potentially damaging surfaces.
4.) Repaint Your Commercial Aluminum Canopy
If the paint on your canopy is peeling or chipping, it may be time to repaint before winter hits. Avoid pressure washing surfaces to prevent damage to beams or bars; instead, you should use a soft bristle brush or broom and soap mix (such as dishwashing soap) to clean surfaces. Ensure you rinse thoroughly with water after cleaning to prevent aluminum from oxidizing and turning a grey or black color.
5.) Inspect Your Commercial Aluminum Canopy for Damage
Even if you’ve been vigilant about keeping your canopy clean, it’s likely some damage will occur over time due to factors like your local climate or nearby trees shedding leaves onto products. Look closely at the surface for any holes or cracks that may have developed over time—the longer these types of damages exist, the greater risk they’ll grow and potentially cause dents or other forms of structural damage under heavy accumulations of snowfall or ice. Always contact an aluminum professional for inspection recommendations before winter arrives, and ensure surfaces are smooth to the touch.
6.) Use Aluminum Protectors
These protectors make it easy to remove snow and ice from canopies with minimal effort—wipe surfaces clean by spraying them down with a protectant and then removing accumulated snow or ice with a snow broom or squeegee. These protectants are specially developed to keep aluminum rain-free while preventing beams or bars from developing rust during the winter months. Though they tend to have a higher initial purchase cost, protectant products save you money in the long term by protecting commercial canopies against expensive weather-related damage. To ensure your canopy remains dry and safe this winter, use an aluminum protector product and follow company recommendations on how often to spray surfaces down throughout the winter.
Rely on TVM for Your Next Commercial Aluminum Canopy Project
We hope we’ve helped you determine the best tools for cleaning your canopies in fall and winter weather. At Tennessee Valley Metals, we provide the highest quality canopies you can find. If you want to get started on a project for your building, contact us to learn more about how we can provide exactly what you need!