A canopy can be a great addition to a school building or commercial space and there are many options to choose from. Some people prefer the aesthetics of a glazed canopy, others like the versatility of a retractable or movable option that can be used all year round. For some, a free-standing steel canopy is the only way to go but this option requires more structural posts, deeper foundations and extra groundwork and can add to the overall cost of the project.

A good alternative is the aluminium lean to canopy. It’s less expensive than a free-standing structure, can be built over existing walls and doesn’t require any extra foundations. The construction process is also much quicker and simpler – an installation team of two can install a canopy in a couple of days. The aluminium profiles are light which means no cranes or other heavy lifting gear is required to erect the canopy and this minimises installation costs as well as keeping disruption at the school to a minimum.

The aluminium frame can be powder coated in a choice of colours and is glazed with Twinfix curved non-fragile safe roof glazing systems. This offers a high light transmission (clear: 75%, opal: 69%) and can be designed to meet any British or European standards.

Aluminium is an excellent material for a canopy because it’s strong and durable but not as dense as iron or steel. This means it can be fixed to an existing wall without putting too much pressure on the structure, protecting the building and ensuring that it doesn’t need strengthening in the future. This is a key advantage over steel which can be more costly, requires more structural work and needs to be fixed to concrete.

As an added bonus, aluminium is one of the most recyclable materials and treads a much lighter footprint on our planet than steel. It can be recycled multiple times and still retains all of its strength. Steel is far more difficult to recycle and requires a lot of energy to break down into new materials.

An aluminium lean to canopy is also a better option for the environment than other types of structures like timber or glulam. The aluminium isn’t made of iron so doesn’t pollute the environment, it is also a lot more biophilic and helps to create an environment that supports learning and wellbeing. Glulam is another great material for canopies but it is expensive and not as easy to maintain.

For schools wanting a long-lasting, modern and affordable solution to extend their space we recommend our aluminium lean to canopy with clear or opal Polycarbonate roofing. It can be customised to any size and has a range of colour options to match the school building. To complete the look of the canopy we can add lighting, cladding, railings and doors and we offer a wide range of flooring solutions including outdoor ceramic tiles or a decking option.