When it comes to commercial buildings, adding new outdoor spaces (or taking existing outdoor spaces to the next level) is a great way to add interest and boost value.
But depending on location, you may want a layer of protection from the elements. That’s where outdoor patio enclosures come in. Whether they’re year-round or seasonal, enclosures can increase the function of outdoor spaces.
How do you know which commercial-grade fabric is right for your outdoor patio enclosure project? Here are a few of the most important factors to consider:
Different materials work better in different climates and weather conditions, so be sure to take into account where the patio enclosure will be located.
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-ray protection.
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.
Though building and fire codes vary, most commercial buildings are required to use flame-resistant materials. Especially if there will be heat sources near the enclosure (such as patio heaters), flame-resistance is necessary.
Subpar clear fabrics can experience significant distortion over time, like blue or grey haziness, fish-eye effects, and dimples. For the best uninterrupted views, choose a product with superior optical clarity and dimensional stability.
Patio enclosures need to be tough. They have to endure the elements (e.g. UV rays, wind, rain, dirt, debris) as well as frequent cleaning without tearing or degrading, so you’ll want to choose a fabric that will last. For that reason, a warranty is a huge plus.
Durability also affects the way your patio enclosure will be installed. If the fabric is too weak, it will require panels of colored vinyl to be stitched in between the clear panels, interrupting the view.
If clarity is important for your project, make sure the clear vinyl you choose is strong enough to be stitched together, or supports RF welding.
With increasing emphasis on sustainability, energy-efficient materials are becoming more and more desirable. A sturdy, well-insulated fabric will conserve heat (or air conditioning) and save energy in the long run.
Cost is another important consideration. The prices of different materials vary, along with installation costs. Glass is on the higher end of the price spectrum, while vinyl is on the lower end.
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.
Clear vinyl has it all
When you need flexibility, efficiency, and an elegant look, all at an affordable price, vinyl enclosures provide a great option.
From clarity to durability and beyond, clear vinyl is the winning choice for many commercial patio enclosure projects. And when it comes to clear vinyl, PanoramaFR is the best of the best.
PanoramaFR press-polished vinyl is manufactured right here in the USA by Strataglass LLC (a subsidiary of Herculite Products, Inc.), and checks all the boxes for patio enclosure considerations.