Caring for your tensile structure in extreme weather conditions

A properly-engineered tensile structure offers shelter, shade and remains comfortable even on hot days. The UK’s weather has become more intense in recent years, with severe storms and snowfall causing widespread chaos.

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Health and safety

Make sure you have a solid understanding of health and safety basics before you start caring for your tensile structure. While your canopy may be safe and fitted and suspended securely, you need to maintain and protect it against environmental damage.

Here are four main areas to watch out for, all caused by extreme weather.

1. Wind

Computer testing shows wind uplift is as heavy as a load of snow. Make sure you have a re-tension/maintenance review once a year to check for weakening in the tensile fabric.

2. Sun

While we may chuckle at the idea of extreme sunshine in the UK, it is good to know what to look out for. PVC canopy materials contain UV stabilisers to shield against colour loss and fabric deterioration; however, periods of high humidity can cause tensile structure fabric to become brittle. Make sure you clean it regularly to reduce the risk of mould build-up.

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3. Condensation

Good ventilation solves most condensation niggles; however, sometimes it is necessary to install a thermal quilting layer to create extra air flow between the two layers. Sealing the gap is best practice in winter to provide insulation, while opening the gap in summer encourages good air flow.

4. Snow

The weight of snowfall strains the fittings and sags the cloth. Solving this challenge is relatively easy – all you need is a standard broom. Make sure you clear the area first. Stand beneath your tensile structure and push the broom, bristles first, upwards. When the broom connects with the underside of your canopy, run your broom along, ‘sweeping’ the snow off your canopy until it falls to the ground.

If you are concerned about the condition of your tensile structure, call an expert in tensile fabric canopies for an assessment. Specialists such as http://signaturestructures.com/ will review the condition of your canopy and suggest steps forward.

Changes in the weather conditions reinforce the need for your tensile structure. Regular maintenance and an understanding of what weather can do to your canopy is all you need to continue enjoying the benefits for years to come.