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Home -- Blogs -- How to choose the material for the canopy?

How to choose the material for the canopy?


A leader in logistics and operations, Caesar expertly manages the complexities of large tent installations for international events.

Updated: April 30, 2024
Published: April 18, 2024


When we face the dazzling array of tarpaulin products on the market, we often feel confused about where to start. In order to help you make informed decisions among the many options, Shelter Structures will delve into the structural characteristics of canopy material and the common types of canopy material on the market, hoping to provide you with a practical purchasing guide.

Structure of canopy material

Canopy material fabric is a material synthesized from base fabric, coating, and surface treatment. The base fabric is high-strength polyester fiber. Through coating treatment on the base fabric, the tarpaulin can be made waterproof, sun-proof, wear-resistant, anti-corrosion and other properties after coating. Common canopy material fabric coatings include PVC (polyvinyl chloride), PE (polyethylene), PU (polyurethane), PVDF (polyvinylidene fluoride), etc.

4 best materials for canopy

PVC (polyvinyl chloride)

PVC, full name polyvinyl chloride, has good chemical resistance, corrosion resistance and mechanical properties. It is polymerized from vinyl chloride monomer. PVC has excellent insulation properties and processing properties. It is the most commonly used canopy material on the market.

PE (polyethylene)

PE, full name polyethylene, is a common thermoplastic with excellent chemical resistance, water resistance, and electrical insulation. Polyethylene is widely used in packaging materials, agricultural films, containers, pipes, toys and other fields.

Polyethylene Tarpaulin

PU (polyurethane)

PU, full name polyurethane, is a multifunctional polymer material with excellent mechanical properties, wear resistance and elasticity. Polyurethane can be used as a coating material for canopy cloth material to improve the waterproof performance and durability of the tent.

PVDF (polyvinylidene fluoride)

PVDF, full name polyvinylidene fluoride, is a special engineering plastic known for its excellent weather resistance, chemical resistance, heat resistance and mechanical strength. PVDF contains fluorine atoms in its molecular structure, which gives it a series of unique physical and chemical properties. Semi-crystalline polymers have higher melting points and glass transition temperatures. Strong performance makes its cost higher, and it is usually used in higher-end event tents.

Performance comparison

1.Weather resistance


PVDF has excellent weather resistance and chemical resistance due to its fluorinated carbon chain structure. As an outdoor canopy material, it can resist the erosion of ultraviolet rays, acid rain, salt spray and other environmental factors.

PU materials can resist a certain degree of ultraviolet rays and oxidation, but they will age when exposed to harsh environments for a long time.

PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is an optional canopy material with moderate weather resistance. It can resist certain ultraviolet rays and oxidation, but its performance will decrease under strong ultraviolet rays and high-temperature environments.

PE has poor weather resistance, especially when exposed to ultraviolet light for a long time, and is prone to color fading and material aging.

2. Light transmittance

As a high-quality canopy material, PVDF has high light transmittance and can allow a large amount of natural light to penetrate. Suitable for applications requiring high transparency. Used for weddings, parties, festivals, etc., it can add a different atmosphere to the event.

PU also has a high light transmittance, allowing natural light to pass through, but its light transmittance is slightly lower than PVDF. Polyurethane materials have certain applications in outdoor awnings, greenhouses and other fields.

PVC economical canopy material has a relatively low light transmittance. Although it can allow a certain amount of natural light to pass through, its light transmittance is not as good as PVDF and PU. By choosing PVC of different weights, you can customize the transparent tarpaulin to achieve the desired effect.

Pvc Economy Canopy

PE has the lowest light transmittance and poor transparency. It is usually not used in applications that require high-light transmittance.

3. Weight and portability

Among the optional canopy materials, polyethylene (PE) is usually the lightest, followed by polyvinyl chloride (PVC), polyurethane (PU) is in the middle, and polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) is relatively heavy.

Polyethylene (PE) is a lightweight material with a lower density, giving it a clear advantage in weight.

The density of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) is higher than polyethylene, but lower than polyurethane and polyvinylidene fluoride. PVC material is slightly heavier than PE, but it still has a certain degree of portability and is suitable for some application scenarios that require a certain load-bearing capacity.

The density of polyurethane (PU) is between PVC and PVDF. PU material is slightly heavier than PVC, but lighter than PVDF and has better portability. It has applications in the field of outdoor awnings.

Polyvinylidene fluoride (PVDF) has the highest density and is therefore relatively heavy. Its weight limits its use in applications that require lightweighting.

Canopy material and other performance comparisons

Heat resistance temperature°C80-10060-7015070-80
Chemical resistanceStrong acid/basegoodgenerallyExtremely strongweaker
Flame retardancyGB/T 2408HBHBHBHB
Tensile StrengthMpa15-4045-7040-6040-70
Price-PE < PVC < PU < PVDF
UV resistance-PE < PVC < PU < PVDF

How to choose the best material for a canopy

A. Type and scale of activities

  • Large events: PVC or PUcanopy material is recommended because they have better weather resistance and durability, greater tensile strength, and are suitable for long-term use.
  • Small to medium events: PEcanopy material is an affordable option. It is lightweight and easy to install, suitable for temporary or short-term events.

B. Climatic conditions

  • High temperature and humid areas: It is recommended to use PVC or PUcanopy material, which has good temperature resistance and moisture resistance and can resist high temperature and humid environments.
  • Cold areas: PVC and PU canopy materials are also suitable because they can maintain a certain degree of flexibility and are not prone to brittleness.
  • Coastal areas: PVDF canopy material is the best choice because it has excellent corrosion resistance and can withstand salt spray and humid environments.
White Pvdf Canopy Material

C. Budget constraints

  • Limited budget: Choose PE canopy material because it is a lower cost, but be aware that its weather resistance is relatively poor.
  • Mid-budget: PU canopy material is a balanced choice that balances cost and performance.
  • Sufficient budget: PVC or PVDF canopy material is the best choice, although the cost is higher, they provide better weather resistance and durability.

D. Installation and maintenance considerations

  • Easy installation: Choose PE canopy material because it is lightweight and easy to install, suitable for frequent construction and disassembly.
  • Long-term maintenance: PVC or PU canopy materials are better choices as they have better durability and require less maintenance. Professional maintenance: PVDFcanopy material requires professional installation and maintenance, but its long-term performance is worth the investment.


PVC and PU canopy materials are suitable for long-term use that require high weather resistance and durability, PE canopy material is suitable for situations with limited budgets and small-scale activities, and PVDF canopy material is suitable for environments with special requirements for corrosion resistance. By considering the type and size of your event, climate conditions, budget constraints, and installation and maintenance considerations, you can find the right canopy material for your event. If you still can't make a choice, you can consult Shelter's team and tell them your usage environment. We will give suggestions based on various factors.

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Contact Us

Make On-Demand Space Solutions Easier, Faster

SHELTER has a great team of skilled architects ready to support your project or Event at any time.

When you’re ready to start your next business, get in touch with us now, and our architects will get back to you with a quote as soon as possible.

Business Email

      [email protected]

Phone Number

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        CN: +86 13928858552

No.1 Huanghe Section,Songshan Road, Chao Tian Industrial Zone,Shilou Town Panyu District,Guangzhou