Restaurant Awnings: What Materials Are Best For A Waterfront Restaurant?

There’s something especially appealing about a waterfront restaurant. But if your place is right at the ocean’s edge, dockside or you’re on a river, there are special considerations you must keep in mind for your restaurant awnings . Using the right materials will ensure your awnings look their best and perform well as long as possible.

Wind and salt can take their toll.
If you’re at the beach, you can count on a nearly constant breeze. Sometimes the wind is stronger, and in the winter, anything can happen. No matter where you’re located, but especially at the beach, restaurant awnings have to be structurally designed and fabricated with strength and durability in mind. They should be professionally installed, too, to ensure they will remain snug and sturdy.

Restaurant awnings in windy areas need tough fabrics, ones that will endure years of frequent fluttering and billowing and keep looking great. Both fabric and framing have to withstand the abrasive nature of blowing sand and the corrosive nature of salty ocean air. In this environment, steel structural members can be a better choice than aluminum.

Even if you’re not on the beach, restaurant awnings near lakes or rivers also experience more moisture, and often a breeze off the water. So the same considerations apply.

If you’re contemplating a retractable awning, you might want to rethink your plan. Retractables can make good restaurant awnings, but they’re generally not tough enough for waterfront environments.

Shade can protect, too.
You’ll find lots of great-looking fabrics for restaurant awnings that provide excellent protection from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet rays. That’s a plus for your vacationing patrons who can forget the sun’s power to burn or permanently damage skin.

Don’t restrict your view.
People gravitate to waterfront restaurants to watch and hear the movement of the water as well as nearby birds and animals while they’re eating. Restaurant awnings provide shade without impeding the view. Even in less-than-wonderful weather, you can offer comfortable outdoor seating that makes the most of your view, by adding removable side curtains that have clear windows.

And in any season, you can surround your outdoor seating area with a low fence or sections of temporary railing that add a festive look and give your space better definition.

You have to follow the rules.
Local building codes might affect restaurant awnings. A well-respected awning professional has the experience and specialized knowledge to ensure your awning is designed and built appropriately for your waterfront location, but most communities have rules you have to follow, too. Your awning company should already know about those. If you don’t own your building, you should check with your landlord, too.

If you’re located in a historic district, or your building has individual landmark designation, regulations may require that restaurant awnings be historically accurate. That often means a retractable style, since that was common many years ago. Because your waterfront setting isn’t retractable-friendly, it’s likely your awning professional can design restaurant awnings that look like an old-fashioned retractable but are, in fact, permanently installed and much more sturdy.

Keep it clean and it will last longer.
That’s especially important in an area where conditions tend to be damp and salty. Wipe down the fabric and the structural components regularly with a moist cloth to remove salt and dirt. Don’t use harsh chemicals. Try not to let sand, fall leaves or other debris accumulate, because they can stain your fabric and wear against it.

Cleaning is a good time to inspect restaurant awnings, too. You want to catch any early problems right away. Things like a tiny hole or tear can usually be repaired unobtrusively. And it will be inexpensive compared to ignoring the problem until it becomes unsightly and more complicated to repair.

Your waterfront location is an attraction. And when you use the best materials, restaurant awnings can make your establishment even more attractive.

Photo Credit: richardsinyem via Flickr

Restaurant Awnings