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Textile stretched

Friday 30 December 2011,

The traditional canisse is replaced by a canvas. What are the usable textiles?

The clash

Carnation on bias

For your fabric on your pergola, you have little choice but to use sandows, kind of very resistant elastic. The sandows pass through eyelets seamed on the edge and through the canvas, that is in the hem, and are attached to the structure sometimes, it sews an additional piece, either a bias on the length, or an ad hoc connection, to strengthen the canvas at the level of each grommet.

The sandows are at the edge of the canvas. Can add fasteners to the centres of the canvas so that it floats in the wind.

It is preferable to provide clips of hanging on the structure. On the one hand to avoid damaging the structure because of the friction. On the other hand, to facilitate the dismantling of the canvas. However, you can also pass the sandows by wrapping around the structure. It is a simple solution but that does not allow a rapid disassembly. It is better to return the canvas during the winter. A meditation.

Clip of hanging in a wooden joist
Attachment points are welded on the truss in wrought iron
The bungee cord is simply wrapped around the structure

One of the benefits of the bungee cord binding is that it limits the mechanical constraints of the wind on the canvas. Indeed, a part of the wind energy is absorbed by the sandows. The sandows to absorb the dimensional changes due to moisture and heat.

The setting of the sheet is completed with ribbons attached to the joists
The sandows are wound around the poles
The sandows are wound around the poles
Attaché of the tarp plan
Attaché of the tarp plan

Choice of canvas

The criteria are multiple:

  • Mechanical strength,
  • resistance to UV and particularly to the hue,
  • resistance to humidity (mushrooms),
  • Sustainability in time,
  • price,
  • availability.


Cotton fabric

This textile was used traditionally in awning. It is a natural material from plant material, unlike all the other paintings that are produced from oil. It is an economic textile found throughout.

A few years ago cotton exterior paintings were treated for mercury and other cocktails of metal oxides. These paintings could last a decade. Now, these products are strictly forbidden and a cotton canvas outdoor life rarely exceeds 3 years. Indeed, the cotton fibres are sensitive to fungi that never fail to develop if the canvas dries not quite quickly.

It is possible to treat the canvas with a waterproofing to limit the growth of fungi (Click here for more information on how). But the treatment is to renew every 2 years.

Cotton is thicker and heavier than the other paintings. But this poses no problem with a bearing structure of pergola.

If you are in a rainy and windy, region with mild climate, the cotton fabric is deprecated.
If the canvas is returned during the winter and that she can be safe during inclement weather, it is playable. But you will not get a synthetic equivalent to the product life cycle.

Cotton remains an economic and ecological solution for fans of the natural.

The coupon price: 5 to €10 / m²


Hemp canvas

Hemp canvas is five times more resistant than cotton. It is a material with ecological qualities and offers a unique carbon footprint.

Hemp fabric is able to absorb up to 95% of UV (in comparison to the 30% cotton).

Its not enough fine structure, hemp fabric is not waterproof. Research is underway to combine hemp with cotton to improve qualifications.

Hemp fabric is very hard to find. It is an expensive material. It is an ideal material for wealthy environmentalists.

This material is promising and will develop in the years to come.



The coupon price: 15-€20 / m²


Canvas cotton-polyester

Glue on a polyester film to cotton fabric which improves the impermeability and resistance to fungi.

Price of the coupon; 5 to €11 / m²


Pergola with polyester canvas
Pergola with polyester canvas
Polyester canvas sail shade

It is a highly resistant synthetic fiber mechanically. But it is little used outside because the canvas is sensitive to UV that rapidly degrade its resistance and foliage colour.

It is an economic material. But its use in pergola will be considered only for short-term, or 2 to 4 years. And in fact, found on pergolas Kit bottom-of-the-range.

The coupon price: 7 to €9 / m²


Canvas in polypropylene

Polypropylene is the plastic used in agricultural tarps. Economic, it is a Web micro aerated with a good UV filtration, but evil resists friction under the action of UV. The colours are resistant to ultraviolet rays and its appearance is very "plastic".

It can be used for shading canvases for which there is no friction.

Canvas micro perforated

It is see through
Ideal in contemporary pergola

Micro-perforated canvas appeared 15 years ago. It is a textile fiber polyester, covered with PVC.

It is with acrylic, one of the enduring canvases, resistant to humidity and UV.

This is a very technical material that is assembled with a high-frequency machine or industrial by thermo-collage tools. It is therefore unusable material for the Builder/Designer.

The textile is slightly double-struck allowing the canvas to breathe all by blocking some of the Sun’s rays. However, it continues to see through what may be interesting in some cases.


Coloured acrylic paintings
Coloured acrylic paintings

Acrylic canvas has the reputation of being the awning schumaher. It is insensitive to moisture and colorization in the mass allows manufacturers to offer a 10 year warranty. Beware, it’s a guarantee on the holding of the hue and non-mechanical resistance.

The canvas is very dimensionally stable to moisture. A heat, the material expands significantly.

If you want to make your fabric protection yourself, be aware that acrylic is easy to work, it is light, not unravels. But you will still need a sewing machine powerful.

The Green canvas is not ecological, instead. It is manufactured by the petrochemical industry. She exudes formaldehydes. The molecule is persistent in the environment and is not recyclable. Incineration must be made according to a very particular process because the acrylic releases cyanide in burning it hangs over this material a European project of prohibition, at least of limitation.

Acrylic has a greater tendency than other materials heating to solar radiation, including the dark hues. The temperature in the Sun is therefore higher under the canvas.

Standard acrylic is permeable to water. There are coated versions that allows to obtain an excellent permeability.
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My personal experience with acrylic :

I had directed a velum with the acrylic canvas (see A pergola with store accordion home made), with a higher life expectancy. The first four winters, I dépliais and got the canvas to the hot and dry. However, this did not prevent the canvas to get dirty quickly. The atmosphere and the rains are responsible for particles. They accumulate as and as. I also found, but later, the appearance of greenish spots, probably of the foam. All his dirt do not leave brushing/washing. They are embedded in the fiber. Today, despite the fact that my paintings are functional, I do think that to remove.

So I think today a 10 year warranty is an illusion. The hue remains, but this does not prevent the canvas from getting dirty. Finally, I wonder if it is not preferable to a textile cheaper and greener, even replace it more regularly.

The coupon price: 11 to €15 / m²

PVC tarpaulin waterproof

PVC tarpaulin

It covers most often found on the capitals, event loops, etc., these tarps are highly resistant and above all totally waterproof. But their appearance "tarp truck" is not quite aesthetically appropriate pure use in residential pergola.

Colour clear or dark to protect heat

Color canvas

The dark colours absorb more radiation than the clear colours. They are therefore warmer surface. But the transmitted radiation is lower, the shading is more important and therefore comfort also.

However, sustained tones tend to unravel. And high heat will accelerate the degradation of fibers.

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