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Creating Cool Comfort: Car Park Shade Structures

 Jamie Howard      In ,

When you think about a car park, the image that often comes to mind is a vast expanse of asphalt under the sweltering sun. However, in recent years, car park shade structures have become a welcome addition to parking lots, transforming these once mundane spaces into cool, comfortable, and aesthetically pleasing areas. In this article, we’ll delve into the world of car park shade structures, exploring various fabric options, different designs, and the advantages they bring, particularly for shopping centres and their valued customers.

The Fabric of Shade

Car park shade structures come in various designs and sizes, but one of the most critical elements is the fabric used for shading. These fabrics not only provide respite from the sun but also play a significant role in the overall design and functionality of the structure. Here are some common fabrics used:

HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene): High-density polyethylene fabric is a popular choice for car park shade structures. It’s known for its durability and UV resistance. HDPE comes in various shade percentages, allowing for customization based on the level of shade required.

PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride): PVC fabric is a heavy-duty option known for its strength and waterproof properties. While it provides excellent shade, it is often used in areas with high rainfall or where waterproofing is essential.

PVC Mesh: PVC mesh combines the durability of PVC with perforations that allow some natural light to filter through. This can be an excellent choice for car parks where some degree of visibility is desired.

PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene): PTFE is a high-performance fabric that offers exceptional durability and resistance to extreme weather conditions. It’s often used in architecturally striking designs.

Acrylic: Acrylic fabrics are known for their vibrant colours and aesthetic appeal. They are often used in car park shade structures where aesthetics are a priority.

Designing for Shade and Style

Car park shade structures aren’t just functional; they can also be aesthetically pleasing additions to any parking lot. Different designs cater to various needs and preferences:

Single Bay: This is the most basic car park shade structure, consisting of a single row of columns and a fabric canopy. It provides shade to one row of parked cars and is a cost-effective solution for smaller parking lots.

Double Bay: Double bay structures are an extension of the single bay design, covering two rows of parked cars. They are more space-efficient than single bays and are commonly used in medium-sized lots.

Double Bay with Walkway: For larger parking areas, double bay structures with a central walkway are a popular choice. They provide shade for parked cars while also creating a pedestrian-friendly pathway.

Full Cover: As the name suggests, full cover structures provide complete shade coverage for the entire parking lot. These are ideal for large parking areas, such as those found at shopping canters, airports, or event venues.

Advantages for Shopping Centres

Car park shade structures offer numerous advantages for shopping centres, making them a valuable investment for both the centre and its customers:

Enhanced Customer Experience: A well-shaded parking lot ensures that customers can comfortably enter and exit their vehicles, even on the hottest days. This leads to a more positive shopping experience and encourages repeat visits.

Protection for Vehicles: Shade structures protect cars from the harsh effects of prolonged sun exposure, such as interior damage and paint fading. Customers appreciate knowing their vehicles are safe while they shop.

Extended Stay: Shaded parking lots encourage shoppers to spend more time at the shopping centre, exploring more stores and spending more money.

Green Initiative: Some car park shade structures are designed with solar panels, contributing to the shopping centre’s sustainability efforts by generating renewable energy.

Aesthetic Appeal: A well-designed shade structure can add to the overall aesthetics of the shopping centre, creating a visually appealing entry point and improving the overall ambiance.

In conclusion, car park shade structures are more than just practical solutions for keeping vehicles cool; they are essential elements for creating comfortable and inviting parking spaces. With a variety of fabric choices and design options available, these structures can be tailored to suit the unique needs and style preferences of shopping centres. By investing in car park shade structures, shopping centres enhance the shopping experience, protect customers’ vehicles, and demonstrate a commitment to their comfort and well-being. As more shopping centres recognize these benefits, we can expect to see an increasing number of shaded and stylish parking lots in the future.


  • Versatile Structures Headshots

    Jamie Howard - Director

    Co-founder and Director Jamie has been hands-on in the shade and steel industry since leaving school. With over 15 years’ experience in shade, membrane and steel projects, Jamie is excited about the design opportunities shade structures offer in the commercial and industrial sectors. Jamie’s extensive design skills give him a competitive edge in situations with technical design complexity. He has won two personal industry awards for his designs, alongside many company-won awards.