Canopy Buyer’s Guide

Not All Canopies Are Created Equal …

You are looking to buy a new canopy, right? You are probably sitting with a good few quotes at present, and wondering “what are the important considerations when buying a canopy”? When comparing products from different manufacturers, try to also compare such factors as quality, appearance (finishing as well as design styling), and NOT ONLY PRICE.

Remember that all fiberglass canopy manufacturers are in business to make a profit, and this is not always done producing high-quality products. Sometimes a lower quality product that can be marketed for a lower price means more profits to the manufacturer. This leads you to the simple truth that “bakkie canopies are not created equal!”

The selling price of similar manufactured fiberglass canopy products often times reflects the QUANTITY and QUALITY of materials used in construction – that is, you pretty much get what you pay for. Also remember … “Goedkoop koop is duurkoop”

1. DESIGN

To produce a quality bakkie canopy product, a first requirement is a sound design. Design is often thought of only as the way something will look – or the shape of the canopy. Design also includes FUNCTION, or how the product will work (no leaks, aerodynamic); and STRENGTH, or how it will be constructed (materials used, number of laminates, and so on). Skimping on the amount or quality of materials will drastically weaken the strength and lower the overall quality of even the best designed canopy.

2. QUALITY OF MATERIALS

Many of the materials used in the construction of a fiberglass bakkie canopy are more or less hidden from view in the finished product. Thus, the temptation to use lower quality materials to lower production costs is always present. This is especially true today with the very high cost of resins and other materials used in the construction of fiberglass canopy.

The quality of materials used in the original construction of a fiberglass canopy shell will have a bearing on repairing damage to it later. As a rule, quality canopies will suffer less damage (for example, from equal impact) and be easier to repair when they are damaged.

3. WORKMANSHIP

Lastly, care and skills in fabrication is another very important factor in determining the final quality of a fiberglass canopy. Both materials and labour are currently expensive, and therefore care in construction of fiberglass canopies is especially important today (impacts on cost – unnecessary wastage of material and rework – and product quality, or workmanship).

Skilled fiberglass workers are in short supply, especially for some of the less desireable jobs such as lay-up and spraying work which are unpleasant and present health risks to workers. Manufacturers are using many methods to reduce the amount of labour required for fiberglass manufacturing. Whilst these methods address skills shortages and the amount of labour required, it sometimes take huge financial investment (increasing production costs) whilst not necessarily increasing product quality significantly. Having said this, the trend is definitely towards automation in the manufacture of fiberglass bakkie canopy products.

We trust that you find this bit of information truly helpful …