A Canopy is a covered frame that is supported by at least one post.  While awnings usually project 1-6 ft from a building, canopies can be trussed and project from 3′ to more than 30′.  Canopies can be attached to a structure or they can be completely free standing.  Good attachment points are needed and sometimes footings are required.  A Tropical J’s canopy is a digitally designed to fit your unique residence and priced according to how much steel/fabric material your particular job requires.  Because everything is custom designed, you have control over frame color, fabric choice, canopy widths, projections, heights, slopes, etc.  If you are looking for a canopy with a retractable roof, we offer a line of products called the Pergotenda, otherwise continue reading for general information and see the downloadable .pdfs to the right for more technical information.  If you are looking for a new cover for an existing canopy frame please review our Awning and Canopy Recovers and contact us  so that we can assess whether or not we can cover your specific frame.  We do not recover Costco/Home Depot type canopies or Gazebos.

  1. i Canopy Styles/Cable Tension
  2. ii Fabrics
  3. iii Frame
  4. iv Install

i Canopy Style – Cable Tension

There are two main types of canopy styles that we manufacture at Tropical J’s; Conventional Laced and Cable Tensioned.  These names refer to how the fabric is tensioned over the frame and each type has its own unique look.

Frames for both styles are built to code.   This requires clearance of 7′ 6″.  We normally put our post spacing at 10′ apart on center, but if we go to larger steel, we can move that distance to about 15′.  Larger spans are possible and require trussing.


Cable tension refers to the fabric attachment.  A pocket sewn into the fabric contains a stainless steel cable.  At regular intervals, the pocket opens to allow the cable to run through tensioning hardware.  Once the fabric is set, each tensioning point in tightened and the fabrics is stretched over the frame.  A curved frame is the key to putting the fabric in a very stable tension.  As tension is applied the fabric wants to pull straight but can’t because the frame is curved.  This applies constant downward tension on the fabric.  These fabrics are installed so tight that they don’t “flap” or “breath” in low or high winds.

The benefits of this style of canopy is a reduction in the frame steel ($$), a very clean look and an extremely tight canopy cover.

The rafters for this canopy are unique to each design.  The projection determines whether the canopy requires a single bent tube or a truss.  The interior curves of the rafter are structural.  Below, both type of rafters are shown.



ii Fabrics

We primarily manufacture cable tensioned canopies out of Ferrari Pre Contraint 502 because of its performance, color options and price.   Tropical J’s has invested in several large fabric welders that actually weld fabric panels together to produce water tight seams and we normally place these seams over rafters to create a seamless look when viewed from underneath.


Ferrari Pre Contraint 502:  It is 100% waterproof.  It comes in a large range of colors, including stripes, and has an 8 year warranty.  This is an 17.4 oz/sqyd material.  The dimensional stability of the fabric allows the fabric to stay in tension over time.  Download the Ferrari.PDF  for colors and more technical information.


iv Frame Material/ Paint/ Frame Considerations

Frame Materials:  We manufacture most canopies out of Gatorshield coated steel tubing.  Gatorshield coating is Allied’s superior, triple-layer rust and corrosion resistant product protection. Gatorshield coated steel tubing has been the standard of excellence and the product of choice for outdoor structures for over 20 years. Gatorshield tubing is given superior corrosion resistance by their patented, in-line Flo-Coat® process. A 99.99% pure zinc coating is applied, then a conversion coating. A clear organic topcoat seals the surface. The result is unmatched, long-lasting rust and corrosion protection. The .PDF binder for this product is available here.

All of our frame are a combination of rigid welded components that are then either bolted or sleeved together.  Our professional welders weld the frame, clean and fill their welds.  Our painter primes the welds first, then primes the entire frame, then paints the welds, then paints the entire frame to give them their best chance against potential rust.

Frame Color:  We protect our frames with a commercial grade primer and 2 part epoxy paint from Pittsburgh paints.  Our topcoat is available in white, black, or custom color for an up charge.  The paint is designed for exposed commercial applications so it is very successful when it is protected by a fabric cover.  We apply our coatings using an electrostatic application, which means the paint and the frame are both electrically charged so the two attract for superior coverage.  Because of our painting process, we do not usually paint with our customer’s paint.  Instead we’ll match the color as best we can, below is an example of our color pallet.  More paint specs and a larger color pallet are available in a .PDF here.



All of our canopy frames are custom made to suit their specific install site.  Frame attachment, slope, post attachment, widths, projections, and rafter type drive the frame design.

Frame Attachment:   We can attach to most existing walls or use roof brackets to mount on top of a roof but we need to attach to something structural.  For wood that means stainless steel lags into wall studs or roof rafters and sometimes a wooden or steel header may be required.  For concrete we use Stainless lags with expansion anchors or epoxy set all thread.

Slope:  For straight rafter awnings, we recommend a slope  of 3 feet over 10 foot projection.  This will allow water to drain properly and not pool on top of the cover.  For bowed rafter canopies, we can get away with a slightly less slope as water will drain more easily.  Both frames need to have a 7′ 6″ clearance for all horizontal metal components to pass Honolulu City Code.  The front clearance will usually drive the back attachment point and is the reason why some canopies must be roof mounted.

Post Attachment:  The posts on a canopy usually set at 10′ apart from each other.  We can go to larger spacing if we increase the size of the front bar or truss it.  The posts not only support the weight of the front of the canopy, but provide resistance against uplift forces.  The system is sort of like a giant sail, and that makes it important to anchor the posts well.  For wooden decks we attach to the main structural supports below finished flooring.  For concrete we use stainless lags with expansion anchors or epoxy set all thread.  For stone or tile, we need to assassin whether or .  For location with no attachment points, we must pour concrete footings and these footings are usually 2′ x 2′ x 2′.

Widths:  Frame can be of almost any width.  We have manufactured commercial canopies over 100 feet wide.  Canopies may also travel around corners, or inside corners


v Install

Our professional installers install most residential canopies in a few days.  We use Hillman stainless steel hardware to ensure long lasting attachment and prevention of spalling and most rust.  Our sales person will have a sheet of site specific information he must collect for our installers.

Sometimes we will install the frame first and then take measurements to ensure a more perfect fit.  Our frames are all welded, painted and wrapped at our shop to allow for quick on site assembly.  Sometimes scaffold, lifts may be required.

Each installation is unique in it’s attachment but there are some common elements to consider so our salesman may price out installation accordingly.

Insurance:  Tropical J’s is a licensed, bonded and insured company, but if you need additional insurance there may be an up charge for that.

Vehicle Access:  Our work fleet consists of vans and flatbed trucks with vehicle heights of 6′ 8″.  If they do not have access to on site contractor parking,  please work with our salesman to determine the nearest parking.

Hours of Operation:  Jobs are quoted out during our regular scheduled working hours which are 7:00-3:30.  If you require installation outside these hours, there may be overtime charges.

Power:  Most installations require the use of one electrical outlet during the course of installation.  Please help our salesman establish the nearest one.

Bathrooms:  In the event that there is a restroom available please inform our salesman.