The word means shelter. Traditionally a ramada is a simple, fixed structure with a roof and no sides which offers shade from the sun, shelter from rain or snow. The drive-through at the bank is a ramada, an open gazebo is a ramada, or covered areas in public parks or campgrounds would be considered ramadas. Ramadas are typically built of steel, aluminum or wood, are often free-standing or open on three sides. The roof shields from weather and the open sides allow air to move unrestricted which results in cooler temperatures below.
While ramadas are most often used for commercial locations, such high traffic service areas, or public use spaces like drive-throughs or restroom areas at public parks, they can also be great for hot concrete patios around the swimming pool. Curved roofs, pitched roofs, flat roofs are all effective and can be constructed from a variety of materials depending on their intended use. For instance a home owner might prefer a pitched patio cover fabric roof, or the school where we erected a series of ramadas over the playground. Heavy mesh shade sail fabric or Sunbrella awning fabric, for example can be used as the roof covering. Aluminum covers are effective for commercial uses, but we have also used shade sail mesh fabric for the roof coverings. And should we wish to take it a step further, screening to roll up and down as needed could be installed on the sides to change and extend the use of a ramada. Very large ramadas will be designed with multiple steel supports and corner bracing regardless of the overhead materials to ensure strength, durability and integrity of the finished structure.