Christmas Decorations for the Interior Home

Shade Sail Use And Maintenance Tips

by Russell Lowe

If you are shopping for a temporary shade solution or simply want a shade covering that can be modified or taken down at will, then a shade sail may be the best choice. These fabric coverings are made from durable outdoor materials that are treated for moisture and UV-damage resistance. You can further extend the life of your shade sails by using and storing them correctly, and the following tips can help you with this.

Tip #1: Choose the right anchor points

The design of a shade sail means that it can catch a breeze, which means the anchor points need to be secure. The most secure anchor points include permanent structures, such as the house, an open pergola or arbor, or permanently installed posts. You can also combine one or two permanent attachment points with a couple of temporary points for a secure installation. If you must use all temporary points, make sure the support posts are strong and can be inserted at least a foot into the ground.

Tip #2: Pull them taut

Too much slack causes a lot of noise from the flapping fabric, even in a light breeze. The trick is to pull the sail relatively taut so that the fabric can flap or snap easily. Most sails have either a parabolic design or a triangular design, which allows spaces for the wind to slip through without damaging the taut fabric.

Tip #3: Don't aim for a level installation

You want the sail installed at a slight slant. This allows moisture to run off in the event of rain or dew. If left to collect on top of the sail, this moisture can lead to leaking fabric, mold, or heavy weight that causes a collapse. Consider the angle of the sun and slant the sail so it will provide additional shade in the direction. For example, slant to the west if you entertain in the afternoon and need protection from the setting sun. If you need both eastern and western sun protection, opt for the parabolic design since it has four corners, which allows you to slope two opposite corners down for further shade on two sides.

Tip #4: Keep up with maintenance

Shade sails aren't typically designed to stay up year around or in all weather. When taking them down to store for the season, make sure that they are completely dry. You can first clean the surface of the sail with a cleaner made for outdoor awnings, and then treat the fabric with a water-proofing agent. Roll the sail up for storage – folding can lead to creasing which weakens the fabric. Store the sail in a dry area until you are ready to erect it again.

For more help, talk with a shade sail dealer in your area.