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Useful Guidance on Shade Sails,how and when shade sails can be used and when they should not?

Views: 35     Author: Site Editor     Publish Time: 2017-04-02      Origin: Site

Useful Guidance on Shade Sails,how and when shade sails can be used and when they should not?

Useful Guidance on Shade Sails. At, we regularly advise customers on how and when shade sails can be used and when they should not. In many instances customers are unaware of the possibilities, versatility as well as certain restrictions which shade sails present. We have therefore put together this brief guidance document to help customers make the right decision when it comes to the use of indoor and outdoor shade sails.


The idea of laying underneath a stylish and elegant shade sail as warm sunlight gently filters through the sails fabric is one of the most relaxing and uplifting experiences you can image. For many people shade sails are the perfect embodiment of everything summer. They can transport us to distant shores and help us harp back to that Caribbean holiday we’re longing to take again.

Outdoor Shade sails can also add instant designer impact whilst at the same time providing practical cover from harsh sunlight or the occasional torrent of rain (liquid sunshine as we like to call it). But to truly benefit from the use of a shade sail you must understand its practicalities and usage limitations. Shade Sails are not simply a piece of cheap material strung from a post…………they are an engineered structure made from specialist fabrics which have been designed to perform a certain task.

Protection from Sun, Rain or Both? – Nearly everyone we speak to wants an outdoor shade sail to offer it all. They want it to protect them from the sun, provide usable outdoor space when it’s raining and have the ability to leave it up all year round. Whilst this is all possible, unfortunately we have to tell you that compromises will have to be made.



Shade sails are highly susceptible to wind. Depending upon the geographical location of where the sail is to be installed, wind loadings can place up to a tone of pressure per square meter of fabric. Remember it’s a sail……the same thing that’s used to push 20 ton plus sailing boats around the world. This can put tremendous loadings on the sail and fixing points causing them to fail. This limits the maximum size of the sail being installed. To reduce the wind loadings and increase its size a porous shade fabric that filters UV rays can be used. Additionally the shape and installation angle of the sail also contributes to its ability to withstand wind loadings. A common shape which is used to reduce the impact of wind is the Hypar Shaped Sail – as depicted above.

To have a waterproof shade sails you have 2 main options: A ‘water resistant’ canvas or a waterproof PVC membrane fabric. Either way they need to be properly engineered with tensile calculations to work out the optimum shape and size which can be installed at within your location. Without such calculations you are effectively putting yourself and others, plus your property at risk.

Ideally shade sails should be independent structures that are supported via their own posts. Although in some instances they can be attached to the side of a building, the size and protrusion will need to be confirmed with the assistance of engineering calculations. At have seen the side of a pub being pulled down after inappropriate shade sails were attached to the buildings outer wall.

Commercial shade sails have to comply with European Tensile Structure Guidelines. They also have to adhere to the British Standard Codes for wind and snow loading (BS 6399 parts 2 & 3). This requires that each structure undergoes a myriad of engineering calculations and data analysis to prove the constructions safety loadings. These calculations and engineering analyses are then correlated against the geographical data of where the structure is to be installed.

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