Advantages and Disadvantages of Shade Sails
Choosing the right shade sail or sun sail gives you many advantages… but you can risk serious disadvantages choosing the wrong shade sail
Shade sails or sun sails offer many terrific benefits for homes and businesses. Some include…
Flexible to suit almost any application: Shade sails come in all shapes and sizes and can be customized to suit almost any application. An experienced designer can design a sail that both enhances the appearance of your home and gives you many practical benefits. For some applications one large sail is best while for others it’s best to integrate multiple smaller sails in an overlapping pattern. Whether you’re looking for sun protection for your pool, patio, BBQ area, driveway, courtyard, entrance, veranda, play ground, sandpit or car park, an expertly designed shade sail is perfect. Shade sails are equally good for domestic and commercial applications. You may have seen shade sails used successfully at a restaurant, café, school, preschool, childcare centre, sports club, golf club, rotunda, amphitheater or even on the deck of a boat. Feel free to call us for a free in home consultation. We can even show you a 3D diagram of what your sail will look like on your home.
Excellent protection from harmful UV rays: Shade sail fabrics can offer as much as 98% block out of harmful UV rays. This means you and your children will be safe to play in the pool, sandpit or playground even on the hottest days. Be sure to seek expert advice before deciding on a fabric type and colour. Different fabrics and even different colours offer different amounts of UV protection. Different colours also offer different amounts of light block-out which may be important to your application (darker colours generally block more light creating more shade and a darker environment under the sail).
Protection from rain: Many shade sails are made from non-permeable fabrics. This means they are ‘water resistant’ – they diffuse rain but will not keep the environment completely dry. If you prefer to keep your environment completely dry, an experienced designer can show you a range of ‘waterproof’ fabrics. Be sure to speak with a designer before choosing a fabric as there may be other factors to consider. For example, if you choose a waterproof fabric, you will need to take water run-off into account. You may be surprised how much water is collected and redirected by an average size sail. You wouldn’t want all that water getting into your home or eroding away your prize garden.
Ventilation for extra cooling: Most shade sails are made from permeable (mesh-type) material that allows airflow. Using different shapes and angles, an experienced designer will design a sail structure that gives you maximum protection from the sun while allowing breezes to flow through your environment. This means your entertaining area will stay cool even when the BBQ is firing.
Large choice of colours: Looking for a colour that matches your home? Or perhaps a colour that creates a nice contrast? An experienced designer can show you a large range of colours and give you help in choosing something to meet all your needs. For example, you may like to keep in mind that while lighter colours allow more natural light into your environment they show the dirt more and can look untidy after a few years. Darker colours not only appear clean even when they are years old, they block out more light keeping your environment cooler.
Cost effective: Compared to other shade solutions, shade sails are very cost effective. A well designed sail structure can give you many benefits for a relatively small investment.
Quick to install: Unlike other more permanent structures that may take a week or more to install, shade sails can usually be installed in a day.
Easily removed: Moving house soon? Why not take your shade sail with you. Stainless steel fixings are easily undone for removal. Worried about a big storm? Take done your sail and put your mind at ease.
Add value to your home: A well designed shade sail can add an extra room to your home. This adds both practical and financial value to your home. It could even become the major selling point that helps your house sell faster and for more money. Can’t you just hear the young mum saying, “Look dear, it’s even got a shade sail over the pool. The kids will be able to swim all day without getting burned.”
Potential problems in choosing the wrong shade sail
Shade sails are not a magic cure for every application. But an expertly designed, high quality shade sail will offer you many benefits with few drawbacks. There are some very important things to consider though – for example…
Sagging: One of the most common problems you see with shade sails is sagging – a sail that dips in the middle and flaps in the breeze. It looks terrible, becomes a catchment for leaves and debris and it compromises the strength of the sail shortening its life significantly. There are two major causes of a sagging shade sail.
The FIRST is poor quality material. Cheap fabrics really are nasty. They can’t even withstand their own weight. While they may look good when new, it doesn’t take long for the Shade Fabric to stretch causing them to look messy.
The SECOND is poor quality rigging. In order to offer the cheapest price some shade sail companies use a rope-type rigging material. Over time the rope will stretch and the sail will sag. The industry standard is 3mm stainless steel. We recommend 4mm and sometimes 5 or 6mm depending on the size of the sail. We also over-engineer the posts to allow us to put extra tension on your sail. This gives your sail a neater appearance and longer life.
Holes: A poorly designed sail constructed of poor quality material is likely to get a hole. Not only is cheap material less resistant to the elements, it tends to stretch. This causes the sail to sag resulting in a catchment for water and debris. This causes the sail to rot and form a hole. Holes can be repaired. But if you choose an expertly designed sail constructed of quality materials your sail should be repair-free for many years.
Frayed stitching: Unfortunately some people choose a quality fabric but forget about matching it with quality stitching. You’ve seen it before I’m sure – a sail that has frayed stitching at the corners. Shade sails are under a great deal of tension. This coupled with constant movement (even small movement caused by gentle breezes) puts extra pressure on the stitching. High quality stitching (like Tenara stitching) withstands all this force and holds firm for years. Poor quality stitching gives way causing extra pressure on the fabric. This then gives an untidy, frayed edge to your sail and greatly reduces its life.
Gets dirty: There’s no preventing it – anything in the outdoors gets dirty. Have you looked at your roof lately. Dust and dirt from the atmosphere, pollution from cars and planes, leaves and bark from nearby trees all cause your roof and your shade sail to get dirty. Even droppings from birds and bats can stain your sail. Light coloured sails are particularly susceptible to dirt while darker colours can appear to look clean for years. Sails can be cleaned with gentle soap and water so if you prefer a light colour, with a little work you can still keep it looking good.
Storms: Expertly designed, well maintained shade sails are very strong and are likely to withstand harsh conditions for years. But they are not designed to withstand severe wind storms and cyclones and cannot be guaranteed against such violent conditions. However, because they are not permanent structures they can be removed in the event of extreme weather and reinstalled afterwards.
Posts wobble: Shade sails carry a great deal of tension and need to be supported by solid fixing points. It’s important that your posts are of adequate strength and that they are embedded firmly into the ground. Insecure posts may not only cause damage to your sail (as the sail will sag), they are simply dangerous. We over-engineer our posts to ensure they remain solid for years.