Choosing Your Shade Fabric

How Do You Choose Shade Sail Fabric

There are so many different shade fabrics out there, all with different features and properties. How do you know which one is the right one for you? Every project is different, so it’s always best to seek professional advice for your situation. Here are a few things to think about before you get started.

What do you need?

First, think about what you need from your sail and why you want it. Answer a few questions for yourself:

  • What do you want to do under your shade sail and when?
  • Do you need waterproofing or sun protection?
  • How much area do you want the sail to cover?
  • Are you protecting people or vehicles from damaging UV rays?

If you’re looking to create shade to protect your family, the Cancer Council has a range of resources to help you. They can provide advice on the shade you have and the shade you need to best protect your family. Remember the sun moves across the year, it’s higher in the sky in summer than in winter. It’s important to consider your property and what kind of shadows are cast around the year. You don’t want to create a nice cool spot for summer that is freezing and unusable in winter. Knowing what you need is the first step towards figuring out which fabric will be the best for you.

How are you attaching the sail?

Are you fixing it to free-standing posts, a wall or roof, or covering a pergola? The installation and design of your sail is important. For example, if you’re looking at a waterproof sail you’ll need a sharper angle to allow the water to run off easily. You’ll need to consider those fixing points and if you can create that angle. If your sail doesn’t need to be 100% waterproof a tightly-woven shade fabric can still minimise water coming through and won’t need as much pitch.

Maybe you’re revamping an old pergola or another structure. Think about if the sail will catch or rub and how you can avoid or counteract that. You might consider altering the structure or a higher GSM or heavier duty fabric.

If you’re looking at a particularly large sail you’ll need more supports and fixing points to take the weight of it. Think about your space and where you could attach the sail to your home or where posts could go. Posts in the middle of your sail can help support it but that might not be an option over a pool or children’s playground. There are other options that could work for you. Consider several smaller sails, a different design or using a stronger fabric.

Maintenance and Lifespan

A quality shade sail is an investment that should last a long time. Depending on your supplier and installer, lifespan and warranty can vary. There is not usually one warranty for everything. The fabric, stitching, hardware and installation can all have different lifespans. It’s important to check what the different warranties cover and for how long. Some fabrics are easier to maintain than others. What kind of maintenance can you do yourself or will you pay for maintenance services. Balancing how long you want it to last, how you’ll maintain it and your budget can help you narrow down your options.

Shade Sail Photo Gallery

Government Requirements for Schools

There is a range of state and local government shade guidelines and regulations designed to protect children from overexposure to UV radiation. These guidelines apply to education and care providers, like schools and daycares. They can also affect sports clubs and other community groups. These rules usually specify the level of UV protection the fabric must provide, but can also specify other fabric properties and the design. If you’re applying for grants for shade sails they often reference government standards as well. It’s always best to check with your local and state government bodies for the exact details. For more general advice see our articles on school shade regulations and the Australian Standards for shade fabric.

Compare Shade Fabrics

Now you’ve got a better idea of how to choose shade sail fabric that’s right for you it becomes a lot easier to compare fabrics. There is a huge variety of shade fabrics that can meet a variety of needs and priorities. Whether you want bright attractive colours, light transference, heavy-duty sun protection, easy maintenance or anything in between Custom Made Shade Sails can help. With a range of fabrics and years of experience, we can help you find the shade fabric perfect for you and craft it into a fully customised shade sail. Contact us today for your free design a quote.

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