Shade Sail Buying Guide
Shade Sail Installation Tips
With your own skills and ingenuity, and possibly a little help from
us, you can create and install your own shade sail project for a
fraction of the cost of professional installation.
You have two alternatives to consider:
- Install attachment points to accommodate our Ready-Made Sails
- Install attachment points first and then have us manufacture a Custom Shade Sail to fit
Whether you opt for our Pre-Made Shade Sails or our Custom Shade Sails, you will have similar decisions to make.
Attachment Points on Buildings / Structures
When attaching to a building, it is very important to ensure that the
attachment point is structurally strong. If attaching to a wooden part
of a building, we normally use an eyestrap with two lag screws. If
attaching to a concrete wall, we normally epoxy a 3/8 inch or 8mm
eyebolt into the wall. For less common applications, such as going
through a wall and using a backing plate or attaching to a roof,
alternative hardware may be required.
We usually recommend a 4 inch steel post. While steel is preferred, a
large wooden post is a common alternative. The size of the post
depends largely on how many shade sails will be attached to it, the size
of the sail and how far from the ground the shade sail will be.
When it comes to how deep to bury the posts, a conservative rule
would be one third in the ground and two thirds out. Therefore, a post
with eight feet exposed would have four feet buried. This will vary
depending on how many sails are attached to the post, soil conditions,
size of the sails, etc.
We almost always use a 3/8 inch or 8mm eyebolt on a post. To avoid
standing on a ladder while drilling a hole, we highly recommend
installing the eyebolt before burying the post.
Don't forget to let the concrete base fully dry before installing the shade sails!
Turnbuckles / "D" shackles / Cable
In most cases we suggest using a turnbuckle on each corner of the
shade sail. "D" shackles are an acceptable alternative, but they do not
allow for tensioning of the shade sail.
When using turnbuckles it is recommended that you work your way
around the shade sail tensioning each turnbuckle as you go to ensure an
even amount of tension across the shade sail.
Steel cables can be used to span distances from shade sail corners to attachment points.
We know every installation is different, so if you have specific
questions feel free to contact us and we will do our best to answer
Custom Shade Sails
Our custom shade sails allow up to a 30’ maximum length along each
side of our triangular sails and up to 35’ per side on quadrilateral
shade sails. Larger sails may be possible but are not generally
Very long and narrow sails should be avoided. The width at any given
side should be more than ½ of the longest edge of a shade sail.
To insure a taut shade sail, a long cable should ideally be used on
only one corner when connected to an attachment point. All other corners
should be attached directly to a post or secure fixing point or with
only a short cable. The use of long extension cables on more than one
corner allows the shade sail to move excessively during wind. This extra
movement increases the shock load and in turn reduces the life of the
Triangles and other flat shade sails should slant sufficiently as to
prevent water from temporarily pooling during rain. A slope of 1:4 is
recommended. Larger triangles or flat sails require more of a slant to
When installing larger shade sails the strength may be increased by
twisting the sail into a hyperbolic parabola which gives a 3 dimensional
stretch to the fabric. You can also achieve a 3rd dimension by
attaching one corner of the quadrilateral significantly higher than the
other corners. This distribution of overall tension results in a
stronger shade sail that lasts longer than 2 dimensional shade sails
exposed to the same conditions.
Shade sails are not intended to hold snow and should be taken down in
climates where snow is a possibility. Repeated snow loads will stretch
To avoid chafing of the fabric, overlapping shade sails should have a
minimum of 12” distance between them. Otherwise, windy conditions may
cause the sails to rub against each other and damage the fabric.
Following these suggestions you can look forward to enjoying a
practical and esthetically pleasing addition to your environment for
years to come.
We know every installation is different, so if you have specific questions feel free to contact us.
Benefits of Shade Sails
Shade sails transform a simple outdoor setting into a dynamic,
eye-catching area. Their remarkably simple yet boldly stylish
appearance is used in both residential and commercial applications and
will compliment a variety of architectural approaches.
Shade sails are not only attractive but they effectively protect an
area from the sun without giving a closed in feeling. They are an
excellent alternative to awnings, umbrellas, carports, and patio
Below is a short list of just some of the many benefits of our shade sails:
- Blocks up to 99% of harmful UV rays
- Reduces "solar gain" resulting in lower air-conditioning costs
- Creates a shaded and inviting environment
- Protects Koi ponds from predatory birds and rapid algae growth
- Won't be blown over on windy days
- Helps prevent sunburn and skin cancer
- Economical and attractive
- Does not dry rot or mildew
- Allows greater use of patios, decks, swimming pools, etc.
- Protects property such as furniture, boats, cars, playground equipment
- Draws attention and increases traffic in commercial and retail areas
- Available in a variety of colors
- Virtually maintenance-free
- Adds elegance and casual beauty to its environment