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DIY Shade Made Easy 

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Shade sails are a common sight in Australian back yards where householders are only too aware of the harmful effect of UV radiation and the need for sun relief.

A simple sailcloth shade sail fixed over barbecue or outdoor terraces can reduce up to 90% of the sun's UV rays. When landscaping an outdoor area, Australians use these streamlined tension membranes to enhance their back yard appeal as well as making it sun smart. Many D.I.Y enthusiasts design their own shade areas and need to buy a sail to suit their measurements and fixing points.

Mulders can supply DIY shade sail kits with sails made to the customer's exact dimensions and all the fixing hardware like tensioning devices and D rings.

Mulder's, a long established shade sail manufacturer specialises in made to order sails and manufactures sails to meet the customers own design. These sails are ideal for backyard, garden or conservatory D.I.Y shade projects. The sail design process is then fairly rapid and usually starts with a fax or email of the customers proposed drawing.

Shade projects can often go more smoothly if a few simple guidelines are followed.Mulder’s shade expert suggests four main points to getting the initial
D I.Y drawing correct.
- Firstly decide where shade is wanted and measure the sides and diagonals of this whole area.
- Secondly allow for the fact the sail covers a smaller area after allowing for fixings and tension curvature.
- To ensure the shade sail is stable in winds it must have some curvature and not be on one level plane. The most common method is to have each pair of diagonally opposite corners at significantly different heights.
- Finally ensure that any proposed fixing points are strong enough to bear the stresses of a sail under strong wind conditions. If unsure consult a local engineer.

The most common problem is customers finding that the off the shelf or readymade sail they have bought will not fit their available fixing points. We recommend that customers first work out their fixing points and measure from these to design their final sail size. Other problems are proposed fixing points like walls or roofs are too weak to withstand the load of a sail under wind pressure. Sails that are not properly tensioned and end up holding water plus become unstable in heavy winds.

Once the overall dimensions are finalized, the sail cloth area and the number of fixing devices needed to pull the sail into tension can then be costed. Typically a basic sail shade made of sail cloth is 4 X 4 meters or 16 X 16 ft and costs about $720 Australian dollars or $650 US dollars. Cost is related to the size and material quality and Mulder's standard cost is $45 per square meter.
A computed aided final design is then developed in house. This determines the sailcloth cutting plan, ensuring every sail meets the exact specification.

Low cost shipping rates and the low comparable cost of living often makes Australian sail shades an economic proposition for US customers.
Sails are usually made of high quality shade cloths, architectural grade polyester mesh and solid PVC’s. Color choice is endless and these materials are built to withstand the wind and rain and UV rays.

Mulders, has a rich history of tradition in Australia. The business began as a Saddlery in 1896 and it has been making tents, canvas and shade products for domestic, industrial and defense purposes since the 1930’s. Over 70 examples of Mulders sail designs and material colours can be seen in their new photo catalogue. A full range of sail shades can also be seen on-line at

Issued November 2005.
DIY Shade Press Release © GV Mulder Aust Pty Ltd.

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