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How To Measure Up and Install A DIY Shade Sail
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Installing a simple shade sail can make your deck or backyard sun smart. A smart DIY approach can save a lot of money by avoiding specialist installation costs. It takes a matter of weeks to install a sail shade and create an inviting, cool outdoor space.

A shade sail supported by posts is essentially a small construction project. Holes need to be measured and dug, posts sourced and concreted in. Multiple site visits are also needed to secure accurate measurements throughout the project. All of this comes at a cost.
Many competent DIY’ers tend to buy a shade sail only as they have already worked out which posts or other strong fixing points they are going to use. This approach can offer big savings on third party installation costs.

We at Mulder’s suggest four main points to getting the initial DIY plan correct.
Firstly decide where shade is wanted and measure the sides and diagonals of this whole area. A common error is to buy a Ready Made Shade Sail, get it home and find it will not match up with available fixing points. We recommend that customers first work out their fixing points and measure from these to design their final sail size.
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.

Sails that are not properly tensioned end up holding water, hanging limp and becoming unstable in heavy winds. Sails work best when they are under enough tension to give curvature, are not on a level plane and are 'twisted' for stability

Finally ensure that any proposed fixing points are strong enough to bear the stresses of a sail under strong wind conditions. Proposed fixing points like walls or roofs are sometimes too weak to withstand the load of a sail under wind pressure. If unsure consult a local engineer.

Once the overall dimensions are finalized, the sail cloth area and the number of fixing devices needed to pull the sail into tension can be costed.
Many shade sails are either the traditional square or triangle size with side lengths of 3, 4 or 5 meters. Conservatories, backyards, outdoors dining areas, planting areas, play areas and carports are the most common uses.

More recently shades have been recognised as a light and airy almost
sculptural looking alternative to fences, walls barriers. Sails can also be effectively designed into Privacy Screens for overlooked windows, gardens and pool areas.

Shade sails have been a common part of the Australian backyard landscape for many years. The harsh climate has driven much innovation in shade design.

Mulders is a prominent member of the industry body for Canvas products
and manufactures DIY shade sails on-site to quality standards in their
Melbourne factory. With favourable currency rates, many DIY sails are shipped worldwide.

Issued April 2009.
DIY Shade Sail Tips Press Release © GV Mulder Aust Pty Ltd.

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