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FAQ. Tips and Ideas on Shade Solutions

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What materials are shade sails made from?
Our shade sails are fabricated from premium high grade extra heavy duty cloth offering up to 95% UV protection which has been interlock seamed with twin lock stitching. All sail shade edges are hemmed with heavy duty UV stabalised webbing and all corners on sails larger than 25m2 are reinforced. Our sails incorporate:
higher rated UV blocking, choice of quality fabrics- shade mesh, canvas, shade cloth, architectual grade PVC, reinforced corner rings and perimeter webbing, double row of locking stitch, stainless steel 'D' rings

What are common problems with shade sails?
Before buying, measure the shade area first and identify possible fixing points - a common error is to buy a Ready Made Sail, get it home and find it will not match up with available fixing points! Make sure the sail has been manufactured to quality standards, has the correct fittings and installation. Avoid poor quality weave canvas which can hang limp and absorb water. Sails manufactured with single line or poor chain stitching as this can come undone when under tension or stress.
Too many seams can split under tension. Corner rings not made of galvanised steel can rust and discolour surrounding material. Standard canvas that is not water resistant or poor quality weave can hang limp and absorb water.

What is the best way to design shade sails?
Sails work best when they are: under enough tension to give curvature, are not on a level plane and are 'twisted' for stability. It is important to consider the slope of the fabric to ensure good shedding of water.
The shade sail is essentially pulled taut and twisted so one axis is convex and the other axis concave.
The best designs we have found are shade sails that have a significant difference with one corner much higher than the other. This gives a striking look. Overlapping shade sails or a series of sails can also give a dramatic sculptural look.

How do I measure the shade area?
Ddecide where shade is wanted and measure the sides and diagonals of this whole area. Consider the height of the sun and direction during the summer period. Cconsider the size of the sail, location of any barbecue's or tree branches that may also chafe or affect the sail. To help visualize the sail you can use a string stretched between planned attachment points. A scale drawing of the area to be shaded can be useful. Rotate scale drawings of the actual shade to get an idea of actual layout. Straight lines drawn through the centre or corners will give the fixing points. Tensioned sails have curved or concave edges and the depth of the curve is about 10%. in from the outer of the sail. This curvature and the use of fixings means that the sail covers a smaller area.

How does curvature affect the sail?
The fabric needs curvature to maintain stability and it will be pulled taut and slightly twisted to achieve this.
This curvature plus the sail not being on one level plane - will make the sail more stable in winds. A flat sail will not perform properly and can hold water. The most common method is to have each pair of diagonally opposite corners at sgnificantly different heights. Shapes that have little curvature and tension will deform under load and become unstable and move about.

Fixing Points
Finally ensure that any proposed fixing points are strong enough to bear the local wind conditions. If unsure consult a local engineer. Always ensure that the existing structure or building can support the load of a sail under poor weather conditions. A sail under heavy wind can put considerable strain on the building. A local engineer or qualified builder can verify that the building can withstand such a load. Galvanised steel will avoid rust and is a better solution for fixing shade to than wood.Wooden posts can warp which place the sail out of alignment and can rot over time. If the post moves in its foundations as it is under strain it is usually hard to correct at a later stage. If the post moves during the initial construction of the sail it will be extremely difficult to tension the sail properly at the outset. A good way to look at the foundation depths is 1/3 of the post underground. Most sails sit 2.5m high so the post needs to be just over 1/3 again longer than this.
Click here to download a Typical Post Structure.

What colours are available?
We have a wide range of colours available. Click here to see the full colour range and our fixing range.

Can I buy shade sail fixings?

We also have a comprehensive range of standard fixings. Turnbuckles for tensioning and eye and 'D' rings for fixing to posts, walls etc.

What is the lead time ?
DIY sails can be made to your exact specification within a few weeks. We have a faxback form containing most of the details we need for us to be able to quote. Fully designed and installed shade sails take longer as there are several stages to the project. Typically the project stages include: initial drawing or architectural plans, site visit, final plan, holes dug (if needed) and concreted, poles installed, final fixing points measured, sail installed and tensioned.

These installation instructions are offered as a courtesy to customer to help with their shade projects. We can only provide a very general summary of points to consider. The information in this website is offered only as a highly generalized summary of shades we have designed and installed in the past. It is impossible for us to know individual situations such as the soil, wind condition and exposure for each design andiinstallation. We therefore cannot be responsible or liable for any design issues or iinstallation problems arising from reference to these installation suggestions. If an area is subject to storms and cyclones it is recommended that the membranes be removed when such a warning is made.

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