Stylish, affordable and often easy to install, shade sails are the perfect way to visually enhance your outdoor living space.

Providing protection from the harsh Australian sun while adding a feature to your home, shade sails can be used to shelter outdoor living areas, children’s play areas, pools, decks, patios and much more.

One of the most valuable properties of shade sail material is the venting of heat through the material. Allowing heat to rapidly escape from under the sail allows for a nice cool environment for you to enjoy your outdoor living.

There are many things to consider when planning your design, layout and installation so we’ve put together a few tips that will help with the process – Don’t stress though; we have a well-established inhouse design team to do provide you with brilliant designs, concepts and ideas.

Sail Design and Layout

Considerations for some people are:

  • Heat reduction
  • UV protection
  • Protection for valuable assets like caravans, vehicles, furniture sets, pool equipment
  • Privacy
  • Protection from rain and wind
  • Aesthetics

Design considerations:

  • Because the sun is always moving, so the shade moves too. It is important to know what time of the day you want the most protection or prepare for a very large foot print shade sail/s which may require a larger budget.
  • The size of your sail affects whether the sail should be attached onto a building or structure. Using steel posts allows you to be a lot more liberal with the shade sail size. Supreme Shades ensures that any designs we present for your consideration are within our strict engineering standards.
  • Shape of your sail is one of the most important factors for the strength of shade sail. A shade sail must never be flat as the forces to keep it flat are beyond the design and engineering parameters. A shade sail should always have 2 high points for 4 or more cornered shade sails. In some cases, your design may be ok with just 1 high point.
  • Triangles may look very stunning, but from a design and practical point of view, they leave a lot to be desired. Triangle sails are flat, the corners always end up with long skinny sections and the only piece of shade is normally only under the very middle section of the sail. On top of that the cost of triangles are very close to a square sail. The additional 4th anchor is the only significant extra cost.
  • Shade sails over swimming pools allows for longer swim times. We often find grandparents and parents want to cover the shallow end of pools for their young ones. When you cover the entire pool, the pool water becomes very cool. If you must cover all your pool and enjoy a warmer pool, external heating is an important consideration. Benefits to covering pool water is the savings of chlorine and water supply costs by reducing evaporation.
  • Overlapping sails provide an outstanding aesthetic look verses a single sail. Single sails generally less expensive than multiple overlapping sails.
  • Raised garden beds are more often than not unsuitable for most post footings. Patios and other informal structurers are not always suitable for anchoring sails off.
  • Supreme Shades has many clever work arounds many unforeseen or obvious site-specific issues.

Check Building Codes

Prior to installation, it’s important to check with local authorities for any relevant building regulations which will apply to your investment.

You must check your building plans for services, check with the local utility companies for any underground services by doing a “Dial Before You Dig” and must communicate any knowledge you have about your property to your installer if you’re using one, prior to digging holes for the support posts.

Determine the Mounting Points 

Once you have identified the location for your shade sails, it is important to determine the most suitable mounting points for the corners. Mounting points may already exist, for example, a patio connected to a building, fascia via a rafter or the roof.

When you attach to a roof, rafters or walls, it is important that your building complies with building standards. Walls need to be double bricked walls with appropriate number of brick ties or reinforced concrete, rafters need to be held down with triple grips, top plates tied down with cyclone straps and battens reinforced with a screw type fixture.

As a general rule, wooden framed walls are unsuitable for attaching sails to.

If there aren’t enough fixing points available, support posts will need to be installed. It’s important to ensure all fixing points are structurally sound, if you are unsure, seek advice from a builder, engineer or from Supreme Shades.

Post Supports for Mounting Sails

Steel posts are suitable and are available from either your local hardware store or steel supplier. The benefit of steel posts is that they are strong, durable if coated correctly, can be cut to predetermined lengths and painted to a colour of your choice.

The length of the posts is determined by the size of the sail/s and the height of attachment. Footing depth is determined by the loads and height of attachment.

Posts must be angled away from the direction of the load; Supreme Shades as a minimum offsets our posts by 5 degrees off plumb.

Sail Post Footings

Consult Supreme Shades for dimensions of footings. Generally no footing should be less than 1.3m deep and 300mm round. Some footings have to be as deep as 2.4m deep and 600mm round.

Ensure that you follow footing dimensions and instructions as best as possible as often DIY post footings fail to match the quality required that a good installer will create.

Round holes require less concrete than a square footing and the bottom of the hole should be the same size as the top of the hole.

Only concrete should be used as a footing material. Other materials such as Rapid Set are woefully inadequate.

Prepare concrete in line with the package instructions.

Concrete must be mixed with water from a drinkable source and subsequent mixes need to have the same amount water as the first.

Other Shade Sail Tips 

  • You should protect both your home and shade sails by removing your sails during the winter months and inclement weather. Having your sails down during the cooler months will extend the sails lifespan and reduce loadings on your buildings structure during high winds. Check the details of warranties with your shade company.
  • Cleaning – The material of most shade sails can be routinely cleaned with a solution of mild detergent and water and washed off with a low-pressure waterblaster or jet nozzle on a hose using. The solution can be applied by a soft broom. In extreme cases, sugar soap can be used. As with all cleaning, a small sample section should be tested on in an inconspicuous location.
  • Regular Inspections – You should check your shade sails and the sails fixing points regularly to ensure there is no damage to the fabric or anchorages. Seals around roof penetrations should be examined prior to winter and when reinstalling your shade sail prior to the hot months.
  • Shade sails should not be used near an open flame, including barbeques. Heat will melt the sail and chemicals in the fumes from a flame can affect the longevity of the fabric.

Known for our exceptional customer service, at Supreme Shades, we are confident that our custom shade sails are the perfect solution for your outdoor living needs. Call our friendly team today on 08 9405 4310 or enquire online to discuss your project.