Cream-colored rectangular shade sails lined up in an orderly fashion under the canopy on the front porch of the courtyard.


Posted by CaoYean on

Cream-colored rectangular shade sails lined up in an orderly fashion under the canopy on the front porch of the courtyard.

Sunshade sails are already widely known and used product for outdoor shading. They are very popular because they can increase the living area and improve the quality of life.

Those who know about shade sails plan when they are working on their plants in the spring, decorating their gardens, or customizing shade sails when spring begins. Many people rush to buy sunshade sails when summer is approaching, without perfect planning.

Don't worry, this guide is created to share with you the most suitable shade sail information, to help you establish awareness and evaluation criteria for shade sails, so as to make a perfect shade sail design. After 10 minutes of reading, you will become an understanding shade sail veteran. Please believe that this is the fastest and easiest way to buy shade sails.


What is a shade sail?

At dusk, the boat sails down the river, the afterglow of the setting sun turning the sails golden.

The sunshade sail ideas of ordinary enthusiasts are like paintings without understanding the objects being painted. He only knows his own space, but not enough about the shade sail.

Sunshade sails are based on the textile technology of sails. They use various environmentally friendly materials to make fabrics and fix them on tree trunks, pillars, or walls. They are outdoor sunshade products that can be used on various occasions. Its creativity comes from the sails of ancient navigators, and now it has a variety of shapes, colors, and crafts. Widely used in complex climates in many regions of the world.


Understanding Shade Sail Materials

The material of the product is the most concerned issue in this era of environmental protection, which is related to people's health and the surrounding living environment.

fabric selection

According to user needs, the current waterproof fabrics are mainly divided into Breathable fabrics and waterproof fabrics. The main materials of each are environmentally friendly materials high-density polyethylene (HPDE) and polyester.

HPDE is a fabric with good air permeability and UV resistance. Compared with solid sunshade materials, the good air permeability of HPDE sunshade sails ensures a more excellent cooling effect, and the ambient temperature in the covered area can be reduced by at least 10°C. The shading rate as high as more than 95% not only blocks more than 95% of harmful ultraviolet rays, but also does not completely block the sun's moisture to the human body. Good air permeability ensures a windproof effect, HPDE can resist wind speeds of 25-31 mph, and polyester can only resist wind speeds of 18-24 mph.

Waterproof fabrics generally have a very tightly woven mesh, and the polyester fiber used in the mainstream is a hydrophobic material, which makes it difficult to absorb liquid. On this basis, we will apply a PU waterproof coating to ensure that the waterproof sunshade sail can not only maintain the UV resistance of UV 30+ but also have a water resistance of 400 kPa.

Reference Standards for Materials

The full name of GSM is gram (per) square meter, which means "grams per square meter", which is a measure of the weight and thickness of sunshade sails. The higher the GSM, the heavier and thicker the sail, or its density.

The GSM of the fabric can range from as low as 30GSM (for very light fabrics like voile) to as high as 400GSM (for heavy fabrics like canvas).

Actually, shade sails in the range of 160-180GSM are enough. The 160-180GSM sail can reach 95% shade, can handle the climate of most regions, and is also light in weight, and easy to carry and install.

The reason for not blindly pursuing high-density sail is that its cost performance is extremely low. The most unbearable disadvantage is its weight. Excessive weight will accelerate the consumption of the durability of the anchor point, and your walls, tree trunks, or masts will suffer unnecessary damage. Simultaneously, it is also a kind of wear and tear to the sunshade sail itself. In rainy weather, it will deform more easily, and the edges will loosen, too.

If you really need higher density, it is recommended that you choose custom products. Compared with standard products, you can put forward more requirements, and customized products also have better durability and longer service life.


Types of shade sails

Irregular shading sails are fixed to the sand-colored walls, creating dappled shadows in the sunlight.

You need to know the category of sunshade sails and how to choose its category to visualize the design in your mind, just like a painting needs a model. It needs to be up to par while being beautiful, even sexy.

  1. Rectangular shade sails——The earliest shade sails are used every year, and customers with large outdoor spaces prefer rectangular shade sails. Its shape is more suitable for backyards, and patios, and it covers a wider area. Used alone, it can create a cozy outdoor alfresco living room. By splicing it in the plural, it can cover a section of the ceiling and corridor. If you need waterproofing, please set the four sail angles to two different heights. It can be one side high and one side low, or the heights of two sets of diagonals can be staggered to form a unique and scientific appearance. The former looks more aesthetically pleasing and the latter more unique, but both are designed to prevent moisture build-up from warping the sail and reducing its lifespan.
  1. Isosceles triangle——is the most fashionable type of sunshade sail. Compared with a regular rectangle, it has a better decorative effect,  and can make light and shadow mottled, and interlaced, presenting a better light and shadow effect. It requires fewer anchor points, but is more suitable for combination, whether it is matched with multiple sunshade sails or with lighting and furniture, it has a better effect. It is worth mentioning that the right triangle, which divides the space level, can turn a corner of the swimming pool or a corner of the courtyard into a VIP-exclusive space.
  1. Irregular shade sails, irregular shade sails are very difficult to design and produce. Such as irregular triangles, trapezoids, pentagons, etc. Irregular shade sails are usually custom-made to cover non-standard-sized spaces. The advantage of customization is that it can meet your needs to the greatest extent and fit your space perfectly.


Choose the right size

Shade sails require hardware to secure the corners of the sail at the anchor point and tension the sides to ensure coverage, choosing the correct size is key to making this move.

Measure the space that needs to be covered

How large a shaded area do you need? On this basis, increase the size according to the local climate conditions. According to our experience, the size of each side should be increased by at least 10%, and the total shaded area should be expanded by at least 20%. You have to take into account that the sun is often not at noon when it is strongest, and the sun is shining obliquely on you at this time, so you need to increase the buffer zone.

Select the shade sail size and installation size

Tensioners range in size from 1-foot minimum, please allow 1 - 1.5 feet between each anchor point and the shade sail to accommodate the hardware.

Example: The shaded area you calculated in the previous step is 10x14 feet long and wide. All you need is a 10x14-foot rectangular shade sail.

Distances from anchor points for shade sails with size 10x14 feet:

Minimum 12x16 feet = (10' sail + 1' + 1' hardware) x (14' sail + 1' + 1' hardware)

13x17 feet max. = (10' sail + 1.5' + 1.5' hardware) x (14' sail + 1.5'+ 1.5' hardware)

Please select an anchor point within this distance.

Keep in mind that your shade sail should be slightly smaller than your measurement. In practice, an untensioned HPDE shade sail may have a slight retraction of ± 6 inches.


What color to choose

You don't have to worry about the color affecting the ultraviolet protection factor (UPF), which color you choose depends on your self-perception.

Common sense tells us that darker colors such as black have a higher UV protection rating than lighter colors. This is because they absorb more light. Don't worry, no matter what the color, the UV protection rating of the shade sail is higher than 30.

After all, it is furniture that will exist in your sight for several years, Please make your own decision based on the following suggestions:

  • If you think you are more emotional than rational, just choose your favorite color;
  • If you think you are a rational thinking person, then you should pay attention to the actual effect, We recommend the dark shade sail represented by dark gray to you;
  • If you are looking for trends, according to our understanding, generally light and clean colors are popular, such as ivory, light green, sand, and lavender;
  • If you value cleanliness and purity, pure colors such as white are more in line with your requirements;
  • If you are an environmentalist and a plant lover, you can choose environmentally friendly colors such as green.


A brief description of the installation process of the sunshade sail

Probably from the moment you conceived the idea of purchasing a shade sail, you were looking forward to installing it yourself.

Confirm coverage area and anchor point

The first step in the installation is to confirm the coverage area and anchor points, which is done when confirming the dimensions. But after actually getting the shade sail, you may have more considerations due to sunlight exposure, furniture layout, and other factors.

Please restrain your imagination, I suggest you stick to your original plan. If you have new needs, please measure and buy again.

Prepare the necessary tools

In order to keep your interest and save time, besides the shade sail and hardware purchased, please prepare the following tools in advance.

Necessary: (use walls and trees as natural anchors)

  • Impact drill and appropriate drill bits
  • Ladder or scaffolding 
  • Measuring tape
  • Rope (for assistance during installation)

Extra: (make masts as anchors)

  • Post hole digger
  • garden hose
  • Ready-to-use concrete mixture
  • Shovel
  • Adequately sized steel post (e.g. 6” x 6” x 12 ft square post)

You can rent all of the above tools from major hardware stores.

Installation process

The tools are ready, you can try to install them yourself, enjoy the fun of exploring an installation project, or you can refer to our blog post on how to install a shade sail. You can even hire a professional to install it for a small fee.


Cleaning shade sails

  1. You can choose a sunny day to remove the shade sail and check its condition.
  2. If there is no problem, prepare mild soapy water or a special detergent, dip it with a mop, apply it gently on the sunshade sail, and then let it stand for 15 minutes. For dirt that is difficult to brush off, use a sponge and soft brush.
  3. Use a hose to flush the shade sail, and rinse the edges of the shade sail until the water is clear and there is no foam.



Our goal is to make the purchase and use of shade sails as smooth as possible, and hope that more people can easily obtain ideal shade sails from us. Whether it is custom products or standard products, we hope to give you a better experience.


Often overlooked details and some tips:

  1. Local climate: Before choosing the shade sail fabric, please refer to your local climate conditions. Some extreme climates are not suitable for installing shade sails.
  2. Support structure: Before purchasing a large-size shade sail, please confirm that you have a strong enough support structure as an anchor point. Especially when going out camping and traveling, the weight of the sail and the bearing capacity of the supporting structure must be considered.
  3. Multiple purchases: The combination of different types of sunshade sails is indeed more original and can satisfy your desire for creativity. But when in use, there should be 1.5 feet (45-46 cm) of clearance between each sail to prevent them from rubbing against each other under the action of wind and rain. If you don't want voids in the shaded areas of your patio, you can cover the pool with sails so you can control the pool's water temperature through the voids and covered areas.
  4. The edge of the sail: The edges of most sunshade sails are precisely designed to be arc-shaped, which is to keep the sunshade sails tight after installation, prevent the middle of the sunshade sail from loosening, and ensure that the appearance does not deform. Of course, this reduces the coverage area somewhat. When purchasing, please read the product introduction carefully to distinguish between straight edges and curved edges. You can also choose edge lines in customized products.
  5. Height factor: Some customers will forget to consider the height of the sunshade sail, resulting in the shaded area not meeting his original idea. While this is uncommon, if your shade sail hangs above 2.5m, you will most likely need to take height into account.
  6. Precautions for cleaning: In order to avoid damage to the sunshade sail, do not use a washing machine, dryer, hard brush, bleach, or any irritating cleaning agent.


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