How to Choose The Best Shade Sails for High Winds

How to Choose The Best Shade Sails for High Winds

choose the best shade sails for high winds

How can you choose the best shade sails for high winds? Continue reading this article to learn more. 

If you live in an area with high winds, choosing the right shade sail for your outdoor space will be essential to ensure that it provides proper functionality, lasts for a long time, and is able to withstand harsh weather conditions without wear and tear. 

On the contrary, choosing a shade sail that is not suitable for strong winds may not only mean a reduced lifespan, but may also lead to damage and the need for repair or replacement. But how can you choose the best shade sails for high winds?

In this article, we will give you our top tips on choosing the right shading solution for your residential or commercial space. So, let’s get right into it:

What does “high winds” mean?

High winds refer to strong and gusty wind conditions that exceed average or moderate wind speeds. The definition of “high winds” may vary depending on geographical location and local climate conditions.

However, according to the Beaufort wind force scale, they are characterised by speed of 50–61 km/h (13.9 — 17.1 m/s), and a wave height of 4 — 5.5 m. In contrast to moderate winds, which don’t typically exceed 20–28 km/h, this means that your shade sails have to be prepared for more than a regular wind.

Can a shade sail withstand high winds?

Yes, a well-designed shade sail can withstand high winds when constructed with wind-resistant materials, reinforced edges, and an aerodynamic shape. 

Proper tensioning and professional installation further enhance stability, ensuring the sail remains durable and effective in challenging wind conditions.

 It’s essential to choose a shade sail with the appropriate wind load ratings and follow recommended installation practices for optimal performance.

How can I choose the best shade sail for high winds?

There are many things to consider when choosing the best shade sail for high winds. From the material of the shade sail to the experience of the manufacturer, let’s take a look at some of our top tips on how to make a well-informed decision:

1. Opt for wind-resistant fabrics

Choose shade sails made from durable and wind-resistant fabrics such as high-density polyethylene (HDPE) or PVC-coated polyester. 

These materials offer strength and resilience against high winds – avoid store-bought options as they are typically made from low-quality materials, and may not be suitable for harsher weather conditions.

– HDPE is a popular choice due to its exceptional strength, durability, and resistance to UV rays. Its woven structure provides flexibility while maintaining robustness, making it suitable for withstanding wind stress.

– Polyester fabrics coated with PVC enhance wind resistance and provide waterproofing. The coating adds a layer of protection, making the material more resilient against adverse weather conditions, including high winds.

– Mesh fabrics, such as shade cloth, balance wind resistance with breathability. These materials allow air to pass through, reducing wind resistance and minimising the risk of damage during strong gusts.

2. Check the strength and density of the fabric

On your quest to find the best shade sails for high winds, make sure to check the strength and density of the fabric. Fabric strength and density play a significant role in determining the ability of the shade sail to withstand wind stress and maintain structural integrity.

Here a few questions that need to be on your checklist:

– Does the shade sail have enough strength for structural support?

– Is the shade sail resistant to tearing in high winds?

– Does the shade sail come with durable seams and edges to withstand additional forces?

– What is the UV resistance of the fabric?

– Is the shade sail made from robust materials to ensure long-term performance?

– How much wind load is the shade sail capable of withstanding?

When checking the characteristics of the fabric, make sure to refer to the manufacturer specifications for information on fabric strength and density. 

Reputable manufacturers provide detailed data, allowing you to make an informed decision based on the specific requirements of your installation site

When in doubt, consult with professionals or shade sail experts such as SD Sails. We can provide complete guidance on selecting fabrics with the appropriate strength and density for the specific wind conditions of your location.

3. Consider aerodynamic shapes

Considering aerodynamic shapes is crucial when choosing the best shade sails for high winds, especially in areas prone to strong weather conditions. 

Aerodynamic designs are characterised by curved or angled edges that allow wind to flow smoothly around the sail, reducing wind resistance and minimising the risk of damage. 

These shapes are engineered to channel and disperse wind forces effectively, preventing the sail from catching and flapping during gusty conditions. 

By opting for aerodynamic shapes, the shade sail not only provides a more stable and wind-resistant structure but also contributes to its overall longevity. 

This design consideration enhances the sails’ ability to withstand turbulent wind conditions, ensuring both functionality and durability in outdoor spaces exposed to varying wind speeds.

In this case, opt for hypar shade sails – their hyperbolic paraboloid shape naturally minimises wind resistance. Their curved and twisted edges allow wind to smoothly flow around the sail, reducing the risk of wind uplift and minimising the forces exerted on the structure.

4. Evaluate the tensioning system

If you are looking to buy shade sails for high winds, another important aspect you will have to consider is the effectiveness of the tensioning system. This is crucial for ensuring its stability, functionality, and longevity.

– Tautness and sag – assess the tautness of the shade sail when properly tensioned. The result should be an even and appropriate level of tautness across the entire sail. In addition, excessive sag can compromise the effectiveness of the shade sail and create potential stress points.

– Consistency of tension – how consistent is the tension throughout the sail? Lack of consistency can lead to uneven stress distribution, affecting the stability of the sail and increasing the risk of damage during high winds.

– Adjustability – does the tensioning system come with enough flexibility and adjustability for fine-tuning? The specific requirements may change depending on the different environmental conditions, which makes the ability to make precise adjustments essential.

– Ease of tensioning – how easy it is to tension the shade sail? If you are looking for good shade sails for high winds, make sure to choose a user-friendly tensioning system. This simplifies the installation process and allows for convenient adjustments.

– Type of tensioning mechanism – different shade sails may employ various tensioning mechanisms, such as turnbuckles, pulleys, or ratchets. Consider the type of tensioning mechanism used and ensure it aligns with your preferences, the size of the sail, and the ease of use.

– Durability of tensioning hardware – Inspect the durability of the tensioning hardware, including turnbuckles, pulleys, and other components. High-quality materials and construction contribute to the longevity of the tensioning system, ensuring it can withstand environmental factors and usage over time.

5. Choose a reputable manufacturer

If you are in the market for the best shade sails for high winds, another important factor to consider is the manufacturer. 

It’s always recommended to choose a reputable manufacturer with years of experience in the industry, such as SD Sails – this will not only guarantee the quality of the product and the manufacturing process, but will also give you peace of mind. 

We also recommend investing in professional installation as opposed to DIY. Proper installation is critical for the stability and effectiveness of shade sails in high winds, as it considers factors like anchor points and tensioning.


How much wind can a shade sail handle?

A well-designed shade sail, crafted with durability in mind, can withstand wind speeds of 96-128 km/h. Factors like material strength, tensioning systems, and proper installation contribute to its resilience. 

Adhering to wind load ratings and manufacturer guidelines ensures the sail effectively endures diverse wind conditions, providing durable and reliable shading solutions in outdoor spaces.

What materials are best for high winds?

Materials ideal for high winds include high-density polyethylene (HDPE) and PVC-coated polyester. HDPE provides strength and flexibility, with winds resisting up to 128 km/h. PVC-coated polyester offers durability and waterproofing, suitable for winds up to 96 km/h. 

Mesh fabrics balance airflow and shade, ideal for hot climates with winds up to 112 km/h. The choice depends on climate, aesthetics, and wind conditions, allowing personalised selection for optimal performance.

Are there specific designs that work better in high winds?

Yes, certain designs excel in high winds. Aerodynamic shapes like hyperbolic paraboloids and curved edges reduce wind resistance, minimising flapping. Asymmetric forms and twisted structures adapt to changing wind directions. 

Optimal designs balance aesthetics with functionality, ensuring stability in challenging wind conditions.

Is professional installation necessary for high-wind areas?

Yes, professional installation is crucial in high-wind areas. Experts assess factors like anchor points and tensioning, ensuring secure placement. Professional installers optimise stability, minimising the risk of damage. 

Their expertise ensures the shade sail can withstand strong winds, providing a reliable and durable shading solution in challenging outdoor environments.