Cost of Playground Shade Sails: 7 Must-Know Factors

Cost of Playground Shade Sails: 7 Must-Know Factors

cost of playground shade sails - outdoor canopies in the uk

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What are some of the factors that are taken into account when it comes to playground shade sails cost? Continue reading to learn more.

When the sun is out, playgrounds offer a great source of entertainment for children, providing a fun and unforgettable experience outdoors. Playtime is not only beneficial for kids, but also for teachers who can take some rest and enjoy a coffee and a breath of fresh air. 

As we discussed in our previous article, a key element of each playground is the shade sail. Shade sails are a must for playgrounds, providing essential benefits such as:

  • Protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays
  • Regulated temperatures during the hot summer months
  • Protecting the playground equipment from deterioration 
  • More outdoor space for class activities
  • A comfortable sitting area for children, teachers and guests
  • Shelter from the rain

And more. Whether we are talking about parks, nurseries, elementary schools or religious institutions, each playground needs a shade sail in order to provide maximum functionality and optimise the return on investment of this entertainment area.

However, before installing shade sails for playgrounds, one must answer an important question: what is the cost of playground shade sails

In this article, we will discuss some of the key factors that are taken into account when estimating the cost of your custom-made shade sails: things like size, type, shade material, warranty, installation cost, geographic location and more. 

While going for ready-made shade sails is an option, in most cases it is not recommended, especially for playgrounds. Ready-made sails typically use subpar fabric, which is neither weatherproof nor offers sufficient UV protection. 

In addition, they deteriorate faster and need to be changed more often, which means that you will end up spending a lot more in the long run. 

Let’s go into more detail to discover everything that determines the cost of playground shade sails.

How Much Do Playground Shade Sails Cost?

The cost of playground shade sails will depend on a variety of factors, starting from whether they are ready-made or custom-made. As we mentioned previously, non-custom options are not ideal because they often fail to deliver the actual benefits of shade sails. 

For example, properly covering irregular or large areas with store-bought options is close to impossible, and the end result may not be nearly as functional as a custom-made shade.

For this reason, it is better to get a playground shade sail that is specifically crafted to meet your requirements, and is guaranteed to adhere to all the health and safety rules.

Let’s look at the top seven things you need to know about the cost of playground shade sails.

7 Factors That Contribute to the Cost of Playground Shade Sails

1. Size of the area

Perhaps the number one consideration when estimating the price of your playground shade sail is the size of your playground area. Logically, canopies for larger areas tend to cost more than the ones for smaller areas because they require more fabric, cables and other hardware.

This makes each project unique and with its own characteristics and peculiarities. For this reason, it is best to take the guidance of an expert in shade sails when deciding the appropriate configuration and specifications.

Your project can cost more if you use large-span sails. Once the span approaches 15 meters, heavy-grade fittings are required, which raises the cost. 

Additionally, the price may vary depending on the height of your sail structure. Generally speaking, a higher shade will draw a higher wind load, which will increase the cost.

In short, the size will significantly affect how much a playground shade sail costs. This doesn’t mean that custom sails have to be expensive – you can still meet all your needs and requirements without going too far with the price. 

Click here to get a quote in minutes, or contact us to consult a professional for a fully customised solution.

2. The desired design

Another factor that impacts the cost of playground shade sails is the design that you are looking to achieve with it. For example, highly personalised colours, rare fabrics or adding the logo of your organisation to the canopy may increase the price.

A shade sail structure can provide functional shading and a vibrant aesthetic to any playground. The type of shade sail you select ultimately depends on your preferences. 

There are various varieties of shade sails, including fixed shade sails, retractable shade sails, waterproof shades, and more. 

Similarly, the common shade shapes are triangles, squares, and rectangles. On one side, sail structures built with a shorter lifespan or altered from standard designs often have higher maintenance and lifecycle costs. 

So, when it comes to the cost of playground shade sails, think about your final vision – what kind of aesthetic are you looking to achieve with this shading solution? 

Do you want to use it as a way to brand or promote your school, or just match the rest of the buildings with your corporate colours?

cost of playground shade sails

3. Shade sail structure materials

When discussing the cost of playground shade sails, another element that is factored into the cost are the materials of which the shade sail structures are made. 

Premium shade fabrics, which are often made from HDPE (high density polyethylene), are more expensive than regular fabrics, but they are also more versatile, and provide the optimal combination of sun protection, strength and durability

3.1. PE Fabrics

PE fabrics, or polyethylene fabrics, are a light type of architectural fabric that consists of a woven scrim, which is protected between two outer layers of plasticised coating. This type of coating generally contains helpful protectants that increase the life of your shade sail. 

They were introduced to the fabric-covered building industry as a solution to the overstressing of tension fabric membranes, which caused issues during the manufacturing and installation processes.

3.2. HDPE Fabrics

HDPE fabrics, or high-density polyethylene, are high-quality fabrics that give shade sail structures significantly more flexibility as opposed to regular PE fabrics. There is less branching in the molecular composition of the fabric, which is what gives the fabric higher density.

The result are stronger molecular forces in the membranes of the tension fabric, which translates to increased protection against abrasion – which is especially important during the manufacturing and installation of the shades.

SD Sails is specialised in high-quality, premium HDPE shade sails fabrics, which are extremely durable and can withstand both harsh weather conditions as well as the wear of everyday use. 

They help to ensure a long-lasting structure of the fabric, which means that you are going to have lower maintenance costs over the long run. 

4. Warranties

Another element that is factored in the cost of playground shade sails is the warranty of the shade sail structure. Not all manufacturers offer a warranty, let alone one that lasts for a good amount of time.

As shade sails provide your playground with safety and aesthetic value; so, you wish these structures would last. 

After all, you don’t want to invest in a shading solution for your school or nursery playground, only to need a new shading solution just a couple of years later because the older one broke or couldn’t withstand the harsh weather conditions.

For example, SD Sails offers shade sails with warranties of up to 15 years, which means that you will enjoy a peace of mind knowing that you have a long-lasting, sustainable shading solution for your organisation. 

This will also help you cut a lot of costs over time, as maintaining a high-quality shade sail is much cheaper than constantly having to buy new, cheaper alternatives.

5. Installation costs

Of course, an important factor that impacts the cost of playground shade sails are the installation costs. Proper installation is crucial to ensuring that your quality structure lasts for years and does the job it’s designed to do. 

The cost of installation will vary depending on the type and size of the shade as well as the project’s intricacy. For instance, less intricate designs that don’t require considerable permanent anchoring will be less expensive to install. However, it will take a lot of work to set up larger, heavier structures.

6. Geographic location

The cost of remote projects or those beyond the shade sail installer’s or manufacturer’s usual service area will generally be more expensive than local solutions. Consequently, your project will cost more because of the additional expenses, such as transportation charges.

Obviously, this will vary depending on the contractor you choose. For example, SD Sails offers shade sail manufacturing and installation solutions across the whole UK, meaning that you will not have to worry about additional expenses associated with your geographic location.

However, this is definitely something to keep in mind when considering the cost of playground shade sails. 

7. Playground footing type

The most typical soil type is clay, which makes it simple to work with shade sails. You can use the general cost-effective pier footing on these grounds. Similarly, you might need a rock boring if the soil contains a rock. 

You can also use a less expensive foundation like a pad footing. However, the cost is higher because these footings require more digging, machinery, and concrete. So, a hard footing results in more playground shade sails cost. 

Sand footings are more arduous to construct and require either a less expensive pad footing or a more expensive pier footing with grout injection.

Cost of playground shade sails: conclusion

As we just discussed, there are multiple factors that come into play when it comes to the cost of playground shade sails, from size of the area to the quality of the fabric and even the footing type of the playground. For this reason, it is always better to consult a professional that will help you get a precise estimation for your project.

You can also get your quote in minutes using SD Sails’ unique Free Form technology. Are you ready to get started? Click here!


How much does a playground shade cost?

The cost of a playground shade will depend on a variety of factors, from the quality and style of the fabric to the size and shape of the area (irregular or very large areas may be more expensive). For this reason, it’s better to consult a professional for a more precise estimation. 

Where can I buy a playground shade structure?

While you can find a playground shade structure in stores, it is usually not the ideal shading solution for your playground as they are lower in quality and will have to be replaced very quickly. Ideally, you should contact a specialised shade sails manufacturer such as SD sails for a durable, flexible, long-lasting and personalised shading solution for your playground.