How Long Do Waterproof Sun Shade Sails Last? 5 Factors

How Long Do Waterproof Sun Shade Sails Last? 5 Factors

how long do waterproof shade sails last?

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How long do waterproof sun shade sails last? Find out the main factors that influence their longevity.

With approximately 149 rainy days recorded in 2021, and an average annual rainfall of 1,372 millimetres, the United Kingdom is known for its wet climate conditions. 

This means that, if you are looking to get a shade sail to cover your commercial or residential outdoor area, you may highly benefit from waterproof sun shade sails that will provide better protection against the rain. 

But how long do waterproof sun shade sails last? In this article, we will discuss 5 key factors that impact their longevity, and what you can do to ensure that they will last you for as long as possible. 

1. What is a waterproof sun shade sail?

As the name suggests, a waterproof sun shade sail is a shade sail made with materials and fabrics that block out the rainwater effectively, and ensure that your outdoor area remains dry independently from the weather conditions.

Waterproof shade sails are mostly made from waterproof PVC fabric, but you may have different options depending on the shade sail company that you are working with. 

For example, SD Sails offers three different waterproof canopy fabrics so you can get maximum protection even in the harshest weather conditions

Waterproof sails are typically treated with different coatings to guarantee waterproofing. As opposed to breathable fabrics, they retain more heat, which means that they can be more subject to wear and tear. That’s why it’s important to take good care of them in order to enjoy better longevity. 

Waterproof sun shade sails offer both protection from harmful UV rays as well as protection from rainwater, which makes them a great option if you are looking to maximise the use of your outdoor area.

2. How long do waterproof sun shade sails last?

When taken care of properly, waterproof sun shade sails may last up to 10 years or more, especially if they are made of high-quality materials. Most shade sails come with a warranty of 5 or 10 years.

However, when trying to find how long waterproof sun shade sails last, it’s important to keep in mind that there are multiple factors that may impact their longevity.

Let’s take a better look:

2.1. Choose high-quality shade cloth fabrics

The first factor that needs to be considered is the quality of the shade cloth fabric. In fact, it is among the most important ones, and is often underrated. 

Using high-quality fabrics not only means that you will be able to enjoy your shade sail for longer, but you will also ensure maximum protection of up to 98% against the sun’s harmful UV rays. 

On another hand, low-quality fabrics are usually less dense, which means that they don’t provide the same level of protection from the sun. They are also less durable and more prone to tearing, especially as time goes by. 

When choosing waterproof sun shade sails, don’t cut down on quality as you will want your shade sail to withstand harsh weather conditions. 

2.2. Make sure that you shade sail is properly installed 

Proper installation is essential when it comes to purchasing a shade sail for your commercial or residential outdoor area. If the shade sail hasn’t been fixed properly, it will become more unstable, thus more vulnerable to storms and strong winds. 

As a result, it may not reach its expected lifespan.

To ensure proper fixture and tension, you can use an existing building or another solid structure in order to determine a good fixing point. If this isn’t a possibility for your shade sail layout, you can also use trees or metal points as anchor points. 

It’s also important to double-check your fixing points for structural stability and strength. Incorrect or highly unstable fixtures will let the shade flop in the wind, which can tear down the fabric and reduce the longevity of your waterproof shade sail.

While shade sails aren’t necessarily hard to install, a small mistake can significantly reduce their longevity if you don’t know what you are doing. To give you maximum peace of mind, SD Sails offers custom manufacturing and installation so you can sit down and relax while we do all the work for you. 

For our trade partners, we also offer supervision of shade sail and canopy installation, designed to ensure that our products are properly fitted and tensioned correctly on site. Click here to learn how you can become a trade partner. 

how long do waterproof shade sails last

2.3. Clean your shade sail frequently

Another factor that can increase the longevity of your waterproof sun shade sails is their correct maintenance. Cleaning your shade sails frequently is not only important for their visual appearance, but also because this can reduce potential rip up over time.

Debris and filth can be detrimental for the longevity of your shade sail as they will weigh it down, causing it to tear with time. Clean frequently with a light detergent and a garden hose, and make sure that you avoid high-pressure hoses as they can speed up the tearing.

In addition, pay attention to the cleaning tools and techniques you choose. For example, cleaning shade sails with pointed cleaning tools or applying high water pressure can rip the fabric, which, needless to say, is counter-productive for its longevity.

Here are the steps on how to properly maintain your waterproof sun shade sails so they can last longer:

  • Remove the shade from the posts before you start cleaning;
  • Place it on a clean ground to avoid making it even dirtier;
  • Wet the shade sail with a low-pressure hose;
  • Scrub gently with a soft sponge; avoid hard brushes or harsh movements;
  • After washing with soap water, wash fully with clean water.
  • Let the shade sail dry in the sun completely.

As soon as the shade sail is completely dry, you can get it back up. 

2.4. Inspect the fabric regularly

To ensure that your waterproof sun shade sails will last longer, you should also inspect the fabric regularly – small holes can quickly turn into larger ones, and unattended damage can be more difficult to fix later.

This will not reduce the longevity and aesthetic value of your shade sail, but may also make it completely useless when it comes to protection from the sun and rain. 

Unless you really know what you are doing, avoid trying to sew your own shade sails as it may worsen the problem. It’s always better to contact a professional to repair or purchase a new shade sail fabric.

2.5. Get custom waterproof sun shade sails

If you are looking to get waterproof sun shade sails that last longer, choosing a custom solution is almost always the best option for ensuring top quality in materials, manufacturing, and installation. 

Purchasing a ready-made shade sail from the store means that you have very little choice when it comes to fabrics, colours, materials, as well as shape and size. 

However, with custom shade sails manufactured and installed by the right company, you are getting maximum quality and more guarantees that they are going to last longer. 

In addition, they provide more versatility, you can get full coverage for your outdoor area, and maximise its aesthetic value. 

3. Getting waterproof sun shade sails with SD Sails

SD Sails is a company specialised in high-quality shade sails and tensile canopies. With over 30 years of experience in the industry, our team of highly skilled professionals will give you an end-to-end solution for your waterproof shade sail, from custom manufacturing to installation.

You can choose from a variety of premium waterproof fabrics depending on what fits your needs the best. All of our fabrics come with a warranty of up to 10 years so you can enjoy long-lasting shade sails for your outdoor area.

Contact us today and get a quote.


Can you get waterproof shade sails?

Yes, you can get waterproof shade sails custom-made by a professional shade sail and tensile canopy company. Waterproof shade sails are the perfect solution for all types of weather conditions, from summer heat waves to harsh storms and strong winds. They are usually made from PVC fabric.

Is there a waterproof shade cloth?

Yes, there are waterproof shade cloths that you can use for your shade sail. They are usually treated with a UV stabilised resin to form a waterproof barrier which stops the water from leaking through the cloth. You can order custom-made waterproof shade sails from SD Sails.

Can you leave waterproof shade sails up all year?

If waterproof shade sails are professionally installed, they can easily stay up all year without damage. Loose, poorly installed sails may not be able to withstand stronger weather conditions, so it may not be the best idea to leave them up during all seasons.

How do you install waterproof shade cloth?

You can install a waterproof shade cloth on your own, but it is highly recommended to contact a professional who will help you do that. Professional installation ensures that the shade has been fixed and tensed properly, increasing its longevity and making it more stable in harsh weather conditions.

SD Sails offers custom manufacturing and installation of regular as well as waterproof shade sails so you can enjoy a high-quality, end-to-end solution for your patio, swimming pool, or other outdoor area.