Outdoor Sails For Patio: 7 Key Things to Keep in Mind

Outdoor Sails For Patio: 7 Key Things to Keep in Mind

outdoor sails for patio 2

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Thinking about getting outdoor sails for your patio? Here are some key things to keep in mind. 

Shade sails are a great way to make the warmer seasons more pleasant, get people to spend more time outdoors, and provide essential protection from the sun and the harmful UV rays. They can also be a valuable, aesthetic addition to your commercial establishment or residential property. 

If you are looking to get outdoor sails for your patio, there are some essential things to keep in mind if you truly want to maximise the effectiveness of your purchase, and get the best value for your money. So, without further ado, let’s jump right into them:

1. Invest in high-quality fabrics

While you may be tempted to run to the store and purchase the first shade sail you see, this isn’t always the best idea when looking for outdoor sails for your patio. Not all fabrics are made equal, and investing in high-quality materials is worth your money for ensuring better longevity of your shade sail, as well as maximum protection from the sun. 

Originally shade fabric, like most fabrics that you can find in outdoor products, suffered from UV degradation – the disintegration of materials when exposed to sunlight and ultraviolet radiation. 

Considering that over 80% of skin cancers are caused by overexposure to UV radiation, UV inhibitors are now added when companies manufacture shade sail fabric.

High-quality shade fabric provides the highest protection from the harmful UV rays, and generally comes with a multi-year UV degradation warranties.

It’s important to keep in mind that shade fabrics are measured by their shade factor, which in turn measures how much the fabric is able to absorb or reflect invisible light (aka ultraviolet radiation). 

The result is listed as a percentage out of 100 – a 100% shade factor means that the fabric is able to provide complete light blockage.

Investing in high-quality fabrics is important not only because they provide better protection from the sun, but also because they are stronger and more durable. This means that your patio outdoor shade sails will last longer, and you will get a better value for your money which will be especially noticeable over the long run.

shade sail fabrics - outdoor sails for patio


2. Understand the differences between fabric variations

If you are looking to get outdoor sails for your patio, another thing that you will need to keep in mind before making your purchase is the fabric variation. Usually, shade sail companies offer two fabric variations: breathable shade sails and waterproof shade sails. 

Both materials offer different benefits and are more suitable in specific occasions. For this reason, it’s important to understand the differences so you can figure out what fits your needs the best.

2.1. Breathable fabrics

Breathable fabrics, or high-density polyethylene shade fabrics, are the standard when it comes to shade sail fabrics. They block up to 99% of the sun’s UV rays, but they still allow a little bit of sun to penetrate the shade sail. 

For this reason, if your goal is to enjoy your time outdoors and get some sun without overexposing yourself, a breathable fabric will be your ideal option. 

If you need outdoor sails for your patio, breathable fabrics are also great for providing protection for your plants and grass while still giving them the sunlight they need to thrive.

2.2. Waterproof fabrics

Waterproof fabrics, unlike breathable fabrics, are PVC coated with a special layer for waterproofing. They are usually a composite of a woven polyester yarn, coated on both sides with PVC (Poly Vinyl Chloride).

As opposed to breathable fabrics, waterproof fabrics effectively filter out 100% of the sun’s harmful UV rays. On top of providing protection from the sun, they also protect from winds and rain, which makes them a great option if you live in an area with harsh weather conditions.

So, if you are looking for outdoor sails for your patio that are durable, able to withstand extreme weather, and provide maximum protection, waterproof fabrics are the best option for you. 

3. Opt for custom outdoor sails for your patio

On top of coming in different fabric variations, shade sails also differ in shapes, sizes, colours, and other characteristics. 

While a ready-made shade sail may do the trick if you need outdoor sails for your patio, they are not the ideal option in most cases, especially when looking for solutions for commercial establishments. Here are some of the main reasons why:

3.1. Size

Many establishments, whether commercial or residential, don’t have the ideal structures to support standard sizes of shade sails. A custom shade sail, however, will perfectly fit your structure every single time, ensuring maximum stability and longevity of the product.

3.2. Colour

The aesthetics of your patio should never be underrated, especially if you are a hotel, a restaurant, or another business that wants to portray a certain image to their customers. You can get your custom outdoor sails made with the perfect colours that will add aesthetic value to your place.

3.3. Shape

In a similar manner to sizes, your outdoor area may need a shade sail of specific, irregular shapes, which makes finding outdoor sails for your patio in the local store mission impossible. 

For this reason, opting for custom outdoor sails for your patio is usually the ideal alternative when looking for the right shading solution.

SD Sails offers two options suitable for your needs: 

  • Bespoke Canopies – specifically designed and built to fit your structure, our bespoke canopies are precisely tailored for both commercial and domestic establishments. Choose between a wide variety of colours and fabrics.
  • Free Form Canopies – our unique Free Form Canopies concept is designed to take the complexity out of custom canopies and tensile fabric structures, allowing you to order a bespoke canopy up to 40m perimeter with 3 to 8 corners using our online system.


4. Consider how the shade sail is going to look in your property

As we mentioned earlier, shade sails come in different shapes, colours, and sizes, which means that you have a variety of options to match your specific needs. 

When considering the design and the style, and especially if you are planning to order a custom canopy, another important thing to keep in mind when choosing the right outdoor sails for your patio is how they are going to look in your establishment. 

For example, if you want your canopy to blend well with the surroundings without drawing attention, you may opt for more neutral, earth tone colours

For kid’s playgrounds and parks, selecting a brightly coloured multicoloured shade sail would probably be the best alternative. This way, you can add more fun and excitement to your outdoor area, making it more inviting for the kids. 

On the contrary, if you are looking to make the shade sail a part of your commercial establishment, converting it into a design feature, you may need to order custom sails with personalised colours. 

This way, you will ensure that they are going to maximise the aesthetic and functional value of your patio, and add to the overall atmosphere of your hotel or restaurant.

outdoor sails for patio

5. Choose high-quality shade sail fittings

Just as the quality of the fabric used to make your outdoor sails matters, so does the quality of your fittings. If you want to enjoy a product that lasts for a long time (up to 10 years), you need to make sure that the entire system is made of high-quality materials, including the hardware.

As soon as you know where you will be attaching your shade sails (walls, trees, facades, etc.), the next step will be assessing the hardware that you will need to use. Low-quality eyelets or rings could rip the fabric, reducing the longevity of the shade sail, and making it hard to use.

To ensure that you are getting a high-quality system – from materials to hardware, it is recommended to work with a professional who will be able to assess you on the best options for your establishment, and design them to fit your needs.

SD Sails offers an end-to-end solution for domestic and commercial establishments, from bespoke design and manufacturing to installation. This way, you will get outdoor sails for your patio that not only provide full protection from UV rays and harsh weather, but also last for a really long time. 

Are you ready to get started? Get a quote.


Are patio sails worth it?

Yes, patio sails are worth it if you are looking to make the best use of your outside areas. They provide shading in the hot summer months, protection from harmful UV rays, as well as ventilation and heat control. They also increase the aesthetic value of your patio. 

Can I get waterproof sun shades for my patio?

If you want to protect your patio from rain and harsh weather conditions, you can get waterproof sun shades. They are usually made from PVC fabric, and they are treated with a UV stabilised resin to form a waterproof barrier which stops the water from leaking. 

What shape of shade sail is best for my patio?

The shape of shade sail that you choose for your patio ultimately comes down to your own preferences. Triangles, squares and rectangles are among the most popular standard sizes. However, if you have a large or irregular patio, you may also opt for a custom solution for your establishment.