What is The Best Way to Shade a Deck? 5 Benefits of Sun Shades for Decks

What is The Best Way to Shade a Deck? 5 Benefits of Sun Shades for Decks

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What are the different ways to shade a deck, and what are the benefits of sun shades for decks? Continue reading to learn more.

If you’ve been looking for an effective solution to shade your deck, you have probably already researched some of the most popular options in the market. And you may be wondering – what is the best way to shade a deck? 

In this article, we will discuss everything you need to know about sun shades for decks, what are the pros and cons compared with other shading methods, and why they could be exactly the solution you need to make your space cosy and comfortable.

So, without further ado, let’s jump right into it:

1. What are the different ways to shade a deck?

Before we zoom in on the benefits of sun shades for decks, let’s take a look at all of the different solutions that exist for shading:

1.1. Retractable awnings

One of the most popular options for shading a deck are retractable awnings, which are essentially adjustable fabric or metal covers that can be extended or retracted as needed. 

While they offer a good amount of flexibility in controlling the amount of shade and sunlight on your deck, they can also be costly to set up and maintain, and may also end up obstructing views if extended. Their placement can’t be changed, which may impose certain limitations.

1.2. Pergolas

Pergolas are open structures with a lattice or crossbeam roof. You can add climbing plants or fabric panels to provide partial shade while maintaining an airy and stylish outdoor space.

On the positive side, they offer a combination of shade and open-air feel, which looks visually appealing and may be enough if you are only using your deck every once in a while, or during certain parts of the day. 

However, their biggest disadvantage is the fact that they only offer a partial shade, which reduces the amount of UV protection significantly – and don’t provide proper protection from the rain. This doesn’t make them a good solution for the frequent use of your deck. 

1.3. Umbrellas

Patio umbrellas are a classic option for residential spaces as they come in various sizes and styles, and they can be a visually appealing addition to your outdoor area. They can also be easily moved around to provide shade where needed.

Unfortunately, they offer very limited coverage when it comes to shading and UV protection. As opposed to sun shades for decks, their longevity is significantly shorter – just 3-5 years compared with 5-15 years for shade sails, and they are not capable of withstanding strong winds and harsh weather conditions.

1.4. Arbours

Similar to pergolas, arbours are smaller structures often used to create shaded walkways or entrances to decks. 

They can be adorned with climbing plants, and while their aesthetic appeal is unquestionable, their partial shade and limited rain protection are a huge disadvantage if you are looking for a solid shading solution for your outdoor space.

1.5. Shades

Sun shades for decks combine the best of both worlds when it comes to shading – proper protection of the harmful UV rays as well as harsh weather conditions, and a modern and stylish look which increases the appeal of your outdoor area.

Tensile fabric shade sails can be strategically positioned to cover specific areas of your deck, and come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, colours and materials. They are extremely versatile when it comes to placement as well, making them a great option for your deck.

2. What is the best way to shade a deck?

Sun shades for decks are among the best ways to shade your space if you are looking to maximise functionality with aesthetics. They combine maximum UV protection, design flexibility, easy installation, customisation and versatility all in one.

This helps to create an inviting and enjoyable outdoor area for relaxation, entertainment, and leisure. Whether you are using them in a commercial or residential setting, their benefits are endless – and in the next section, we will tell you more about that.

3. What are the benefits of sun shades for decks?

3.1. UV protection

Decks offer a great place to spend more time outdoors in a relaxing environment, without leaving the boundaries of your house. However, spending too much time on a deck is not a great idea if it’s not shaded properly because excessive sun exposure can be damaging for your skin and eyes.

For this reason, one of the best benefits of sun shades for decks is effective UV protection. Shade sails and canopies, especially the ones made with high-quality fabrics, offer up to 98% blockage of the sun’s harmful UV rays. 

This protection allows you to enjoy your deck without worrying about sunburn or skin damage.

3.2. Cooler deck environment

By blocking direct sunlight, shade sails create a cooler and more comfortable atmosphere on your deck, making it enjoyable even on hot days. 

This allows you and your family to spend more time outdoors without having to worry about the negative effects of the sun. Essentially, shaded decks become an extension of your living space, allowing you to relax, dine, and entertain outdoors.

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3.3. Customisation

Among the main benefits of sun shades for decks is the level of customisation they offer. If your deck has an irregular shape or size, they can be fully customised to fit your structure perfectly, ensuring full coverage and proper protection at all times.

They can also be ordered in different colours and fabrics, giving you all the space you need for creativity and enhancing the aesthetic appearance of your place. And last but not least, there are multiple types of shade sails that you can choose from. 

If you are looking for a fully custom solution for your deck, you can get a quote right away using our unique Free Form canopy technology

We designed this system to take the complexity out of tensile fabric structures and custom canopies. 

3.4. Cost effectiveness

Next on our list of benefits of sun shades for decks is their cost effectiveness. This type of shading has a lower initial cost compared to constructing permanent shading structures like pergolas or roof extensions.

Shade sails are also made from lightweight materials, reducing the amount of material required for installation. They can be installed relatively quickly and with less labour compared to building traditional roof structures, reducing the costs even further.

In addition, high-quality shade sail fabrics are designed to be durable, requiring minimal maintenance and reducing long-term costs while increasing the longevity of your shade sail. 

3.5. Longevity

Among the main benefits of sun shades for decks is their durability and longevity. Custom shade sails made with high-quality fabrics and hardware can last anywhere from 5 years to 15 years, making them a great shading solution in the long run. 

While this longevity will depend on the manufacturer and the proper care of the shade sail, they are definitely a better option as opposed to other short-lived alternatives like umbrellas.


What are the benefits of using sun shades on my deck?

Using sun shades on your deck offers multiple benefits. They provide effective UV protection, preventing sunburn and skin damage. Sun shades also create a cooler and comfortable environment, making outdoor activities enjoyable even on hot days. 

In addition, they enhance your deck’s aesthetic appeal, offer privacy, and extend the lifespan of outdoor furniture by reducing fading. 

Do sun shades affect the view from my deck?

Sun shades are designed to provide shade without obstructing the view. Depending on the fabric’s opacity and how the shades are positioned, you can maintain a clear view while reducing glare and enhancing comfort. 

Choose fabrics with the right balance between shading and visibility to ensure an optimal outdoor experience.

Can I install sun shades myself, or do I need professional help?

While some simple sun shades can be DIY projects, for proper installation, tensioning, and ensuring safety, it’s advisable to seek professional help. 

Professionals have expertise in assessing your space, recommending the right shade solution, and ensuring secure installation, enhancing both functionality and aesthetics.

Do sun shades come with warranties?

Yes, many reputable sun shade manufacturers like SD Sails offer warranties. Warranty coverage varies but often includes protection against defects in materials and workmanship. 

Be sure to understand the terms, duration, and any conditions of the warranty before purchasing. Warranties provide added confidence in the quality and durability of your sun shades.

Can I use sun shades in windy areas?

Yes, you can use sun shades in windy areas, but it’s important to consider the wind load. High-quality, well-tensioned shades designed for wind resistance are recommended. 

Some retractable options can be retracted during strong winds. Professional installation and choosing wind-resistant fabrics ensure safe usage in windy conditions.