Getting Waterproof Shade Sails for Decking: 5 Tips in 2024

Getting Waterproof Shade Sails for Decking: 5 Tips in 2024

tensile fabric strength - waterproof shade sails for decking

What are the biggest benefits of shade sails for decks, and why should you opt for this shading solution this summer? Read more in this article. 

Shade sails are among the most complete, versatile and low-maintenance shading solutions that you can get for your decking this summer. However, if you live in an area that often experiences rain even during the warmer months, you might be wondering what are some things that you should keep in mind before making a purchase.

We already discussed the benefits of shade sails for decks in our previous article – in this one, we will talk about waterproof shade sails for decking, and what are some considerations that you would need to have in mind when doing your research.

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

What are the characteristics of waterproof shade sails?

Before we jump into the tips, let’s take a look at some of the main characteristics of waterproof shade sails:

– Material – high-quality waterproof tensile canopies are typically made from high-density polyethylene (HDPE) with a waterproof coating or from PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride) material, which is inherently water-resistant.

– Construction – unlike standard breathable shade sails, which allow air to pass through for a cooling effect in addition to effective UV protection, waterproof ones have a more solid construction to prevent water penetration. 

– Design – another key characteristic of waterproof shade sails for decking is their design, which has a slight curve or angle to facilitate water runoff. This prevents water from pooling on the surface, which can otherwise lead to damage.

– Functionality – in addition to providing shade and effective UV protection (often blocking up to 98% of the sun’s harmful UV rays), waterproof shade sails can be used in various weather conditions, even during rain. 

– Maintenance – while shade sails are generally low maintenance, keep in mind that waterproof ones may require more frequent cleaning. Otherwise, water can accumulate and lead to build-up of mould or mildew due to moisture exposure. 

5 tips for getting waterproof shade sails for decking

If you are looking to get waterproof shade sails for decking, there are a few things to keep in mind to ensure that you are making the most out of your purchase. This way, you will make a better decision that better adapts to your needs and goals.

Here are some of our expert tips when it comes to waterproof shade sails for decking:

1. Choose high-quality materials

The choice of fabric is one of the most important considerations to make when looking for the best shade sail for your decking. High-quality fabrics are not only more durable in harsh weather conditions, but they can also provide more effective water resistance.

When getting waterproof shade sails for decking, choose shails made from high-grade, waterproof materials like PVC or other coated fabrics. With SD Sails, you can select from a wide variety of premium materials ready to cut and fabricate to your order. 

2. Look for sails with heat-sealed or welded seams

Another thing to keep in mind before getting waterproof shade sails for decking is their seams and stitching. We recommend opting for sails with heat-sealed or welded seams to prevent water leakage

These manufacturing techniques are often used in waterproof shade sails, and they involve the process of using heat or ultrasonic welding to bond the fabric at the seams, creating a continuous, watertight seal.

These seams are highly durable and less likely to unravel or weaken over time compared to traditional stitched seams. This durability is crucial for withstanding various weather conditions.

3. Hire professional installation

When it comes to installing your waterproof shade sails, don’t underestimate the importance of getting professional help

As opposed to standard shade sails, waterproof ones require even more precise tensioning to ensure effective water runoff, and avoid pooling. If you don’t have the experience to achieve the correct tension, you may not achieve optimal water drainage.

In addition, professionals understand the structural requirements of the product, and can securely anchor the sails to withstand various weather conditions without damaging the deck. Learn more about professional installation here.

4. Measure the shape and size of your deck

Before getting waterproof shade sails for decking, make sure that you measure the shape and size of your deck. Accurate measurements ensure that the shade sail covers the desired area effectively, providing maximum protection from the rain.

For waterproof sails, it’s essential to have a slight angle for water runoff. Accurate measurements help in designing the sail with the correct slope to prevent water pooling.

And last but not least, incorrect measurements can lead to installation problems like inadequate tensioning, sagging, or inadequate coverage, compromising functionality and appearance. Taking the right measures will potentially prevent these issues. 

5. Order your shade sail from an experienced manufacturer

When it comes to waterproof shade sails for decking, another thing to keep in mind is that quality matters, especially if you want to ensure full water resistance and durability. If maintained properly, shade sails can last as much as 15 years.

For this reason, we highly recommend ordering your shade sail from an experienced manufacturer that has the know-how in the industry, and will be able to deliver a personalised solution for your deck.

Leading UK manufacturers like SD Sails ensure that their waterproof fabrics are able to effectively pass tests such as the hydrostatic head test and the water repellency test, and obtain a high hydrostatic head rating.

The material should also demonstrate good water repellency to prevent the fabric from becoming saturated and heavy, which could lead to sagging and reduced longevity.

Ready to get your waterproof shade sail for decking? Contact us, or use our unique Free Form technology to get a quote right away. 

How do you keep rain from pooling on a shade sail?

Preventing pooling on your shade sail is very important for maintaining its structural integrity, and ensure that it will last you for a long time. Here are some ways to achieve that:

– Angled installation – the shade should be installed at an angle to ensure that water doesn’t collect, but instead flows off the sides. We recommend a minimum angle of 20 degrees.

– Proper tensioning – when it comes to waterproof shade sails for decking, it is crucial to ensure that they are tightly and evenly tensioned. Proper tension allows rainwater to run off the edges instead of pooling in the middle.

– Varying heights of attachment points – if possible, fix the attachment points at different heights. This naturally creates a slope for water runoff. If you don’t know how to do that, we recommend professional installation. 

– Quality of material – ensure that the material of the shade sail is of high quality and suitable for handling rain. Some materials are more prone to stretching when wet, which makes them a worse option for decking.

– Use of curved edges – many shade sails are designed with curved edges that promote proper tensioning and prevent sagging, aiding in water runoff.


Do I need special fixtures or support for waterproof shade sails?

Yes, waterproof shade sails often require special fixtures or supports due to their weight and the need for proper tensioning. They typically need robust anchoring points like metal posts, wall brackets, or reinforced areas on existing structures. 

The increased weight when wet, along with the tension required to prevent water pooling, demands stronger supports than standard shade sails. Professional installation is usually recommended to ensure safety and effectiveness.

How do waterproof shade sails handle heavy rain and wind?

Waterproof shade sails are designed to handle heavy rain by effectively repelling water and preventing pooling through proper tensioning and angled installation. For wind, they’re built to withstand moderate conditions, with reinforced edges and sturdy anchoring. 

However, in extreme winds, it’s advisable to take them down to avoid damage, as high winds can exert excessive force on the sail and its supports, potentially leading to failure or structural damage.

How should I maintain my waterproof shade sails?

To maintain waterproof shade sails, regularly clean them with mild soap and water to remove dirt and debris. Inspect for any wear, especially after extreme weather, and ensure they’re properly tensioned to prevent sagging. 

Avoid harsh chemicals and power washing. In winter or during severe storms, consider removing the sail to prolong its lifespan. Regular maintenance helps retain waterproofing effectiveness and extends the sail’s durability.

What is the lifespan of a waterproof shade sail?

The lifespan of a waterproof shade sail typically ranges from 5 to 15 years, depending on various factors such as material quality, environmental conditions, maintenance, and frequency of use. 

High-quality sails with proper installation and regular maintenance can last towards the upper end of this range, while constant exposure to harsh weather and neglect can shorten their lifespan.