Sun shade sails are a great way to help you and your family enjoy the summer sun safely. They create a cool shaded area to relax in and help to protect you from the sun’s harmful UV rays. Some will even offer shelter from the rain as well!
Below are some tips to guide you when choosing the best sun sail for your garden.
Size and Shape
One of the main things you want to look for when you’re on the hunt for the best sun sail shade is the size and the shape. They come in a range of sizes to suit small to large gardens. They also come in several shapes including triangles, rectangles, and squares.
As well as the size of your garden, think about the size of the specific area you want to cover. For example, if you just want to cover a small corner of your garden where a bench is or where your dog lies, then a smaller triangular shade will likely be suitable. If you want to cover a large area, such as an outdoor seating area or an area where kids play, then you’ll probably want a large rectangular shade.
When considering the shape and size, think about where you’re going to place the shade. A rectangle or square will need four stable anchor points, far enough apart so that the shade is taught. By contrast, a triangular shade will only need three anchor points, which may be more feasible in certain gardens.
Material Type and Quality
Sun shade sails typically come in durable, high-density material. Look for high quality material, such as the high-density polyethylene. You’ll notice that most of the shades on this list are made from polyethylene as it’s both durable and breathable.
The density of the fabric is often indicated in ‘gsm’. This stands for grams per square metre, giving an indication of the weight of the material. The higher the gsm number, the heavier and denser the fabric is. Usually, this is a good indication of thickness and strength.
Since your sun shade sail will be outside, you want it to be as durable as possible so it lasts over time and can stand up to some changes in the weather.
As well as the shade’s construction material, there are other factors you can look for when it comes to durability. Look for double webbing and reinforced stitching at the seams which add to the strength of the sail.
Some sails might say the material is tear-resistant, which is a great indicator of durability. D-rings that are made from metal like stainless steel will stand up well against the elements. You can also check if the description mentions they’re rust-resistant.
Of course, one of the main things you want to ensure is that your chosen sun shade sail offers plenty of protection from the sun. Instead of just saying ‘UV resistant’, the shade sail should list the percentage of UV rays that the shade blocks.
The best sun shade sails will block between 95% and 98% of UV rays. Blocking 98% of rays is equivalent to UPF 50, which is reasonable protection. Some sun sails also give a percentage ‘shade rating’, which simply indicates how much light the shade lets through. Above 80% is a good shade rating, with the best being over 85%.
Most sun shades aren’t designed to stand up to rain or extreme weather, such as high winds. In most cases, the shade should be taken down if heavy rain or extreme weather is predicted, to avoid damage.
However, some sun shade sails are water-resistant or even waterproof. A water-resistant sail should protect from light showers, whilst a waterproof sail will offer protection from heavier rain. Even if this is the case, be aware that it’s still possible for rain to get blown under the canopy, as there are no sides.
Sun shade sails are usually easy to install. They come with D-rings at each corner and a set of ropes. You simply attach the shade to firm anchor points such as poles, trees, or fence posts in the garden.
To ensure secure installation, first measure the area where you want to install the shade. Check the shade’s size and shape, as well as the length of the ropes provided. You want to make sure the shade can be installed pulled taught enough so that it’s secure. Shades will vary depending on how much space you need to leave between the fixing point and the shade.
If you want to install your shade even more securely, you can buy fixing kits. These are made of metal and can be securely attached to the wall or poles in your garden. They stay attached and have hooks, which you simply hook the rope of the shade over when you want to install it. This can make it easier to take the shade down and put it back up when needed.
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