Shade Sails - Installation / Layout Tips

Shade Sails - Installation / Layout Tips

How to plan a Shade Sail Design for Maximum Shading & Mounting Support Guide




Sail Structure Designs and Layout:

Shade Sails can be flown in a variety of ways:

  • Horizontally (flat), where all corners are at the same height;
  • Vertically, like a privacy fence;
  • Slants & Angles with overlapping sails
  • Or, where some corners are high and some low, like the Hypar effect to the right.

A horizontal, flat sail can be boring to look at, while a vertical sail will catch more wind and could produce heavier loads. The most visually appealing situation is when two or more shade sails are used and the elevations of the sails change drastically from corner to corner. Setting mounting points 3ft or more for a visually applealing install.

Prior to installation, check with local authorities for any relevant building regulations which may exist, and check with the local utility companies for any underground services prior to digging holes for the support posts.

Shade Sail Placement:

Before you commence installation, it is very important that you consider the most suitable location for your shade sails. Take into account the following:

  • Size of the shade sail(s);
  • Strength of existing structures intended to be anchor points;
  • Ability to insert suitable fixing posts;
  • Location of barbecue grills, fire pits, and other high heat sources;
  • Sun direction and path tracking;
  • Wind speed and direction.

Note: Shade sails should not be used near an open flame. Do not use your barbecue under the shade structure.

There could also be other factors specific to your situation which require consideration.

In determining the location for your shade sail, it is important to keep in mind the movement of the sun across the sky throughout the day. The shade shadow of the sail will, of course, move as the sun moves. As a result, you will only have shade directly under the shade sail at midday during mid-summer.

Once you have identified the location for your shade sail, it is important to determine the most suitable mounting points for the corners.

size of shade sail compared to mounting points

Some of these fixing points might already exist -- for example, a pergola, large tree, fence post, soffit or fascia. If enough fixing points are not already available, posts may need to be installed. On each side of the sail, you should allow a space between the corner of the shade sail and the mounting point that is at aproximately 10% of the shade sail's length. For example, if one side of the shade sail has a length of 120 inches, allow at least 12 inches of space between the corner of the shade sail and the mounting point. This will provide enough room for mounting hardware, material stretch, and tensioning of the sail. This should be done for each side of the shade sail to ensure there is adequate room to tension the sail properly.

This stage of the installation is critical. You should ensure all fixing points are structurally sound, and, if you are unsure, obtain independent advice from a builder or engineer. Or call us, we have been doing this for over 15 years!

Building Codes for Shade Sails

Prior to installation, check with local authorities for any relevant building codes or permits that may be required, especially if you live in a Home Owners Association neighborhood or they will be installed in a commercial envionment like a park, recreational play area, Daycare or the like. We know that they do exist in parts of California and Florida.


Mounting Hardware for Sun Sails

There is an extensive range of fixing accessories available to help you secure your shade sails. These accessories are readily available from your hardware supplier.

shade sail hardware

Chain, wire, or thick, strong rope can be used to extend your shade sail corner to a fixing point many feet away if required.


Select the fixing accessories which best suit your own installation.
Spring Clip Connector
Spring Clip Connector
turnbuckle to tighten shade sail
Turnbuckle Connector
chain extension
Chain Extension


Attaching Sail To Fascia:

Rafter Sail attachment

If you intend to fix your shade sails to a fascia, the use of a Fascia Support is strongly recommended. The fascia support is used to connect the overhangs of rafters or trusses to fascias ledgers giving a strong connection between the two for improved strength. Always make sure the fascia have been beefed up on the back side and attached to the rafters within 3 feet either side of the attachment point. With sails larger than 150 sqft, you should make sure the rafters have been secured with screws, and not just nails to the tops of the walls. Simpson strong ties/hurricane hangers can be used to do this.

Attaching Shade Sails to Facia Boards
Reinforced Facia Boards

Post Supports for Mounting Sails

If additional posts are required, we recommend the use of a minimum 4 inch, schedule 40 steel pipe or 6 inch x 6 inch pressure treated wood. Your local timber supplier can assist you in selection. Post lengths should be taken into account the proposed height of your sail plus the depth of your footings. Footing depth should be 1/2 the length of the exposed pole. For example, if your post height is to be 10 feet, you would use a 15 foot long post with a footing depth of 5 feet



Sail Posts Footings

Measure out centers of footing positions and mark as illustrated. Dig holes at least 12 inches around the post and to the depth required by the post height as described above.

.


Steel Post Footing

Lay a 4 inch (100mm) depth of 3/4 inch diameter gravel at the base of the hole.  Next, pour a 4 inch (100mrn) depth of concrete to provide a solid pad.  Patio stones can be substituted in place of the poured concrete.  Insert the post with a hold down bolt through the post to keep it secure. (see diagram)  Pour the concrete footing and temporarily brace the posts until the concrete has set.



Wood Post Footing

Lay a 4 inch (100mm) depth of 3/4 inch diameter gravel at the base of the post.  Insert the posts using lag bolts partially driven into the post to hold it in place. Use string lines to ensure they are in plumb alignment. Temporarily brace the posts until the concrete has set.



Securing Sail Posts

Mix concrete in line with the pakage instructions. These will be labeled clearly on the packet. Your supplier will be able to give you any special advice you may require for your own conditions. Pour concrete to the top of the holes ensuring it is packed well. Ensure the concrete surface is sloping away from the posts to assist water drainage. Allow poles to set in concrete for a minimum of 48 hours. Brace if required.



Sail Attachment Points

Connect fixing accessories to mounting points as required. Ensure all connections face towards the middle of the sail and are tightly secured. Check again to ensure all mounting points are solid.

Lay your shade sail out on ground where it will shade, and commence to attach each corner to a fixing point loosely.



Tension the Sail Fabric

The last corner of any sail will be the challenge. Use of a rope and a friend, or a 1inch webbing with a winch, bring the last corner of sail as close to its attachment point as possible and put the last attachment hardware in place. Now look at sail to see if there are any wrinkles. Wrinckles usually occur between two corners where they are tighter than the other corners. Tighten the other corners turnbuckles to reduce and eliminate the wrinkles.


Tension Required

Tension Correct

A properly mounted and tensioned shade sail will have approximately 100-200 pounds of tension on it and will have few to no wrinkles. Connect all points, using rope or wire cable if necessary, to gain increased leverage. The rope can be threaded around a number of times so that it works as a "pulley" mechanism. Another tensioning method would be to use a turnbuckle which can aid in applying the proper amount of tension. Stop tensioning when the shade sail shows not sag in the middle and has few or no creases. DO NOT over tension the sail.. Tension only by hand and only tight enough to remove the wrinkles out of the shade cloth. Re-tension periodically if required.

Shade Sail Care & Cleaning

Most sun sails made of HDPE material (like Commercial 95, Coolaroo, Shade Logic or PolyFab materials) can be routinely cleaned with a hose spray on Jet setting. Other materials like Sunbrella should be taken down and softly scrubbed with a sponge or soft brush using a solution of mild detergent and water. Let the solution stand on the fabric for 10 minutes and rinse thoroughly with water from your garden hose.

DO NOT put the fabric in your washing machine, clothes drier, or scrub it with a stiff brush, scouring pad, or an abrasive cleaner.

Your shade sail is designed to provide UV protection and comfort in domestic areas. When selecting the position for your shade sail, ensure all fixing points are structurally sound and fixings are tightly secured. Inspect regularly. Prior to installing, consult your local council regarding building regulations which may apply in your area. Exposure to certain chemicals, e.g. Chlorine, can lead to the premature breakdown of the fabric. Chemicals to be used on or around the fabric should be referred to BackyardCity.com prior to their use.

Do not have fire or an open flame close to the fabric. Do not use your barbecue under the shade structure.

The above is intended as a guide only and not the actual instructions for installing your shade sail. Please read and follow the manufacturer's instructions as it pertains to your particular shade sail.

Main Shade Sails Page

Mounting Hardware 4-Corner Shade Sail

Mounting Hardware 4-Corner Shade Sail
Price: $69.99
Sale Price: $44.95

Mounting Hardware Pack - Triangle Shade Sail

Mounting Hardware Pack - Triangle Shade Sail
Price: $43.99
Sale Price: $34.95

Hook - Hook Shade Sail Tensioning  Hardware

Hook - Hook Shade Sail Tensioning Hardware
Price: $29.95
Sale Price: $19.95

Jaw - Jaw Turnbuckle Stainless Steel

Jaw - Jaw Turnbuckle Stainless Steel
Price: $36.95
Sale Price: $21.95

Last Updated: 10/29/2016 11:04 PM - ID:649