Shade sails are an inexpensive way to block harmful UV rays from your patio space, and they help cool off the area! Shade sails take you one step closer to creating the perfect backyard getaway, but you may be worried about the technical aspects of bringing your dream to life. Installing them may seem intimidating, but you can complete the installation yourself with time and basic power tool knowledge. This DIY approach will also help you save on additional professional installation costs.
We created a brief how-to guide for installing your shade sail that comes with a few tips and tricks you may not have considered to get you on the right path. Remember that there are various ways to hang your shade sail based on the location and size, offering excellent installation flexibility and making it easier for you to choose the methods that are the best fit for you.
Tools & Hardware
As we mentioned, there are many ways to hang a shade sail, resulting in a range of tools and hardware depending on the method you choose. You can review our list below for the most common tools and hardware pieces.
- Impact drill
- Screw & Plastic Expansion
- Pad Eye
- Snap Hook
Rope is included with the purchase of our shade sail, shade sail hardware kits are sold separately in our store. If you are missing any other needed tools, you can rent them from most large hardware stores.
Many customers plan to use the side of their house, outbuilding, fence or garden wall for some of their fixing points and then where needed they supplement with posts or poles.
Posts and poles come in a variety of styles, and it is important to ensure that your chosen post is up to the job. Thin posts can bend or snap under the weight of a shade sail. The sail itself needs to be supported, and extra stress will be placed on the poles if the wind blows or if rain falls.
Square, wooden, fence like posts or round, wooden poles can all be purchased from your local wood merchants or DIY store. A diameter of 125mm for round and 125mm x 125mm for a square one would seem like a reasonable minimum width. To be very secure, most posts require a hole in the ground to be dug and a mix of gravel and concrete laid to support the pole securely in place and avoid movement.
Other ideas, which you would need to investigate and use at your own risk (as we haven't tested them – please note!) is to get some bolt down metal plates which your post can fit into – this might work if you want to secure directly to stone-ground or patio. Another idea might be to look into some of the fence post spikes that are on the market, installing at a slight angle away from the sail or using ratchet tie-down straps may help support the posts if the spikes are subject to a bit of movement. Either way with both these alternative options you will need to consider whether they will be strong enough to take any pull from the sail.
Step One: Measuring
There are two important measurements when installing a shade sail. First, installation height, and second, the distance between the fitments.
The distance between the fitments should match the size of your sail . Adjustments can be made to a certain degree with the type and amount of fitments and/rope you decide to use, but the closer you can get to the right size, the better.
The height of the posts will also play a factor. Remember that you must install your sail at an angle of 20-30 degrees, depending on the size of your sail, to allow any rain water to run off. Where some posts are higher than others, a diagonal line will be involved which will change the length of your measurement.
Step Two: Installing the pad eyes
Attach each pad eye using appropriate screws and anchors as needed at the marked anchor points identified in the previous step. Verify each one is level and secure before moving on to the next.
Step Three: Installing shade sail
Carefully unwrap your sail and without dragging it along the ground, and also ensure that the seams are facing down. Open it up and start to hook each D ring onto your chosen fitments. The sails have curved sides for pull and tension, so as you install each corner, you may notice it becomes increasingly more challenging to attach; this is entirely normal. Shade sails must be very taut to avoid damage during high winds and inclement weather. You may need to run a rope through the sails corner hardware and the pad eye to help you pull the sail into position. Note: If the shade sail doesn't reach each pad eye, you may need to implement chain links or steel cable to make up the difference where needed.
Step Four: Tightening the screws
Once each corner is securely attached, you will need to tighten each turnbuckle a few turns at a time to get even tension all around the shade sail. Once the tensioning is complete, the shade sail should have little to no wrinkles in the fabric and should not sag in the middle.
Step Five: Enjoying
Sit back and enjoy the shade! After all your hard work and the time you invested, you should feel accomplished.