A Few Tips for Choosing and Installing Shade Sails

Shade sails are a great choice for any outdoor area, as you can usually adjust them very easily with the pull of a cord that moves one side or stretches them out over a patio or balcony. You can then move the cord again to allow the sail to contract, letting in more sunlight and fresh air over your outdoor space. Shade sails also have a very rustic and natural look that you don't get from aluminum awnings. When you're ready to choose and have shade sails installed in your home, note a few important tips for your choice and their placement.

Directing rainwater

Shade sails can provide shade from the sun but can also deflect rainwater over your deck or patio. Like your home's gutters and downspouts, they can then also direct that rainwater to another location. When choosing the location of shade sails for your home, note how they might direct rainwater to your garden or landscaping features. At the very least, you want to ensure they don't allow rainwater to collect and pool around your home's foundation. This can cause added pressure on that foundation and then allow cracks and leaks to form. Think of how your shade sails will direct rainwater when you put them over your patio or at least when you direct their angle with the attached cords to protect your home.

Pulling them taut

One way to allow your shade sails to get prematurely damaged is to leave them loose when there is a storm or high winds. This wind will toss around those loose shade sails so they're more likely to get torn or damaged. You need to be able to pull them taut during storms, but you can't do this if you have sails too big or wide for the posts you have installed. Be sure you opt for sails that you can pull taut when needed; this will provide maximum shade on sunny days but will also mean protecting your sails during inclement weather.


Most shade sails are triangular, resembling a boat sail, but they can also be square. The square sail offers more protection from the sun and the elements, but a triangular sail means one less post for installation; this can make it a better choice for smaller spaces. If you need more sun protection but don't have the room for a square sail, layer two triangular sails over each other, with the points in different areas, so you have maximum shade in a minimal space.