Monthly Archives: August 2014

Great Ideas

Sails work best when they are:
1. Under enough tension to give curvature
2. Not on a level plane
3. Are ‘twisted’ for stability

It is important to consider the slope of the fabric to ensure good shedding of water.
The shade sail is essentially pulled taut and twisted so one axis is convex and the other axis concave.
The best designs we have found are shade sails that have a significant difference with one corner much
higher than the other. This gives a striking look. Overlapping shade sails or a series of sails can also
give a dramatic sculptural look.

1. Measure The Shade Area
— decide where shade is wanted and measure the sides and diagonals of this whole area.
— consider the height of the sun and direction during the summer period.
— consider the size of the sail, location of any barbecue’s or tree branches that may also chafe or affect the sail.
— to help visualize the sail you can use a string stretched between planned attachment points.
— a scale drawing of the area to be shaded can be useful.
— rotate scale drawings of the actual shade to get an idea of actual layout.
— straight lines drawn through the centre or corners will give the fixing points.
—tensioned sails have curved or concave edges and the depth of the curve is about 10%. in from the outer of the sail.
— this curvature and the use of fixings means that the sail covers a smaller area.

2. Allow For Sail Curvature
The fabric needs curvature to maintain stability and it will be pulled taut and slightly twisted to achieve this.
—This curvature plus the sail not being on one level plane – will make the sail more stable in winds.
— A flat sail will not perform properly and can hold water. The most common method is to have each pair of diagonally opposite corners at sgnificantly different heights.
— Shapes that have little curvature and tension will deform under load and become unstable and move about.

3. Fixing Points
Finally ensure that any proposed fixing points are strong enough to bear the local wind conditions. If unsure consult a local engineer.

4.What Sort Of Fixing Methods?

4.1 Houses or Buildings
Always ensure that the existing structure or building can support the load of a sail under poor weather conditions. A sail under heavy wind can put considerable strain on the building. A local engineer or qualified builder can verify that the building can withstand such a load.

4.2 Posts
Galvanised steel will avoid rust and is a better solution for fixing shade to than wood.Wooden posts can warp which place the sail out of alignment and can rot over time.

4.3 Foundations
If the post moves in its foundations as it is under strain it is usually hard to correct at a later stage. If the post moves during the initial construction of the sail it will be extremely difficult to tension the sail properly at the outset. A good way to look at the foundation depths is 1/3 of the post underground. Most sails sit 2.5m high so the post needs to be just over 1/3 again longer than this.

Top 7 Problems With DIY Shade Sail Projects

Top 7 problems with DIY shade sail projects

A shade sail supported by posts is essentially a small construction project . Holes need to be measured and dug, posts sourced and concreted in. Several site visits are also needed to secure accurate measurements throughout the project. All of this work can be costly if using a 3rd party installer. There are a few points to consider if you are measuring and installing yourself.

DIY pitfalls to avoid: Before buying a shade sail, measure the shade area first and identify possible fixing points. We many calls from customers who have bought a DIY shade sail, get home only to find it will not match up with available fixing points!
Properly tensioned sails have curved or concave edges and the depth of the curve is about 10% in from the outer of the sail. Remember when measuring this curvature and the use of fixings means that the sail covers a smaller area.
Sails on a level plane can hold water. Consider the slope of the material to shed water. The most common solution is to have opposite corners at significantly different heights.
If not pulled taut and twisted sails can become unstable in wind. It must be tensioned properly to have some curvature and be twisted into a hypar shape.
Avoid poor quality weave canvas which can hang limp and absorb water.
Sails manufactured with single line or poor chain stitching as this can come undone when under tension or stress. Too many seams in the sail can split under tension.
Corner rings not made of marine grade stainless steel can rust and discolor surrounding material.
Once the overall dimensions are finalized, the sail cloth area and the number of fixing devices needed to pull the sail into tension can be costed.

If you are thinking of installing a shade sail we have a host of useful DIY installation tips on our website.

Not all sails are the same. We at Shade Matters use high grade heavy duty shade mesh offering up to 95% UV protection. Interlock seamed with twin lock stitching, all sail shade edges are hemmed with heavy duty UV stabilized webbing.

Shadecloth Measured GSM or Grams Per Square Metre.

Shadecloth is measured in various ways. One way is GSM- or grams per square metre. Typically the higher the GSM, the heavier and higher the UV blockage the cloth gives. So for instance, a shadecloth with a 185gsm would be considered quite light weight and would only give a relatively low UV blockage whereas a cloth with a 280gsm is considered quite heavy and would block out a much greater amount of UV radiation.

BEWARE- if the GSM is not mentioned when you purchase a shadesail, you should assume it is a low GSM, therefore lesser quality.

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