Now, the first step to installing shade sails is obviously identifying where they need to be installed. Knowing this is very important since it will dictate a number of variables which include the size of these sails, the strength of the existing structure which are intended as anchor points, location of the barbecues, direction of the sun and the ability to insert fixing posts. There are going to be other factors which are specific to your particular situation which too have to be considered.
Determine the right fixing points
Once the location has been identified you need to mark the location of the fixing points for your shade sail. You need to find the best fixing points for all the corners. In some cases if a shade sail was previously installed these points could probably already exist. Before you use any pre-existing fixing points it is important to make sure that all these points are sound structurally and if you are not sure then get a second opinion from a structural engineer or builder.
Get the right approvals
In some cities and countries you will have to get permission or approval from the local authorities. Make sure that you do this first prior to putting up anything.
Choosing accessories to fix the shade sails
There are an array of fixing accessories which can help you secure the sail to your property. Most hardware suppliers should have these accessories. Alternatively, to make life easier you may want to purchase the shade sails along with the attaching accessories from the same seller. The advantage of this is that you’ll get the attaching accessories that are best suited for it.
Attaching the sail to fascia
If you want to fix the shade sail to the fascia then you’ll need to use fascia support. These are used to connect all the overhangs of the rafters or the trusses with the fascias which improves durability and its ability to withstand strong winds.
Use post support
At times you will need additional support so treated softwood is highly recommended. You can also use Class 1 durability hardwood too. The timber supplier in your area should help you with this.
Alternatively, for added durability and longevity you may want to choose stainless steel posts. Calculate the length of the post by taking into consideration the overall height you want the sail to be at as well as the depth at which it will need to be set underground. In most cases you may want around 35% of the total length of the post to be underground for added durability.
Fixing with concrete
How you mix the concrete will depend on the manufacturer’s instructions. Ask the supplier if there are any special measures that need to be taken based on where you are located. Always pour the concrete over the holes and fill them up completely in order to ensure that they are properly packed. Make sure that the surface of the concrete is sloping away from the post to allow for water to drain away easily.
Poles need to be set in good concrete for around 48 hours if not more. They may also need to be braced if required.
The connecting / fixing accessories need to be connected to mounting points. All the connections have to face the middle of your sail and have to be tightly secured. All the mounting points need to be solid. Layout the shade sail and start the installation.
Tensioning the shade sail
Connect the corners of the sail to the fixing accessories and to the fixing points. A ratchet tensioning tool is used to connect all of the points and improve leverage. The tensioning should be stopped when the rail is stiff with no or very few creases. Make sure you don’t over tension. At times some periodic re-tensioning may be needed.
Once the shade sail is up all you have to do now is to clean it every now and then using a mixture of detergent and water. Apply your solution using a sponge or a very soft bristle brush. Then let it stand for around 10 minutes, after that rinse properly with water using a regular garden house. Never put the fabric in your washing machine, drier, or use an abrasive cleaning solution.
- D.I.Y. Shade Sail Installation Tips / Information
Mark is one of the leading experts on shade sails in Australia. He has installed possibly over a hundred shads over the years and continues to do so in addition to selling high quality sails. In his opinion shade sails in Australia require a slightly different installation technique for maximum durability.