How To Choose A Sun Shade Sail

Few solutions for blocking the sun provide the combination of style and functionality that sun shade sails do. The process of purchasing one and installing it, though, requires a bit more thought than just getting a canopy. Here's a look at four things you should consider when choosing shade sails.

Coverage vs. Aesthetics

One of the first decisions you'll have to make is between maximizing coverage and creating an interesting look. A lot of this depends on what your requirements for a shade sail might be.

On the practical side of things, there's likely no substitute for using a single, large and square sail. If keeping out UV radiation and reducing temperatures are your goals, this is the way to go. Overlapping triangles can be used, too, to provide the effect of a single square piece while adding more visual appeal.

Folks looking for style may want to stagger several triangle-cut sails. You can still achieve significant reductions in heat and sunlight, but the effect will be closer to what you get from a pergola. If you're only planning to use a location later in the day, this may be ideal.


There are only two ways to get sun shade sails in position. You can put up poles that the sails are anchored to, or you can anchor the sails to a nearby structure, such as a wall and a column. Mixed solutions are certainly worth considering, such as attaching two corners of a triangle sail to the outside wall of a home and then putting a single post on the opposite side of a patio.

Many people also attach shade sails to existing shade structures. For example, installing one underneath a pergola can be useful for providing extra shade during the most intense light of the midsummer sun.

A Word on Rain

A sun shade sail is built to do what the name implies: keep out the sun. They're generally not designed to keep out rain, and they're definitely not meant to be left out in winter weather like snow.

If you live in a region that gets regular rain, leaving them deployed generally won't be a problem because the sun will dry them out. High wind, however, may be an issue.

Projected Costs

Installation of a typical sail will cost between $6,000 and $8,000 in a residential setting. As you might imagine, it's possible for things to get a lot more expensive with big sails and intricate designs.

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