A shade sail is a device that creates outdoor shade based on the technology of a ship’s sail. It has an elastic membrane between several anchors. It can be installed permanently. It is usually found in public gathering places like seating areas and playgrounds to protect people from the sun’s radiation.

Custom shade sails can transform your space into a personal getaway and a summertime destination for your family and friends. You can install them yourself or ask professionals to do it for you. Before starting your project, you need to answer some questions before buying your shade sail.

What are the Pros and Cons of Having Shade Sails?


  • Versatility. They can work in any space.
  • Breathable fabric. It allows cool wind to flow through the shade and lowers the temperature in the area.
  • UV and rain protection.
  • Less expensive than a shade structure.
  • They can help you stay cool indoors by inhibiting solar radiation, helping you save on electricity also.


  • Installation may be difficult if you do it yourself.
  • Hiring a professional might be a bit expensive.
  • They may last up to 10 years, but if you live in an area with extreme weather conditions, they may deteriorate faster.
  • They cannot be installed over a cooking area due to heat and chemicals.

What is the Size of the Shade Sail That You Should Order?

You need to measure the space that you will need to cover. This may be a deck, a patio, or seating areas in your backyard. You will then need to know the attachment points for your sail. Attachment points are trees, posts, or any strong structure.

Once the points are identified, you can find the shade sail you need. The shade sail should be at least 12 inches smaller than the space that you want to cover. This will prevent the sail from being blown around during windy weather. When you install the sail, you need to stretch it as far as possible. Choose a custom shade sail if your backyard is non-standard.

Rectangular shade sails are ideal for larger areas, while triangular ones are more idyllic for smaller spaces. Consider the path of the sun. An area that is under the shade in the morning might be exposed to the sun in the afternoon. Evaluate your needs, then decide on the best position to install your shade sail.

What is the Shape of the Shade Sail That You Should Get?

Consider the installation space. The most common shapes are triangles, squares, and rectangles. Create dimension by overlapping different shapes. This is great for large areas. Style combinations, installation techniques, and colors are endless. Triangle shade sails have the least amount of coverage but are useful in small spaces. You can get creative in styling your shade sail. You can layer your triangle shades across one another. This will create a unique pattern and maximize the amount of shade simultaneously.

How Do You Measure Shade Sails?

For square and rectangular sails:

  • Measure from attachment point A to attachment point B.
  • Measure from attachment point B to attachment point C.

For triangular shade sails:

  • Measure from attachment point A to attachment point B.
  • Measure from attachment point B to attachment point C.
  • Measure from attachment point C to attachment point A.

How Do You Choose the Right Shade Material?

The most common shade sail material is known as HDPE. It is a tightly woven, high-density polyethylene fabric. It has high durability and sun resistance. You also need to look at the weight of the fabric or GSM (grams per square inch). A higher GSM means the material is thicker and more durable. Choose a shade sail with 300 GSM or higher for your shade sail to last for years.

Your shade sail should be able to withstand the elements. It should not deteriorate under the sun’s rays. It should be able to protect you from UV rays, as well as limit rain from seeping into your space.

Color is also important in attracting or reflecting heat. It should match your home and complement the design, but you should note that darker colors attract more heat than lighter ones. The colors you choose will affect comfort and appeal.

What is the Cost of Shade Sails?

It varies depending on the size and whether you will do the installation yourself or you will hire a professional. You can buy a shade sail from Amazon or Home Depot for between $30 and $400 (or higher) and mounting hardware. If you are hiring a professional contractor, you can expect higher fees. You can expect as much as $20 per square foot due to customizations, concrete, and labor. The price also depends on how much you need and the material of the shade sail.

Angle of Installation

The angle is important to help the water runoff when it rains. If you want maximum shade, you will only need a smaller angle.

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. Are shade sails waterproof?  No. Since shade sails are made of woven material, some of the liquid will still go through.
  2. Can you leave your sails up throughout the year? If your area experiences high winds or snow, keeping your shade sail down is best.
  3. How do you clean your shade sails? For light cleaning, you can leave them hanging up. Spray with a garden hose, then apply a mild soap using a mop and let sit for 15 minutes. Spray with water until the water is clear. Follow the same deep cleaning process, except you have to take your sails down. Scrub both sides of the shade sail. Do not use a washing machine, dryer, hard brushes, and bleach.

At Shade Pro, our goal is to make custom shade sails as easy as possible. You just need to provide us with the sizes of the space you wish to cover, and we will take care of the rest. Contact us to get a free estimate.