How to Erect a Shade Sail


When erecting a shade sail, the first step is to plan the fixing points, to ensure that the shade sail will be erected in full stretch, avoiding sagging, collection of rainwater and flapping in the wind. When calculating where the fixing points should be, add another foot (30 centimetres) to each corner of the sail. A triangular shade sail of 5 x 5 x 5 metres will therefore need fixing points at 5.6 x 5.6 x 5.6 metres. A 4×4 metre square shade sail needs fixing points at 4.6 x 4.6 metres. Another method of measuring the distance is to lay the shade sail flat on the surface of where you want to erect it, unwind the turnbuckles fully and attach them to the corners. The fixing point should be where the turnbuckle ends.

It is common to fix one or two corners to the house. Ensure that the fixing point will be strong enough to hold the tension of the shade sail in strong winds. Posts need to be of sufficient thickness to avoid them bending over time, and concreted into the ground. Leaning the posts slightly away from the sail will also help the posts tolerate the forces of the taught sale over time. If you do lean the posts, ensure that you calculate the added distance to the fixing point when digging the hole for the post.

When you have installed brackets at all the fixing points, lay the shade sail flat on the ground where you are going to install it with the hem side up. The shade sails need to be attached to the brackets with stainless steel turnbuckles to allow you to adjust the tension of the sail to avoid wrinkles. Do not tighten the turnbuckles until all the corners have been attached to the fixing points. The last corner is always the trickiest as the tension makes it hard to bring the corner close enough. Using a ratchet, you can pull the last corner close enough to attach the last turnbuckle.

Tighten the turnbuckles to make the shade sail tight, ensuring that there are no wrinkles in the shade sail. If wrinkles run in the sail in the direction between to fixing points, you will need to tighten the turnbuckles on the other two posts until the wrinkles have disappeared.

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