10 Tips for Maintaining the Value of Your Outdoor Shade Sails
Quality shade sails are built using excellent materials and good manufacturing; however, they still need regular maintenance. This will ensure that they are able to perform their functions well, namely keeping you safe from harmful ultraviolet (UV) rays from the sun and providing you with a cool shade. It will also ensure that you have a great looking shade sail in the coming years.
Maintenance tips are usually included in the manual that comes along with the shade sail when you buy it, but in case you misplaced the manual already, here are ten general guidelines that can help you keep your shade sails aesthetically pleasing and functional.
Coolaroo Ocean Blue Extreme Triangle 5m Shade Sail from Gazebos Australia
Install Shade Sails Properly
Shade sails come in different sizes, some of them are small enough that you can install them on your own, provided you are handy with tools and you can read a manual. However, there is a reason why professional shade sail installers exist – and that is to ensure that your shade sails are installed properly and securely in order to avoid any mishaps from happening.
Improper installation of a shade sail can lead to more problems, damaging the shade itself and the structure it is connected to and compromising your family’s safety.
There are many things that can cause stains or your shade sails, including wet leaves and bird droppings. When you see these things, be sure to remove them immediately, since the longer they stay on the shade sail’s surface, the faster the stains will seep into the fabric and threads. The same goes for moulds and mildew. When cleaning, never hose the shade sail with high-pressure water from the hose, and a soft bristled brush to remove the dirt and other debris.
Avoid Strong Detergents
At times, you may need to use detergents to remove the dirt and stains in the shade sail. If so, make sure to avoid using detergents with harsh chemicals like sulphur or halogens. Chlorine treated water should also be avoided. Instead, use mild dishwashing liquid, as it is good enough for removing stains and dirt without causing any damage to the fabric of the shade sail.
Check the Fabric…
Always check the fabric for signs of weak spots or patches. These patches mean that that specific part of shade sail has been damaged or is starting to wear out, and can (in time) become big holes or tears in the shade sail, which will render it useless and unattractive. When you do see these patches, be sure to contact your supplier so they can help you remedy the problem, or send you a replacement shade sail when applicable.
…and the Edges…
Aside from the fabric itself, be sure to take a look at the edges of the shade sail as well. The edges of quality shade sails are layered with bands instead of the usual turned-and-sewn edges. When checking, look for signs of fraying or loosening among the threads, which happens after some time of being stretched. Be sure to let your supplier know of this so they can recommend a solution, and never attempt to sew it yourself as you may do more harm than good to the shade sail.
… as well as the Posts and Anchor Points
Always make sure that the posts where you attach your shade sails are strong and secure. Check for any signs of wobbling, and when you do notice this be sure to fix or reinforce the post immediately, lest it falls down and cause damage to the shade sail, the surrounding structures and to you. When using wooden posts, check for signs of rot. On the other hand, when using iron posts, check for signs of rusting. Look at the nuts, bolts, turnbuckles and other metals connectors as well. If you do see signs of rusting, spray it with anti-rust and clean it, or when the rust has affected much of the metal, consider replacing it right away.
Keep Away from Fire
Shade sails are not fire-retardant. Thus, when installing your shade sails, keep it away from grills and avoid having barbeques underneath the shade sail, no matter how high you’ve installed it. Sparks flying from the grill do not only bore holes into the shade, but the smoke can also cause soot to form on the fabric. Worst case scenario is that the shade sail catches fire and burn, along with it your house.
Take it Down
Shade sails are able to withstand the heat of the sun, and although it can protect you from gentle rains, it is not designed to hold of strong winds and rain. Thus, when a strong wind, cyclone, or storm is approaching, be sure to take down your shade sails. Leaving your shade sails under a strong rain will cause the water to accumulate, and its weight will cause the shade sail to sag and put pressure on the anchor points and ultimately bring the whole structure down.
Storing Your Shade Sail
When storing your shade sails, be sure that it is completely dry. Storing it while it is damp will cause rot and moulds to grow, which will only damage the fabric of the shade sail. If you have a water-proof shade sail, it is better to roll it loosely on a round cardboard rather than folding it. The creases that form when you fold it will damage the coating on the shade sail causing it to crack and peel and leave you with an unsightly shade sail. Also, it is a good idea to have a storage bag for your shade sail, and be sure to store it in a dry place, safe from mice or rats and away from sharp objects.
Setting it Up
When you feel that it is alright to put up your shade sail again, be sure to have someone around to help you. Unroll or unfold your shade sail on air and don’t drag it on the ground as it will cause abrasions on the fabric. Also, when you lay it on the ground, make sure that there are no sharp objects underneath like rocks which can pierce the fabric. Check the anchor points once again, and lubricate the turnbuckles if necessary for easier adjustments and to avoid jamming. Make sure the cable wires are taut, but don’t over-tighten them.
Again, if you want to extend the lifespan of your shade sails, proper care and regular maintenance is a must. It takes work, yes, but only through it will you be able to ensure that your shade sail will be in tip top condition even after years of having them installed.