Shade Sails - Installation / Guide / Install TipsHow to plan a Shade Sail Design for Maximum Shading & Installing Mounting Posts

Sail Structure Designs and Layout:
Hypar Shade Sail Design
Cool Hypar Sail Twist
for 4 Corner sails
Shade Sails can be flown in a variety of ways:

Horizontally (flat), where all corners are at the same height;
Vertically, like a privacy fence;
Slants & Angles with overlapping sails;
Or, where some corners are high and some low, like the Hypar Twist effect to the right.
A horizontal, flat sail can be boring to look at, while a totally vertical sail could catch more wind and could produce heavier loads. The most visually appealing situation is when two or more shade sails are used and the mounting elevations of the sails change dramatically from corner to corner. Setting mounting points 3ft or more change in height makes for a visually stunning look.

Prior to installation, check with local authorities for any relevant building regulations which may exist, and check with the local utility companies for any underground services prior to digging holes for the support posts.

Shade Sail Placement:
Before you commence installation, it is very important that you consider the most suitable location for your shade sails. Take into account the following:

Size of the shade sail(s);
Strength of existing structures intended to be anchor points;
Ability to insert suitable fixing posts;
Location of barbecue grills, fire pits, and other high heat sources;
Sun direction and path tracking;
Wind speeds typical and maximum expected for your area.
Note: Shade sails should not be used near an open flame. Do not use your barbecue under the shade structure. Heat and chemicals in the fumes from a flame can both effect the longevity of the sail fabric.

There could also be other factors specific to your situation which require consideration.

In determining the location for your shade sail, it is important to keep in mind the movement of the sun across the sky throughout the day. The shade shadow of the sail will, of course, move as the sun moves. As a result, you will only have shade directly under the shade sail at midday during mid-summer.

Once you have identified the location for your shade sail, it is important to determine the most suitable mounting points for the corners.

Size of shade sail compared to attachment points needed for tensioning
240 inches represents the Anchor Point Dimensions and the 218 inches is the reduced Finished Sail Dimensions
Some of these mounting points may already exist -- for example, a pergola, large tree or branch (minimum 10in diameter), fence post, soffit, fascia or wall. If enough fixing points are not already available, posts may need to be installed. On each side of the sail, you should allow a space between the corner of the shade sail and the anchor point that allows for fabric stretch plus the tensioning hardware. For example, if one side of the shade sail has a length of 240 inches, allow enough room for the tensioning turnbuckles (ours are 11 inches) and for fabric stretch (~5% of what is left) of space between the corner of the shade sail and the mounting point. This should be done for each side of the shade sail to ensure there is adequate room to tension the sail properly.

This stage of the installation is critical. You should ensure all fixing points are structurally sound, and, if you are unsure, obtain independent advice from a builder or engineer. Or call us, we have been doing this for over 16 years!

Building Codes for Shade Sails
Prior to installation, check with local authorities for any relevant building codes or permits that may be required, especially if you live in a neighborhood with a Home Owners Association, or you are planning to install them in a public / commercial environment like a park, recreational play area, Daycare or the like. Many areas of the country, like Florida and California, have specific code for shade sails.

Mounting Hardware for Sun Sails
There is an extensive range of fixing accessories available to help you secure your shade sails. These accessories are readily available from your hardware supplier.

Typical Shade Sail Mounting Hardware

Chain, wire, or thick, strong non-stretching rope can be used to extend your shade sail corner to a fixing point several inches or many feet away if How to Hang a Shade Sail needed.

Shade Sail Attachment & Tensioning Ideas
Spring Clip Connector
Spring Clip Connector turnbuckle to tighten shade sail
Turnbuckle Shade Sail Connector Sail chain extension with D Shackle and Spring Clip
Chain Extensions

Attaching Sun Sail To Fascia:
Rafter Sail attachment
Mount Sail to Rafter
If you intend to fix your shade sails to a fascia, the use of a reinforced fascia support is strongly recommended. The fascia support is used to connect the overhangs of rafters or trusses to fascias ledgers giving a stronger connection between the two. Always make sure the fascia have been beefed up on the back side and attached to the rafters within 2-3 feet either side of the attachment point. With sails larger than 150 sqft, you should make sure the rafters have been secured with screws, and not just nails to the tops of the walls. Use of 4x4s or 4x6s, L-Brackets, long screws, or Simpson strong ties/hurricane hangers can be used in some combination to do this.

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