We Answer All Your Shade Sail Questions

Planning to buy a sun shade sail but still not sure if it will work for you or not?

Using a sun shade sail at home but you have questions or doubts?

If your answer is affirmative for any of the above, you are in the right place. We at ColourTree believe in providing our customers with the right information to help them make informed decisions. Here we have answered the 11 most asked shade sail questions so that you can have a professional answer for all your doubts.

Check out what the most experienced sun shade sail professionals of the USA have to say about your queries.

1. Are shade sails a good idea?

Without a doubt! A sun shade sail creates a protective cover from the harmful sun rays, heat, and drizzle, helping you to enjoy more outdoor time. Sunrays – particularly UVA, UVB, and IR can be quite harmful to the skin as well as for the eyes. Long exposure to UV rays can even trigger skin cancer.

The heat from the sun can cause sunburn and sweating. Quality shade sails protect you from both the sun and the heat, and also helps to keep the space dry during light rain.

Shade sails are also a nice addition to the aesthetics of your property. Shades installed over a patio, deck, or porch area can effectively protect against the bleaching and damaging effect of the sun and heat, adding life and longevity to your property.

2. What size shade sail do I need?

To determine the size of the shade sail, start with measuring the area for which you need cover. Also, consider the angle of the sun to make sure that the shade is effective in providing maximum coverage throughout the day.

Once you have determined the location and where the shadows are being cast, look out for the points of attachment. Triangular shade sails need one less anchor point and give more flexibility in installation. You can also consider hypar design for a unique look.

As a thumb rule, the shade will begin 10-12 inches away from the anchor point. Stainless steel wire cable ropes, snap hooks, and turnbuckles can be used for fixing the sail with the anchor points.

Sails do not come with straight edges. The edges are curved gently for maximum stability against wind. If you are installing multiple shade sails to cover the area, keep at least an 18inch gap in between to make sure that the sails don’t get rubbed on the surface with each other.

If you need any help to determine the perfect size of shade sail you will need for the area, get in touch with ColourTree.

3. What color sun shade sail is best?

Well, we have heard many arguments on this question and we, as the top shade sail expert in the USA suggest - the choice should depend on the area you are planning to cover and your personal preferences.

Different colors naturally have different UV protection factors but if you are using quality fabric finished with commercial standard UV stabilization, color variation will not affect the UV coverage much.

All our shade colors provide dense 95% shade coverage and 95% UV blockage. They also reduce ambient temperature by at least 10 degrees. So, the color choice often comes down to the look you want.

However, for areas like Florida, Arizona where maximum sun blocking is needed particularly during the summer months, our darker shades like black and navy will minimize the Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR) transmission rate. It is also important to keep in mind that the darker shade will lead to less visible light under the shade.

Lighter colors allow more Photosynthetically Active Radiation (PAR) to pass through. This is the light used by plants to grow. So, if you are going to use the shade over your garden, a lighter shade like beige or white, with higher PAR transmission is naturally a better choice.

4. Do sun shade sails stop rain?

Normal shade sails are not waterproof and they are made just to shade the sun, not the rain. But our waterproof sun shade sails made from high-quality HDPE fabric can offer effective coverage from the rain as well as the sun.

The woven High Density Polyethylene makes the sails tough, capable to hold high tension and resistant to color fading. These quality sails have a high breathability factor and special waterproof coating that ensures no water will pass through.

So, if you are spending on a good quality waterproof sail shade it will also stop the rain.

5. How tight should my shade sail be?

This is a common question we get from our customers. How tight is too tight for a shade sail? Won’t the sail tear apart if I stretch it more than I should? Well, let us address the doubt.

High quality sun shade sails are made from high-strength woven HDPE fabric which is particularly treated to resist tearing. To put it straight, you can’t tear apart a good quality shade sail just by trying to stretch it with your hands.

So, when you are installing the sail, tighten it to the point you think it has reached the maximum and then tighten some more. After installation, the shade sail should look good enough to sit on it, but don’t try that literally.

There should not be any sag or droop on the sail. Fine tune the tension with the metal wire cable ropes, turnbuckles, or snap-hook you are using for mounting the sail.

Proper sail tension is imperative for longevity, safety, and effectiveness of the sun shade. A drooping sun shade sail is subject to more wear and tear because of the continuous flapping in the wind and improper water runoff even during light rain.

6. Why do shade sails sag?

You installed a shade sail with proper tension, without any drooping, and after a few months you can notice the sail sagging. This is a practical problem many of you might have faced. Quality shade sail fabrics do not fray or loosen even after years of installation. So, if you have spent on a quality sail and still you are seeing some sag after few days/months, it is because –

  1. The posts are lighter for the size of the sun shade sail and have bent inwards.
  2. At least one of the posts has moved in the ground because it was not placed deep enough.

Now, the sagging might have been caused due to any of the above or both the reasons. In that case, your option is to take down the sail and re-install the posts. If the posts are lighter, make sure to use posts suitable for the sail size, and for any professional assistance or information feel free to get in touch with ColourTree.

7. How much wind can a shade sail withstand?

A properly installed, good quality shade sail should be able to withstand normal wind flow. Shade sails form a tensioned structure and they should not flap in the wind. Sails generally are designed to withstand up to 85 mph winds. So, under normal weather conditions, you need not worry about it.

However, if there is a hurricane or cyclone or heavy rain, sails should be taken down. Also keep in mind, with age, the ability of the sail to withstand wind reduces naturally.

We manufacture extra strength sails for especially windy regions. But, the installation is always vital to ensure maximum wind withstanding capacity of the shade.

8. How long do sun shade sails last?

A good quality, high GSM, woven HDPE fabric made sun shade sail can easily last 5 years when installed and maintained properly. The installation is directly related to the longevity of the sail, so it is always advised to make sure that the sail has the right tension throughout. The lifespan of the sail also depends on the variety.

We have three different sun shade sail varieties - Standard, Waterproof, and Super Ring. The 260 GSM, permeable HDPE made Super Ring variety is the most durable of the lot and is the best option in the market as far as quality and durability are concerned. It is also backed by a full 5 year ColourTree warranty.

The Waterproof variety made from 220 GSM virgin HDPE is another marvel with long service and full warranty. Even our 190 GSM Standard variety comes with a full 3 year warranty. All our sun shade sails are designed to ensure maximum longevity.

9. How much does it cost to have a shade sail installed?

The price of the sail depends on a number of factors starting with the quality of the sail to any special specifications and size. The price for our Standard square/rectangle sun shade sail is $34.99 for the size 8’x10’ which goes up to $64.99 for the size 16’x16’. The Waterproof variety from ColourTree is priced at $34.99 for the size 12’x12’x12’. The custom made shade sails are more expensive than the readymade ones.

You will have to buy the posts and installation gears separately. ColourTree offers an excellent range of high quality sun shade sail installation hardware, accessory and tools to meet your needs. If you are not a DIY enthusiast and you will rather prefer professionals to do the installation, you will have to incur an added installation charge which will vary between $13 and $17 per square feet depending on the project.

For an exact idea of how much it will cost to cover a specific area in your property with shade, please feel free to fill out our form and we will get back to you within 1 business day.

10. How do I maintain my shade sail?

Maintenance always has a say in the longevity of a sail irrespective of its quality. But at the same time, a good quality sail can make maintenance easy. For example, mildew or fungus will not grow on a premium, virgin HDPE sun shade sail. If you are spending on a high quality sail, we want you to get the best service for your money. Hence, we advise regular maintenance. Keeping your shade sail clean extends its life and also preserves the ‘new look’.

If you see leaves or bird droppings in the shade, it's best to wash it as early as possible before the stain gets into the fabric and becomes permanent. Give it a quick wash without delay. Here are the steps to follow for washing your Sun Shade Sail,

  • To wash the sail, start by removing it from the posts.
  • Spread it open on clear ground, where it will not get more dirty.
  • Mix a mild liquid soap (your liquid dish cleaner or woolen wash can come handy) with sufficient water to prepare a bucket of soap water.
  • Wet the sail with water from a hose turned to low-pressure.
  • Start scrubbing the sail with the soap water and a soft sponge from top to bottom. Do not scrub or rub the sail harshly or with any hard brush.
  • Continue washing away the soap after you have scrubbed an area.
  • Once you complete scrubbing the whole shade sail, wash it again with water from the hose turned to low-pressure.
  • Let it get dry completely in the sun.
  • Once dry, your sail is ready to get back up.


11. What are the best shade sails?

The best shade sails should have the following qualities,

  • High quality thick material
  • UV stabilized
  • Breathable woven fabric
  • More than 90% UV blockage
  • Durable design
  • Double layered reinforced seams
  • Warranty

Every sun shade sail fabric from ColourTree passes through extensive laboratory testing to ensure all the above qualities. Our virgin HDPE fabric is proven to offer 70% more longevity than recycled HDPE. UV stabilized ColourTree Shade sails provide 95% UV and sunlight blockage and come with heavy duty reinforced seams to prevent fraying. We also offer a 3year warranty on our every product.

Now we have answered all your sun shade sail questions and if you have some more, feel free to give us a call or contact through the form.


  1. https://www.landscapingnetwork.com/pergolas/shade-sails.html
  2. https://www.chicagotribune.com/consumer-reviews/sns-bestreviews-patio-the-best-shade-sail-20190627-story.html
  3. https://www.fondriest.com/news/photosyntheticradiation.htm
  4. http://acadiantextiles.com/news/polyethylene-polypropylene-vinyl-coated-polyester/
  5. https://www.theamateursdigest.com/how-to-maintain-your-shade-sail/

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1 comment
  • Can brass grommets be installed on all four sides in the middle to help with stretching. I installed my sun sail under a pergola for shade. Thanks

    Ken Barney on

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