In most cases patio umbrellas are the answer to many resorts shading. Whether they protect guests whilst relaxing admiring that pristine beach or sitting on safari chairs overlooking a game water hole.
Patio umbrellas are the perfect solution when a more permanent construction is not available. There are many umbrellas. Consider choosing the right type for your outdoor areas.
Which umbrella design?
There are only two categories of umbrellas centre pole or offset.
This is when a straight pole runs the full length of the canopy and attached to a secure base. This patio umbrella will give protection from the overhead sun but obviously not from side exposure. There are three kinds of centre pole umbrellas:
- Market umbrella: Round or octagonal shape. They sometimes include vents to assist with airflow below the umbrella. They are secured to a strong base.
- Beach umbrella: Usually minimalist style. Canopy is round. The pole is spiked for securing in sand.
- Half umbrella: Has one flat side and placed flush against a wall.
Off Set umbrella /Cantilever type
- These types of umbrellas have an arched or coupled pole. It supports the canopy from the side. It will then hang freely.
- The main benefit is that it can shade a considerable area without the hinderance of the centre pole. These types of umbrellas will require a heavy base.
Choosing the pole/frame and canopy material
The three main types of material to choose from are Wood, Aluminium and fibreglass.
- Wood:- This works well in environments where nature surrounds the patio. The wood is a timeless classic look. Depending on the type of wood it can be expensive. Do not stand up well to very windy conditions.
- Aluminium:-Suits minimalist décor /modern. Aluminium is inexpensive lightweight and long lasting. Can be powdered coated to match colour schemes. It is a good choice if the patio is exposed to high winds.
- Polished stainless steel:- Durable and flexible.Suitable for high wind areas and wet conditions. It is an expensive option but very hard wearing.
Important features to consider:
- The higher the number of struts the stronger the frame. The hub construction must be of a sturdy material preferably cast aluminium/stainless steel.
- Screws or rivets should be made of stainless steel for durability.
- Canopy Shape/ Size/Material. You should take measurements of the size of the area that requires shade. As a rule, then add between 60-75 cm each side. This should give the right diameter for your canopy.
- Normally fabrics available for canopies are Proof/Acrylic or Polyester. Often manufacturers will use a material which is a combination of fabrics.
- Canopy fabrics should be a minimum of 230 GSM
- Fabric must be UV resistant so that the colours do not fade quickly
- There should be double stitching at the pockets.
Maintenance of the umbrella
- Invest in a weatherproof cover.
- Clean the fabric frequently. Read the manufacturer’s instructions but washing with a mild soapy solution is sufficient. Rinse well and leave to dry before closing
- Clean the frame frequently. Be careful that threads do not become stuck in the hubs or any lift and tilt mechanisms.
- Always make sure the canopy is dry before closing.
- Close the umbrella when not in use.
- Open the umbrella gently. Never force the mechanism.
Last, a great decorative tip is to place LED fairy lights in the umbrella struts at night. Make sure you use LED lights as these do no not generate much heat.
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