Common Mistakes To Avoid When Installing a Shade Sail Structure

Shade sails require careful attention to installation instructions. It’s important to follow these instructions diligently to keep the structure stable and prevent damage.

For best results, it’s advised that you get professionals to handle the installation so you can be assured to have reliable and stylish shade sail structures in your property. However, it’s also possible to install one yourself if you have the right tools and skills for the job.

Whether you choose to DIY or have a professional installation done, there are several factors to keep in mind during shade sail installation. Here is a list of the common mistakes to avoid for optimal results.

Improper post installation

Shade sail structures can appear as freestanding or tethered to a building’s support foundations, such as roof trusses and walls. Freestanding shade sails are anchored in a set of posts, serving as sturdy foundations if they can’t be tethered to the building. These posts are usually made from steel, the ideal material with the strength to hold weight and the durability to withstand extreme weather.

Meticulous attention to detail is essential when it comes to ensuring the long-term stability of a shade sail’s posts. Skilful handling of the soil, careful planning, and the right tools are crucial to guarantee the shade sail remains secure and properly oriented.

There are several ways to fix posts in place, such as using a concrete plinth no less than 25 inches (0.635 metres) on all sides. The plinth is a sturdy base for holding the rods,locking down the base plate to support the posts. Other approaches include placing the posts on a six-inch-thick (0.015 metre) reinforced concrete platform or screwing them next to walls.

Incorrect angle for rainwater drainage

Rainwater is one of the leading causes of shade sail damage. Pooled water can cause strain on the top part of the shade, while the metal parts of the structure can develop rust due to excess moisture.

To drain rainwater from the shade sail, it’s important to designate one corner as the so-called ‘runoff point.’ This part of the shade sail is set the lowest compared to the rest to ensure apt drainage. The runoff point should be just below a drainage system, such as a waterway or rain garden, to increase drainage effectiveness.

The ideal angle depends on the professional you ask, ranging between 20 and 30 degrees. That said, this is often the sweet spot for setting up the shade fabric to drain runoff effectively. The fabric should be stretched as much as possible to reduce the risk of water seeping into the seams and compromising the fabric’s integrity.

Not considering the sun’s path

A shade sail that offers limited shade throughout the day may not fulfill its intended purpose effectively. Sadly, like other pitfalls in setting up shade sail structures, this one can be attributed to improper planning. In this case, the plan doesn’t take the sun’s path for the day into account.

Contrary to what is traditionally taught in elementary science, the sun doesn’t rise in the east and set in the west. Instead, design orientations for local climate should be based on the solar north, which varies across Australia.

The solar north is where the sun begins its journey for the day. This means that your outdoor space may be more comfortable in the first several hours after sunrise than during midday when the UV radiation intensifies.

If the property’s facing the solar north, you can maximise the shade sail’s protective coverage by positioning it in front of or behind the property. Meanwhile, a property facing magnetic east or west will probably require a more intricate design to maximise coverage.

DIY without the tools and skills

One of the best things about shade sails is that anyone with the right tools and proper skills can set them up by themselves. However, it’s essential to note that this task is ideal for experienced DIY ers confident in their knowledge and skills for completing home projects. Otherwise, investing in professional shade sail installation services would be the wise, safe choice.

Shade sail installation may require the use of power tools, climbing ladders, and carrying heavy materials and equipment. Hence, it’s vital to work with precision and care to ensure safety and efficiency.


It is recommended to consider professional assistance when installing your shade sail to avoid potential costly issues. However, if you are determined to tackle the project independently, it’s important to be mindful of common shade sail installation issues and ensure that you possess the necessary equipment and skills for the task.