What Factors Affect the Cost of Custom Shade Sails?

Custom shade sails combine the aesthetic appeal and functional aspects of your outdoor space with your explicit preference and style. Their versatility makes them a more popular option for many home and business owners.

However, it’s worth noting that the shade sail prices can vary widely depending on a range of factors. For example, equipment, material, and installation.

In this article, we’ll explore the main factors that influence the cost of custom shade sails to help you plan your project.

  1. Size and shape of the shade sail

    Shade sails come in a variety of sizes and shapes. From rectangular shade sails to even more complex designs, you’ll find plenty of options to meet your needs.

    How do these factors impact the project costs? Each option comes with a corresponding price tag. For example, larger sails cost more simply because of their size and the time it takes to set them up. Irregularly shaped sails require more materials and complex engineering to get constructed and, therefore, come at a higher price so keep this in mind when creating complex designs.

  2. Material Costs

    When purchasing a shade sail, the material used in its construction directly impacts the overall costs of the project but will also impact the life and durability of your cloth. Each cloth type comes with a different life span and UV degradation warranty and should be considered when making your cloth choice. Here are some of the most common materials you’ll come across:

    • HDPE (High-Density Polyethylene): High-density polyethylene fabric is a popular choice for shade sails due to its UV resistance, strength, and durability. It provides effective sun protection and is available in various colours.

    • PVC (Polyvinyl Chloride): PVC-coated shade fabrics are another option. These materials are waterproof and can provide both sun and rain protection. PVC sails are often used in commercial settings.

    • Knitted Fabric: Knitted shade cloth, made from materials like polyethylene, can provide UV protection and breathability. It’s a good choice for a shaded area where air circulation is important.

    • Acrylic Canvas:Canvas shade sails, often made from acrylic fabric, offer a natural and visually appealing look. They provide UV protection and are commonly used in residential settings.

    • Shade Mesh: Shade mesh fabrics are designed specifically for sun protection. They come in various shading percentages, allowing you to control the level of shade you get.

    • Commercial-Grade Fabrics: Some shade sails are made from specialized commercial-grade materials designed for heavy-duty use. These materials are often thicker and more durable.

    High-quality, durable fabrics such as UV-resistant and waterproof materials tend to be more expensive, but they offer greater longevity and protection from outdoor elements. Generally the colour of the fabric or material will not influence the cost.

  3. Installation complexity

    How complex is the installation process? This factor critically influences both the overall cost and success of the shade sail project. You need to understand the challenges that come with setting up the shade sail, all the while ensuring structural integrity, safety, and optimal performance.

    The more complex the project, the higher the expected costs. But what makes the installation process more complex?

    • The site’s terrain: A level and accessible site typically requires less preparation and labour. Uneven terrains, on the other hand, require extensive ground preparation, increasing the total costs.

    • Design of the shade sail: Irregularly shaped sails may demand more precise measurements and installation techniques. This can lengthen the project’s timeline and make it more expensive.

    • Permitting and regulations: If your area has stringent regulations related to outdoor structures or property modifications, you may need to spend more to meet those requirements.

    To avoid surprises and mistakes when installing shade sails, it’s always a good idea to thoroughly assess these contributing factors before starting your project. Consult a professional installer so that you can be sure of what to expect.

  4. Customization and additional features

    Shades sails are more than just practical outdoor structures. They’re also vital elements in your property’s design and aesthetic appeal. Customization allows you to add personal flair and uniqueness to your outdoor space, transforming it into a more inviting area.

    Here are some of the additional features you can include:

    • Reinforced corners and stitching: Boost durability and resistance to wear and tear by opting for reinforced corners, edges, and heavy-duty stitching.

    • Colour customization: Select personalized colour schemes to match a property’s aesthetic, set the desired ambiance, or demonstrate creativity.

    • Hardware and connectors: Invest in high-quality, sturdy, and corrosion-resistant hardware to safely secure shade sails in place.

    • Accessory kits: Look for convenient kits containing all the necessary attachments for easy assembly and installation of shade sails.

    To bring these features to life, you’ll most likely need professional installation services. Although this would add to the total cost, of your instillation, it will be an assurance that it was done correctly and should come with an installation builders warranty if your installer has a builder’s licence which they should. They should also supply you with the regular maintenance requirements you need to do to keep the shade sails in excellent condition.

  5. Quality and durability

    The quality and durability of shade sails play a pivotal role in determining their price tag. High-quality materials are often the cornerstone of durable sails. Premium materials like high-density polyethylene (HDPE) fabric, PVC fabric, or robust shade cloth are known for their exceptional UV resistance, strength, and longevity.

    These materials provide superior sun protection and structural integrity, making them an investment in long-lasting shade solutions. While the initial cost of high-quality materials is higher, the assurance of extended service life and enhanced UV protection often justifies the expense.

    The craftsmanship and workmanship that go into the construction of shade sails also affect their quality and, consequently, their cost. Those manufactured with meticulous attention to detail, reinforced seams, and high-quality stitching tend to be more durable. As a result, they come with a higher price point.

    Expert craftsmanship ensures the sails can withstand challenging weather conditions, further enhancing their long-term value. In contrast, lower-cost shade sails may compromise on construction quality, leading to quicker wear and tear. Weak seams, stitching, and other manufacturing deficiencies can negatively impact their durability, leading to more frequent replacements and hidden costs.


The cost of custom shade sails can vary significantly based on a combination of factors, including size, materials, installation, location, customization, and more. Consider these factors and plan your project carefully to create a welcoming outdoor space that fits your needs and your budget.

Remember that investing in a high-quality, durable shade sail can provide long-term benefits and enhance the value of your outdoor space. While there are cheaper options, they may require frequent maintenance and replacement, leading to more expenses in the long run.