An afternoon in the sun can seem like heaven, but a bad case of sunburn can soon change your mind, especially if you take into the account the harm you can be doing by absorbing so much ultraviolet light. Cancer Council NSW recommends making use of shade in the home, and properly installed shade sails over your patio or garden can help protect your family. For a long-lasting safe solution though, there are a few pitfalls to avoid.
Installing a sail shade over a patio may not need a building permit, but the rules do vary from area to area. There may also be conditions attached, such as how much of a property's area it can cover. Failing to check if permission is needed could result in a costly fine—enough to spoil an afternoon in the shade.
Doing it yourself
Hanging a blanket over your patio may be fine solution for a sunny afternoon. But it you want a permanent solution that blocks over 90% of ultra-violet rays, you would be better advised to go to professionals. Proper installation of a shade sail is both an art and a science, and experience is far more important than textbook learning. A good installer can design and install your sail with quick release snap-hooks, ensuring you can quickly take it down and put it back up again according to weather conditions. If you have a professional install your shade sail, they can also provide a warranty in case anything goes wrong in the future.
You probably weren't thinking about bad weather when you had your shade sail installed, but if you're expecting snow in your area, you might want to think about taking it down. The snow can simply pile up in the middle of the sail, and cause damage both to the sail itself, and to the supporting structure. The exception is if you have bought a sail that is specifically designed to withstand heavy snow. Even in this case though, the weight of the snow can stretch the fabric to an extent from which it will not recover. If you live in area that receives regular snowfall, you may have to resign yourself to regularly dismantling it and reinstalling it.
With a little common sense and professional advice these problems are easily avoided though, and your shade sail can give you both pleasure and protection for many years to come.