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Your Shade Sail Questions Answered

Your Shade Sail Questions Answered

When googling shade sails a lot of questions come up, which can be simply answered.  So in this blog, I want to answer some of those common questions and hopefully help you to understand which shade sail to buy and exactly how they work!

Are Shade Sails waterproof? 

This is dependent on your choice of sail and the material they are made with.  The most affordable shade sails are usually made from a cheaper shade cloth material called HDPE or Polyethylene.  They are like a very coarse netting material and have lots of holes in them so they allow some light through and are not waterproof. Our Clara Shade Sails are made with Woven high density PU coated waterproof material, so whilst very lightweight, if installed correctly they will protect you from those unexpected rain showers as well as provide up to 98% UV protection. The shade sails are a good solution to keeping an outdoor entertainment area dry in the summer months. 

How to measure for a shade sail? 

Firstly, you need to understand the desired shape for your shade sail. Here at Clara Shade Sails, we provide multiple sizes of Square, Rectangle, and Triangle Shade Sails. Also, remember for your desired look the use of multiple shade sails may be appropriate. There are two important measurements when installing a shade sail. 

First, the distance between where you intend to secure your sail, your fixing points, and second, the height of the posts. The distance between your fixing points should include the size of your sail (tip to tip and including the D Rings) AND the length of your chosen fitments (see our fitment pack measurements for an example).  Adjustments can be made to a certain degree with the type and amount of fitments and or rope you decide to use, but the closer you can get to the right size, the better for tension and aesthetics.

The height of the posts will also play a factor. Remember that you must install your sail at an angle of 20-30 degrees (depending on the size of the sail) to allow any rainwater to run off.  Where some posts are higher than others, a diagonal line will be involved which will change the length of your measurement.

Many of our customers have more than one fixing point on the vertical to allow them to move the slant of the sail up and down according to the position of the sun.  When the sun starts to lower, then can lower one side of the sail to maintain shade for longer.

Head over to our blog on how to install a Clara Shade Sail to find out more details about how to install your sail :)

Which side of the shade sail faces out? 

When installing the shade sail, you must install with seams facing downward and allow a 20-30 degree angle (depending on the size of your sail) between at least 2 corners so your sail is installed properly on a slant. This will ensure the rainwater doesn't pool in the middle and cause the fabric to stretch unnecessarily.

What are shade sail fixings? 

We recommend investing in a specialist set of shade sail accessories and fixings, such as the ones below we supply. They include pad eyes for fixing to walls, posts or poles, snap hooks or carabiners for easy attachment and turnbuckles for extra tension. Our kits are marine grade stainless steel, heavy-duty so strong enough for any type of installation. For a sleek and professional shade sail look, these fixings are perfect.

Shade Sail Fixtures

Shade Sail ideas for your home and garden

On Google, one of the most searched questions seems to be people looking for inspiration for their Shade Sail. Lucky for you here at Clara Shade Sails we have written many blogs to give you loads of inspiration! We understand at first it can be tricky to think where can I put my Shade Sail or where will I use my Shade Sail? Our blog 31 Shade Sail Ideas simply gives you 31 ideas of where to put your shade sail (one of our most common questions!) Our most recent blog Shade sail inspiration from our own customers! allows you to see how our own customers have used the Shade Sail in their gardens, this could maybe spark an idea on how to use yours!

How to cool your conservatory with a Shade Sail? 

Shade Sails can also be used inside! We have a blog on how to use your Shade Sail in a conservatory if you simply click the link here. Many of our customers have used Shade Sails in their conservatories and given us great feedback. It can really help if you are trying to look at laptop/ tv screens to block the sunlight and also protect your furniture. The bright white colour of our Shade Sails also keeps the room looking light and sunny!

How much do Shade Sails cost? 

Shade sails prices and therefore quality of products can vary considerably, as a guide:

Low-cost Shade Sails

Low cost shade sails start at around £15 for very small sizes and go up to around the £50 for the medium sizes.  They are usually made of lower quality, much thinner fabric with single stitched seams only.  Often the corners are just eyelets or ribbon/webbing loops rather than D Rings.  UV protection will be less and they are definitely only suitable for very temporary use.    

Mid-range Shade Sails

Start at around £40 for the very small sizes up to £80 for medium sizes and above £100 for the much larger sizes that aren’t generally available in the lower cost market. 

High quality, density rich fabric, double stitched seams, marine grade D Rings and curved sides built for stretch and pull.  Can be used as more of a permanent structure and are designed to withstand the great British weather. See our article on top reasons to buy a Clara Shade Sail for more details.

Clara Shade Sails fit into this category as we are very much aimed at the DIY market but want our sails to last and be a feature in your garden year after year.   Click here to view all our products.

High-cost Shade Sails

Prices start in the early £1000’s – usually custom made and includes a full planning, design and installation service. 

What are the benefits of a good quality Shade Sail?

Here at Clara Shade Sails, we want to provide you with quality, a key aspect to our Shade Sails is that they provide 98% UV protection. So they really do protect you from the sun's harmful rays. A good quality Shade Sail is waterproof, and so is the Clara Sail. If there is a summer shower your outdoor furniture is protected, and so are you!

Other benefits include:

  • stainless steel D rings at each corner (as opposed to taped corners that tear)
  • colourfast
  • rot and mildew resistant
  • easy to clean - can be wiped down with detergent and water
  • curved sides to enhance pull strength and avoid drooping
  • double webbing attaching to D rings so super strong for pull
  • double-stitched. T

To read more about reasons to buy a Clara Shade Sail click here!


Best ways to put up a Shade Sail? 

There are many ways to put up your shade sail, and it's really dependent on the shape and size of your garden. For our smaller Shade Sails, it can be easier to use a “free-spirited method” and tie the rope to the points closest to it. However, for a more permanent fix in your garden, we supply stainless steel fixings which can provide a tight sleek look for your shade sail. For even more of a DIY challenge, some of our customers have created Pergolas to give an all year round frame for a Shade Sail. To look at some examples head to the customer installation blog, or for some tips on installation click here.

How much wind can a Shade Sail withstand? 

Our advice here is to be sensible. We don't recommend you leave out during extremes of weather and this includes windy days.  How much wind depends on your choice of fitments obviously but the point is you don't want to put too much strain on the fitments or the sail. Also, remember before storing away your Clara Shade Sail make sure it is completely dry! 

What is the importance of keeping the sun off?

We all like to sit in the sun and feel the warmth on our faces, however, the UV rays in too much quantity can be harmful to our bodies. UV rays mainly cause problems due to exposure with the skin, which can lead to premature aging of the skin, and in extreme cases higher risks of cancer. Therefore here at Clara Shade Sails, we want to provide you with the peace of mind that our shade sails block up to 95-98% of harmful UV rays. However please bear in mind that the sun can bounce of other surfaces so always wear the usual sun cream and clothes protection.

If there’s any more questions that you have, please email us at, we will answer your questions as best as we can!