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Using high quality shade structure hardware is key
Fittings hardware are easily overlooked when it comes to shade structures as the colourful shade fabrics and architectural designs are always first to catch the eye. Some people may take note of the structural steelwork that supports the shade structure frame, but only a handful will notice what hardware and fittings are used from nuts, bolts, and shackles, to turnbuckles, wire rope, hooks, and more.
As important as it is to choose a shade fabric that is fire resistant and offers high UVR protection, it is equally as important to choose quality shade structure fittings and hardware, as these are the ‘glue’ in the connection points that hold the structure together.
It is crucial that the fittings used for a shade structure have all the same features as being highly fire and UV resistant, but they also need to be corrosion resistant, rust proof and able to withstand immense tension and pressure. A tiny turnbuckle needs to withstand hundreds of kilograms of structural load, exacerbated by 100km/h coastal winds saturated with sea salt.
Hardware typically is available in 316 and 304 grade stainless steel and 8.8 structural and 4.6 regular grade galvanized steel. The size and shape of the hardware needed are determined by structural loads and tensioned membrane requirements, consisting of steel cabled hems with threaded end fittings.
Versatile Structures uses forged AISI 316 marine grade stainless steel fittings, Hilti branded chemset bolts and wire rope to ensure for strong corrosion free fittings that stand the test of time.
Sail Corner Fixings: A key element in addition to using marine grade stainless steel, is encasing the 316 stainless-steel sail wire in a double folded pocket with corner reinforcement using a double layered of shade structure fabric and seatbelt webbing that not only protects the already super strong marine grade steal but also adds to the overall strength of the shade structure. We use 316 stainless-steel in all our sale corner fixings because it is stronger, lasts longer and looks great.
Steel Welding Quality: All our steel is welded by our expert team of boilermakers at our factory in Wacol, Queensland which means we are in control of the process and the quality of our output.
Stitching: All stitching is GORE ® TENARA ® Sewing Thread, a long-lasting UVR protected threat, performed using a double locking stitch. Conventional seam threads on shade sails and other outdoor fabric products suffer from exposure to UVR, wind, and weather and become brittle and break after a few years. In contrast, GORE ® TENARA ® Sewing Thread is a thread on which you can really rely. It does not deteriorate from exposure to elements – not even when exposed to UV radiation!
Shade structure fittings like turnbuckles are furthermore coated in anti-seize to ensure easy removal should you decide to change the colour of a shade structure or if the shade structure needs repair from say a car driving into shade structure.
Making sure your shade structure supplier uses quality fittings is a sure way for you to ensure a return on your investment.
Jamie Howard - Director
Co-founder and Director Jamie has been hands-on in the shade and steel industry since leaving school. With over 15 years’ experience in shade, membrane and steel projects, Jamie is excited about the design opportunities shade structures offer in the commercial and industrial sectors. Jamie’s extensive design skills give him a competitive edge in situations with technical design complexity. He has won two personal industry awards for his designs, alongside many company-won awards.