The A-Z of Shade Sails

Acrylic Canvas

Acrylic fabric has a softness that makes it stand out, and the fabric colour is added while the fibres are in a liquid state, making it fade proof. It is highly resistant to UV rays, mildew and water but not flame retardant, so the ideal is in commercial application.

Aluminium Screens and Sun hoods

Highly durable in all weather conditions, aluminium screens and sun hoods are made from recyclable materials, customisable to specific designs and offer ideal sun control for windows. Recommended applications include commercial construction projects, low, medium, high rise and premium domestic applications.

AS1530 part 2 & 3

AS1530 part 2 & 3 are the most adapted Flame Retardancy Test Standards for Coated Fabrics used in Australia and Based on the Flammability Index, the material can be deemed to pass or fail to a relevant Australian Building Code. Also see Flame Retardancy.

Australian Quality Standards

As not all shade fabrics are the same, the Australian quality standards offers a range of guidelines and policies using key variables including the design, installation, and Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) and Ultraviolet Radiation (UVR) protection ratings of the shade structures.

Australian Standards AS/NZS 1170:2:2002

This standard specifies the design values of wind actions including wind speeds and direction factors for a range of probabilities of exceedance used in structural design.

Barrel Vault Structures

A large span shelter solution suitable for a pool covers, school assembly, basketball courts and play areas.

Build Time

This is where design and fabrication work take place in our factory and fittings and finishing details are coordinated. Typically allow for a 4 to 10 week build time depending on the scale of the project.


Waterproof sails need little maintenance as they self-clean with rainfall and/or can be wiped clean, shade fabric can be cleaned with a soft pressure washer

While. Good maintenance will prolong the life of the shade sail.

Commercial Grade 

Commercial Shade Structures

Custom made and tailored to suit any architectural design intent, commercial shade structures are ideal for council park, school, car park, commercial building and landscaping projects.  

Custom Builds

When considering your area, it is important to think about the future life of the structure such as day-to-day wind conditions, pollutants, contaminants, and airborne debris. Custom builds meet individual requirements and ensure adequate shade or rain protection.

Dual layered and reinforced corners, edges and seams

Engineering Certification

Waterproof sails may require an engineering certification to verify the tie-down and attachment of the sail, including footing, wind loading and material stability. This needs to be obtained before lodging the application with Council.


Cheaper, second-tier fabrics are not proven to be effective in Australia’s harsh weather conditions. High spec European and Australian materials may seem more expensive upfront but give a greater finish and offer superior long-term performance.

Flame Retardancy
Shade sail fabrics are rated to Australian Standard AS1530 Part 2; materials that don’t melt or shrink and Part 3; Ignitability, flame propagation, heat release and smoke release are determined simultaneously by means of a vertical heat source.


Forged AISI 316 marine grade stainless steel fittings and cables are an ultra-high quality, corrosion resistant steel with excellent strength, toughness, fabrication characteristics and weldability.  AISI 316 marine grade stainless steel wire rope is encased in a double folded pocket with each corner being reinforced with double layers of fabric and heavy-duty seatbelt webbing. All turnbuckle threads are treated with Anti Seize allowing easy removal & installation.


Foundations are crucial to the safety of a structure. Failing to dig to the required depth, using enough steel reinforcement bar in the concrete, or pouring the correct volume of concrete can lead to the structure collapsing. Well-engineered footings will generally require specific minimum levels of reinforcement, larger diameter for bored piers, or a larger footprint for pad footings, they will be designed to accommodate the imposed loads and transfer effectively into the ground.

GORE ® TENARA ® Sewing Thread

See Stitching


Hardware items include Stainless Steel grade 316 cables and fittings, turnbuckles, spring hooks, thimbles, heavy-duty dee rings (or “D” rings), shackles, mounting plates/brackets, wire rope, triangle rings, washers, rope clamps, brackets, anchors, and eye nuts and bolts.

Heat Reflectively

The electromagnetic radiation given off by the sun contains numerous infrared, visible ultraviolet rays A, B and C and invisible rays which transfer radiation heat. By using nature’s own thermodynamics properties to trap heat in a thermo barrier, shade sails prevent a large proportion of radiation heat waves from entering the area below. White shade sails reflect up to 85% of heat away.

Hot Dip Galvanising

Hot-dip galvanization is the process of coating iron and steel with zinc at a temperature of around 450 °C. This galvanization process results in a durable and hard-wearing coating, with expected lifespans from 10 to 25+ years. Hot Dip Galvanising has a matt to low shine grey-silver appearance.


Permanent fixtures are generally included as part of your home building insurance and is defined as “an item that is permanently attached or fixed to the structure of your home that can’t be removed without causing damage to your home”. By that definition it means a shade sail isn’t covered by building insurance and becomes part of your home contents.


A good quality shade structure should last between 10-30 years, depending on the quality of the fabric used.


Good planning and a proactive approach ensure maximum life and minimal disruption. Annual inspections can highlight potential issues before they occur, which can be actioned proactively to keep costs down before a failure eventuates.

When pre-existing damage is identified, get advice on the best methods to treat and maintain the condition of the sail to prolong the lifespan until budget allowances are available to repair or replace.

Waterproof shade structures are lower maintenance. In fact, many are self-cleaning, using the rainwater to clean themselves. 

OHS Standard

Choose suppliers who comply with OHS legislation, have implemented an Occupational Health and Safety Management System, and whose workforce participate in Health and Safety training sessions and are regularly updated on safe working practices, ensuring a high level of awareness of Health and Safety.

2PAC Painting

An exceptionally durable and costly coloured finish applied over hot dip galvanised steelwork, to provide the most durable coloured coating. Warranty options exceeding 15 years are available for application directly over steel.

Polycarbonate Roofing

This lightweight and virtually unbreakable shade solution has superpowers to withstand extremely high and low temperatures, making it ideal for patios, deck areas, conservatories, and awnings for commercial buildings. Made from thermoplastic that comes as transparent sheets that are tough, flame retardant, chemical resistant, and durable.

Powder Coat

Powder coating is a dry finishing process that offers a high-quality, durable finish available in limitless colours and textures. Warrantees of up to 10 years can can be expected and ensure you are supplied with a Dulux approved warranty or at minimum ensure a zinc rich epoxy primer is used prior to powder coating.

Premium car park shade sail or another type of commercial shade structure, a durable waterproof shade structure is your best option.


See Substrate


See Substrate

Quality Brands

The quality of the fabric usually determines the shade structures’ lifespan and high levels of UV protection. Some of the top waterproof shade structure brands in the market include: Serge Ferrari, Mehler Texnologies and Verseidag.


When damage is beyond the ability of onsite maintenance, an offsite repair is often a good course of action. This is generally for isolated damage from a storm or vandalism etc. Repairing is often more cost effective than a replacement and cost/benefit analysis can be provided depending on the age of the sail.


Unfortunately, there comes a point in a shade sails life where the only option is to replace the sail. We assist here by replacing what is necessary and also advising any additional areas that can be improved to increase the life of the new shade sail.

Shade Sail Installation

The perimeter of each sail has a curve (catenary) designed to control the fabric tension. Therefore, they do not sag or flap in the wind. This gives you two benefits. It will not work loose, and it will not fatigue prematurely, these are generally set at 8% distance in / length of edge, as this is the best efficiency balance of tension vs coverage, if you require this to be set at a lower percentage, please feel free to discuss further with us, as there are options to reduce


A Skillion roof design is a combination of the minimal design atheistic of a flat roof and the pitch of a gabled roof. Skillion roofs are steeply angled and built with streamlined roofing materials, using rubber skins or metal finishes. 

Shade sail structures

A cost-effective option to provide cover to an existing outdoor area. Shade Sails are recommended for use in playgrounds, council parks, childcare centres, commercial applications, domestic applications, and sporting clubs. They are low maintenance and generally come with a 10 to15-year warranty.

Specialist Manufacturing Equipment

Sophisticated tools like computerised fabric plotter cutters, high- power radio frequency welders and high productivity installation equipment make all the difference in the finished product and factory facilities also mean installation time is minimised as most of the pre-assembly and preparation work takes place in the factory, not at your property.


GORE ® TENARA ® is a long-lasting, quality thread does not deteriorate from exposure to exposure to UV radiation, wind, and weather and enhances outdoor and marine products in which it is used. 


With many different shade solutions available it is a good idea to understand the difference

  • High-density polyethylene (HDPE)

A non-waterproof, permeable knitted shade fabric material with tiny holes that allow hot air to escape. It’s high-water run-off qualities makes it chemical, mould, rot, and sun resistant.

  • Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE)

Waterproof PTFE or polytetrafluoroethylene is a woven fibreglass membrane used for stitching shade cloth fabrics. It’s extremely durable, waterproof, wind-resistant, and UV ray resistant. See Stitching

  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) membrane fabric

Waterproof Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) coated polyester membrane fabric is strong, versatile and flexible with 100 per cent waterproof properties.


Tensile shade sail fabrics offer very little stretch (0.05%-1.5%) compared to standard shade cloth (3-6%). For this reason, we recommend that tensile shade sails are only installed by licensed shade sail installers.

Tensile shade sails

Shade sails made from PTFE-coated fibreglass and PVC-coated polyester, which gives them unique waterproof qualities.


The correct tension is key to the functionality of waterproof fabric shade as sagging in the centre affects the longevity and aesthetic of the sail. Corner hardware such as turnbuckles, pulleys and commercial brackets are used to tension a sail and the recommended final tension being typically 30-50Kg at each corner for sails up to 25 m2. Larger sails will require much higher tension. After a week of use, we recommend retensioning to allow for any settling of the sail.


Tensile shade sails have 7 to 54% translucency depending on the pigment of the fabric.


Modular in design and constructed from a single membrane, the Vypar comes with the option for multiple units to be linked together and form one continuous membrane. Fabricated from durable architectural-grade HDPE Shadecloth with warranties up to 15 years against UV degradation, our Vypar offers style and longevity


Many warranties only cover replacement of the fabric and not the labour and repair costs, so do not be caught out with nasty surprises. Look for an iron clad warranty package over the entire system, not just the fabric skin and ask what product and back-up servicing are included


This is a fully leak-proof shade sail option, even in torrential downpours. Waterproof shade structures require unique design features such as cross bracing structural supports and angling to ensure water doesn’t pool on the top and create too much weight.

Water runoff

This is not the same as being waterproof. Water Runoff is shower-proof, offering protection only from light rain.

UV rays

Shade sails block out harmful UV rays while adding elegance to an outdoor area. Waterproof PVC solutions offer up to 100% and shade sails up to 99% UV protection

Shade sails are tested for how much ultraviolet radiation the materials transmit and a cloth that is stretched due to incorrect installation, reduces its UVR protection against sunburn.