Shade sails at Carina State School offer good protection from the sun as the fabrics used are coated with UV protective elements.

Shade structures – your questions answered

When it comes to choosing the shade structure that’s right for you, there are lots of things to consider. There’s cost, durability, colour and size to think about. And with the harsh Brisbane sun, material durability is crucial.

Understanding more about shade structures will help you make an informed decision prior to purchase.

Here are answers to the questions most asked.

What do I need to think about before selecting a shade structure?

The type of shade structure you need will be determined by what it’s going to be used for. So, before you start to explore the different types of structures available, think about some of the following.

Will the structure be exposed to adverse weather conditions?

Does the structure need to cover people or vehicles?

Does the structure need to be waterproof?

What is the size of the area that needs to be covered?

Is this structure temporary or permanent?

What are the different types of shade structure?

The type of shade structure you need will depend on several things. The primary purpose of the shade structure, where it will be located and how you want it to look. Once you’ve considered these things you can start looking at the options.

Waterproof shade structures

These are the perfect practical option for outdoor settings including car parks, playground, and restaurants. Constructed using PVC waterproof fabric these shade structures maintain a clean appearance and can be custom designed for the perfect fit.

A custom designed waterproof membrane at Orion Hotel increases the usability and aesthetics of their premises.

Car park shade structures

These are the most popular shade structures for car parks as they provide protection against the elements for people and vehicles. Like any shade they can be custom designed and can also include lighting for use both day and night.   

Westfield North Lakes’ custom designed car park shade structures add visual appeal while keeping customers cool and protected.

External awning and blinds

External awning and blinds are a great option for enclosing an area to maximise its use. Providing protection from the elements, these shade structures are perfect for cafes and restaurants. Being retractable means an area can be enjoyed rain, hail or shine.

External awnings and blinds are low maintenance shade structure solutions to block heat, harmful UV rays and ultimately reduce energy costs

Shade sail structures

Shade sail structures offer good protection from the sun as the fabrics used are coated with UV protective elements.

These structures are generally layered in an attractive pattern with flexible design options. They’re best suited to smaller areas such as playgrounds, car ports or swimming pools.

Shade sails at Carina State School offer good protection from the sun as the fabrics used are coated with UV protective elements.

How much do shade structures cost?

Shade structures vary in cost depending on several things. The size of the structure and project, the material and fabric used, the price for installation and whether the shade is custom made or ready-made.

Ready-made options are generally cheaper but not always of superior quality. What you’re saving in money you may be paying for in material quality, durability, and protection.

Things are different with a custom-made shade structure. Here’s where we can help.

As specialists in custom-made shade structures, we can ensure you get exactly what you want when you want. We provide a full service and offer the best quality materials and workmanship.

As part of our quote, we will conduct a site inspection and include a sketch of your proposed orientation. Our custom-made shade structures also have a typical lifespan of 10-30 years giving you peace of mind.

What makes a good quality shade structure?

Weather tolerant

A quality shade will effectively offer protection from the elements. A dark, closely woven and heavy fabric is ideal for blocking or absorbing UV rays. For that harsh Brisbane sun in particular, shade structures should have as high a UVR block as possible, at least 94%.

Well manufactured

Quality shade structures should meet Australian standards which means that the materials and fittings are long lasting and durable.

Product brands

Product brands used should be the highest quality to ensure the shade structure is long lasting. Among these brands are Serge Ferrari, Rainbow Shade, Mehler Texnologies and Monotec 370.

The lifespan and warranty of the product.

A good quality shade structure will come with a warranty and have a lifespan of 10 – 30 years. All fixtures and fittings should be engineering to site specifications.

If you’re looking to purchase a shade structure, get in touch with our experienced team today. We can offer advice and help you choose the right fit for you.


  • Versatile Structures Headshots

    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.