Wellington Point Park shade structure installed by Versatile Structures

The best shade sails under the sun

As with all products not all shade structures are created equal. There are however two distinct factors that makes for an excellent shade sail. The first and the most important is “fit for purpose” – is the quality of the individual elements that make up a shade structure like the fabric, metalwork, and the manufacturing of a high standard to withstand Queensland’s harsh weather conditions for years to come

Secondly, when it comes to selecting the best shade structure, it needs to be well designed to meet the needs of the people using the space and aesthetically enhance the surroundings. Read more on the value of a custom shade sail.

Here is a quick check list of what to consider for the best shade sail under the sun.


Great shade structures have steelwork with coating options of either hot dipped galvanisation, which is the process of coating steel with zinc, or powder coating or 2 Pack Paint which includes a secondary hardener known as poly-isocyanate resin. The best shade structure should come with a structural warranty of up to 15 years, and up to 10-years for the fabric and a thread.


With a vast selection of shade structure designs to choose from, a design will be influenced by its function, the size, the type of coverage required, as well as its focal point. A sail that is built with the incorrect shape and orientation will fail to cast shade in the correct place or provide sufficient rain cover. Great shade structure installation specialists have designers that collaborate with you to create a solution that considers both the visual and functional elements to create a shade sail that is best for you. Here is a guide to shade structure styles


The fabric used in a shade structure dictates whether the shade structure is waterproof, how much UV radiation it allows through or reflects, as well as how strong the structure is to resist fierce winds. Cheaper second tier fabrics are not proven to work in Australian conditions. High spec European and Australian materials are more expensive upfront but give a far better finish and much better long-term performance.

Versatile Structures is a national multi-award winner since 2017 making them experts in selecting the right fabric that meets the needs of the user and withstands the environmental challenges.

UVR protection

Australia has one of the top highest UVR (ultra-violet radiation) ratings on the planet which makes choosing the best shade structure even more important. Not only do you want the best quality fabric, but you also need a team of shade structure designers and installers that understand the movement of the sun in Winter and Summer. Learn more about ultra-radiation and shade sails.


It takes years to understand the technical properties of fabric materials and master design challenges. Avoid paying someone to learn on your job, so no less than 10 years’ commercial experience will do. Also, look for a proven history on larger scale projects, and testimonies from satisfied customers. Direct accountability from the design, fabric, steel work fabrication, through to the installation is key, should anything go wrong down the line. Dealing with a one-stop solution also cuts out go-between margins.


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.


As you can see there are multiple variables to consider when it comes to selecting the best shade sail under the sun. At the end of the day, it comes down to what the needs are of the people using the shade structure as well as if the design enhances the environment, it is in.


When choosing a shade structure that is right for you there are many things to consider like cost durability, colour, and size. Learn more about shade structures from these answers to frequently asked questions.


  • 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.