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DIY SHADE

Shadesails Made Easy

YOUR COMPLETE GUIDE TO PLANNING, DESIGNING


AND INSTALLING A PROFESSIONAL QUALITY
SHADESAIL
TAb

DIY Shade Shadesails Made Easy


TABLE OF CONTENTS
About&the&Author&.......................................................................................................................................................&4!
CHAPTER(1:(INTRODUCTION(TO(SHADESAILS(....................................................................................(5!
WHY!INSTALL!A!SHADESAIL!..........................................................................................................................................!5!
What&is&and&What&is&Not&a&Shadesail&................................................................................................................&6!
UVR&Facts&......................................................................................................................................................................&7!
IN!SUMMARY!.....................................................................................................................................................................!7!
CHAPTER(2:(PLANNING(FOR(A(SHADESAIL(...........................................................................................(8!
DO!I!NEED!A!PERMIT!OR!LOCAL!PLANNING!PERMISSION?!........................................................................................!8!
IS!A!SHADESAIL!REALLY!THE!RIGHT!OPTION?!.............................................................................................................!9!
WHAT!EQUIPMENT!WILL!BE!REQUIRED?!...................................................................................................................!10!
MOVEMENT!OF!THE!SUN!..............................................................................................................................................!12!
CHAPTER(3:(SHADESAIL(DESIGN(............................................................................................................(18!
HOW!SHADESAILS!ARE!MADE!......................................................................................................................................!18!
Ready&Made&VS&Custom&Made&...........................................................................................................................&19!
Types&of&Shadesails&................................................................................................................................................&19!
THINGS!TO!LOOK!FOR!WHEN!ORDERING!A!SHADESAIL!...........................................................................................!20!
Shape&............................................................................................................................................................................&21!
Size&................................................................................................................................................................................&22!
Shade&cloth&Fabric&.................................................................................................................................................&22!
UVR&Block&VS&Shade&Factor&...............................................................................................................................&24!
SHADESAIL!DESIGNS!.....................................................................................................................................................!26!
Triangular&Shadesails&..........................................................................................................................................&29!
OTHER!DESIGN!IDEAS!...................................................................................................................................................!36!
CHAPTER(4:(INSTALLING(THE(ATTACHMENT(POINTS(...................................................................(37!
CHAPTER(5:(MEASURING(UP(FOR(THE(SHADESAIL(.........................................................................(47!
How&to&Measure&......................................................................................................................................................&47!
TURNBUCKLE!&!HARDWARE!SELECTION!.................................................................................................................!50!
Hardware&Guide&......................................................................................................................................................&51!
CHAPTER(6:(FITTING(THE(SHADESAIL(.................................................................................................(53!
Tensioning&Larger&Shadesails&...........................................................................................................................&54!
CHAPTER(7:((SHADESAIL(MAINTENANCE(............................................................................................(55!
APPENDICES(..................................................................................................................................................(56!
1.!SYNTHESIS!COMMERCIAL!95!TECHNICAL!SPECIFICATION!SHEET!..................................................................!56!
2.!SHADESAIL!MEASURING!GUIDES!............................................................................................................................!57!
3.!RAFTER!BRACKET!FITTING!GUIDE!........................................................................................................................!61!
CONTACTS!&!USEFUL!LINKS!........................................................................................................................................!62!
EXAMPLE!OF!A!LOCAL!COUNCIL!SHADESAIL!APPROVAL!&!REQUIREMENTS!......................................................!63!

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DIY Shade Shadesails Made Easy

Disclaimer

Whilst every attempt has been made to provide accurate information it must be understood that shade
sails should only be installed by suitably capable and qualified persons.
Safe working methods must be adhered to at all times. Such methods may be dictated by specific
onsite circumstances which are outside the scope of this book. It is incumbent on the reader to
familiarize themself with such methods and to apply them at all times.
If you do not have the necessary experience or ability in this area it is recommended that a building
professional be engaged to install your shade sail and you use the information in this book to act as a
supervisor or consultant to the project.
All information in this document is provided as general guide only. Specific site considerations must
always be taken into account. It is incumbent upon the person reading this book to make all
necessary safety checks and take all necessary precautions and preparations regarding their own
safety and that of others. It is recommended that for specific engineering and installation matters that
suitably qualified professionals be engaged or consulted. The author of this book does not accept
any liability whatsoever for the way in which this information is used or applied. Furthermore, all
liability for damage, loss, injury or expense whether direct or indirect arising from the use of this
information is expressly excluded to the full extent of exclusions under Federal and state law. No
warranties are extended to any works carried out by any persons using information in this book. No
promises are made as to any end result any one person may or may-not achieve from reading and/or
employing any information covered in this book. It should be noted that this book must be read only
upon acceptance of these stated terms. Should any person not accept these terms in their entirety
they should immediately contact the provider at diyshade.com.au within 5 days of purchase of this
book whereupon they will be supplied with a full refund.

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DIY Shade Shadesails Made Easy

Do It Yourself Shade
Shadesails Made Easy
by Andy McLeod

About the Author


Andy McLeod founded his company Shade Australia in the summer of 2000 believing that as
the hottest country on earth with the highest rate of preventable skin cancer in the world,
Australia should be the leader in the provision of high quality shade for outdoor activities.
Andy has been involved in the design, manufacture and installation of thousands of
shadesails and this book is a compilation of the knowledge he has gained over that time.
If you;
are either planning to design and install a shadesail yourself or you want be able to
direct and manage tradespeople to do the job for you
wish to save yourself some money
want to understand what you should be paying
want to achieve a safe, strong structure
want to make sure the shade is cast where you want it
then this book has been written for you!
Shade Australia supplies shadesails to customers across Australia and around the world.
The company has customers in New Zealand, Greece, Italy, Canada (yes really), United
Kingdom, USA, South Africa, France and beyond.
Important Note: This edition of DIY Shade is written from a Southern Hemisphere
perspective. All measurements are metric.

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Chapter 1: Introduction To Shadesails
Over recent years, shadesails have become
increasingly popular. In many public spaces such
as schools and parks, the provision of shade is
now a statutory requirement.
This is
understandable when it can take just 11 minutes
of exposure to mild UV radiation for the skin to
exhibit the first signs of sunburn. Shadesails today
are sophisticated structures that are designed and
engineered to look great and be safe in a variety
of conditions.
They
are
made
from
advanced
polymers (usually polyethylene with UV inhibitors) and
are designed to withstand the suns UV rays for up to a
decade. Of course, this has not always been the case
and shade sails in some form have been around for
thousands of years. The shadesails today are
essentially an evolution of the ancient Bedouin tents.
These tents were constructed using wooden columns with a canvas canopy stretched over
them and held secure by guy ropes. Like this one many had sides and were used as living
quarters. Shadesails today typically dont have sides, they only have the roof structure and
are installed more to provide safe UV zones for short-stay outdoor activities.
Shadesails have become popular as they;

are a cost effective way to span large areas


look aesthetically pleasing
are a proven system for blocking UV Radiation
are infinitely flexible in size, shape and design
are relatively easy (once you know how) to install

Commonly referred to as tension membrane structures the types of shadesails we discuss


in this book are quite sophisticated. They use the latest technology in shading materials and
rely on engineer certified columns and fittings to create striking structures that not only look
spectacular but also provide high levels of UV protection. In fact, it is recommended that the
shades today provide a minimum level of at least 94% UV protection.

Why install a Shadesail


The simple fact is, most Summer outdoor activities
these days require us to protect ourselves from UV
radiation (UVR). Whether its sunscreen, shade or
protective clothing, the provision of some UV
protective during the hotter months of the year is
now mandatory. The provision of high quality shade
in outdoor areas where people congregate is
arguably the safest form of protection there is.

2012 www.diyshade.com.au

Why We Love Shade


Think about it, the hotter it gets
the harder it works, it runs for
free, its 100% environmentally
friendly and without a doubt
quality shade is the safest
sunscreen ever invented.

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In fact, according to a leading specialist in this area, Architect, John Greenwood;
The provision of quality shade is the single most important way [people] can protect
themselves from the increasing levels of UV radiation.
Shadesails are a cost effective way to cover large areas. The main reasons for installing a
shadesail would be:

to provide protection from the sun and dangerous UV radiation


to create cool outdoor areas where people can safely congregate
to provide aesthetically pleasing structures to make areas look modern and inviting

Shadesails are installed in a vast range of situations. Some of the most common areas
where shadesails are installed include;

Swimming pools
Courtyards
Cafes, Restaurants and outdoor dining areas
As awnings or verandas
In agricultural applications to provide shade to animals including sheep and cattle,
horses, aquaculture, horticultural
Car parks

What is and What is Not a Shadesail


Before we get too far along, lets define what is and what is not a shadesail. Firstly were
talking about Shade Cloth Sails, were not talking about
waterproof sails which are made from a different material
and have different characteristics.
This is a shadesail. It has three or four (or more) outer
attachment points but no internal structure. The tension
is achieved by pulling outwards at the corners. Cable or
webbing stitched into a perimeter hem of the sail is
tightened and the fabric sail takes shape. Nothing is
holding it up in the middle, only the tension exerted on it
from the corners. This is why shadesails are often
referred to as tension membrane structures.
This is not a shadesail. Although it has four (or more)
outer posts and the canopy is made from shade fabric,
the difference is that this structure has internal supports
over which the fabric is suspended. This frame supports
the fabric as opposed to a shadesail where there is no
internal frame. What we are looking at here is a Shade
Structure, (or a hip and ridge structure) not a shadesail.
This is not a shadesail. This is a shade canopy. It has
regularly spaced eyelets punched into its perimeter
similar to a tarpaulin. It is then laced onto a supporting
outer frame.
Shadesails do not require an outer
supporting frame.

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UVR Facts
The by-product of installing a shadesail is the creation of cool shaded areas which are
inviting for people to use during the heat.
Looking at a typical UV index chart we can see that UV radiation is normally highest during
the middle of the day, mainly between 10am and 2pm. However, on a hot Summer day we
can see that there is UV radiation present at dangerous levels from before 9am through to
mid or even late in the afternoon.
UV radiation is the invisible light which
comes from the sun. It is directly linked as
the main cause of melanoma. Even today
many people are unaware of just how
insidious UVR really is. They are unaware
for instance that the first signs of sunburn
can occur in children in as little as five
minutes exposure to high UVR.
Samantha Conias of The Australian College
of Dermatologists advises Studies have
shown that as little as six sunburns can double the risk of melanoma.

In Summary
The provision of UV Protective shade in our outdoor areas today is no longer a luxury, its a
necessity. The purpose of this book is to give you the information you need to consider, to
design and install a professional quality shadesail which will look great and last for years. If
after reading this information you decide that the installation part of the job is beyond your
abilities you will be well educated to engage a contractor and be able to give them clear
instruction as to exactly what your requirements are and how the job should be done. You
will be knowledgeable about the best types of shade cloth to use and how to position the
shadesail itself so that it provides the coverage you need at the time of day you need it.
This book will also save you a great deal of money by using the right materials and having
them installed to the correct specifications.
In fact, I dare say, by the end of this book you will know as much, if not more about installing
shadesails than some of the shade industry contractors who do this for a living.

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Chapter 2: Planning for a Shadesail
There are a number of important things we need to go over before we start. Lets address
them one at a time.

Do I need a permit or local planning permission?


The answer is you should check. My experience over the years has been that virtually every
district has slightly different regulations. For instance some council areas stipulate that if
you are installing any form of structure with an area greater than 10m2 you require council
approval. In other areas it can be 15m2 or larger. Some councils dont class shadesails as
permanent structures because they are fabric, and unlike a metal roof, can be removed.
Others do because the posts are concreted into the ground and this constitutes a
permanent installation.
I am not able to prove you specific advice on your local area in this book and even if I did,
your local planning authority might just as easily change its regulations next month and the
advice would be out of date.
Accordingly, you should contact your local authority and seek advice1.
however, that in our experience the following general guidelines apply:

I can confirm,

If the shadesail is to be installed in a public area such as park or pool then you will almost
certainly require local planning permission.
Most people who install shadesails in their home will seek council approval if the shade sail;
a)
b)
c)
d)
e)

casts shade onto a neighbouring area


blocks or interferes with a neighbours view
is within one metre of a neighbours boundary
alters the streetscape
can easily be seen by anyone

Can I do it myself?
Hopefully with everything you learn here the answer is YES but of course only you can
answer this question. This book gives you the information
you need to make that assessment.
Even if you cant, or choose not to do the job yourself, by
using the information in this book you will be informed
about exactly what needs to happen and will give you a
much better chance of getting the end result you want at
a fair price rather than hoping you are getting good
advice from tradespeople.

Included in the back of the book is an example Local Council Shadesail Requirements Document
which will give you an indication as to what documentation a Local Council might need you to supply.

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Is a shadesail really the right option?
Good Question! Shadesails have proven highly effect in many locations and applications
but not all. I recommend before you push ahead with your plans to install a new shadesail
that you pause for a few moments and consider their benefits and pitfalls. Ive done a short
For and Against table below (warts and all) which you can go through in the context of your
area and what you what to achieve. At the end of the day, we all want you to end up with
best possible solution and if you decide from reading this book that a shadesail isnt right for
you then your research will have been worth it.

For

Excellent for creating cool UV protective


areas for short term activities such as
swimming

Work best when the area is relatively


symmetrical e.g., 6 x 7 metres.

Their dramatic architectural look can


create drama and interest to the area.

Can be cost effective over large areas.

They are very low maintenance.

Flexible shapes and custom shapes can


be made to fit irregular areas.

Available in a great colour range to blend


into an area or to stand out and make a
statement.

Against

Can not be moved around like a


cantilever umbrella to cast the shade
where you want it as the sun moves
across the sky so careful planning is
required for effective protection from
morning and late afternoon sun.

They are not waterproof.

They are often more expensive than first


anticipated, especially when having a
contractor do the entire job.

Require firm natural ground for the


columns.

Not really suitable for long narrow areas


eg 3 x 8 metres.

On rooftops and balconies achieving


appropriate and secure attachment
points can be very difficult.

They can be removed during the winter


months if you want to get the sun at
those times.

Although high wind areas are not


recommended for shadesails they are
significantly more wind tolerant than
many other options such as Folding Arm
Awnings.

2012 www.diyshade.com.au

A lot of coverage is lost due to the


curvature of the edges

Further coverage is lost at the outer


corners where the tensioning devices
(e.g. turnbuckles) are fitted

They typically dont have sides leaving


the area underneath open to the
elements.

Typically shade cloth is a flammable


material. FR (Flame Resistant) fabric is
expensive and can be difficult to source.

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What equipment will be required?
To install a professional quality shadesail requires quite a bit of work and some basic
equipment. If you do not own everything on this list do not worry most of it can easily be
hired. Lets run through the basics of whats required.
Basic equipment includes:

compass (or accurate knowledge of where North is located on your property)


long tape measure
ladder
drill
string for string lines
spirit level
knowledge of the structure of your house

For in ground columns

Vehicle which can carry lengths of steel (such as a ute or roof racks)
Wheelbarrow
Shovel
Auger
Strong flat piece of timber approximately 30cm wide x 1.5m long
Underground services plans including knowledge of location of conduits through existing
concrete slabs, Telstra cables etc

Deciding on the position of the columns


You must plan to install the columns further out than the area of the shadesail itself. This is
because the corners of the shadesail do not come right up to the columns. Most shadesails
require a tensioning device such as a turnbuckle at the outer corners. What this means is
that you lose around 30cm of actual coverage at each corner so in order to compensate, you
have to install the attachment points further apart.
Digging the holes
This is probably the hardest part. The bigger the shadesail you plan to install, the deeper
the holes need to be. As a general guide, even with a small shadesail the holes will need to
be 1/3 in the ground, 2/3 out ie, a least 1 metre or 33 deep. If the ground is hard you
may need to hire an auger from a local hire shop to get the job done.
If you are installing a large shadesail, the holes need to be deeper than this and it isnt
practical to dig the holes by hand. In this instance you may need to hire a mini-digger or get
a contractor in to do this part of the job for you.
When we talk about the hole diameter and depth we are always assuming firm natural
ground. Typically what that means soil which hasnt previously been disturbed. Backfill for
instance in a garden bed will not provide a firm support for the columns and as soon as
tension is applied, the columns will shift.

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Installing the columns
We recommend using metal columns and they are heavy. Usually your local steel merchant
can cut them to length and deliver them. They can be heavy to lift into the holes and this is
the point you might need some extra manpower on hand.
Mixing and pouring the concrete
Once the steel columns are in the holes they need to be concreted in. A typical hole might
be 50cm wide x 1.2 metres deep. This requires .03 of a cubic metre of concrete2 or about
two to three wheelbarrows full. This is quite a bit of mixing on site but it can be done. Using
a concrete mixer makes it easier or what makes it easier still is having the entire load of
concrete delivered in a Mini-mix truck.

Having the concrete delivered makes a tough job easy and it also allows you to specify the
strength of concrete you need rather than just guessing.3
Fitting the shadesail
This is the fun bit. It does, however, require working on ladders to reach up and hook the
shadesail onto the eyebolts for tensioning. If youre not confident and experienced at
working on ladders this might be something you choose to outsource.
You might decide to get in a tradesperson for some parts of the job such as digging the
holes whilst doing other parts yourself such as fitting the shadesail.
How do I ensure that I will end up with a quality job?
That is the purpose of this book. We cover all the information you will need and alert you to
the most common mistakes people typically make when they decide they are going to
design and install a shadesail by themselves. Two of the most common mistakes that
people make which by reading this book you will most certainly avoid are;
1. using columns which are too light / and not making your footings big enough. Both
these things are common causes of shadesails sagging, looking amateur and
subsequently failing.
2. Not understanding the curvature of shadesails and thus not getting adequate shade
when the job is complete.

2 We show you how to calculate the amount of concrete you will need in a later section.
3 Note: A minimum of 20mpa strength concrete is required.

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Permanent or Temporary
As a general rule, a shadesail of the kind and quality we are discussing here should be
considered a permanent installation. Using high quality fabrics, cables and attachments the
shadesails should be able to withstand most conditions. Having said this, shadesails are not
designed to withstand extreme weather events and very high winds. Although taking a
shadesail down on a regular basis isnt recommended (or if the job is done correctly, not
required), when forecasts predict strong weather events approaching, it would be wise to
organise for your shadesail to be taken down and stored until conditions are back to normal.
Often times many people install shadesails in courtyard areas where they need protection
from the heat and sun during the hotter months but in the winter they want use of the area to
enjoy the milder sun. This isnt a problem as there are a number of simple ways shadesail
can be installed so they are relatively easy to take down and put back up as the season
requires.

Movement of the Sun


The sun is constantly moving it rises in the east and sets in the west.
One very important thing you should consider when planning your new shadesail is this
apparent movement and its effect on where the shade falls. My experience is that its fairly
common for people to forget to take this into account when planning their shadesail and the
end result is that the shade doesnt fall where they need it. A bit of forethought and planning
here will mean the difference between a great result and a disappointing one.
Typically what happens is that most people fit the shadesail directly over the area (e.g. an
outdoor table) they want to cover. This works well at certain times of the day but poorly at
other times. Shadow planning is quite complex and other than to provide a general overview
it is beyond the scope of this book, however, if you have a general understanding of the
principles and follow some simple rules youll end up with a much better result.
Firstly, if you want the shade to cover a certain area in the middle of the day then fit the sail
more-or-less directly over the area you want to shade. If you want the shade in the
afternoon then you need to install the shadesail more toward the setting sun. What happens
then is as the sun begins to get lower in the sky, it casts the shade back to the area you
need it. Likewise, if the most important time you need the shade is in the morning then
install the shadesail more toward the direction of the rising sun.
Lets review the following three shadow diagrams to get a better understanding of this.

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Diagram 1 below shows a shadesail installed over an outdoor seating area. This example
shows the shadow pattern on a typical mid-morning (as viewed from the north). As you can
see, the shade is casting well out to the side, away from the sun. If it was important in this
situation that the seating area be completely shaded in the mid-morning period, then the
shadesail should have been installed more toward the east or morning sun.

Diagram 2 shows the same shadesail on a typical mid summers day. Quite clearly the
shade is right over the seating area. If a well shaded area was required for an early
lunchtime, this would be perfect.

Diagram 3 shows the opposite of diagram 1. The shade is casting out to the eastern side
away from the setting sun (as viewed from the north). If the shade for this area was needed
for mid-afternoon activities then this would be a poor design. Instead the shadesail should
have been installed further to the west such that in the afternoon the shade would cast back
to where it was required.

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The diagram below4 shows the difference in the Altitude of the sun between summer and
winter. It references the angles of the mid-day sun for Melbourne Australia and contrasts
the altitude of the winter sun which reaches only 28.5 on the winter solstice (i.e. the shortest
day of the year, 21st June) with the altitude of the sun on the summer solstice (i.e. the
longest day of the year 22nd December) as it reaches 75.5 above the horizon.

This of course has a dramatic impact on where the shade falls at different times of the day
and at different dates in the year.
From a DIY Shade Installers perspective, its important that when youre planning your
shade project that youre aware of the following:

The direction of True North.

In summer in the middle of the day the shadows will be short and the shade will fall
close beneath the object casting it. (Remember: High Sun = Short Shadows which
cast close in beneath the shadesail.)

In the morning and afternoon the sun is relatively low in the sky and it will cut in
under the shadesail causing the shade to cast out to the opposite side. (Remember:
Low Sun = Long Shadows that do not fall directly beneath the shadesail)

In winter, the sun never gets very high in the sky therefore the shade never really
falls directly beneath the shadesail. Typically winter isnt as important for shade
planning because the suns intensity and the resultant UVR are not as great.

If youre not sure about all this theory on sun angles and shade projections and wish to take
a more practical approach then I can make two recommendations.
1. Take some time to do a little bit of your own shadow modelling. Watch where the
sun comes up and where the shadows are cast during the day and take notes or
mark the ground with chalk. I once visited a customer who was doing his own scalemodel of where the shade would fall at certain times of the day using a table. Hed
carried a table out to the area that he was planning to shade and over a period of
time he watched and recorded where the shade fell at certain times of the day.

http://museumvictoria.com.au/discoverycentre/infosheets/planets/the-sun-and-the-seasons/

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After a while he had a pretty good idea of where he needed to build his shadesail to
get the best shade for his purposes, he was able to scale-up his model into an actual
shadesail, confident that the shade would fall exactly where he needed it at the
appropriate times of day.
2. If you are really serious about getting it exactly right then you might want to have
detailed shadow projections done for you. This isnt as hard or expensive as it
sounds. All you need is a plan of your area with a sketch of the shadesail where
youre planning to install it. Indicate on the plan the heights of the posts and where
north is and the rest can be done for you. Ive included the contact details at the
back of companies we have used to do this for various clients.
Having some Visual Representation Plans (VR Plans) prepared can also be a useful tool in
getting a clearer idea of what the final job is going to look like. We do this a lot for bigger
jobs or if were exploring various concepts and wanting to give the client some options. Its
not overly expensive and can be a really useful tool to use yourself if youre not sure how the
final job will look. Of course VR Plans are also useful to accompany plans to council or
when youre part of a committee and you want to make sure everything turns out exactly as
planned.
The CAD (Computer Aided Design) Diagram below was prepared from a hand-sketch we
sent to the Shade Modeller. They provided us with these visuals which we sent to the client.
The client was able to get a clearer idea of exactly what they were going to end up with. As
you can see from the subsequent photos, the CAD diagrams were a pretty accurate
representation of the final job and everyone was happy.

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The actual shadesail we installed as represented by the VR Plans we had done.

The client was delighted with this installation as it was exactly what they had expected.

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Useful Definitions and Dates
Azimuth: Refers to the angle of the sun measured clockwise from north. Think of it like
this, if you point the 12 on a wristwatch toward the north then if the sun was directly behind
you it would be at an azimuth of 180.
Altitude: Refers here to the height or angle of the sun above the horizon. For example in
Melbourne Australia, the highest the sun gets in the sky is an altitude angle of 75.5. If you
were standing on the equator at the exact same time, the sun would be directly overhead or
have an altitude of 90.
Zenith: Refers here to the highest point of the sun on a given day.
Solstice: Refers to two occasions of the year known as the summer and winter solstice. In
the southern hemisphere the winter solstice is the shortest day of the year and the summer
solstice is the longest. The winter solstice in the Southern Hemisphere occurs about June
21 whilst the summer solstice occurs about December 22. The summer solstice is around
June 21 in the Northern Hemisphere with the winter solstice occurring around December 22.

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Chapter 3: Shadesail Design
How Shadesails are made
When designing a shadesail it is useful for you to understand the basic principles used in
manufacture.
A shadesail is a large piece of fabric manufactured in such a way as to allow it to be
tensioned up between columns or other attachment points. In order that a shadesail fits
tightly and does not flap, the edges of the shadesail are curved. The technical term for this
is the cutinary edge (meaning: cut-in-edge). It is also referred to as scalloping or just
curvature. Along this curve, a hem is sewn and into that a strong webbing or steel cable is
fitted. On each corner of the shadesail a strong ring is fitted.
When tension is applied from the corners, this internal cable is pulled tight. As it gets tighter
it tries to straighten thus pulling against the edge of the fabric and causing the belly of the
shadesail to also become tight.
Many people ask why shadesails have curved edges and this is the reason. If the shadesail
was just a square piece of fabric with no cutinary edge there would be no way to apply
even tension across the entire surface of the fabric. This would lead to;
1. the belly or centre of the shadesail sagging
2. the overall shadesail not being tight
3. The sail flapping in the wind
If a shadesail isnt tight, it will flap and in a short period of time will rip out the stitching and
flap itself apart.
Typically a shadesail is made with a cutinary edge of between 5-8%.

Cutinary edges on shadesails are necessary. Yes, you do


lose overall coverage but without the curved edge the sail
will not tension up correctly.

Curved Edge of a Shadesail


With a 5% cutinary

Nominal straight edge

On this example, if the length of the shadesail was 6


metres and the cutinary was 5%, the scallop or curvature
at the deepest point would be 30cm.
Formula: 6000mm x
5% = 300mm

6 metres

When I first started in the industry, most shadesails


were laid out on the floor and cut with shears. Today,
modern technology allows the whole thing to be done
on a plotter-cutter. The fabric isnt touched by human hands.

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The corner of the shadesail will not start directly at the attachment point as there must be a
Tensioning Allowance. This is because shadesails need a tensioning device which links
them to the attachment point (e.g. the eyebolt on the post). The most common way to
achieve this is to use a turnbuckle and we will talk more about this further on. The
Tensioning Allowance is mentioned here to bring it to your attention at the design phase of
the project.
There are occasions when shadesails can be attached directly to
the eyebolt in one or more corners. My preference is to avoid this
as much as possible. The reason is that it does not allow any
room for error. Shadesails are fabric structures and although the
manufacturing of them today is quite accurate, they still vary from
time to time in terms of the amount of stretch etc. If the shadesail
is slightly too big then there is no room for adjustment leaving no
way to take up the slack. I recommend, particularly as a DIYer
that you include a turnbuckle at each corner.

Ready Made VS Custom Made


Ready-made shadesails seldom give a professional end
result. The reason is that it is nearly impossible to
purchase a standard size sail and fit it perfectly into an
existing space. Ive seen it dozens of times where people
purchase a standard size shadesail, say 5 metres x 5
metres square. They then go and put their posts in at
spacings of 5 metres apart. What theyve forgotten is to
allow adequate room for tensioning. What they end up
with is a sagging and very amateur looking shadesail.
Also common is when people install a standard sized shadesail but for some reason they
cant install one of the attachment points in exactly the correct position. What happens then
is that the sails pulls crookedly causing bunching and
IMPORTANT NOTE
wrinkling at one or more corners.
I will emphasise here that as with most things you really do
get what you pay for when it comes to shadesails.
Standard sized, ready made shadesails purchased from a
hardware store are all imported. Most are maximum 90%
UV. The difference in quality between these hardware
store sails and an Australian made product is exponential.

The best (and correct) way to


ensure the shadesail fits
perfectly is to install the
attachment points first and then
take the measurements, not the
other way around.

Types of Shadesails
Essentially there are three main methods that are used to make shadesails and they have to
do with how the perimeter of the sail is made.
1. Webbing Perimeter: Typically a webbing perimeter
(similar to seatbelt material) is used for smaller shadesails.
It can be sewn either into the hem or directly onto the edge
of the fabric to act as the hem itself. Webbing shadesails
work well in situations where the shadesail is intended to be
put up and taken down on a regular basis. The shadesails
dont require as much tension to get them tight, they are
lighter in weight and the webbing is easy to fold into a bag
or box.

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2. Continuous Cable: This is where a hem is sewn around the
entire perimeter of the shadesail and then a cable is
threaded all the way through. At one corner both ends of the
cable overlap. Here there are two wire-rope grips. As the
shadesail is tensioned, the cable slides around and finds its
own natural position. Before any amount of tension is
applied, the wire-rope grips are locked off and the tension is
then transferred onto the perimeter cable. This is a very
good system and is widely used. The downside is that for
the DIY installer, it adds another level of difficulty,
recognising the right moment to lock off the wire-rope grips.
3. Pre-Swagged Shadesails:
Swaging simply means
pressing a metal clamp to form a loop at the end of a cable.
Before shadesails were patterned by computer, it was almost
impossible to pre-swage or lock off each corner of the
internal cable because it was hard to match the stretch of the
fabric to the length of the cable. Today, with modern
technology this is possible and in fact is how my company
makes almost all of our shadesails. The cable running
around the perimeter is locked off at each corner. The great
benefit of this apart from its inherent strength is the ease of installation particularly for
the DIY installer.

Things to look for when ordering a shadesail


There are a few key factors you should be across when considering who to order your new
shadesail from. These include:
1. The Fabric: What type of fabric is the shadesail made from. Later on Ive listed
some of the more widely used fabrics. Essentially you need to be using a fabric
which is designed for a tension application. Certain fabrics are made specifically for
shadesails, however, many are not.
2. The Stitching: Consider what type of stitching
is used. The stitching is one of the most
common areas that a shadesail fails.
We
frequently get people bringing in cheap quality
shadesails to ask if we can restitch the
perimeter. When commissioning your new
shadesail you should consider if the
manufacturer is using a PTFE5 quality thread
such as Tenara. Although using this high strength, long life type of stitching adds
considerably to the overall price, it is almost certainly worth it. You dont want to be
taking your shadesail down and back to the factory for restitching after just a few
years. Personally Id insist on the sail being made with a UV stabilised thread.

Polytetrafluoroethylene

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3. The Corners: If you know what youre looking for you can really tell if youre getting
a high quality shadesail or not. The corners are a very important part of the sail itself
as they take the majority of the load. The perimeter cables or webbing will come to
some sort of ring at the corner. This ring should be heavy duty and should be
stainless steel. Supporting the ring there should be a webbing strap which is sewn
back into the fabric. This keeps the ring straight as well as giving additional support.
One thing weve done with all our shadesails is to build in what we call Cyclonic
Corners. This type of corner has an additional layer of fabric sewn into the corner
(called Doublers) with extra stitching to stiffen the corner up and make it really
strong. If the stitching is inadequate or the corner isnt reinforced, youre almost
certainly going to get a failure in strong winds.
Pre-Swaged Corner
This photo shows the stainless steel wire in the hem and the
mechanical swage. The swage is pressed onto the wire cable
and locked place. Pre-swaged shadesails are very strong and
very easy for the DIYer to fit. Before shadesails were plotted
on computers it wasnt possible to cut the wire and lock it off in
exactly the correct position.

Shadesail Corner
The corner is the place where everything comes together in a
shadesail and where you are able to really assess the
workmanship of a good quality sail. Look for:

A heavy-duty stainless steel ring


Webbing which has been doubled holding the ring to
the sail
Additional stitching at the corner to make it strong.
Two lines of stitching around the hem of the sail
A heavy-duty stainless steel wire rope sewn into the
hem
Overall neat workmanship

Here are some other important features you should look for when
ordering a new shadesail.

Shape
Shadesails work best when they are a relatively symmetrical shape.
For example a six metre by seven metre sail is relatively
symmetrical and works really well whereas one which is say seven
metres x three metres is asymmetrical and doesnt work so well.
The reason for this is the curved edges.

2012 www.diyshade.com.au

TAKE NOTE
The rule of
thumb is a
shadesail should
be at least half
as wide as it is
long.

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In a symmetrical sail the curvature of the sail is minimized across its entire shape. On a sail
which is long and narrow, the curved edges on the long side are greatly accentuated and the
end result is a long sail with a narrow centre.
One way to overcome this is to add additional attachment points. If for instance the area
you wished to cover was seven metres by three metres you could add an additional
attachment point mid-way along the seven metre side to minimise the curvature. This would
result in two smaller scallops rather than one deep one.
The downside of this is that it makes
manufacture
and
installation
more
complicated. If you look at the measuring
guide in the appendices for a six point sail
you will see that you need to take a set of 15
individual measurements (instead of six for a
standard four point sail). If even one of
these measurements is wrong the sail cant
be made and you will need to go through the
time-consuming process of remeasuring.
Also, adding additional attachment points
adds extra cost to the sail due to the
additional
processes
involved
in
manufacture.

Long shadesail with mid-attachment point

Size
As a DIY shadesail installer we would recommend that you dont tackle a shadesail any
bigger than 10 x 10 metres. The main reasons for this are:
1. Firstly, because the bigger the shadesail the deeper the holes, the heavier the
columns and the harder it will be to tension the shadesail.
2. Big shadesails can be quite difficult to fit. Often times a small block and tackle is
required to get them tight and most DIYers dont usually have this kind of equipment.

Shade cloth Fabric


Shadesails, also known as shade cloth sails are made from an advanced polymer material
called Polyethylene. The type of fabric which is suitable for tensioning applications is a
knitted (not woven) construction. Thin strands called monofilaments, a bit like fishing line,
are knitted together on large machines to create a very strong mesh. Depending on the
brand and application, sometimes a flat tape is knitted into the fabric which is designed to
increase the shade factor of the cloth whilst minimising the GSM (grams per square metre)
or weight of the fabric. Each strand of the fabric is treated with UV stabilizing agents so that
the material is impervious to the harsh UV rays it will be exposed to.
Over the last decade great advances have been made with the pigmentation of the material
so that it remains colour fast for its entire lifespan. Not so long ago if you installed a black
shadesail within just a few years it you would look up to see that it was now a motely shade
of elephant grey. With most of the leading fabrics today, this wont happen. If you buy a
black shadesail, after a decade, it will still be black. Some fabrics are further treated with fire
retardant agents.
Below is a summary of some of the most widely used brands of commercial shadecloth
suitable for shadesails and when you are looking to install your own shadesail the brand you
choose should be well proven in the market place.

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DIY Shade Shadesails Made Easy


Youll notice that most shade cloth fabrics today extend a 10 Year Pro-Rata warranty. This
simply means that if after nine years the fabric fails and you make a warranty claim, the
manufacturer will make an assessment and if deemed a legitimate warranty claim will credit
you back one years value only.
Brand
Synthesis

UV
Degradation
Warranty
10 yr. Pro
rata

Monotec

10 year UV
Warranty

Rainbow
Z16

10 Year Pro
rata

Coolaroo

Usually 5
Year Pro rata

PolyFab

10 Year Pro
rata

General Comments
Gale Pacific manufactures the Synthesis Range of
shadecloth. The Synthesis Shadecloth Range utilises the
latest technologies to combine High Density Polyethylene,
advanced Ultra Violet (UV) stabilisers and pigments and the
latest manufacturing techniques to produce a broad range of
shadecloth for a number of applications. Included in the
range are:
Synthesis AF-230 A lighter weight shadecloth for smaller
projects
Commercial 95: A heavy duty, high shade factor fabric that
continues to perform in the hot Australian sun. It features
high shade factors of 95% (depending on colour) making it
widely suitable to applications such as playground shade.
AF-350: Gale Pacifics extra heavy duty shadecloth built for
large shade applications
http://www.synthesisfabrics.com
Australian made, the Monotec 370 series is a very high
strength shade cloth. Stiff and heavy to touch with little
stretch this fabric offers an extensive range of colours
including many very bright colours such as lime, orange etc. It
ranges in shade factors from 50% to a maximum of 90%.
http://www.monotec.com.au
A widely used fabric that has proven itself over decades of
use. Extensive range of colours. Best suited to small to
medium shadesails as it can stretch in some high wind or
larger applications. It has been rated up to 99% UV block
http://www.rainbowshade.com.au
This is Gale Pacifics retail or domestic shadecloth brand. It
is primarily used for shadecloth blinds, pergola covers etc.
Smaller ready made (imported) shadesails are available in
the material. The UV rating is usually a maximum 90% in a
limited colour range.
http://www.coolaroo.com
Polyfab supplies a range of high quality shadecloths
including:
Architec 400: An extremely strong product made for very
large shadesail jobs
Comshade: A heavy duty knitted shadecloth designed for
commercial and heavy duty shade applications
FR Comshade: A shadecloth with fire retardant properties
PolyFX: A knitted shadecloth suited to smaller shadesail
applications such as covering pools and courtyards.
http://www.polyfab.com.au

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UVR Block VS Shade Factor
Shade cloth is rated by both its UVR Block and its Shade Factor and these terms can be
confusing.
Shade factor refers to the amount of shade being cast. For instance a solid brick wall
would cast a 100% shade factor (a shadow) where as say a vine over a trellis might only
cast a 50% shade factor. You can roughly gauge the shade factor by looking at the
shade/shadow on the ground. If you stood in the shadow of a brick wall, your shadow would
be invisible as it would blend into the complete shadow of the wall.
In the picture below, photo A shows a person standing in complete sunlight and their
shadow is crisp and clear. In photo B they are standing under a shadesail. Their shadow is
now obscured by the shadecloth. The shade factor of the cloth is high (maybe 90%) but not
absolute. In photo C they are standing almost in complete shade their shadow is barely
visible. The shade factor in Photo C would be the highest.

A high Shade Factor is important when selecting which shadecloth to use for a shadesail. A
material with a high shade factor creates a cool and welcoming shade area. Shade factor,
however, doesnt directly relate to Ultraviolet Radiation Block or UVR Block.
UVR Block is a measure of how much potentially harmful radiation is reduced, or blocked by
a fabric or cloth. UVR block is an important measurement to understand when it comes to
shade cloth because it is UV radiation which leads to sunburn, skin damage and increases
the risk of developing skin cancer. A UVR rating of 94% is the recommended minimum UVR
block you should be looking for when choosing the brand of shadecloth for your shadesail.
The table below shows the technical data of Synthesis Commercial 95 Shadecloth. This is
one of the main reasons why my business has continued using it for all these years. Look at
the column to the far right and you can see that the tested % of UVR Block for most colours
is very high. Most of the colours test above the 94% level meaning that in test conditions
this was the percentage of Ultra Violet Radiation (in the 290nm 400nm spectrum range)
which was absorbed or blocked by the shadecloth.

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Shadesail Colours
Shadesails today come in virtually every popular colour. Different manufacturers have
different colour ranges so if you are after a specific colour you can advise your shadesail
manufacturer or do some research online yourself by visiting some of the fabric
manufacturers websites. This chart shows a selection of the common colours available in
Rainbow Z16.
Ive found over the years that very light colours including White, Champagne, Natural can
produce glare, especially over pale coloured paved areas or around swimming pools. Also,
some of the Champagne / Natural colours can look more yellow than anticipated.
Without a doubt, the most popular colour is Desert Sand. It is a neutral colour which blends
in with most surroundings. It has a high UV rating and doesnt show the dirt like some
colours. Most of the colours are fade-proof although I have noticed over the years that Red
can fade more than any other colour.

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Shadesail Designs
The Hypar Design
The most widely used design for shadesails is to have diagonally opposite high and low
posts. This creates a 3-D twist in the sail or what is commonly known as a hypar6. On the
example sail here you can see how this is achieved. Posts
A and C are the high posts whilst Posts B and D are the
low. This diagonally opposite installation method is the
simple yet effective way that shadesails achieve such an
interesting architectural effect.
This twist creates a kind of 3-D effect and apart from the
obviously striking visual appeal, it achieves several other
important outcomes.
1. It allows the sail to be more evenly tensioned
2. It disperses water in heavy downpours
3. It allows the low points to be positioned toward the
direction of the sun and thus cast the shade back into
the area it is required at the time it is most needed.
When planning to install a hypar sail there are a number of
steps to follow to achieve a great result.

TAKE NOTE
A flat sail is a poor design.
It will be hard to tension,
look unprofessional,
collect debris and in a hail
storm may collect a large
quantity of hail putting
pressure on attachment
points. Always design
your shadesail with at
least one point higher than
the rest.

The place to start


is to decide the
height
above
ground of the low
columns. This can
vary
greatly
depending on what you are covering but as a
general rule, the low posts should be set as low
as practical. This goes to creating maximum
shade efficiency. The lower the posts, the less
sunlight is allowed to get in and the better
coverage you will achieve. It is usually not
recommended to set the posts any lower than 2.1
metres. In some council areas this is a necessary
regulation but in practical terms, 2.2 metres is a
good height for the low posts of a shadesail. It caters well for even very tall people whilst not
seeming to be too low when you are under it.
The next step is to decide in which configuration you are going to orient the sail. If it is
important to you to have shade in the mornings then set one of the low points toward the
east7. That way you minimize the morning sun cutting under the edge of the sail.
Next we need to determine the heights of the high posts. There is quite a simple formula for
doing this.

6
7

Hyper is short for Hyperbolic Parabola which is essentially a twisted effect


southern hemisphere

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Calculating the Hypar
Take the length of the longest side of the shadesail and multiply it by 15%.
For example, if you are installing a shadesail and the longest side is 7 metres:
7000mm x 15% = 1050mm
You now just add the answer to the height of your low post.
2200mm + 1050mm = 3250mm
You now know that if you set your low posts at 2.2 metres high you should set your high
posts at 3.25 metres high.
This formula is geared to achieve a striking but not overly dramatic hypar effect. It is perfect
for use in most domestic situations as it balances shade efficiency with aesthetic effect. If
you want to achieve a more dramatic effect they you can increase the variance in height
from 15% to say 20%. Using the same size sail as above is would be the difference:
7000 x 20% = 1400
2.2m +1.4m = 3.6m
The following example photos contrast this effect and give you a good idea of how the
finished sails differ.
This sail give a good example of a gentle hypar with
roughly a 15% variance in height between the high and
low posts. It still achieves the 3-D twisted effect without
the high posts being to high and letting to much sun in.

Gentle Hypar

This is a photo of a shadesail with a more dramatic


hypar.
The high and low posts are considerably
different in height. The design brief from the director of
this childcare facility was to install something that was
very visually striking.

Dramatic Hypar

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Other Designs
High Point Sails
Another common design which works well is the High Point Sail. This works by installing
one tall column (or attachment point) and three low points. There are several benefits to
this:
1. The sail is very shade efficient as it minimises the areas where the sun can cut under
the edge of the sail
2. It still maintains an interesting visual effect
3. The high point directs a run-off of heavy rain or even hail which will minimise the
likelihood of water pooling in the middle and causing the sail to sag which can lead to
structural failure (i.e. the attachment points failing, the sail ripping or the posts
bending)

High Point Sail

Awning or Skillion Design


As opposed to a hypar design where the high and low posts are diagonally opposite each
other, an Awning design is simply where the high posts are set together at one end and the
low posts at the other end. The example below show a shadesail with two high points
attached back to the building stretching out to two lower columns in the driveway.

Skillion or Awning Design

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This design still achieves the necessary fall across the length of the shadesail. Many people
would consider this not as visually striking as a Hypar design but in some situations such as
the one shown, it is simply the most practical.

Triangular Shadesails
This is it - the biggest, or at least in our experience, the most common mistake people
make when installing a shadesail for the first time. They think they should install a
triangular or multiple triangular shadesails that cross-over. Read on and see why this
is a recipe for disappointment.
If this book could achieve only one thing it would be to dissuade you from installing a
triangular shadesail. The fact is, triangular shadesails dont work. When I say that they
dont work, I mean that in the context of providing adequate shade. If you are looking for a
purely visual effect then you might want to consider installing one but if your goal is to create
a quality shade area for a pool or outdoor entertaining area, I strongly recommend that you
do not install a triangular shadesail. I will tell you why.
As weve discussed, shadesails are made with curved or cutinary edges. This is necessary
to ensure they tension up correctly. Naturally, triangular shadesails are also made with
curved edges. This curvature cuts deeply into the shade area of the triangle. The loss of
shade area is particularly bad in shadesails which have sides of markedly different lengths.
What tends to happen is you are left with a long narrow strip of fabric which provides virtually
no usable shade. In the industry this is often referred to as the G-String effect. The
examples below clearly demonstrate this
point.
The first example is of a shadesail that I
personally installed but did not design.
The posts were installed by a builder who
thought he knew everything there was to
know about shadesails. He sent me the
measurements and although I mentioned
to him that he wasnt going to get a great
result, he persisted with his design. His
objective here was to provide shade to
this outdoor table which you can see
here. After Id fitted the sail for him (and
while he was having a lie down having
made such a big mistake) I climbed up on his roof and took this photo. It is a good example
of a very bad example of shadesail design and one I am doing my best to help you avoid.
Many people plan is to install two triangular shadesails instead of a single rectangular sail as
they just like the look of the triangles. The truth is they dont know what disaster they are
actually planning. The photo below shows an installation where four columns have been
installed and rather than installing a normal hypar sail which would have done a really nice
job, the person has chosen to get a bit clever and install two triangular shadesails to give a
more interesting effect. Not only are two triangles significantly more expensive than one
rectangle, notice the big gap between the two sails where the sun will stream straight
through. Notice also the long narrow strips of fabric as the sails taper toward the point
creating almost zero shade.

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Below is another example where the designer needed to cover a large outdoor space with
shade and instead of installing a series of hypar sails, he chose to install a series of large
triangles. The glaring issue I see here is of course the large gaps between the sails created
by the cutinary edges.

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Reasons not to install a triangle shadesail:

You will get minimal shade coverage especially if the sides are of different lengths
(i.e., a long narrow triangle)
Triangular shadesails are relatively expensive. For a minor incremental increase in
cost you achieve significantly greater shade with a rectangular shape.
They
require
considerable
more
tension to get them
tight

Another thing Ive noticed over


the years is that when people
see shadesails similar to the
beautiful courtyard hypar sail
in this photo, the actually think
that it is two triangles when in
fact it is simply a single hypar
sail.
I think you can clearly see that
this shadesail has many
advantages over two triangle
shadesails. Let me restate
them:

It is less expensive
than two triangular sails
It requires less tension on the attachment points to get it installed tight
It gives a lot more shade coverage than two triangular shadesail would
It doesnt allow light to come into the central area where the shade is needed most
It still achieves the architectural hypar look which so many people desire

This sail below was originally going to


be a triangle. The owners of this home
had small children and they wanted to
provide shade in the courtyard where
the children spent quite a bit of time
playing. After quite a bit of convincing
we agreed to add a 4th attachment
point. Even though the sail is quite
narrow at the end nearest the white
door, you can see how much better
value they achieved by putting in this
extra attachment point. I know, and by
now I think you do as well, that if they
had in fact gone with their original idea
of a triangle, they would have been bitterly disappointed.
As a final comment on triangular shadesails I would say that they are acceptable if the
triangle is equilateral - that is all sides are the same length. In this instance the cutinary is
minimised and a portion of usable coverage is maintained.

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Other Shadesail Designs
So far weve talked about standard four point shadesails. These are the best and easiest for
DIY shade sail installers to start with because if you follow the clear guidelines given here
you are going to end up with a great result. Many people, however, want to get a bit more
technical or their site may require some of the more advanced options available with
shadesails. Here we will cover some of those techniques.
Sail-track Edges
Sail-track is commonly used on smaller sails where a
straight edge along a wall is required. The sail-track is fitted
onto the wall creating a long straight groove. When the
shadesail is made a rope or Kedar edge is stitched into
one hem of the sail. This allows it to slide into the sail-track
and create a straight side.
Sail-track edge sails can serve a useful function in some
situations as they do away with one of the curved edges of
the sail. Generally they arent suited to sails that have an
extension (i.e. extend out from the wall) much greater than
4-5 metres as the track isnt strong enough to hold the sail
in place. Sails with sail-track edges also require greater
tensioning than sails without as they are lacking one
cutinary edge and thus the other three edges have to take
up the slack. Not all walls are suited to having this extra
tension applied to them.
Five Point Sails
In instances where the sail is going to be quite long and
narrow, say seven metres long by only three metres wide,
additional attachment points (over the standard four
corners) are a good way to minimise the curvature of the
sail. In this example we added an additional attachment
point to the side along the house. This helped spread the
load on the wall as well as minimise the curvature along
that side giving greater coverage. What works best is to
make the middle attachment point some half a metre higher than the outer attachments.
This helps with tensioning and also improves to the visual effect of the sail.
Six Point Sails
Six point sails can also work really well and are an
effective shadesail design. They work best where the
area to cover is relatively long and narrow. installing
them as hypar design such as in this photo works well
where the posts are alternatively high and low along the
length of the sail. Alternatively, making the central posts
the two high columns also works well with the lower
columns on the outer edges. What I like to do with 6 point
sails is to make the two central posts direct attach, that is,
I dont use a turnbuckle at these two points but rather just
two extended shackles. When fitting the sail I recommend first fitting the two central points
and then tensioning out to the edges afterwards.

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Sails with More than Six Points
Sometimes, the best way to get the job done is to install a
shadesail with even more than six points of attachment.
Right is an illustration of an eight point sail I put into a
Dog Boarding Kennel. Due to the design of the dog-runs
the owner wanted to cover all of them with a single sail.
The sail itself ended up being 6 metres wide by 24 metres
long. It was particularly tricky to install (due to barbed
wire fences between each of the dog runs) but in the end
it came up beautifully. I did it as a single sail in order to
give the most coverage possible to the area.
The sail was done as a multiple hypar, that is high and
low points opposite each other all way along. The benefit of doing a sail like this is to best
maximum coverage. The downside is a very detailed process to actually measure-up for the
shadesail. I would strongly recommend against this kind of design for a first time installation.
Double or Cross-Over Shadesails
Lots of people I speak with love the look of cross-over or
one shadesail on top of another. Granted this can look
great, especially if the colours of the sails are
contrasted. If youre planning to do something along
these lines you need to be aware that there is some
additional planning required.
Playground Shadesails
I make a point here of discussing some very poorly
designed playground shadesails I have seen over the years and make particular note of a
commonly used design which simply doesnt deliver.
Playground sails are by their nature
designed to achieve two main
objectives;
1. Provide quality shade to the
children (and adults) using the
area
2. Look spectacular and create a
visually inviting play space.
My observation is that most people
involved in the planning process often
forget about point 1 and focus on point
2. It is my contention that this is a
mistake.
Function
must
take
precedence over form in this situation.
The objective is to protect young
sensitive skins from harsh UV radiation
and the use of style over substance lets the entire shade industry down.

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The design I refer to which is particularly guilty of achieving pretty over practical is this;
where a tall post is installed in the centre with a ring of lower outer posts set around it. The
central post acts as the attachment for multiple triangles which are tensioned out to the
lower posts set around it.
The photo above is an example of what Im talking about. Here we have an elaborate
childrens playground area which has had some very ineffectual (and very expensive) shade
sails installed. Observe the massive gaps between the shadesails where the light can enter.
Walking up close to the central column where the triangle sails come to their narrowest point
there is virtually no usable shade what-so-ever. Granted this is a visually striking design but
as far as providing useable shade are for children to safely play under on hot days, it is all
but useless.
Side-shades
So far weve discussed shadesails as
being overhead but this does not
necessarily need to be the case.
Vertical or side shades can work
perfectly well and look great as well.
Sometimes, a side or vertical shade
is a better solution than an overhead
shade. This design is particularly
useful where you need to block the
morning or afternoon sun and where
a horizontal or overhead shade just
isnt going to get the job done.
The principles of designing and
installing side shades are more or
less the same as those of overhead shadesails. The main caveat I would offer here is to
ensure everything is made very strong, particularly
the footings or foundations. This is of course
because side shades catch a lot more wind than
overhead shades, essentially acting in a not
dissimilar fashion as a sail on a yacht. If a small
sail and a light breeze can pull a boat along then
certainly there is a great deal of force exerted
across the sheet and strength is imperative. This
sails has a column on one side and on the other it is
anchored back to a building. Personally I would not
be to comfortable anchoring a sail of this design to
a
building
without
independent
engineer
certification. It is difficult to gauge the suitability and strength of an existing building or
structure, however, you can easily identify the strength and capacity of steel posts concreted
into the ground.8

Although I dont have any specific engineering for this type of sail, my rule of thumb is always make them
freestanding (i.e. columns in holes as opposed to attaching to existing structures such as walls) and when
referencing the size of the posts and the footings, always beef them up by going to the engineering specification
above what is recommended for a an overhead shadesail.

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Waterproof Shadesails
Waterproof shadesails are difficult and present many traps for DIYers. The bottom-line is if
youve never installed a shadesail before, then a waterproof shadesail is not the place to
start. Lets address some of the reasons why:

Unlike shadesails, waterproof shadesails are made from a solid type of fabric, usually
a PVC material. PVC is much heavier than shadecloth therefore it requires
considerably greater tensioning.
PVC is a solid fabric with no give or stretch therefore to get a vinyl sail measured and
installed without any wrinkles requires much greater skill than shade cloth.
The most common mistake with waterproof shadesails is not allowing adequate fall
across the surface of the sail. I recommended a 15% variance in height for a shade
cloth shadesail as an effective standard. With a waterproof shadesail, this would be
the minimum you would need. The reason of course is that without adequate fall,
water will quickly pool in the middle or around the lip turning it from a sail into a
sump. This loads up the attachment points causing dangerous and dramatic failures
of columns, walls or any other fixture. Also, once stretched PVC fabric remains
stretched and will not go back to the original shape like shadecloth.
Waterproof shadesails, unlike shadecloth sails do not allow wind to pass through and
therefore even a slight breeze is transferred into a strong force against the sail.
That means that the attachment points must be much more strongly engineered that
for a normal shadecloth sail.
As mentioned earlier, PVC is a much heavier material than shadecloth and therefore
requires greater tension. This is achieved in several ways
o Stronger attachment points
o Stronger tensioning equipment (chains, turnbuckles etc.)
o A requirement for a greater cutinary edge. Unlike with shadecloth sail, the
cutinary can be as little as 4-5%, with a PVC sail this should be increased to
at least double that. This results in (surprisingly) less overall coverage
o Waterproof shadesails are much more expensive overall. Ive quoted out
jobs where the cost of installing a PVC sail was double that of a shadecloth
sail.

In summary, this book does not cover waterproof shadesail as they are a specialised type of
work. My experience is that if you really want the area to be waterproof and you really want
it to be a shadesail then you should contact a very experienced company in your area and
get them to do the job for you.

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Other Design Ideas
Following are just a few more for shapes and design ideas that you might also find useful.

Different shapes and installation patterns.

A series of sails in an interesting pattern

Concept plan for a double layered shadesail installation using contrasting colours.

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Chapter 4: Installing the Attachment Points
The attachment points provide the structural foundation for the shadesail and as such are
equally as important as the shadesail itself. More than any other factor, this is where most
DIY shadesail installers come unstuck they simply under specify the strength of their
attachment points and the overall job fails to live up to their expectations.
In a perfect world shadesails work best when the
attachment points are poles in holes where you have
full control of how deep the hole and how strong the
column is. However, you may want to consider
attaching at least one corner to and existing structure
such as your roof, wall or fascia. Well discuss when
and where to do this and when and where not to.
Well also look at a selection if innovative shadesail
attachment points that people have used and discuss
the relative merits and drawbacks of each.
Poles in Holes
We recommend using steel columns and not timber. It is almost
impossible to gauge the strength of a timber post as not all timber
is created equal. Timber posts bend, bow, flex and, eventually
BREAK. For any decent sized shadesail, unless youre thinking
about using something the size of a telegraph column, you are
going to run into trouble.
Steel posts can be measured and the strength assessed
according to set specifications. Below you will see a table you
can use to select the correct size column to match the size of the
shadesail you are planning. Most people are greatly surprised
when we tell them just how big the columns need to be and how
deep the holes need to be in order to safely support the
shadesail. Without this knowledge the layman takes a guess at
the size of his columns
and depth of his holes
and
invariably,
underestimates and after
the first strong wind the
columns move and the
sail sags.

1.

What you need to know


about Steel Columns
Lets quickly discuss a bit
of industry jargon so that
when you go to order
your posts you get it right.

2012 www.diyshade.com.au

2.

The timber posts bent and


broke on this small
shadesail after only a
couple of months.

3.

4.

1. RHS:(Rectangular(Hollow(
Section
2. CHS:(Circular(Hollow(Section
3. SHS:(Square(Hollow(Section
4. NB:(Nominal(Bore

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Definitions
SHS = Square Hollow Section
CHS = Circular Hollow Section
RHS = Round Hollow Section
OD = Outside Diameter
NB = Nominal Bore or internal diameter
Grade: 350 Grade steel is recommended as it is considered to be structural grade steel.
250 Grade steel is less expensive but it does not have the strength of 350
Column Detail

Column Detail

Knock-on
Metal Cap
Eyebolt
40mm from top
Steel column
Size as specified

H
ei
gh
t
Column setback
2- 4 from Vertical

D
ep
th

Concrete
Footing
Anti-twist
Anti-lift bar
Diameter

Paver to stop
sinking

This chart shows the basic


column detail.
The eyebolt
should be set down approx.
40mm from the top. A knock-on
cap should be fitted to seal the
column. Approximately 30cm
from the bottom of the column,
drill a hole through and fit a
piece of reo-bar or galvanised
12mm dia rod. This help anchor
the column into the concrete.
Place a paver in the bottom of
the hole to prevent the column
sinking.
After pouring the concrete
orientate the eyebolt toward its
diagonal opposite.
I also
recommend tilting the column
back just a fraction. That way,
when the tension is on it and the
top of the column flexes in
slightly if youve set it back, the
job will come into plumb. If you
dont do this it can look like the
column slants inwards which
doesnt look good.

My preference is to use circular steel columns. The reason is because CHS pipe is readily
available and because when installed, I think they look the most impressive. The following
chart will guide you in selecting the correct size columns for the size of the sail you are
intending to install. My experience is that engineers talk in OD whilst steel merchants talk in
NB so its important that you know which is which and what youre getting.

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Structural Engineering Detail
The following chart is a simple easy to follow ready-reckoner for you to use. All the steel
sizes are industry standard and should be readily available.9
Reading the Chart
To use the chart firstly determine how long the longest side of your shadesail is going to be.
Then, reading across, check the column size you will need. If for example you are installing
a shadesail which is 6 x 7 metres you will need columns which are 114.3 x 4.5 CHS. 114.3
refers to the outside diameter of the pipe. 4.5 refers to the wall thickness. Next check the
footing for hole size you need to dig. In this instance the diameter of the hole would be
400mm and the depth would be 1350. Finally check to see what the maximum allowable
height of the high column can be.
STRUCTURAL DETAIL CHART
COLUMN SIZE FOR SHADECLOTH SAILS CIRCULAR STEEL POSTS
Square/Rectangular
shadecloth sail with
the longest side up
to:
4 metres
7 metres
10 metres
12 metres

Column Size

Footing Size
Dia x Depth in mm

Maximum Column
Height above
ground in metres

101.6 x 4.0 CHS


114.3 x 4.5 CHS
139.7 x 5.0 CHS
165.1 x 5.0 CHS

400 x 1050
400 x 1350
500 x 1500
600 x 1700

2.8m
3.25m
4.0m
4.4m

**Notes on Column & Footing Sizes:

All columns to be of C350 grade Circular Hollow Sections (pipes).


All columns should be galvanised steel.
Typically the low post will be set at 2.2m AGL (above ground level)
Engineering is for W30 wind regions. Typically this is suburban regions not in
cyclone areas and not located in exposed area or hills.
Footing detail assumes firm natural ground. If digging into backfill or uncompacted
soil, the footing sizes will need to be increased
Columns supporting double connections should be increased to the next size column
and the diameter of the hole should be increased by 100mm.

If you require specific engineering details to submit to Council contact: info@shadeaustralia.com.au

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If you would prefer to use square columns (SHS) instead of round columns (CHS) refer to
the chart below. The same constraints as the previous chart apply.
STRUCTURAL DETAIL CHART
COLUMN SIZE FOR SHADECLOTH SAILS SQUARE HOLLOW SECTION
Square/Rectangular
shadecloth sail with
the longest side up
to:
5 metres
8 metres
10 metres

Column Size

Footing Size
Dia x Depth in mm

Maximum Column
Height above
ground in metres

75 x 75 x 5 SHS
100 x 100 x 5 SHS
125 x 125 x 5 SHS

400 x 1050
400 x 1350
500 x 1500

2.8m
3.3m
4.0m

**Notes on Column & Footing Sizes:

All columns to be of 350 grade Square Hollow Sections (SHS).


All columns should be galvanised steel.
Typically the low post will be set at 2.2m AGL (above ground level)
Engineering is for W30 wind regions. Typically this is suburban regions not in
cyclone areas and not located in exposed area or hills.
Footing detail assumes firm natural ground. If digging into backfill or uncompacted
soil, the footing sizes will need to be increased
Columns supporting double connections should be increased to the next size column
and the diameter of the hole should be increased by 100mm.

Important Safety Note: Shadesails are not designed to be installed in areas where
extreme weather events such as very high winds, snow or hail are likely to occur. Such
circumstances can cause structural failure as well as irreparable damage to the shadesail
itself. In the instance where an extreme weather event is likely or predicted, the shadesail
should be removed ahead of time
Ordering The Columns
The best way to do this is to contact a steel merchant in your area and have them cut the
columns to the length you require. Order the knock-on metal caps from the same steel
merchant.
If you are happy to go with just galvanised steel columns you can arrange for the steel
merchant to deliver them directly to you. If however you would prefer to match the colour of
the columns to say the existing fencing then youre probably going to want to consider
getting them powdercoated.
Powdercoating is a process where by an electrical charge is applies to the metal and then a
powder is sprayed onto the steel and baked on. It give a long lasting result and also makes
the whole job look better.
In this instance, you will need to co-ordinate with the steel merchant to deliver the columns
to the powdercoater. Make sure your columns are drilled before they are powdercoated
(refer below). Once the Powdercoating has been done you will then need to have the
powdercoater deliver the finished columns to the job-site. Not all powdercoaters offer a
delivery service.

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Equipping the Columns
The final thing to do in readiness for installing the columns is to fit or
equip the columns with the eyebolts and anti-twist/anti lift bars and top
caps.
The easiest way for the DIYer to fit the eyebolt is to use an Eyebolt
with Collar assembly. Drill a hole approximately 40mm from the top
through one face of the column and fit the eyebolt. You can now fit
the knock-on cap.
Refer to the Turnbuckle and Hardware Table further on to select the appropriate sizes.
The anti-twist/anti lift bar is important because it helps lock the steel column into the
concrete itself. Drill a hole approx. 300mm from the bottom of the column and insert the rod.
Use a heavy duty rod of at least 12mm dia galvanised steel here. Make sure the rod is tight
in the hole and doesnt fall out when youre lowering the column into the hole.
Digging the Holes
Before even starting to dig the holes, it is absolutely imperative that you determine if there
are any underground services in the area. This can include sewerage lines and other pipes
as well as telephone and electrical cables.
WARNING: NEVER DIG BEFORE ENSURING THE AREA IS CLEAR OF CABLES AND
PIPES
There are a number of ways to check this.

Do a visual check. Follow any pipes, cables or conduits and see if it looks like they
are going to be in the vicinity of where you want to dig.
Review the plans of the property. Often times they clearly mark where the pipes and
services are.
Contact Dial Before you Dig 1100.com.au10. This is a free service and can be a
useful tool to check where underground services are located.
Contact an underground detection service company. They use sonar and other
devices to locate where pipes and cables may be located. This is a paid service but
if you are in any doubt as to the location of cables or pipes it is well worth it.

At the end of the day, exercise extreme caution when digging into the ground. Not all
services give accurate readings and cables and pipes tend to be in the most
unexpected places.
Getting the holes wrong for their columns is the
probably the second most common mistake people
make and the main reason that amateur shadesail
installers end up with wonky columns and sagging
sails. They simply dont realise how much force
shadesails actually generate, especially when its
windy.
Ive see it so many times where the

10

Relevant to Australia only. Other countries will have different organisations to perform these
functions.

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shadesail has become lose because the columns have moved in the ground. When I ask,
How deep did you make the footings? they typically say to me, (and this includes
experienced builders), Oh about 50cm that should have been deep enough, shouldnt it?
The answer is no and youll have noticed in the Structural Detail Charts on previous pages
that even a small shadesail needs the columns to be dug in at least one metre. Let me
emphasis this point here again because it will save you a whole lot of trouble later on trying
to dig down the side and add more concrete Dont try and shortcut by digging shallow
holes for your columns.
An important point to plan for is also what you intend to do with the soil that you dig out of
the holes. Sometimes it can be disposed of on-site by spreading it around a garden bed etc.
but usually the soil which comes out of the holes has a high content of clay and some rocks.
If you dont have anywhere to get rid of it, youre going to need to think of another solution.
Hiring a skip bin is a simple way to deal with this issue.
You can dig the holes by hand with a
shovel and crowbar although thats
pretty hard work. Ive used the augers
that you can hire from Hire Shops but
they require two people to manage and
if the auger gets snagged on a tree-root
they tend to spin the handle out of your
grip and can be quite dangerous. The
easiest way is to hire a contractor with
mini-digger to come in and get the job
done for you. Dingo is a well known brand and if you
Google dingo hire or hire mini digger your likely to find someone wholl be happy to come
and do the job for you. Once the holes have been dug they can also remove the auger and
put the bucket on and clean up all the soil as well.
Note: If youve dug the holes ahead of time it is wise to cover them if you think its going to
rain. If the columns fill with water it not only makes the job much messier but it can
adversely affect the curing of the concrete.
Standing The Columns
Once the eyebolts, anti-twist anti -lift bars and caps have been fitted, the columns are ready
to stand. The steel columns are heavy so it helps to have plenty of manpower onsite when
this is being done. Carry the columns into position
Handy Tip: When youre putting the
and using a timber plank as shown, slide the
column into the hole, position a plank so
columns into the vertical position.
that column can slide down it rather than
the edge of the hole. This just prevents
scraping soil into the bottom of the hole.

Once the columns are in position, youre now


ready to pour the concrete. Many people confuse
the terms concrete and cement.
Cement, along with water and aggregate (gravel)
is an ingredient of concrete.
Its concrete that you need to fill the holes with, not
cement. If youre purchasing bagged product from
a hardware supplier you can buy pre-mixed
concrete (minus the water) for the job. If youre
ordering in ready-mixed then you should order
minimum 20mpa strength. Many people ask if its

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ok to use quick set or rapid set concrete and for this application we recommend against it.
This is mainly because it lacks strength.
Calculating Volume of Concrete Required
To calculate the volume of concrete you are going to need I work it out as though the hole
was a square not round. It works out to give you a little extra concrete but sometimes that
bit extra really helps.
Say the hole you dug was 50cm dia and 1.5m deep.
To calculate how much concrete to order
0.5 x 0.5 x 1.5 = 0.375m3
If you have 4 holes you need 0.375m3 x 4 which means you need to order 1.5 cubic metres
of concrete.
Pouring the Concrete
The concrete goes straight in and moulds around the steel
column sitting in the hole. It can be mixed by hand using a
wheelbarrow or it can be order in ready-mixed. Even if it is not
possible to back the truck right up to the hole, barrowing it from
the truck to the hole is usually much easier than mixing the
concrete yourself by hand.
Once the concrete has been poured into each hole you should
stand and orient the column. Using a spirit level ensure the
column is perfectly vertical. Orient the eyebolt toward the
diagonal opposite column as this will be the direction of pull
from the tensioned shadesail. It is always a good idea once
the column is in this position just to angle it back about 2-4
Don't fill concrete to the very top. degrees. The reason for this is that if you set it perfectly
Leave space to put soil back in
vertical, once the shadesail is tensioned, the top of the column
and re-grow grass.
can flex inwards and it will
look like you have set it out of plumb. It always looks
better to have the column leaning back a bit than to have
it leaning forward. You can angle it back further if you like
just be aware that if you angle a column back to far it
can become hazard for people to walk into.
Usually, the mass of the wet concrete is adequate to hold
the column in position. If however it is a windy day or the
concrete is not firm enough to hold the column vertical
you may need to brace it in position so it cant move. This
will become more necessary when the holes are bigger.
Other Types Of Attachment Points
The end goal must be a structurally sound attachment point onto which you can attach and
tension the shadesail. Here are some other common ways of achieving this.

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Bolt-down Columns
Often columns are bolted to an existing concrete slab rather than being dug into the ground.
This is generally not recommended. Concrete slabs such as driveways are designed to bear
heavy loads but not to have the pulling forces of something like a shadesail column. The
likely result would be that the concrete would crack out or the bolts holding the column would
fail and the whole structure would fail. Unless you seek advice from an engineer regarding
the suitability of your specific concrete slab for this purpose, bolting down the column for a
shadesail should not be done. It is preferable to core drill through the existing column slab.
The cost of a core drill is usually less than the cost and problem of sourcing a bolt down
base plate, gussets and welding to manufacture a bolt down column.
Wall plates
It is very common for people to think that a brick
wall makes a solid and suitable attachment point
for a shadesail. The fact is, this isnt the case.
Brick walls are built to carry loads from above,
they are not designed to withstand pulling
loads from side-on. Damage to the wall, and
potential injury can occur when shadesails are
bolted onto brick walls.
Having said that, it is common for shadesail
attachment points to be anchored to brick walls.
The things which will minimise the risks in this
situation include;

Using a large plate which spans multiple bricks


Only using small shadesails in this area
Removing the shadesail when not in use or in times of high wind
Not over tensioning the shadesail
Check to ensure the brickwork is adequately secured to the stud frame of the house
Not attaching to close to the top of a brick wall but rather ensuring that there are
multiple courses of bricks above the attachment point

Internal Corner Bracket

Other ways to attach to


existing walls or structures
include Corner brackets. On
the left is a internal corner
bracket which fits into a 90
corner. On the right is an
external
corner
bracket
which fits onto the outside
corner where two walls meet.
Because you are getting the
strength of where the walls
join corner brackets are
considered more secure
attachments than wall plates
but again, they are only for
small sails in sheltered
areas.

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External Corner Bracket

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Posts onto Walls
It is reasonably common
to see posts attached to
walls. In these examples
the installer has used
steel posts affixed at
multiple locations up the
wall.
This theoretically
spreads the load even
more than a wall-plate.
Warning: Unless you
have had the wall certified strong enough by a structural engineer, this method is not
recommended. The danger is that the entire wall could collapse causing damage and
potential serious injury.
Roof Mounting
There are numerous type of brackets which can be
affixed into a roof to create strong attachment points.
The one shown here on the left is called a Shadesail
Extenda Bracket. It is not suitable for large shadesails
but is handy for smaller
courtyard shadesails.
The bracket shown here
to the right is a simple
rafter mast. It bolts onto
the rafter and the mast
extends up through the
Rafter Bracket Fitting Guide
Brief: Support-bracket designed to be fitted to eaves/rafters of appropriate timber-truss structures roofline
to
creating
a
support shadecloth sails not exceeding 5 metre spans. Rated for use in moderate wind conditions only.
convenient attachment point.
Kit Components
1 x timber support brace 90 x 40 x 650 mm
1 x steel fascia bracket - powdercoated
2 x metal elbow brackets - pre-drilled
11 x 70 mm coach bolts (1 spare)

Tools Required for fitting


Drill with 7mm dia drill bit
Timber saw
Shifting spanner
General tools

Mounting onto the Fascia


Plan View
Coach bolts

Rafter

Rafter

Metal Elbow

Timber Brace
Not shown to scale

Fascia Board
Fascia bracket fitted with coach bolts

Fitting Tips
Access internal timber frame by lifting small section of roofline (ie tiles). Measure and cut timber
brace so that it fits neatly between rafters. Mark holes so they line-up with pre-drilled holes in
metal elbow brackets and drill using a 7 mm drill bit. Screw coach bolts into place as shown.
Replace roofing. Fit fascia plate in position and drill through fascia board into timber brace.
Attach fascia bracket using coach bolts. Attach shadesail to fascia bracket using appropriate fittings.

Copyright Shade Australia Pty Ltd 2002. Reproduction prohibited without written consent from Shade Australia.

The fascia board is the timber strip that typically runs


around the outside of a house, usually beneath the
gutters. Although the fascia board itself is not strong
enough to mount a shadesail to, by getting in behind it
and bracing it up you can create a pretty strong
attachment point. A timber beam is placed in between
two rafters and butted up against the inside of the
fascia. Once secured into position an attachment
point such as an eyebolt can be attached to the fascia
board onto which you can secure a small shadesail.
This bracket can be bolted along an internal rafter and
the thread can protrude out through the fascia to
create an attachment point.

Note: It is never strong enough just to screw an


eyebolt through the fascia board and into the end of rafter, no matter what size the sail.

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Multiple Sails or Cross Over sails
If you are going to simply have one sail
on top of the other then the lower sail
can simply mirror the one above, that is,
all the attachment points should be an
even distance below the attachment
points of the sail above.
With the
double sails Ive done I have allowed
200mm between the attachment points
of the sails. This distance is needed to
allow for the movement of the sails in
the wind. It is important that the sails do
not touch each other at any time. This
will cause rubbing and fatigue.
For these more straightforward double
sails the method we use to get the attachment points in the correct positions is to use a
series of stringlines. Tension the lower stringline into the plane where the lower shadesail sit
and tie it off. Next do the same for the higher sail. You can now see clearly if you are going
to have any problems. Typically the issues occur where the sails curve and cross-over. The
stringlines will be a clear visual guide to show you if the sails are going to touch. At every
point there should be at least 200mm clearance between the stringlines (i.e. the shadesails).
Make the necessary adjustment to your stringlines.
Once you are happy that you have adequate clearance between the sails, you can fit the
attachment points and measure up for the sails themselves.
If you are planning something more elaborate such as a cross-over design which calls for
deep cutinary edges such as the two sails above then you need to work carefully with the
sail-maker to plan the curvature. This can be quite complicated and is beyond the scope of
this book to cover all the design criteria you need to consider. By now I think you know
enough to make your first step finding an experienced sail-maker who is capable of doing
more advanced designs and working with them right from the very start well before any
attachment points are installed! Together you can work-out the design using VR Plans and
CAD diagrams.
Columns & Footings
When two sails come off a single column then the size and strength of that column and its
footings need to be increased. If for example Structural Detail Chart says that you need a
114.5 x 5 CHS column for a single sail attachment and the footing needs to be 500mm dia. x
1400mm deep then if it was now supporting two sails instead of one would it need to be
increased up to 139.5 x 5.0 CHS and the diameter of the footing will need to be increased
out by 100mm to 600mm in dia.
Important Note: The content of this book is prepared for the DIYer and can really only
cover the more standard designs and installations. More advanced designs are beyond its
scope and require job-specific engineering, certification and design.

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Chapter 5: Measuring Up for the Shadesail
Taking accurate measurements for your new shadesail is critical if it is to fit correctly. In
order to get the correct measurements weve included measuring guides at the end of this
manual. Use the one which is relevant to you and send it to the company you are getting to
manufacture your shadesail. They then transfer your measurements into their system and if
one or more of the measurements is incorrect (i.e., if it does not draw up) they will advise
you before they go ahead and manufacture your sail.

How to Measure
Select
the
appropriate
measuring sheet (i.e. a three
point sail, four point sail, five
point sail, or six point sail).
Measuring for a shadesail
requires at least two people
and a tape measure long
enough to span the longest
diagonal.
Start by designating one of the
attachment points to be Point
A.
Work around in a
clockwise
direction
allocation the remaining points
as Point B, C D and so on.
For a simple four point
rectangular shadesail you simply need to take the point-to-point perimeter measurements
between each attachment point. Once this is done, you will need to measure the diagonals.!
One person holds the end of the tape measure against the outside edge of the eyebolt. The
other person pulls the tape taut and measure from/to the inner edge of the eyebolt. Record
the measurement on the measuring sheet. Repeat until
all measurements are complete.

Measure from the inside


edge of the eyebolt

Next you will need to indicate the post heights (measured


to the eyebolt). This is because a shadesail is made as a
3 Dimensional form. As the heights vary, the fabric needs
to vary also. A Hypar shadesail is not like a flat piece of
fabric, it must be patterned and this is why it is important
to specify the heights.

Sometimes measuring the heights can be difficult to do because the ground is sloping.
What you can do in this situation is to get a string line and run it around the posts. Use a
spirit level to ensure it is level. Then measure from the string line to the eyebolt. What were
really after here is the variance in the heights and not the actual heights themselves. For
instance, if point A was 2.2 metres and points B,C and D were all 3 metres high, you could
indicate on the measuring sheet that point A was 0 and points B, C and D were all 80cm.
Finally, indicate which point you want to have the tag sewn onto. This is important because
when you receive the sail and go to fit it, having a tag at a nominated point makes it quick
and easy to orient the sail.

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Fold Direction of the Hems
Typically, the hems of a shadesail face down. That is where the fabric is folded over and
sewn. Some people like to have the hems on the topside of the sail as they prefer not to see the stitching
from underneath. The downside of having the hem on
the top-side is that as dirt etc. settles on the sail from
above it tends to collect along the hem-line and after a
time a dark mark appears.
Its up to you to check with your manufacturer as to
which side they typically sew the hems and if you have
a specific preference to advise them at the time you
supply the measurements.
You should receive from the shadesail supplier a
diagram something like this. Here you can see the various characteristics of the shadesail.
You will note in this example that the error measurement is 0.748%. This is because the
CAD (Computer Aided Design) program we use to manufacture shadesails allows for only
0.05 or half of one percent error.

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Take-Offs
One thing which is important to understand is the Take-off Length. This is the length that the
manufacturer takes off the measurements
you have supplied in order to tension the
shadesail. Normally this is not something
you need to calculate yourself. There are
normal take-offs which most manufacturers
work out for you.
Typically, shadesails have a turnbuckle or
tensioning device fitted to each of the four
corners. If there are more than four points
of attachment then these additional points
can be directly attached with a shackle to
the eyebolt. There are occasions where
you may wish to have one of the points
directly attached to the eyebolt and you should specify this to your manufacturer.
Tensioning Your Shadesail
If your shadesail isnt correctly tensioned it will sag, flap and fatigue. The most common way
to tension a shadesail with the aid of turnbuckles. As a turnbuckle is unscrewed it gets
longer. This allows it to extend and to hook loosely onto the corner of the shadesail and the
eyebolt. Then, as it is screwed in again it becomes shorter applying tension the shadesail.
Turnbuckles come in many different configurations and materials. Here we talk specifically
about turnbuckles in three main types.
Hook - Hook
The hook is the weakest part and under high stress (such as
strong winds) can open up. We use these for smaller sails.
They are also useful in getting the sail close to the attachment
point without using a shackle.
Hook Eye
Obviously the eye is stronger than the hook. That is why we
use a shackle through the eye onto the attachment point. If
there is a failure, the first thing to give will be the hook end
which is attached to the sail. If the hook straightens the sail will
fall harmlessly at that corner whilst the turnbuckle will remain
safely attached to the eyebolt.
Jaw Jaw
These are the strongest configuration of turnbuckles and are
fitted with spring-clips which prevent the pins from coming lose
over time.
ALWAYS REMEMBER WHEN USING STAINLESS STEEL TURNBUCKLES TO
LUBRICATE THE THREADS BEFORE TENSIONING. AS STAINLESS STEEL IS
TENSIONED IT HEATS UP AND IF NO LUBRICATION HAS BEEN APPLIED, THE
THREAD WILL FUSE TO THE BODY OF THE TURNBUCKLE, A PROCESS CALLED
THREAD GALLING RENDERING IT USELESS.

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Turnbuckle & Hardware Selection
It is important to match the correct hardware, that is the shackles, turnbuckles and eyebolt
assemblies to the size of the shadesail you are installing. When ordering hardware for your
shadesail refer to this chart to make the appropriate selection.

Turnbuckle & Hardware Selection

Domestic Situation
Sail Size

Turnbuckles & Shackles

Eye Collar Nuts

Sails with the longest side up


to 6 metres

8mm Hook/Hook
Turnbuckles

M10 Eyebolts with Collar

Sails with the longest side up 8


metres

10mm Hook/Hook
Turnbuckles

M12 Eyebolts with Collar

Sails with the longest side up


to 9 metres

12mm Jaw/Jaw Turnbuckles

M12 Eyebolts with Collar

Turnbuckle & Hardware Selection

Commercial Situation
Sail Size

Turnbuckles & Shackles

Eye Collar Nuts

Sails with the longest side up


to 6 metres

8mm Hook/Eye Turnbuckles


+ 8mm D Shackles

M10 Eyebolts with Collar

Sails with the longest side up


to 8 metres

10mm Hook/Eye
Turnbuckles + 10mm D
Shackles

M12 Eyebolts with Collar

Sails with the longest side up


to 10 metres

12mm Jaw/Jaw Turnbuckles

M16 Eyebolts with Collar

Sails with longest side up to 12


metres

10mm stainless steel chain


+ 16mm D shackles

Heavy duty steel lug to be


welded onto steel column (SWL
to exceed 3500kN)

**Notes about this chart

It is assumed that domestic situations are more sheltered than commercial situations and
thus the wind loadings are slightly less. If in doubt
always go up to the next size hardware. The only
downside of this is the sail will slightly further
away from the attachment point.
The Chart refers to the Eyebolts with Collar
Assembly (shown here) which are able to
withstand greater loads than standard welded
eyebolts or Eye nut bolts.
The chart is based on locally sourced 316 marine
grade stainless steel hardware. Hardware supplies purchased from other suppliers my not
have the same strength loadings.

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Important Rigging Note regarding the configuration
when using HOOK/EYE turnbuckles and a D-Shackle.
The D-shackle attaches to the eyebolt on the column and
through the eye of the turnbuckle. Its the hook of the
turnbuckle that attaches to the shadesail itself. If there is
ever a failure the hook of the turnbuckle will straighten
allowing a corner of the shadesail to harmlessly drop
whilst the turnbuckle will fall safely back against the post.
I have seen it done the other way around and a flapping
shadesail corner with a turnbuckle attached is potentially
dangerous and destructive.

Hardware Guide
Weve talked about Turnbuckles previously. This chart gives a quick overview of some
commonly used hardware in the shade industry. As a general rule stainless steel hardware
is mostly used, firstly because it is easy to check its breaking strains and also because it
really sets the finished job off and gives it a professional look.

Image & Name

General Description
Welded Eyebolt

Eye Nut Bolts

Eye Bolts with


Collars

Eye Nuts

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A general purpose eyebolt for


general applications. They lack
the strength of Eye Collar Nuts
but can still be useful in a range
of applications.
General purpose attachment
points. Again not as strong as
Eye Collar Nuts but still very
useful.
Very useful as attachment for
steel columns. Requirement to
drill through one face of the
column only and the bolt is inside
the column hidden away.
Typically used with threaded rod
where a extended length is
length of attachment is required.

Oblong Plates

Make
attractive
attachment
points for smaller sails and can
be screwed onto suitable existing
structures such as timber beams.

D-Shackles

Widely used in the shade


industry for rigging shadesails.

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Bow Shackles

Extended
Shackles

D-

Twist Shackles

Wall Plate

Stainless
Chain

Steel

Rafter Mast

Widely used in the shade


industry for rigging shadesails,
they have a more elegant shape
than D-Shackles. Similar load
ratings to equivalent D Shackles
Useful when directly attaching a
shadesail and extra length is
needed. Similar load ratings to
equivalent D Shackles
Useful for directly attaching a 5th
attachment point of a shadesail
or where the attachment point is
horizontal not vertical. Similar
load ratings to equivalent D
Shackles
Useful for creating an attachment
point to suitable existing walls.

With very high working loads this


stainless steel chain is used to
rig larger shadesails.
Suitable for installation to rafters
to create an attachment point
which sits up above a roofline.

Long Trace Wires


Sometimes it isnt practical, or possible to
extend the corner of the shadesail all the way to
the point of attachment and you may wish to run
a trace-wire or extend a chain across this
distance. Unless this is really necessary I
recommend against it. The main reason is that
it allows the shadesail to flap more than it
ordinarily would if it was attached close to the
eyebolt with a turnbuckle.
If this is something you need to do, make sure
you get the manufacturer to scale it back for
you. Specify when you send in your measurements that you want the shadesail to start [1.2
metres] back from the eyebolt at corner B. Dont you take the measurement 1.2 metres
back from the eyebolt yourself you will most certainly run into difficulties. Most shadesail
manufacturers today use computers to pattern the final shape of the fabric and this ensures
that the correct angles are calculated.

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Chapter 6: Fitting The Shadesail
This is the fun bit and its what youve done all the proceeding work for. You should have
your shadesail up and in position within an hour or so of starting work. Even after all these
years I still get a thrill when fitting a shadesail and pulling it up so that it tensions just
perfectly. Immediately the whole landscape around that area is transformed and youve
created something architectural, beautiful and functional.
Before we get too carried away however, we need to follow the steps here.
Carefully remove the sail from the packaging. Do not open a box with a Stanley Knife as
you may inadvertently cut the shadecloth fabric. Before laying the sail out on the ground
clear away all dirt or debris which may mark the fabric. Check that there are no sharp
objects or edges which could snag the fabric and cause it to pull.
Orient the sail using by taking the corner tag to the point of the sail that you specified.
Make sure that the hem of the shadesail is underneath (of if you specified it to be on top
then make sure its to the sky).
Assuming youre using turnbuckles for tensioning and
these should now be fully extended and the threads
should be well lubricated to avoid thread galling.

Stainless Steel turnbuckles must


always be lubricated before use.
If they are not lubricated as soon
as the tension is applied they can
heat up and seize.

Using correctly maintained safety equipment and/or a


ladder, work to the high point(s) first. Attach the
turnbuckle(s) to the attachment point(s) and then onto
the sail corner(s). Next attach the fully extended turnbuckle(s) to the low attachment points
and onto the edge ring(s) of the shade-sail.
Usually,
the
last
USEFUL TIP
attachment point will
be tight and you will
Its common to use the
lacing itself instead to secure
need some form of
the sail instead of even
mechanical
fitting
a turnbuckle. It allows
advantage such as a
the
corner
of the sail to get
strap or rope to bring
even closer to the
the edge of the sail
attachment point as well as
to the hook of the
making it very quick to take
turnbuckle.
With
the sail down if need be.
smaller sails a lacing works well where you simply run a
thin strong cord between the eyebolt and the ring on the shadesail a few times. This
essentially acts like a block and tackle and allows you to get 3 to 4 times the pulling power to
pull the corner up close enough to attach the turnbuckle.
Its quite common for this lacing to be left in position instead of using a turnbuckle at all.
This method is widely used in cyclone prone areas because it makes is really quick to
remove the sails you just cut the lacing! If youre planning to leave the lacing in place it
should be be UV stabilised. For smaller sails Ive used a 3.0mm nylon starter cord (used to
replace lawnmower starter ropes I think) that I picked up from a hardware store but has only
lasted a couple of years before deteriorating.

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Tensioning Larger Shadesails
With larger shadesails pulling up the final corners can take considerably more force. In this
instance you may need to bring in some more serious
hardware. Cum-a-long winch units like this one are
commonly used by professional shadesail installers to
tension up bigger sails. Usually how its done is a
strong wire rope is fed up from the ground and through
the eyebolt of the column (or through a pulley attached
to the eyebolt). This end is attached to the corner of
the sail whilst the other end is attached to the cum-along. The cum-a-long itself is then anchored
to a solid object (such as a car or the
diagonally opposite column) and the sail is
slowly and carefully cranked into position.
In this example you can see weve attached a
pulley to the eyebolt and are using a wire rope
attached to the sail corner, back through the
pulley and onto the cum-a-long. The cum-along is anchored to the diagonally opposite
post. We very slowly and very carefully
crank the shadesail corner up close enough to
attach it onto the eyebolt.
Whether its a small or large shadesail, it is usually going to be tight to fit the first time and
this is quite normal. The industry adage is No fight not tight. When Im fitting
shadesails that are tight I like to take it very slowly, crank it up a bit, let the fabric relax and
stretch into place and then crank it a bit more until its where it needs to be. Obviously if it is
too tight and you think something is going to break or give-way, STOP and contact the
manufacturer for further instruction. Having said that, a lot of DIYers underestimate how
tight the sail will be at the first
installation.
Once all turnbuckles are
hooked onto the sail, slowly
screw them in moving around
the sail and doing a little at a
time at each corner. The job will
be complete when the sail is
taut across is entire surface and
the edges are tight and spring
back into position when flicked.
Lock off all the turnbuckle nuts
and give the sail a final check.
Ive been in the habit of getting
a piece of light wire and
threading it through the eyebolt of any D-shackles I use just to stop them ever coming lose.
Check that all attachment points are secure and the job is done.

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Chapter 7: Shadesail Maintenance
One of the great things about shadesails is that they are very low maintenance once
installed. Like anything, however, doing some simple routine maintenance will ensure you
the best value and longest life from your shadesail.
Here is a list of things I would recommend you do to get the best out of your shadesail:

About a month (shorter if its been windy) after youve installed your shadesails you
should carefully inspect it to see if it needs additional tension. This is normal. The
fabric is very tight when it is first installed and as you will have found out, it requires
considerable tensioning to get it right the first time. After a month of wind, rain and
sun however, the material will have loosened up bit and will most probably benefit
from a small bit of additional tension. This shouldnt be a big job but it is important
and ensuring the sail is always taut will not only make it look better, it will significantly
increase the lifespan.
Every now and again it is a good idea to inspect all the attachment points. Check
that the turnbuckles are tight, that the pins of the shackles are still securely in place
and that any plates or brackets are in good order. Inspect the columns to see that
there has been no movement. All these things are important both from an aesthetic
and a safety perspective.
This photo is of a D-Shackle I removed from a
shadesail in a schoolyard and as you can see it is
almost worn through to the point of failure. The
shadesail had been in-situ for around 10 years I was
told but had never had any maintenance. Although
it was only a medium sized sail (about 6 x 6 metres),
over time it had become quite lose and I suspect the
flapping of the sail caused the excess rubbing of the
shackle pin.
If you are in a leafy area its a good idea to regularly
clean the leaves off the top of the shadesail. If you
dont remove debris the fabric will stain resulting in dark marks across your sail which
can spoil its effect. Likewise, any sticks or branches which fall onto the sail should
be immediately removed.
Shadesails can get dirty over time particularly in areas prone to pollution from cars
etc. If your sail begins to show these signs then you may want to consider cleaning
it. Beware do not use any harsh or industrial chemicals as these can badly
damage the fabric. If you want to clean your shadesail I recommend taking it down,
laying it on a lawn and using warm soapy water and a firm broom for brush. This
works well and brings a dirty shadesail virtually back to new (if you have not left it too
long!). This can be done whilst the shadesail is still in position however standing
beneath the sail and washing upwards is a pretty dirty job.
Periodic re-tensioning is recommended. If you notice that the sail is a little looser or
moving in the wind more than it has in the past, a quick re-tension is recommended.
Another warning: Experience has taught me that using a high pressure water
cleaner will damage the shadesail. If too much pressure is applied to an older sail it
can result in significant damage. Over the years Ive had quite a few people bring
their sails back for restitching because they have used one of these devices and
ripped the threads away from the seams.

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Appendices
1. Synthesis Commercial 95 Technical Specification Sheet

Commercial 95

Product Description
Commercial 95 is a high quality knitted shade
fabric supplied in bulk rolls, designed for tension
structures, awnings and shade covers specifically
for commercial architectural applications.
Material
Yarn
Construction
Pattern
Temperature range

UV stabilised HDPE
Monofilament & tape
Lock-stitch knitted
-30C to +75C

Features
Strong HDPE fabric wont rot or absorb moisture.
Stentered (heat-set) to reduce shrinkage and for
ease of fabrication.
10 year UV degradation warranty on fabric.
Engineered in Australia to meet the harsh climate.
Usage Instructions
Do not use against flames.
Contact with organic solvents, halogens or highly
acidic substances may reduce the service life of
the fabric and void the warranty.
Biaxial elastic material properties available on
request.

Colour

Code

Aquatic Blue
Black
Brunswick Green
Cherry Red
Desert Sand
Natural
Navy Blue
Ochre Red
Rivergum Green
Sky Blue
Steel Grey
Turquoise
Yellow

308766
415631
308728
415662
308704
308759
308735
415617
308711
415624
415648
308773
415655

Approx. roll weight:


Approx. roll diameter:
Core diameter:

Nom.
Width

3.00 m

Properties
Nominal fabric mass
(AS 2001.2.13)
Approximate thickness

1.6 mm
737 N/50mm
1592 N/50mm
143 N
203 N
3200 kPa
1758 N

Flammability
(AS 1530.2)
Flammability Index (range 0-100) 17
AS 1530 Part 2 & 3 certificates available on request
Suggested Specification
Shadecloth fabric shall be compliant to Australian
standard AS 4174 and shall be Synthesis
Commercial 95 knitted HDPE monofilament & tape
shade fabric offering a UV block up to 98.8%.

Cover
Factor

Av. %
Transmis.

Shade
Factor

50 m

96.7%
95.9%
97.4%
94.9%
96.5%
94.5%
96.4%
95.4%
95.7%
95.2%
97.3%
97.6%
94.6%

11.9%
5.1%
4.4%
19.0%
15.8%
21.1%
4.3%
5.6%
14.2%
5.3%
8.1%
10.4%
23.0%

88.2
94.9
95.6
81.0
84.2
78.9
95.7
94.4
85.8
94.7
91.9
89.6
77.0

55 kg
0.40 m
35 mm

340 gsm 20

Performance
Tensile Strength - Warp
Tensile Strength - Weft
(AS 2001.2.3.1)
Wing Tear Warp (mean)
Wing Tear Weft (mean)
(AS 2001.2.10)
Bursting Pressure (mean)
(AS 2001.2.4)
Bursting Force (mean)
(AS 2001.2.19)

Length

(folded)

Rev.5 02/06

Av. UVR
AV. PAR
Transmis. Transmis.
5.8%
4.9%
3.1%
9.0%
5.2%
4.9%
3.2%
3.3%
7.0%
3.2%
3.3%
4.6%
6.7%

13.8%
5.1%
4.8%
21.9%
19.0%
25.9%
4.7%
6.2%
16.3%
5.9%
9.5%
12.2%
27.7%

% UVR
Block
94.2%
95.1%
96.9%
91.0%
94.8%
95.1%
98.8%
96.7%
93.0%
96.8%
96.7%
95.4%
93.2%

Tested according to AS 4174 Synthetic Shadecloth


Av. % Transmis.
= Average % Transmission within the 290-770nm spectrum
Av. UVR Transmis. = Average % Transmission within the 290-400nm spectrum
Av. PAR Transmis. = Average % Transmission within the 408-770nm spectrum

The above results are typical averages from independent testing and quality assurance testing and are not to be taken as a minimum specification nor as forming any contract
between Gale Pacific and another party. Due to continuous product improvement, Product Profiles are subject to alteration without notice.
Notice: As the use and disposal of this product are beyond Gale Pacifics control, regardless of any assistance provided without charge, Gale Pacific assumes no obligation or
liability for the suitability of its products in any specific end use application. It is the customers responsibility to determine whether Gale Pacifics products are appropriate for
the specific application and complies with any legal & patent regulations.

FOR MORE INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:


Australia
NZ
UAE
USA

Gale Pacific Ltd. PO Box 892, Braeside, Victoria, 3195


Gale Pacific (NZ) Ltd. PO Box 15118 Aranui, Christchurch
Gale Pacific FZE. PO Box 17696, Jebel Ali, Dubai
Gale Pacific Inc. PO Box 951509, Lake Mary, Florida, 32795-1509

2012 www.diyshade.com.au

Phone +61 3 9518 3399


Phone +64 3 373 9500
Phone +971 4 881 7114
Phone +1 407 333 1038

Fax +61 3 9518 3398


Fax +64 3 373 9501
Fax +971 4 881 7167
Fax +1 407 333 7716

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2. Shadesail Measuring Guides

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3. Rafter Bracket Fitting Guide

Rafter Bracket Fitting Guide


Brief: Support-bracket designed to be fitted to eaves/rafters of appropriate timber-truss structures to
support shadecloth sails not exceeding 5 metre spans. Rated for use in moderate wind conditions only.
Kit Components
1 x timber support brace 90 x 40 x 650 mm
1 x steel fascia bracket - powdercoated
2 x metal elbow brackets - pre-drilled
11 x 70 mm coach bolts (1 spare)

Tools Required for fitting


Drill with 7mm dia drill bit
Timber saw
Shifting spanner
General tools

Plan View
Coach bolts

Rafter

Rafter

Metal Elbow

Timber Brace
Not shown to scale

Fascia Board
Fascia bracket fitted with coach bolts

Fitting Tips
Access internal timber frame by lifting small section of roofline (ie tiles). Measure and cut timber
brace so that it fits neatly between rafters. Mark holes so they line-up with pre-drilled holes in
metal elbow brackets and drill using a 7 mm drill bit. Screw coach bolts into place as shown.
Replace roofing. Fit fascia plate in position and drill through fascia board into timber brace.
Attach fascia bracket using coach bolts. Attach shadesail to fascia bracket using appropriate fittings.

Copyright Shade Australia Pty Ltd 2002. Reproduction prohibited without written consent from Shade Australia.

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Contacts & Useful Links

Webshade
Webshade.com.au

Excellent resource for shade planning. Plan


to have the shade cast exactly where you
need it when you need it there. Shade
Auditing resource.

Shade Australia

Experienced respected shadesail company.

shadeaustralia.com.au

ARPANSA.gov.au

Homepage of Australian Radiation Protection


and Nuclear Safety Agency. Useful
information about UV protection

Bureau of Meteorology

An excellent resource for accessing date UV


radiation readings

Bom.com.au
Shadecad
http://www.shadecad.com
peter@shadecad.com

Great for doing shade planning and design.


They can provide cost effective CAD
diagrams and shadow plans. Very useful
when planning a big project or for
submissions to council.

+61 7 54481140

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Example of a Local Council Shadesail Approval & Requirements

SHADE SAILS SHADE SAILS


Building Service Building Service
Information Sheet Information Sheet
Document No: BS-0025
Introduction
This information sheet explains the requirements for the approval and general requirements relating
to shade sails.
Shade sails are generally constructed with steel columns and shade cloth and can be connected to
the roof of a building. They are generally demountable so that they can be taken down in the event of
a cyclone.
Definitions!A shade sail is an area covered by shade cloth or sail material that is water-permeable and is
supported by columns and / or the roof of a building.
Information and Advice
The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1960 and the Building Regulations 1989
require that a Building Licence be taken out for a building, prior to commencing any work on site. The
Building Code of Australia, the Residential Design Codes and the Town Planning Scheme set out the
minimum requirements applicable to the location and construction of shade sails.
Is a Building Licence required for a shade sail?!Yes. A Building Licence approval is required for all shade
sails.
What plans and specifications do I need to submit with my application for a Building Licence?!Two copies of
the following plans and details are required:
A fully dimensioned site plan is to be submitted, showing the location of the shade sail, in
relation to !the property boundaries and existing buildings on the property. This plan is to be
drawn to a !minimum scale of 1:200;

Structural details of all materials and fixings of the building are to be shown on the plans;

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The heights of the sail are to be indicated on the plan also (Maximum height 3.30 metres).

Floor plan and elevations of the shade sail, drawn to a scale of 1:100 minimum, are to be
submitted !with the Building Licence application. !Who submits the application? !Either the
property owner or the party contracted to construct the shade sail must submit the
application. !What materials must be used to construct a shade sail? A
! shade sail is to be
constructed to withstand Region D, Terrain Category 2 cyclonic conditions and, as such, a
durable material must be used. Generally, for shade sails to comply with the structural
requirements for cyclonic conditions, the supports are normally made from steel construction.
!Do I need a Structural Engineers design for the shade sail? Yes.
What is the maximum size Shade Sail that I can have?
The maximum area of a shade sail permitted on a Residential property is 10% of the area of the
property, up to a maximum of 120 m2. The maximum area is an aggregate of all outbuildings on the
property.
How far from the boundary of a property can I locate a shade sail?
The shade sail must be located no closer to the boundary facing the primary street than
1.5 metres, subject to a minimum of 5 metres being maintained from the shade sail to any
current or planned footpath.
The shade sail must be located a minimum of 1.5 metres from any secondary street
boundary.
The shade sail is to be located a minimum of 1 metre from the side or rear boundary, if
the length of !the shade sail or does not exceed 9 metres. !Note 1 - The set backs mentioned
above are based on the shade sail posts not exceeding a height of 3.3 metres. !Can I build the
Shade Sail as an Owner Builder? Y
! es, but you can only construct a building of this nature as an
Owner Builder if the value of construction is $20,000 or less. If the value exceeds this
amount, a registered builder will need to be engaged to obtain the Building Licence and carry
out the work. !Fees R
! efer to the Development Services Fees and Charges Information Sheet
for further information. !Fines and Penalties F
! ailure to obtain a Building Licence for a shade sail
is an offence under the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1960. The Shire
may choose to prosecute for failure to obtain a Building Licence. The maximum penalty for
this offence is $5000. The Shire may also serve a Notice on the owner or builder to remove
the structure. If you object to the local governments order you may have a right of review to
the State Administrative Tribunal. !Additional Information F
! or detailed advice about shade sails,
please call the Shire of Roebourne Building Services on 9186 8569. !Requirement Checklist
Notes

A Building Licence is required before commencing any work;

A Building Licence is required for all shade sails;

A Practicing Structural Engineers certified detail is required for the shade sail
relevant to !Region D, Category 2 cyclonic wind conditions;
A full site plan, drawn to a scale of 1:200 minimum, is to be submitted with the
Building Licence !Application, showing heights and setbacks of the shade sail posts;
A separate Planning Approval may be required if the property is zoned other
than Residential.
Floor plan and elevations of the shade sail, drawn to a scale of 1:100 minimum,
are to be !submitted with the Building Licence application. !Disclaimer !This information

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sheet is provided as generalised information. While we aim to keep the content of this
document current and accurate, we accept no responsibility or warranties for actions
based on the information provided. The Shire of Roebourne encourages you to seek
professional advice before acting on any information contained within this document.
Please contact the Shire of Roebourne if you wish to comment on the forms provided
and information contained within. Any reported errors will be amended.
Last Reviewed: October 2008 Responsible Officer: Manager Building Services

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