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Getting Creative with Shade Sails: A Guide to Choosing the Perfect Posts

Shade sails have revolutionized outdoor spaces by offering a stylish and functional solution for sun protection. These versatile and aesthetically pleasing structures can transform your backyard, patio, or commercial space into a comfortable oasis. However, the success of your shade sail installation relies heavily on the type of posts you use. In this blog post, we'll explore the various types of posts that complement shade sails and offer both stability and visual appeal.


Steel Posts: Contemporary Durability


Steel posts are known for their modern and sleek appearance. They offer exceptional strength and durability, making them suitable for shade sail installations and areas with harsh weather conditions. Powder-coated or properly primered and painted finishes provide added protection against rust and corrosion, while a variety of colors can be chosen to match your desired aesthetic.


Three shade sails with 4 shade sail posts and house attachments
Custom Hilltop Shade Sail Design with Steel Posts

Galvanized Steel Posts: The Industrial Choice


For commercial spaces or areas that require heavy-duty support, galvanized steel posts are an excellent choice. These posts are coated with a layer of zinc, which provides exceptional resistance to rust and corrosion. Their robust construction ensures stability even in high-wind environments, making them ideal for sports facilities, playgrounds, and other public spaces.


Preschool Playground Shade Sail with Galvanized Steel Posts
Preschool Playground Shade Sail with Galvanized Steel Posts

Wooden Posts: No


We do not recommend the use of wooden posts. For a small, cheap shade sail that doesn’t use cable around the perimeter and isn’t under a lot of tension, you may be able to get away with a wooden post. However, a properly tensioned, custom shade sail that uses stainless cable and corner hardware like ours will exert a minimum of 200 lbs. of pressure at rest and 2,000 lbs. of pressure in a storm. Even a pressure treated wooden post will crack and break under those conditions. We always use steel posts for our shade sail installations.


Broken Wooden Shade Sail Post - 8"x8" Pressure Treated Wooden Post
Broken Wooden Shade Sail Post - 8"x8" Pressure Treated Wooden Post

Shade Sail Post Size Tips:

Follow these recommendations to avoid posts that will bend or tip in, causing your shade sail to sag. A sad, saggy shade sail will flap about in the wind and can be dangerous.


  • A minimum of 4” in diameter is recommended for your posts

  • The general recommendation for thickness of the steel is schedule-40 for round posts or ¼” for square posts (yes, the posts are hollow)

  • Posts can be round or square

  • The recommended minimum height (out of the ground) is 7’6”, this is what is generally deemed as “comfortable” for people to walk under and not feel like it is too low.


Please note: These are general recommendations, for large projects or projects in sensitive areas like a public setting, you will want to consult an engineer to determine appropriate post sizes.


Conclusion


Whether you choose a custom color for your steel posts or stick with a galvanized steel, the strength and durability will properly support your shade sails and ensure a successful installation. With the right posts in place, your shade sail will not only provide respite from the sun but also become a stunning focal point that enhances the beauty and functionality of your outdoor area.


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