Shade sails are a fantastic addition to any outdoor space, providing relief from the sun's rays while enhancing the aesthetics of your environment. However, a successful shade sail installation relies on proper post placement and anchoring. In this blog post, we'll guide you through the key steps to ensure your shade sail post installation is not only secure but also visually pleasing.
Step 1: Hire an expert contractor! They’ve got the tools, the experience, and the know-how to get it done the right way. Digging holes and pouring concrete is no easy task, why not call in a professional team? A good contractor will work with you on the design and give you peace of mind that when a storm rolls in, your new shade sails have been safely and securely installed. Shazeebo has a growing network of trained installers across the country, find a dealer near you!
What’s that? You can’t find a contractor that does shade sails in your area? You’re an avid DIYer with lots of passion and desire to do things yourself? Okay, we hear you, hiring a contractor may not be the path for you. In that case, here are some tips to help you install shade sail posts on your own.
1. Choose the Right Location
Before you begin, carefully select the location for your shade sail. Look for a spot with optimal sun coverage and consider any potential obstacles like trees, buildings, or utility lines. Ensure the chosen area has sufficient space for your desired shade sail size. Call your local underground facilities to ensure that it is safe to dig! The last thing you want to do is accidentally cut in your local water or internet supply lines. To request this free service call 811 or visit digalert.com.
Bonus Tip: Plan your shade sail to be 25% bigger than the space you want to shade. This will help account for the way the sun’s position changes throughout the day and the year and provide you with more shade where you want it.
2. Gather the Necessary Tools and Materials
Make sure you have all the tools and materials you'll need for the installation:
- Steel Posts (see our previous blog post about choosing the right posts for your project)
Note: Steel posts can be purchased from your local metal or fencing supply company. Big Box Stores are not likely to have the size you need.
- Post hole digger or auger (can be rented from a Big Box Store)
- Concrete mix (with something to mix it in, a wheelbarrow will work if you don’t want to buy a mixer)
- Measuring tape
- Wrenches and other necessary tools
- Shade sail (order your custom shade sail AFTER you’ve installed your attachment points and posts)
3. Digging the Post Holes
The depth and diameter of the holes depend on the type of soil and the size of the posts. As a general guideline, aim for a depth that is about one-third the height of the post and a diameter that is a minimum of 2’.
Bonus Tip: A lot of dirt is going to be pulled out of these holes! Have a plan on where you’ll be placing that dirt either around your property or having it hauled away to a special dump spot specifically for dirt and construction debris.
4. Attach the Shade Sail Hardware to the Post
With the post still on the ground, drill the holes a
t the top for your eye bolt. Secure the eyebolt. When you position the post, make sure the eyebolt is in the proper position, facing inwards towards the center of the shade sail.
5. Pouring Concrete
Pouring concrete into the post holes provides stability and strength. Place the post in the hole. There should be a gap of about 6” between the bottom of the hole and the end of your post, you do not want your post to touch the dirt, this will lead to a rusty post. We use a wooden frame made with 2x4 pieces to support the post while we pour the concrete. Pour the concrete mix into the hole and let it set according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Bonus Tip: Tilt the post 5 degrees (or half a bubble) away from the center of the shade sail. When the sail is installed and tensioned, it will pull the post upright and your post will be straight. If you do not tilt your post outwards, the tension will make the post look like it’s tipping inwards. Structurally, the post should be fine, but it doesn’t look good.
Once the concrete is fully set, you can remove the wooden frames. Now you can take your eye bolt-to-eye bolt measurements and order your custom shade sail!
Periodically inspect the shade sail and posts for signs of wear, damage, or loose hardware. Tighten any bolts or hardware as needed.
Proper shade sail post installation is a combination of careful planning, precise measurements, and secure anchoring. By following these steps, you'll create a shaded oasis that not only provides comfort but also adds to the beauty of your outdoor space. Remember, a well-installed shade sail not only offers protection from the sun but also becomes a stunning architectural element that transforms your environment.