Sun shades for patios are designed with durable, breathable fabrics that can dramatically cool the area below. Since every patio is different, no single type of sun shade will work in every scenario. Different varieties of shades such as triangle shades, roller shades can be applied to different areas of the patio. Some of the best shades claim to reduce patio temperatures by up to 30% while at the same time reducing UV sunlight exposure. Companies like Coolaroo and Shelterlogic are at the forefront of patio shading technology.
1. Shade Sails – Triangle and Square
A shade sail consists of a large piece of fabric which can come in the shape of a triangle or square. The shade is place high above the patio to provide coverage to a large area. Since the shade is made of breathable fabric, air is allowed to flow through to keep the patio cool while shading it. Enough light is let through to keep the patio bright and airy. Square shade sails require 4 points of contact to be mounted, while triangle shades require 3 points of contact. The contact points can be any number of structures, such as the side wall of a home, an awning column or even dedicated metal posts driven into the ground. Installing metal posts is the most professional looking method. The hardware included with these sun shades includes turnbuckles, pad eyes and snap hooks. Typical shade size ranges from 12 to 17 feet and higher.
2. Roller Shades
While shade sails are intended to cover patios which have no existing awning, a roller shade works in conjunction with an awning to cool the area below. Roller shades consist of wide rolls of fabric which are adjusted up or down as needed. Unlike shade sails, roller sun shades can be adjusted according to the temperature and direction of the sun. Installation requires only a couple well placed screws mounted into an awning’s horizontal beam. It is also possible to mount a roller shade over a window on the outside of the home. A patio encased within a full set of roller shades will also serve to cool a home’s interior since the shades prevent sunlight from entering any glass patio doors or windows.
3. Patio Umbrellas
Uncovered patios can be quickly cooled with a patio umbrella. Patio umbrella shades are designed to mount in one of two ways. They may be installed into a table equipped with an umbrella mount, or placed within a free standing mount. Free standing mounts typically have wheels which allow the shade to be moved around to different patio locations. Table umbrellas are stationary but provide shade where it is needed most- directly over seating. On a cloudy/cool day, the umbrella may be retracted by turning a pulley or lever on the side.
A custom shade screen can be created by cutting a piece of outdoor-grade shade fabric, hemming the edges and installing a series of grommets at the top edge. Hanging the shade on a set of hooks will cover any awning flawlessly. Tip: hem a metal bar into the bottom edge of the shade to act as a weight, preventing the shade from flying out of control in extreme wind.