In today’s busy world, we often don’t find time to relax and have fun with friends and family even if it is in your own backyard. Having to cut short these precious moments because of bad weather can be even more disappointing. The solution to this problem is – sun shade umbrellas.
There are many benefits of adding a patio umbrella to your backyard setup. However, finding one that suits your needs can be an overwhelming process as there are a wide range of products available on the market. To add to this conundrum, they offer so many features to consider before you make a purchase.
We decided to make this process easier for you by putting together all information about the types, features and variations of patio umbrellas. In order to help you further, we have also devised a step-by-step guide to assist you in purchasing custom outdoor umbrellas.
So let’s get into it without further ado…
Types of Patio Umbrellas
There are mainly two types of patio umbrellas that are commonly found in the market –
A. Centre pole umbrellas
As the name suggests, centre pole patio umbrellas consist of a straight pole that connects the base mount and the central point of the canopy frame. It is the most common umbrella style which has been used for quite some time now. Depending upon various factors like size and durability, they can be further categorised into three subtypes. These include cafe umbrellas, large commercial patio umbrellas and heavy-duty commercial umbrellas. They can also be differentiated on the basis of their use; for instance, market umbrellas, beach umbrellas or half umbrellas for balconies.
B. Offset or Cantilever umbrellas
Offset or cantilever umbrellas, on the other hand, consist of an arched or jointed pole which is connected to the side of a canopy. The primary advantage of this design is that it provides shade to a larger area without obstructing the setup under the canopy. Some cantilever umbrellas are also designed to rotate and tilt for better coverage.
Features and Variations of Sun Shade Umbrellas
Both the types of umbrellas listed above come in various options depending upon the shape, material and structure of the product. To determine which configuration will suit your needs, it is important to first get familiar with them.
- Frame material –
Heavy-duty commercial umbrella frames are generally made of three materials and each have their own pros and cons –
- Wood –
Wood has the most classic appeal when it comes to sun shade umbrellas but they might not be a practical choice. Despite being treated to resist insects, structural deterioration and damage from weather, they eventually begin to fade due to sun and rain exposure. Moreover, they are costlier and more difficult to maintain.
- Fibreglass –
Poles and frames made from fibreglass are remarkably lightweight, flexible and long-lasting. The non-corrosive characteristic of this material makes it especially suitable for wet and humid climates. However, custom outdoor umbrellas with a fibreglass frame are one of the most expensive products in this range.
- Aluminium –
Aluminium-based designs have all the great qualities of fibreglass. They are corrosion-resistant, portable, durable and also possess limited flexibility. Additionally, they are cost-effective, making them the best choice for frames even for large commercial patio umbrellas.
- Canopy shape –
The shape of the umbrella canopy will depend on the physical dimensions of the area that needs to be sheltered as well as your aesthetic preference. There are three canopy shapes which are predominantly incorporated in sun shade umbrella designs –
|Round canopies (with either hexagonal or octagonal structure)|
- Canopy fabric –
Canopies for custom outdoor umbrellas are available in a wide range of fabrics like –
- Acrylic –
This includes a larger group of fabrics considered to be high-quality material for making luxurious umbrella canopies. The most famous amongst these is Spanish acrylic (like the ones sold by Sunbrella or Recasens) and Tempotest acrylic (sold by brands like Para).
- Olefin –
Olefin is a high-quality synthetic fabric, which is also environment-friendly. It is highly resistant to staining and remarkably durable.
- PVC –
Polyvinyl Chloride is a strong material which can withstand harsh weather conditions. It is a great option if you are particularly looking for custom canopies.
- Polyester –
This fabric is more cost-effective as compared to acrylic. If you are planning to purchase heavy duty commercial umbrella, then it is better to opt for PVC coated polyester, as the coating can truly increase the fabric strength.
- Umbrella base –
The base must be chosen with care as it affects the stability of your umbrella. Bases are made of a variety of materials including cast iron, steel, heavy-duty plastic (moulded resin) and concrete. The ideal choice would be to opt for a heavy base made of steel. Depending on your need, you can choose to keep the apparatus either portable or mount it on a fixed spot.
How to Buy the Best Patio Umbrella for Your Backyard?
Once you have understood the various features that go into making any patio umbrella, the next step is to find a suitable option for yourself. Do not worry! You will find six steps listed below to help you with this process as well. These steps will ensure that your backyard soon has a heavy-duty commercial patio umbrella that best suits your needs.
Step 1: Examine Your Landscape –
The size, shape and features of the umbrella will depend on the landscape and expanse of your backyard or any other outdoor area. For instance, a large commercial patio umbrella is not suitable for a small backyard as it will make the space look smaller. Similarly, if you are looking for a pool shelter, a cantilever heavy-duty commercial umbrella might be a more efficient option as compared to a centre pole.
Step 2: Determine the size of the Umbrella –
After assessing the landscape, the next step is to decide the exact dimensions of your sun shade umbrella. A good trick is to calculate the total area that your furniture covers and buy a canopy which is at least one size up. For instance, if your table is 1 metre by 1 metre, then you must get a 2 metre canopy to ensure proper coverage.
Step 3: Prioritise and decide on the features listed above –
There are different products in the market with a mix and match of the features listed earlier. You can make a choice based on your need as well as availability of the configuration. It is our advice that you go for heavy-duty commercial patio umbrellas as they are of a higher quality and considerably longer durability. The final decision however, will depend on your personal taste as well as your budget.
Step 4: Check the mechanical manoeuvre of the product –
Before you finalise the product, it is also important to check the mechanical manoeuvre required to operate the umbrella. Most lightweight umbrellas can be raised easily. However, large commercial patio umbrellas and heavy-duty custom outdoor umbrellas would require a pulley or crank mechanism. You can also look for premium designs which come with automated tilting systems or gas-assisted technology for deploying shades.
Step 5: Customise your product –
Manufacturers also provide customisation services if you have a unique requirement in terms of size or assortment of features. Moreover, some brands offer custom-printing services, enabling you to create a product that fits perfectly with your requirement. We definitely suggest that you check them out.
Step 6: Speak to the manufacturer –
This is a very important step in our opinion. Speaking to a manufacturer before finalising your purchase can be particularly useful. They can help you double-check your size as well as advise you on the necessary features. Moreover, they might assist you in availing other benefits like post-purchase services and warranty.
All that would remain after this is to place the final order and enjoy your new custom outdoor umbrella when it reaches you.
A last word of advice!
Whether you’re planning to get a patio umbrella to enhance the décor of your backyard or simply looking for a shade in an open space that will protect you as well as your things, custom outdoor umbrellas can turn out to be a great addition to any outdoor area.
If you are looking to make a safe choice when you purchase your patio umbrella, it is always advisable to go for branded heavy-duty commercial umbrellas. Brands usually produce high-quality products and offer better options for customisations as compared to local products.
Buying a patio umbrella might seem like a difficult task. However, once you are through with the process, it can be an exceptionally rewarding investment that you will enjoy for a very long time.