An outdoor café umbrella is an accessory that can transform your patio into a cool lounge. You can enjoy the fresh air outside in summer and spring in the cool shade of this extremely popular accessory. What’s more? The outdoor umbrella protects you from the harmful UV rays and occasional showers so that you and your guests can have all the fun without worrying at all.
The outdoor café umbrella is also inexpensive and setting it up is pretty easy. How to set it up? Let’s see!
Your typical outdoor café umbrella comes with the following parts – a canopy, a centre-pole, and a base. However, if your shade solution is a cantilever umbrella, it will come with a side-post instead of a centre-pole. In fact, the industrial outdoor umbrella comes in a lot of different purpose-built iterations. But in this article we will focus entirely on the café umbrella.
Once you unbox your umbrella you have to first fix the pole to its base. Run the pole through the hole in your outdoor table and insert it into the base. Now attach the part that has the canopy to the centre-pole using the ball-spring locking mechanism built into it and that’s it! Your umbrella is ready. Now you can open or close the umbrella canopy using the push-button mechanism on the runner. It’s that simple. You don’t need a specialist for installing your outdoor café umbrella. But there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
- Use a patio table made of durable material
Your patio table isn’t just a place to gather around. It is an integral part of the décor and a useful support for your café umbrella. The outdoor table must not look out of place in your patio. Its design should match your outdoor setup seamlessly and it should be sturdy enough to support the weight of the centre-pole of your umbrella.
Make no mistake, the centre-pole will lean against your outdoor table in high wind. A flimsy table will make matters unmanageable in such situations.
- Make sure your umbrella canopy has air vents
Air vents in the canopy of an outdoor umbrella might look like fancy design elements. But they are there to serve a very important purpose. Air vents do two things at once. They help in circulating hot and cold air in the shade of the canopy so that you can enjoy a cool shade and not feel stuffy. They also act as passages through which the strong gusts can pass. This keeps the umbrella planted and stops it from toppling.
Before your buy an outdoor umbrella, make sure that its canopy has a proper air-vent.
- Choose the frame material wisely
Outdoor umbrella frames are made from all sorts of materials. Marine grade aluminium, corrosion resistant steel, fibreglass, wood and PVC are the most widely used materials. While steel, aluminium and fibreglass are chosen for their structural strength and heavy-duty applications, wooden frames are chosen for their classic appeal. PVC, on the other hand, is extremely easy on the pocket and super lightweight.
You need to be judicious while choosing your umbrella frame. If you live in a windy zone, a metal frame might be what you need. Wood typically needs a bit more care than heavy-duty metal and fibreglass. Be careful not to expose a wooden frame to too much moisture. PVC might not be the material you want in a windy weather.
- A solid base and mounting options
The base is the anchor for your outdoor umbrella. It keeps the umbrella erect on your patio. Outdoor umbrellas come with a lot of base options. Choose a portable base if you plan to move around your outdoor umbrella in your patio. But make sure that the base is heavy enough. This will ensure that the umbrella stays put even in high winds. Metallic bases can also function as decorative pieces for your patio and give your table setup a classic appeal.
If you don’t have plans to move around your café umbrella, use a fixed base. A flat metal base, bolts and nuts and a bit of digging in your patio will give your umbrella a solid foundation in a fixed spot on your patio. This is particularly useful for side-post umbrellas. But if space is a constraint go for the wall mounted cantilever umbrella.
The wall-mount is a smart solution for people who don’t have large patios. You can easily install a cantilever umbrella on a wall using this cool mechanism and convert a small seating arrangement into a shaded lounge for you and your guests.
Closing your café umbrella when not in use is essential to make it last long. Keeping your canopy closed, when you are indoors, reduces the exposed surface area and prevents direct sunlight and rain from acting on the canopy fabric. That said, the canopy isn’t made from flimsy materials either.
The canopy of your outdoor umbrella is made of UV and water proof fabric. Manufacturers like Flare Shade use imported Spanish and Italian fabrics for their canopies. They also give a five-year warranty on canopies made of Recasens and a two-year warranty on canopies made of Olefin.
In case you are planning to move to a new place or the winter is particularly harsh and you don’t want to stay outdoor for long, take down and pack your umbrella in a dry place. Uninstalling an outdoor café umbrella is as easy as setting it up. Just close the canopy using the push-button mechanism on the runner, take apart the canopy section using the ball-spring lock on the pole, and pull the centre-pole out of its base. That’s it. Your café umbrella is now ready to be packed and stored!
The mark of the outdoor umbrella is its user-friendly nature. It is not only a shade solution for you, but also an integral part of your décor.