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Shade Sail, Shade Structure, FAQ's

Facts, Questions & Answers about our design, fabrication and installation of shade sails, tension structures
We know we can't answer all your questions, but here are some that we've heard more than once!
Please call us (or email) with your questions. We are here to help.

How does the shade cloth stand up to the sun?
Extremely well! We use only top quality, commercial grade shade cloth. The shade fabric is a High Density Polyethylene and comes with a 10 to 15 year manufacture's warranty against UV degradation. In addition, we use a UV rated thread to resist sun degradation that carries a lifetime UV warranty. The UV resistant thread is just as important as the warranty on the fabric. We have seen shade sails in which the thread has deteriorated in the sun and the seams and pockets begin to unravel.

How long does it take to install your shade products?
That depends on complexity and where you are located. A typical installation takes about 8 - 24 weeks. Every project is different. We begin working on your project as soon as we have a signed contract and deposit. Projects requiring permitting or job-specific engineering can take much longer. Keep in mind; most of our projects are completely custom, not off-the-shelf products. We design, fabricate, and install custom shade sails, shade structures and shade canopies.

How much wind will your shade products withstand?
Most everything WE design and install is rated for and average of 45+ mph winds. If your project requires higher ratings, please let us know. We'll be happy to have it engineered for your specifications. (at an extra cost) If you are installing a shade sail yourself, these numbers do not apply.

Can the shade fabric come down in the winter?
Yes and no. Our shade structure solutions are typically designed to be permanent. Most of our shade structures utilize tensioned shade fabric and caution should be used when removing or installing the cloth. The intensity of UV damage doesn't subside just because the weather has turned cooler. In fact, most people take fewer precautions in the winter months to protect themselves from the sun. Please discuss your specific requests with your Sales Manager.

Do you charge a consultation or site fee?
Yes. After our Sails Manager has spoken with you on the phone, they will schedule a convenient time to come to your location to discuss shade options and educate you on our products and processes. If you are outside of our 20 mile radius we will charge a site fee. While on site, our Sails Manager will give you a close estimate for your project before we go to design. Once we proceed to actual designs (see designs below), we do charge a small design fee. Our site fee is returned to you as a credit when you purchase products from us.


What is it going to look like? Design?
Pacific Shade Sails uses state-of-the-art software programs to assist in design of your project. We will "draw" your project in 3D and have the capability to show the expected shade at a particular time of day and time of year. The charge for this service is starts at $450 and goes up from there due to the complexity of the project. Generally we email these drawings back and forth with the client until we have a shade structure design you are satisfied with.

How much does it cost?
There are many variables with pricing a shade canopy project. As a rule of thumb, figure $10-$30 per square foot. We have completed projects for as little as $15 per square foot and as much as $50 per square foot.


Can I attach the Shade Sail directly to a house or building?
In some cases yes, we can attach to your structure. Keep in mind that the original architect did not intend to have a large shade attached to the structure. There is a great deal of force generated on the attachment points in high winds. Attaching to your building will affect the overall wind rating of our design. Pacific Shade Sails can provide engineering specifications at an additional cost.

Do I need a permit?
Check with your local municipality on permit requirements.


What maintenance is required with your Shade Cloth?
Almost none, other than the occasional blowing or hosing off of the fabric. Our posts are generally powder coated steel and just need a cleaning at least once a year to remove stains or debris. We use stainless steel and corrosion resistant hardware and cables. 

How do I clean it?
A hose and possibly a mild detergent. You made need a rag or soft bristled brush to clean off sap or stubborn bird droppings. If its something  stubborn such as green mold, we offer a cleaning solution for this, just contact us for more information.

How do Shade Sails compare to Gazebos or Pergolas?
Gazebos are made from fixed rigid material that requires annual maintenance. A shade sail can provide comparable shade, cover more custom areas (over a pool or an odd shaped area) and has very little maintenance. In addition, the mass of a gazebo can block views where as a Shade Sail is a mere sliver against its back drop. Shade sails start around $10 a square foot and many Gazebos start around $18 a square foot.

I have seen Shade Sails offered at retail outlets and online for around $100, why are yours more expensive?
When you buy a shade sail from an outlet or online, just know that every product has its place. Most of those ready made sails are made with low standards. Our sails are made to last and fabricated with the best material you can buy as well as sewn with long lasting thread. If you are looking for a cheap solution, this is not the place. We offer custom made tension structures, and now offer a pre-made sail made of the same standards as our custom sails, not tarps and not junk. All of our sails come with a 10-15 year warranty against fading or falling apart. 

What if I only want a custom shade sail made and install it myself?
Every shade sail is custom made by us, if you provide the measurements, we can make you a custom shade sail. Call for pricing. You can install a shade sail on your own, however we don't recommend it. This must be installed correctly to insure its safety. We take this seriously and wouldn't want it installed incorrectly.  We can provide you with direction, yet please take it seriously like we do.


Can I buy a package from you and install it myself?
Yes. If you purchase a package from us, we will provide you with the posts, hardware, installation instructions and a custom shade sail. But remember, DIY really does mean do it yourself. We can offer some advise, yet we try to give you the right tools to complete the job.

What is the longest span you can cover with a Shade Sail?
Spans of 50 to 75 feet are not uncommon. However we like to stay in a safe number of maximum 35-40 feet.


How long has Pacific Shade Sails been in business?
Pacific Shade Sails has specialized in tension structures since 2006. 

Will water go through the fabric?
The shade fabric has about an 80% water deflection rate. The greater the twists in the fabric, the higher the water deflection. The fabric is porous. Thus, water will always be able to penetrate the fabric during heavy rain conditions.

We offer water proof fabric for select installations. Please inquire if you are interested.

Is one color better than another?
Each color comes with the same 10-15 year manufacturer's warranty; however, the darker the color the higher the percentage of UV blockage. A rule of thumb is the lighter the shade cloth the more ambient light you will have even on cloudy days, so if you are concerned that it will make your space too dark in the winter months, consider a lighter color.

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