After the record heat in July, we decided we really wanted more shade for our deck. We scored a nice used patio umbrella at a tag sale which gave us some relief last summer, but it still didn’t offer enough shade late in the day, the optimal time to enjoy some home-brewed beer on the deck. As we drove through Belfast, Maine on our way to Cobscook earlier this summer, we stopped at a place that makes shade sails, Sunscapes.
In addition to shade sails, Sunscapes makes all types of tensioned fabric structures, and they are gorgeous and well-made. You can be sure when we win the lottery we’ll be calling them right quick for a custom-designed shade sail. Until then, we needed a more budget-friendly option. Poking around on the interwebs, I found some well-reviewed shade sails on Overstock. The price was right so we ordered two, a medium square and a small triangle sail, and installed the sails on an overcast day last week.
The sails are made of a UV treated poly knit material. This is good, as air can pass through the sails, making them cooler and also less prone to sailing off a la Mayflower, headed for the Newe Worlde. Nonetheless, the sails still need to be securely attached to the framing of the house. We used lag-screw eyes through the fascia into the framing for the anchor points.
As our deck is bound on three sides by house, shed and barn, we could use the structures for anchor points. For the final anchor point, we used 14 feet of 1 1/4 inch black iron pipe, drilled through with a eye-bolt. The pipe comes in ten foot sections; we had a 4 foot piece cut and drove that piece at an angle almost completely into the ground cut end first, protecting the threads from damage with a piece of heavy rubber we had in inventory (this is why we need a barn). We then used a coupling to connect the two threaded ends. Once firmly screwed together, the pipe made an excellent anchor point.
The sails came with the needed hardware and line, although we opted for sturdier lag screw eyes. The most difficult part of the process was determining where to place the anchor points. We were lucky that our camping rain fly is the same dimension as the large square shade sail, only a lot lighter, so we were able to try some scenarios with a lightweight screw hook. Once the anchor points were ready, it was a simple process to hang the sails using the included hardware. We hung the square sail first, then worked under its shade to determine placement of the small triangular shade.
Once completed, our motivation to scrub the gutters and finish scraping and painting that area was rewarded with the shade the sail provided. The sails have been up since Tuesday and we are very pleased with them. I suspect that in addition to making the deck cooler, it will keep my laundry room in the shed and the kitchen a bit cooler, too, a nice extra benefit.