Shade Sails

Shade Sails

We love designing and engineering Shade Sails our excellence rests in our creative design ability. Good design costs no more! Look at our gallery for examples of past projects.

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Benefits of Shade Sails

  • Free Form Signature Design
  • Flexibility in design shade cover
  • Easy to adjust for changing sun angles for different seasons
  • Economical
  • Easily removed and stored.

What are Shade Sails

Shade Sails differ from structures in that a sail is a much more “free form” unit. Sails come in many shapes and sizes, although they will usually be square, triangular, rectangular or hexagonal and thus the planning for a sail requires design expertise. Sails can be attached to posts, or to buildings (with engineering guidance) or to a combination of both. As there is no “ roof” support in a sail it is often the case that posts or attachment fittings will be of heavier construction than for a structure.

Shade sail Support Tension

The shape of the sail is supported by tension (see Catenary Curves) that the Sail is under and by reinforcing on the edge of the cloth. That re-enforcing can be via cable or seatbelt webbing or some other suitable, non-stretch and strong material. Where possible Sails should be installed with a “ twist”. With four sided sails this is achieved by using for example two high posts and two low posts (Hypar Sail). With each matching post diagonally opposite the other, the Sail will twist and thus will not sag or hold water. Sometimes the sail will be installed so that it slopes (Monoslope Sail) and this achieves the same effect.

There are four key factors in the design of sails:

  1. Area: The area to be covered and thus the size of the sails. Generally designers will try to limit individual sails to about 36 feet by 36 feet and use a large number of sails in an eye-catching arrangement to cover large areas. As a design and engineering company specializing in fabric structures Light Weight Structures has the competency to offer wide span shade sails exceeding 45 feet. These types of sails are used to create maximum shade over large areas Olympic Pools, School Assembly Areas.
  2. Height of Posts: To create a working design using a number of sails the designer will need to utilize a range of posts of varying heights, and there may be a number of attachment points on some/all posts. Sails posts may range from 7 feet up to 30 feet.
  3. In creating a multiple sail design, the number of posts will be kept to a minimum while respecting the structural integrity of the supporting columns. In this situation the key to design understands the engineering underpinning the structure and the number of attachment points allowable on each post.
  4. The direction of tension: It will be understood that if three sails attach to one post on say the southern side of the design and each of the sails “pulls” to the north, the pressure on that post will be extreme. However, if those three sails pull in diagonally opposite directions then this will have a stabilizing effect t with the force exerted by one direction pull counteracted by another.