How Much Wind Can a Shade Sail Withstand? (Answered)

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It’s an important question, especially when you live in areas with high winds. 

It depends on what kind of shade sail you have and where you live. Most shade sails can withstand winds up to 85 mph. In a hurricane-prone area with high wind, you should ensure the material, anchor points, and what your shade sails are attached to can withstand up to 150 mph winds. 

However, that doesn’t mean you should leave your sails up if you know extremely high winds are coming your way. If you want to know more about what factors help with wind resistance and what you should do to help minimize wind damage, I’ve got you covered.

How Much Wind Can a Shade Sail Take?

How Does Wind Affect Shade Sails in the First Place? 

Wind resistance is directly related to how much pressure the wind puts on your material and structure. When the wind becomes sustained and is strong, it can stretch the material of your shade sail. And though these materials are made to be durable, that doesn’t mean other factors can’t contribute to weakening the material. 

This is why it’s essential to choose materials carefully when you’re building or buying a new shade sail. You want sails that are UV resistant and engineered to allow wind to pass through when there are gusts. 

Most gusts last 3 – 6 seconds and you want your shade sail to withstand that and not rip. Shade sails made of heavy-duty HDPE (high-density polyethylene) can resist a minimum of 85 mph gusts. However, they can take stronger gusts so long as they are not weakened by sun damage and are installed correctly. 

The Fabric of Your Shade Sail Matters 

The tighter the weave and the more robust the fabric, the stronger it will be. This is why shade sails should be made of strong polyester or polyethylene fabrics. However, if you want to extend your shade sail’s lifespan by a few years, then it’s advisable to stretch it as much as possible before installing it on your backyard or balcony.

Because of the varied material used for shade sails, it can be challenging to predict the strength and wind resistance of a shade sail, especially if it’s been out in the weather for a while. Some fabrics are more resistant to UV light than others, while some materials have more elasticity than others. These differences make it hard to provide an exact answer for how much wind your shade sail can withstand.

A good rule of thumb is if you’re in an area that frequently experiences high winds, then investing in a shade sail with a strong fabric (HDPE) that is also UV resistant will help ensure that your investment lasts longer. 

Should You Double Up on Shade Sail Materials in Hurricane Areas?

Most people don’t realize this, but it’s a standard installer method. Two sails can be the answer. The first one should be made of a lighter material and anchored to the ground. This will keep it from being pulled away by strong winds and will give you more protection from the sun. 

The second shade sail should be made of a heavier material that can withstand more wind pressure without tearing or snapping off its anchor points. It can be positioned higher up, usually to posts or a frame.

But you should also invest in anchors that can allow you to easily remove the shade sails in case of prolonged hurricane-force winds. Sure, some shade sails claim to be able to withstand wind bursts up to 150 mph but read that again. Wind bursts are different from what some hurricanes can dish out. And a hurricane comes with sustained winds…not just bursts. 

How Tightly You Stretch Your Shade Sail Will Also Impact Its Resilience in Substantial Winds

The tighter a shade sail is stretched, the more wind-resistant it will be. This is important because it helps prevent wind from pushing over the top of the shade sail and causing damage or breaking it. When you’re choosing a place to install or hang your shade sail, make sure that they are tightened up into place. Tightness is not just good for the sail, but also for the anchors of that sail. Do not leave them loose.

The Stronger the Chance of High-Speed Wind, the Stronger the Anchor Points Should Be

Make sure your shade sail is tied down. It’s crucial to use strong anchors that can withstand wind speeds that are common in your area. If you are near the coast and may experience high or hurricane-force winds, make sure you don’t go with the cheapest anchors. 

Also, make sure you use heavy-duty rope or cable ties to tie down the shade sail. My suggestion is to use anchors made for easy tightening and loosening – to removal. That way you can adjust them as the material eventually stretches and leaves slack. Not to mention, most of the good quality anchors make it easy to remove the sails when you know they need it.

What the Shade Sails Are Attached to Is Important

Metal posts are stronger than wood. If your shade sail is attached to a metal post, it will be able to withstand more wind than if the shade sail was attached to a wooden post. If you have access to metal posts, we recommend using them for shade sails and other outdoor structures. You can attach an existing wooden post with brackets as well! 

We got a system called  Toja Grid – wherein we have massive wooden 6×6 posts attached to the concrete pad by metal brackets. I would be shocked if that goes anywhere. If anything, I believe the sails would rip in strong winds before any damage was done to the structure itself. 

Never attach your shade sails to your roof if you can help it. If you have no choice, my advice is to hire a professional to install it. You can accidentally cause leaks and other damage to your roof if you do not install the shade sail correctly on the roof. And when the wind kicks up, you could very well lose part of your roof if you don’t take the sail down in time. 

In Conclusion

We hope this article has helped you decide if shade sails are the right choice for your property. If so, we recommend finding a reputable supplier and asking them to show you which models are right for your location. Always opt for sails with UV protection, because this means they will last longer. Know how much wind your sails can withstand and install them with the best equipment you can find. 

If you follow these instructions from the very beginning, you’ll have a shade sail that can last for a very long time. After all, shade sails may be less expensive than other structures, but they still cost a good bit. You don’t want to waste your money.

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"Growing up a country-girl means you enjoy the outdoors as much as possible, and no matter where you go in life, the outdoors is always part of you. I began doing research on things I wanted to do to make my outdoor space my own, no matter where we moved. And that research led me to write this blog to share with you!"