Durable sun sails, or shade sails, make convenient alternatives to pergolas, awnings or electronic deck covers. Whether you choose triangular or rectangular sails, you can arrange them to create an attractive addition to your house or land, while blocking the sun's harmful UV rays. You can install sun sails just about anywhere, turning any part of your yard -- deck, patio, pool area or corner garden -- into an oasis of shade.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Measuring tape
- Post hole digger
- 2 or 3 four-by-four posts
- 3 eye bolts, 1/2-inch
- 1 D-shackle
- 2 turnbuckles
- 3 diamond eyehole pads, 4-inch (optional)
- 12 lag screws, 5/16-inch (optional)
Determine where you want your sun sail, and measure sun sail area. Mark the ground at each corner point of the sail area. Dig post holes 2 1/2 feet deep and 1 1/2 feet wide at the points you marked.
Add 4 inches of gravel to the bottom of the post hole for water drainage. Insert post in hole and set in concrete so the top of the post slopes at a 20-degree angle away from the centre of the sun sail to create extra support as well as space between the anchor point and sail for tensioning purposes. Wait at least 48 hours for concrete to set before rigging the sail.
Measure the height at which you want the sail and mark the posts. Lower one side of the sail 3 to 4 inches so water drains off it.
Drill a hole through the wooden post the same diameter size as the eye bolt. If you are using a four-hole diamond eye pad, hold the pad to the post and mark holes. Pre-drill screw holes and screw pads to post.
Attach one corner of the sail to a post using a D shackle. Attach the other two corners of the sail to the remaining posts using the turnbuckles. Turn the turnbuckle clockwise with a screwdriver to tighten.
Tips and warnings
- Use treated posts.
- For sturdier support, use four-by-six or six-by-six posts.
- Instructions are for a triangular sail. Add extra post and hardware if you use a rectangular sail.
- Slope the top of the concrete footings away from the wood posts to prevent pooling water and rotting.
- Attach eye bolts before erecting posts, adjusting height measurements for post hole depth.
- Choose a location that has pre-existing anchors, like the side of a house or a tree, to cut time, labour and costs.
- Improperly installed shade sails may cause serious harm or injury. Consult a building professional to inspect your sails.
- Take down sun sails in high winds or in a location where it snows.
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