Outdoor Umbrella Parts

Written by natasha gilani
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An outdoor umbrella can enhance the look and feel of any outdoor space. Outdoor umbrellas, also called patio umbrellas, come in a variety of sizes and shapes.

Shade or Canopy

The shade or canopy of an outdoor umbrella typically wears out faster than its other parts. This is the fabric portion of the structure, designed to provide protection from the wind, sun, and rain. Outdoor umbrella canopies are UV, mildew, mould, and water resistant, allowing them to function efficiently when subjected to the elements. Canopies can be rectangular, square, round, or triangular in shape, each coming in a wide variety of colours and designs. The best type of shade fabric is a breathable one, which allows the umbrella to remain cool.

Outdoor Umbrella Frame

An umbrella frame is the skeleton of the structure, consisting of the pole and ribs. The pole is that part of the frame which runs between the canopy at the top and the base (or the stand) at the bottom. The ribs are what provide the umbrella canopy its shape. Outer ribs are those that hold the canopy in place, while the inner ribs provide additional support to the structure. Inner ribs also act as connectors, joining the umbrella pole with the outer ribs.

An umbrella frame is made of wood, fibreglass, or metal/aluminium. Wood frames are typically made of Asian hardwoods (Chinese White Oak and Ramin) or teak. Wood frames cannot be tilted and are often susceptible to strong gusts of wind.

Fibreglass poles and ribs are useful in those areas that are prone to high winds, since the structure provides greater resistance to stronger gusts than its wood counterpart. Fibreglass poles are either a single, solid piece, or comprised of two individual pieces attached together. Fibreglass ribs are sturdier than both aluminium and wood.

Umbrella frames made of aluminium offer greater flexibility in terms of their rotating and tilting options. Poles are available either as a single piece or two pieces, and are typically treated for greater weather protection.

Outdoor Umbrella Stand

Some outdoor umbrellas require no more than a patio table for support. Others, however, require a base to provide additional support against strong winds. Larger umbrellas, those exceeding 10 feet, require larger, cast iron or resin bases.


The runner is what allows the canopy to be opened and closed. It slides up and down the pole and is attached to the ribs, allowing the opening and closing of the umbrella.

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