Australian summer is a few months away and we are sure that you can’t wait to go out there and enjoy yourselves in outdoor spaces. But we thought that we should remind you that the UV rays of the sun can harm you significantly if you don’t take enough care. While you might use sunscreen and various other solutions to protect your skin, there is another good way to shade yourself — by using outdoor umbrellas.
Be it lounging by the pool or relaxing in the patio or backyard, heavy duty umbrellas always come in handy as they block the sun’s rays. Besides, they are also effective against rain and wind. Large outdoor umbrellas are widely used in cafes, restaurants, and hotels in order to provide comfort for their guests.
Now that you understand the practical use of these umbrellas in hot weather, you also need to consider various other aspects of the product before buying one this summer. Outdoor umbrellas can be broadly categorized into two kinds — patio and cantilever umbrellas. While patio umbrellas generally have a straight and upright pole extending from the base to the top of the marquee, the structure of cantilever umbrellas is supported from the side.
You can choose from these two options depending on your use and needs. However, you must take into account five must-have features that should be common in both umbrellas. To learn about these features, read on:
Table of Contents
1. Size and shape
The first step that you need to figure out is the size and shape of the umbrella. If you buy a small outdoor umbrella, it might not do the trick for you and your investment will go to waste. On the other hand, if you purchase a large outdoor umbrella, it might overpower your space and ruin the ambience. A good thumb rule is to measure the area or table that you want to shade.
You must also take into account that you would need space to comfortably place chairs under the shade. Once you finalise the measurement, it would be much easier for you to figure out the umbrella’s size for your outdoor space.
These days, umbrellas are available in all shapes including rectangular, square, round, etc.
Choosing the fabric of your umbrella is one of the most important decisions that you have to make before buying an outdoor umbrella. The colour and design pattern are the most visible aspects of an umbrella and it is the quality of the material that would determine whether the colour and design would fade quickly or not. A top-quality fabric would also protect you from the heat and glare of the sun.
So you wouldn’t want to compromise on the material because it also determines the durability of your umbrella. Generally, the materials used in heavy duty umbrellas are:
It’s regarded as the gold standard when it comes to heavy duty outdoor umbrellas. Acrylic is perfect for regular outdoor use as it is resistant to elements and holds the umbrella’s colours for years. They are available in a range of solid, bright and beautiful colours. They are known to last long and can also be customised according to your taste and preferences.
This material is best known to provide a high degree of protection from UV rays. It’s also resistant to condensation, rough weather elements, and stains. The fabric is strong, versatile and durable. They come in solid, striped and checked patterns.
This fabric is quite adaptable and highly resilient. It can hold the colour of an umbrella while retaining other characteristics. It is available in standard colours like black, white, yellow, red, green and blue.
3. Sturdy frame
After deciding on the material for the roof of the umbrella, the next step is to choose the frame on which the umbrella will stand. You must look for a frame that is sturdy and can support the heavy duty umbrella. Three materials are primarily used to make umbrella frames:
Wood is often considered a classic choice from an aesthetic point of view but it isn’t a practical one. This is because wood tends to snap easily under pressure and isn’t durable at all.
Aluminium is durable and lightweight. Additionally, aluminium frames are also corrosion-resistant and don’t show many signs of wear and tear. These factors make it a great choice for outdoor shades. They are inexpensive too and therefore easier on the pocket.
Much like aluminium, stainless steel frames also have a sleek modern look that appeals to your eyes. Steel is naturally corrosion-resistant and is often resilient to rust as well. This is why they are a great choice for coastal areas. Both aluminium and steel are inherently malleable and strong. So frames made from these materials can be designed into different kinds of shapes that wood cannot attain.
4. Umbrella base
Choosing the base of an outdoor umbrella is critical because you must ensure that your umbrella is standing on a strong foundation. The base holds and secures the centre pole and ensures that your umbrella is stable under calm conditions and doesn’t fly away when there is a gentle breeze. You can either opt for mobile or fixed base depending on your need. Additionally, you can also employ sandbags to increase the weight of the base.
Be it a large outdoor umbrella or a regular one, it’s always advisable to buy a product that’s easy to use. This is because of the fickle nature of Australian weather. If it rains suddenly or the wind speed increases unexpectedly, you must be in a position to pack the umbrella comfortably.
If you are buying cantilever umbrellas, you must also look for the tilt and rotation feature. This option allows the umbrellas to be flexible when facing strong winds as they can be raised or lowered or tilted to permit movement from left to right, forward and backwards.
Regardless of whether you buy a patio or cantilever umbrella, it’s crucial to evaluate how easy the umbrella is to operate. It depends mainly on the size and shape of an umbrella, its functional uses, your activity and outdoor space. Every umbrella has its advantages and disadvantages, so consider carefully before making a selection.
However, we cannot deny that umbrellas are an indispensable part of Australian summer. So we would suggest you go ahead and buy top-quality umbrellas that would not only protect you from the elements but also be durable.