Selecting and Installing Shade Sails for Outdoor School Spaces/Playgrounds

13 November 2015
 Categories: Environmental, Blog


Shade sails are ideal for use in schools and community playgrounds, since they protect children from harmful UVA and UVB sunrays known to cause skin cancer. In addition, they maintain cool, comfortable ambient temperatures, particularly in hot summer weather. Shade sails are an affordable sun protection option for spaces that need but don't have any awning or roofing, and they are much more easily installed compared with fixed structures.

However, there are different considerations to made if you want a shade sail for school compared with choosing one for the home. The following are the most important factors to consider:

1. Placement

This only applies if you won't be choosing a shade sail that covers the whole playing area. If you will use a series of small shade sails, you need to strategically place them in order to provide maximum protection from the sun.

If you're in the Southern Hemisphere, your shade sails should be installed towards the north to block out most of the sun, while those in the Northern Hemisphere should place their shade sails towards the south.

In addition, consider placing your shade sail in a strategic location so as to prevent players from being hit by the sun's rays. If you're shading a basketball for instance, it may be more useful to place the shade over the hoops so that the sun doesn't get in players eyes when they try to score. More often than not, the best place to have a shade sail is not at the centre of the field.

2. UV Blockage

Even though having any shade sail provides some protection from harmful rays, it's important to note that there are different shade sail materials, with different levels of permeability to UV light. In addition, sail colour also plays a part in the protection ability of the sail: darker colours block out more harmful UV rays than lighter/brighter colours. In addition, consider the weave of the fabric selected: tightly woven fabric blocks out more sun than loosely woven fabric.

Shade sails come with indications of the actual UV protection capacity. Carefully sift through all your options, bearing in mind that the best is not necessarily the most expensive.

3. Waterproofing

There are shade sails that are made waterproof, but some can still allow water to pass through. Depending on where you are placing your shade sail, you will need to invest in waterproof shade sails. For instance, kindergarten and pre-school play areas must be accessible regardless of the prevailing weather patterns. Waterproof sails will shield the children and their toys even in wet weather.

4. Bonus tip - Installation

Once you have chosen the right shade sail, ensure that you install your shade sails properly. Follow the manufacturer's instructions regarding the depth of the posts as well as fixing onto walls and other surfaces. Choose strong fittings which will not get corroded/rusted with extended exposure to outdoor weather conditions.

Talk with shade sail supply companies, such as A & B Canvas Australia, for more information and options.