How To Install A Shade Sail On A Deck (DIY Steps w/ Videos)

Do you have a deck that gets more sun than you’d like?

Are you looking for a way to keep it shady and comfortable all year long?

Would you like to learn how to install a shade sail on a deck?

If so, don’t worry—we’ve got you covered!

In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know about how to put up a shade sail on your deck, whether you use your home as one side or you choose to install a standalone sail instead.

But why would you want to do this? Doesn’t this sound like a lot of trouble? Here are three great reasons why you may want a shade sail on your deck:

how to install a shade sail
  • You’ll be able to sit comfortably outside no matter how hot it gets.
  • You can protect your deck’s stain or paint from inclement weather.
  • Shade sails can also add some protection to your deck doors or windows if they’re covered.

Of course, there are many other great benefits of deck shade sails, so read on to learn more!

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Materials

It’s very important to ensure you have the right materials on hand before you ever get started installing your shade sail. Remember that you should never cut corners when it comes to something like this, since there’s a possibility the sail and poles you use will be exposed to very high winds if a storm rolls around. Gather the following materials to get started:

  • Steel poles - You will need three of these if you’re using your home as an anchor, or six if you’re installing this as a standalone shade sail. Choose poles that are the same height as your existing home wall or beam. Select poles that have metal flanges for deck attachment already in place.
  • Power drill - You’ll need this for firmly securing everything in place.
  • Lag bolts and washers - Choose sizes that will fit the metal flanges on the poles you have selected for your project.
  • Metal rod clamps - You’ll need three of these if you are using your wall as an anchor.
  • D-rings - You’ll need three if you’re using your wall as an anchor or six if you aren’t. Choose industrial grade D-rings—not craft grade ones!
  • Eye bolts - Again, buy three of these if you’re using your wall as an anchor and six if you aren’t. Be sure they are the variety that can be tightened with washers.
  • 90% nylon shade sail fabric - Choose a piece that’s cut to fit the size of the deck space you’re looking to shade.
  • Safety items - Gloves, goggles, and enclosed footwear.

Steps

Now that you have your materials gathered, you’re ready to start working on installing your shade sail. Make sure you have assistance from another capable adult before you get started, since you’ll want someone on hand to help you hold the poles and sail fabric both in place while you install everything. Also, be sure you have enough time to devote to finishing this project. If you’re intermediate or advanced at DIY skills like this, you may only need an hour or so, but if you’re a beginner, give yourself a few hours just in case you need to make adjustments to the positioning of your shade sail pieces along the way. Once you have everything ready to go, it’s time to get started.

  • 1
    To attach a shade sail to an existing wall or beam of your home, you will first need to install three steel beams on the opposite side of the deck from the beam you’re using as an anchor.
  • 2
    ​​​​To do this, use your power drill to screw lag bolts into the metal flanges at the bottom of each of the steel poles. You should space these poles out evenly on the side of your deck opposite the house.
  • 3
    The bolts should be finished tightly with the appropriately-sized washers needed to hold them in place.
  • 4
    Repeat this process for all three steel poles.
  • 5
    From there, you need to install metal rod clamps on the existing beam or wall. Space them out so that they match up evenly with the steel poles—every three feet or so should be about what you’re going for.
  • 6
    Hang the vinyl coated 90% shade nylon firmly in the metal clamps on your wall or beam. You will probably need another person to help hold the shade while you do this.
  • 7
    Attach D-rings to the other side of the shade sail and firmly secure these D-rings to the metal posts you installed earlier. You may want to attach hook-and-eye bolts for this purpose, depending on your preferences.
  • 8
    Make sure the shade fabric is pulled taut enough that it won’t sag badly, but not so tight that it will tear easily. You can do this by tightening your eye bolts from the previous step.
  • 9
    If you are planning to set up a shade sail without using an existing wall or beam as your anchor, you’ll need more poles to make this happen. In this situation, you can either buy a shade sail pole kit, or simply purchase more of the materials needed for the previous installation option.
  • 10
    You will also need to install D-rings on both edges of the shade sail fabric instead of just one. You can use these D-rings to attach to eye bolts on six poles (three on each side) instead of the three mentioned in the previous directions.
  • 11
    From there, the steps are more or less the same. Choose which option is right for you and set up your shade sail in no time without the need for tons of equipment.

Conclusion

So are you ready to install your shade sail? You may still be wondering what type of fabric you should buy for this project, and if so, remember that you have a few options. However, the best and most highly recommended choice is the 90% shade nylon mesh fabric mentioned previously. This fabric is lightweight, easy to hang and repair if it gets damaged, and great at protecting you and your family from the sun’s rays, too.

You can purchase this fabric alone and make your shade sail yourself, or you can buy a premade sail. The choice is yours and depends a lot on your budget as well as your DIY sewing skills. Either way, pick the fabric you want and get ready to enjoy a cool and comfortable summer relaxing on your deck!

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