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Patio Umbrella Buying Guide

Fabrics and Sunbrella Umbrellas:
There is general misunderstanding in the consumer world regarding umbrellas with Sunbrella Fabrics. Many people refer to and or call them Sunbrella Umbrellas, however, Sunbrella is merely a fabric that is made by a manufacturer, called Glen Raven Mills, who makes many types of fabrics including, furniture fabrics, marine fabrics, awning fabrics, and specialty fabrics with graphics. Sunbrella fabrics are highly regarded as the premier outdoor fabric in the world and are the recognized leader in the industry. If you are looking to purchase an umbrella or outdoor cushion for your backyard, or pool area, we highly recommend considering Sunbrella fabrics. With hundreds of outdoor fabric choices to choose from and a 3 year fade warrantee, you just can’t go wrong.

 

Fabric Information:
There are many outdoor fabric options available for today’s parasols (in order indicating least quality to best quality) Plastic, Cotton, Vinyl, Polyester, Olefin and Solution Died Acrylics. The decision you make about a particular fabric will not only establish the durability and lasting attractiveness but will affect the cost as well. Consider how often you will be using the shade structure when deciding how much you would like to spend.
 
Here is some additional information about patio umbrella fabrics.
 
Sunbrella:
  • 100% 8 ounce (or more) solution-dyed acrylic fabric with locked-in colors.
  • Stands up to sun, wind, and rain without fading, retaining its original beauty for years.
  • Mildew does not grow on Sunbrella fabric as long as there is no food, dirt or other organic matter on the cover Cleaning Info
  • Sunbrella umbrella fabrics have been tested and proven to give up to 98% UV protection in shade applications and have been awarded the "Seal of Recommendation" by The Skin Cancer Foundation, an international organization dedicated to the prevention of skin cancer.
  • Three-year warranty against fading.

Olefin:

  • 8 oz solution-dyed fabric.
  • High density, light weight woven fabric.
  • Holds bright colors well and resists fading
  • Durable, easy to clean, stain and abrasion resistant.
  • One-year warranty against fading.

Suncrylic:

  • 100% 7 oz solution-dyed acrylic fabric provides colorfastness.
  • Cleans with ease.
  • Gives extra UV protection.
  • One-year warranty against fading.  
Determining Size:
Choosing the size needed is typically determined by its shade diameter of the particular unit. To choose the proper size unit, you must first determine the size of the table or area to be shaded. The general rule is it should be at about 5 feet larger than the area you want to shade. Here are some guidelines to sizing your shade area for tables:
  • 6 foot shade diameter will cover up to a 30-inch bistro or café tables and usually only two chairs.
  • 7 foot shade diameter will cover up to a 36-inch café or bistro tables and typically two – four chairs.
  • 9 foot shade diameter will cover up to 48-inch round or square dining tables with 4 -6 chairs, sometimes more depending on tilt options and varying degrees of sun.
  • 11 foot shade diameter will covers up to 60-inch round or square dining tables and 72-inch oval and rectangular tables typically with 6 – 8 chairs.
Patio Umbrella Frames:
The components of a frame make up the “bones” of your Market Umbrella. Here is some helpful information about the pieces and parts:
  • The Crank: An crank is a device that is rotated to open the unit. The basic aluminum style has either a manual push open lift or a rope pulley system to lift the shade canopy open. Certain market umbrellas have the tilt-mechanism incorporated with the crank feature to make tilting the unit easy as well. Crank types are “NOT” recommended for use in commercial applications.
  • Pulley & Pin: Although many aluminum units have cranks as a mechanism to raise and lower the unit, most wood styles have a push up mechanism or pulley & pin type of feature to raise it to the proper height. We highly recommend a simple manual push up type of operation with pin & hole option to keep the shade open for commercial applications. All too often restaurants and commercial resorts have challenges with patrons opening & closing units with pulleys and cranks resulting in damage or serious safety hazard issues from collapsing frames to the un-aware customers beneath the structure.
  • The Finial: The finial adds decorative functionality to your shade structure. It provides the finishing touch to the aesthetics of the top. It also serves the functional purpose of anchoring the top of the shade cover fabric to the frame.
  • The Pole: Most poles are assembled in two pieces for ease of shipping and storage. The most common pole materials are wood or aluminum, but also may be fiberglass, steel, plastic or resin composite types. Some commercial grade solid pole types come as single pieces which add considerable strength to help them better withstand wind pressure and the rigors of outdoor commercial applications around hotel & apartment pool areas, or restaurant applications.
  • The Ribs: The rib arms are the pieces of your frame that spread and support the shade cover into the open position. More ribs equal more strength and stability. The Fiberglass ribs featured on our Wind Resistant types are outstanding at absorbing wind gusts without breaking and last four to five times longer than traditional wood or aluminum ribs.
  • Tilt Mechanisms: Many residential styles have tilt mechanisms as a special feature to provide additional shade options for outdoor sun protection. Tilt features come in various arrangements, including buttons at the top portion of the umbrella underneath the rib arm hub, or crank feature tilts in conjunction with the crank handle. As a general rule, we “never” recommend tilt or crank features in a commercial application.
Sizing the Base (Stand):
It is critical that all outdoor umbrellas be properly weighted to prevent it from tipping over from its own top end weight or taking flight in a breeze. The proper weight for your umbrella base or stand is determined by the size of your umbrella and whether it is being utilized through a table or freestanding.

 

To choose the right umbrella stand, you need to consider a few things:

  • What size of shade do you need? The diameter of your umbrella shade is important in determining how much weight will be necessary to hold the umbrella.
  • Is it positioned through a table, or is it free-standing? A table can add weight to help hold down your umbrella. A freestanding unit requires a considerably heavier base.
  • What size is the pole? Pole sizes are listed for all market umbrellas on the order page under Product Details. However, the most common size pole is 1.5” in diameter, but can range anywhere from 1 1/8 to 3” depending on the type and size you order. Base sleeve diameters are listed on the base ordering page under Product Details. Be careful to order a base that is properly sized for your pole, as well as check the hole diameter in the patio table to make sure it will fit. As a last check, you should measure the height of any table leg supports to ensure the what ever base you purchase will fit.
The following chart is a general size configuration for choosing a stand for your backyard area, patio table or freestanding shade needs, however, depending on the particular application and wind constraints, you may need to go a little larger. As a rule of thumb, we always recommend the largest stand possible to help reduce the likely hood of damage due to wind or acts of nature related challenges.
 

BASE (STAND) SIZING SUGGESTIONS

Shade Size (ft)

Positioning

MINIMUM Base Size Suggestions (lbs)

4.5

Thru Table

30

4.5

Free Standing

40

6

Thru Table

30

6

Free Standing

50

7.5

Thru Table

30

7.5

Free Standing

50

8 or 8 x 10

Thru Table

50

8 or 8 x 10

Free Standing

75

9

Thru Table

50

9

Free Standing

75

6.5 x 10

Thru Table

50

6.5 x 10

Free Standing

75

11

Thru Table

50

11

Free Standing

75