Water, Water Everywhere: Should You Choose A Porous Or Waterproof Shade Sail?

A well-installed shade sail can be a tremendous boon when it comes to providing protection from the harmful effects of the sun, but many shade sails schools and other care facilities use also pull double duty as protection from rain and inclement weather. For this reason, many customers opt to have their shade sails made from waterproof materials such as polymer plastics.

However, while choosing a waterproof shade offers a range of significant advantages, it can also present some serious disadvantages too, and depending on your requirements, you may find it more suitable to have a porous, non-waterproof shade sail installed instead.

Why should I choose waterproof shade sails?

There are a number of good reasons to choose a waterproof shade sail:

  • Total waterproofing -- Obviously, a waterproof shade sail makes handy cover in the event of a sudden rainstorm, but waterproof shades can have other advantages; when used over playing fields and playgrounds, they can help to prevent soil becoming waterlogged in inclement weather, and when used over outdoor pools and paddling areas, they help to prevent rain from contaminating the water and provoking algal blooms.
  • Durability -- Because waterproof shade sails are made from tough materials and treated with strong, weather resistant coatings, they have a lot of durability and tensile strength, and will not rip or tear easily in the event of accidents or extreme weather.
  • Ease of cleaning -- Shade sails can become somewhat grubby after extended use, and although they can be taken down relatively easy for cleaning and maintenance, porous shade sails can be vulnerable to collecting permanent stains from tree sap, dirt etc. Waterproof shade sails, on the other hand, are largely protected from staining by their weather resistant coatings, and are cleaned to a degree by rainwater running off the surface of the sail.

Why should I choose porous shade sails?

While porous shade sails do not provide the same levels of protection from bad weather as waterproof shades, they have a number of key advantages over waterproof shades that may make them more suitable for your needs:

  • Ventilation -- Because porous shade sails are made from a dense weave of fibres rather than a solid sheet of material, they allow hot air to pass through them more readily. This prevents areas under these sails becoming uncomfortably warm, a particular concern when trying to keep over-excited kids cool in the height of summer.
  • Wind resistance -- Allowing air to pass through the sail also prevents it from catching the wind too strongly -- a shade sail torn from its moorings by high winds can be a serious safety hazard.
  • Puddle prevention -- Since water remains on the surface of a waterproof shade sail, a sagging or poorly-fitted waterproof sail and can quickly collect large, heavy puddles of water during extended rainfall. These puddles place great strain on the sail and can cause damage to the sail and its mountings --  in contrast, even an old and sagging porous sail will allow water through quickly enough to prevent significant puddling, while slowly enough not to drench those sheltering underneath.