Few things are more peaceful than a sunny afternoon spent out on the deck. But that sun can become blisteringly hot, burning your skin and worse. That comfortable afternoon fantasy just turned into an overcooked nightmare!
But the sun will damage more than just your skin. Over time, those harmful ultraviolet rays can damage your furniture, paint, and even your deck itself. So, how can you mitigate the effects of the sun while still enjoying your deck?
If you’ve never heard of shade sails for decks, then you’re probably unaware of just how easily this problem can be fixed. They’re cost-effective, long-lasting, and they do an excellent job of providing a shady haven for any deck. To save you some time, I’ve taken the liberty of compiling all the info you need to know on shade sails, and I even reviewed 10 of the best ones to help you streamline the research and get to the relaxing.
At a Glance: Our Choices for Best Sun Shade Sails for Decks in 2020:
- Shade&Beyond Rectangle Sun Shade Sail
- Artpuch Shade Sail
- SUNNY GUARD Sun Shade Sail
- COCONUT Sun Shade Sail Canopy
- Shade&Beyond Shade Sail Canopy
Other Good Choices:
- Patio Paradise Sun Sail Rectangle Canopy
- LOVE STORY Triangle shade
- Sand Sun Shade Sail
- Windscreen4less Shade Sail Canopy
- TANG Sunshades Depot Permeable Canopy
- Why Shade Sails on Decks?
- Types of Sun Shade Sails
- Best Sun Shade Sails for Decks Reviews
- 1. Shade&Beyond Rectangle Sun Shade Sail
- 2. Artpuch Shade Sail UV Block for Deck
- 3. SUNNY GUARD Sun Shade Sail
- 4. COCONUT Rectangle Sun Shade Sail Canopy
- 5. Shade&Beyond Shade Sail Canopy
- 6. Patio Paradise Sun Sail Rectangle Canopy
- 7. LOVE STORY Triangle Shade Sail Awning
- 8. LOVE STORY Rectangle Sand Sun Shade Sail
- 9. Windscreen4less Shade Sail Canopy
- 10. TANG Sunshades Depot Permeable Canopy
- Deck Shade Sail Hardware Kits
- Considerations When Choosing Deck Sun Shade Sail
- How to Install a Shade Sail on a Deck
Why Shade Sails on Decks?
Decks are a great way to get out in the open air and enjoy some of the sun and sky. But we need protection from the sun if we want to be comfortable out there for long periods and avoid the cancerous UV rays.
One solution is to build a deck roof. Of course, that’s a major construction project that will likely require permits, professionals, and plenty of tools. It already sounds expensive and time-consuming! Not to mention, boring! Standard deck roofs just don’t add much flavor.
But what if there were a stylish and simple way to block out those excessive sun rays? That’s where shade sails come into the picture.
Rather than being built from lumber like a roof, a shade sail is made from fabric. Obviously, this requires a lot less support than a heavy wooden roof structure! This makes it much easier and faster to install with far fewer necessary materials, keeping the cost to a minimum.
Moreover, shade sails give you some style choices to customize your look. You can choose from sails of different colors, shapes, and sizes, depending on the look you’re going for and how much shade you want to create.
Types of Sun Shade Sails
A simple triangle shade sail requires just three supports, making it one of the quickest and cheapest to build. You can take things a step further for aesthetics if you like by using two triangles at different angles, which also helps to provide an extended coverage area.
Rectangle shade sails will need four supports, one for each corner. It will also have to be mounted at a steep enough angle to ensure proper water shedding.
A hypar sail is a sail with four or more mounting points secured in a hypar fashion. This is where some of the supports are significantly higher than the rest, keeping the sail taught and tight. When mounted this way, the sails are very strong, and you can position it so the lower sides will block the sun more.
Best Sun Shade Sails for Decks Reviews
Once I started researching these shade sails, I was surprised to see how many different ones are available! There’s a large pool to pick from, but the following ten were the best ones I could find.
1. Shade&Beyond Rectangle Sun Shade Sail
A simple rectangle shade sail, the Shade&Beyond sail is a great way to cover a standard backyard deck and provide some respite from the harsh sun. This shade can block up to 98% of the harmful ultraviolet rays that you certainly don’t want to be absorbing.
Those UV rays can damage a lot more than just your skin though. Many outdoor items are degraded very quickly in the damaging sunlight, but this shade is protected by a five-year warranty that guarantees it won’t break down from the sun or rain.
Rather than being forced to install this shade at a hard angle so that water can properly shed, this sail was not made waterproof. This means that you can mount it nearly flat since water will just pass through. Of course, that means you certainly won’t want to sit underneath it in a rainstorm!
There is one thing to be aware of though. This shade will stretch out substantially once you first install it. You may want to purchase one that’s a bit smaller than you think you need in anticipation of this stretching.
- Rain will pass through, so water can’t pool
- Protected by a five-year warranty
- Reduces UV rays by up to 98%
- Stretches out a lot once initially installed
2. Artpuch Shade Sail UV Block for Deck
Available in both triangle and rectangle shapes, the Artpuch Shade Sail is a great option for cutting down on the sun that’s baking your backyard. One great thing about these sails is how many sizes there are to choose from! No matter what size your deck is, you should be able to find an Artpuch sail in the right size.
More than just multiple sizes, these sails give you several color options to pick from as well. This lets you match the sail to your existing exterior for a more cohesive look. But looks aren’t everything when it comes to a shade sail. What about performance?
This sail can block up to 95% of the sun’s ultraviolet rays. But it does seem to let more light through than other similar shades, so it’s hard to verify the truth of this statement.
If you’re looking for a waterproof shade sail, you’ll need to look elsewhere. Water will seep through this one, which is how it’s intended to work. This reduces the need for mounting the shade at a hard angle to allow for water runoff.
- Many sizes to choose from
- Available in several colors to match your existing exterior
- Blocks up to 95% of harmful UV rays
- Doesn’t have to be mounted on a hard angle
- Seems to let a lot more sun through than advertised
3. SUNNY GUARD Sun Shade Sail
If you’re looking for a diverse selection of neutral colors to choose from, then you might take a look at the SUNNY GUARD Sun Shade Sails. Luckily, they’re also available in a plethora of sizes, so you should have no problem finding the right fit and appearance for your deck.
For easy mounting and long-lasting durability, stainless steel D-rings are attached to the corners of the SUNNY GUARD shades. You also get four, five-foot-long ropes that make it simple and quick to get your sail up and start enjoying the shade!
But you should be aware that this sail seems to need quite a lot of tension to get fully taut. You’ll also want to leave room for it to stretch out. Once it does, you’ll need to re-tighten all of the corners to get it tight once again.
This material is breathable, allowing water to pass through. It’s still very durable since it’s made from high-density polyethylene and offers up to 95% UV protection with an 85% shade rate. Because of this, you can get away with mounting this at just 20 degrees to ensure there’s no water pooling.
- More diverse color selection
- Stainless-steel D-rings for durability
- Breathable material lets water pass through
- Includes ropes for mounting
- Needs excessive amounts of tension to get taut
4. COCONUT Rectangle Sun Shade Sail Canopy
With rectangle and triangle-shaped shade sails in various sizes, you’re sure to find the right fit for your deck with a COCONUT Sun Shade Sail Canopy. But you might not find a color that you love! They have a very limited selection of colors to choose from, and the ones they have aren’t particularly inspiring.
But a shade sail is about a lot more than appearances, and this one performs admirably. It’s got stainless steel D-rings on the corners with a heavy-duty polyester belt that are both rated for up to 600 pounds, so you can apply maximum tension without having to worry about the shade tearing.
When it comes to blocking the harmful UV rays from the sun, this shade sail can stop up to 95%. But it’s still breathable, allowing plenty of air to pass through, so it’s nice and cool underneath.
Water will also pass through this shade, preventing any chance of water pooling. This means you can mount this shade nearly flat, allowing for more simple installation options. But no ropes or hardware are included with the COCONUT shade sails, so you’ll need to purchase all of that separately.
- Stainless steel D-rings for easy mounting
- D-ring and polyester belt are rated for 600 pounds
- Blocks up to 95% of UV rays
- Breathable material allows air and water to pass through
- Limited color selection
- No ropes or hardware kits included
5. Shade&Beyond Shade Sail Canopy
Shade&Beyond offers a well-constructed shade sail in several vibrant colors. There are only a few sizes to choose from, so if you have a uniquely-sized deck, you might need to look elsewhere to find the perfect fit.
A five-year warranty guarantees this shade sail against the detrimental effects of the sun, proving how durable and well-built it is. It can block 95%-98% of the harmful UV rays from getting through, meaning you’ll comfortably cool underneath, protected from the dangers of the sun.
Further adding to your comfort is the breathability of this shade that allows air and water to pass through. You won’t want to use it as an all-purpose covering expecting to sit dry underneath it in a rainstorm. But it’s made breathable for an important reason; it prevents water pooling.
You won’t get any hardware or ropes with this sail, so you’ll need to purchase them separately. That’s to be expected with most of the shade sails, but it’s nice when they are included.
To keep this sail looking as good as the day you installed it, you can easily clean it off with a soft brush and detergent. This makes upkeep simple and ensures your shade sail always looks fresh.
- Five-year warranty
- Blocks 95%-98% of UV rays
- Durable and well-constructed
- Easily cleaned with a soft brush and detergent
- Not many sizes to choose from
- No hardware or ropes included
6. Patio Paradise Sun Sail Rectangle Canopy
With a three-year warranty providing peace of mind and protection from the elements, the Patio Paradise Sun Sail Rectangle Canopy is sure to be a part of your deck for several years at the least. It blocks up to 95% of the harmful UV rays from getting through, and since it’s made from fade-resistant fabric, it will still look good after blocking those rays for years.
More than just preventing UV rays, this shade sail also prevents mold, mildew, and staining. It also won’t tear, even when put under maximum tension. You can rest assured that your Patio Paradis Sun Sail is going to last.
Like most shade sails, you need to be aware that it can stretch out after the initial installation. But this shade sail does more than just stretch. Depending on the weather, you may also notice it shrinking.
Between the heat and rain, you’re likely to see a major size discrepancy with this shade sail. This means you’ll need to mount it on a tensioning system that will allow you to tighten and loosen it as needed to keep the surface taut.
- Fade-resistant fabric
- Won’t mold, mildew, stain or tear
- 3-year warranty
- Stretches and shrinks a lot in the heat and rain
7. LOVE STORY Triangle Shade Sail Awning
If you’re looking for a triangle shade sail, the LOVE STORY Triangle shade is a great option to consider. It offers an impressive shading rate of 90%, which is stronger than most competitors.
Stainless steel D-rings are installed on each corner of this shade for easy attachment. They’re durable as well, ensuring that your attachment points are never a weak point. The sides of the shade are curved to increase the strength even further. This means that it can handle even higher tension and prevent drooping.
One thing that’s nice about this particular shade sail is the inclusion of three ropes for a basic install. It’s still recommended that you purchase a separate hardware kit for a basic install, but it’s great that ropes are included anyway.
If you have a particular color you’re looking for in a shade sail, you’re probably not going to find it in the LOVE STORY triangle. There are only a few colors to choose from. Likewise, the size selection isn’t great either, so if you need a very specific size, you might have to look somewhere else.
- Impressive 90% shading rate
- Curved sides make it stronger and prevent drooping
- Stainless steel D-rings on each corner
- Includes ropes for basic installation
- Very limited color and size selection
8. LOVE STORY Rectangle Sand Sun Shade Sail
Similar to the previous shad sail, Sand Sun Shade Sail is also from LOVE STORY. Unlike the previous sail, this one is offered in a good selection of sizes and colors, so you should be able to find one that will mesh well with your home, deck, and tastes.
This shade offers a 90% shading rate, making it very comfortable underneath. Plus, you get 95% UV blocking, ensuring that the most harmful rays never reach you.
I also like that this shade includes four ropes, one for each corner. On each of those corners, stainless steel D-rings are installed, making for a quick and painless installation process. Of course, they’re also very durable, aided further by the curved sides that make this a very strong shade, capable of being stretched tight with no problems.
Like many of the other shades we’ve discussed, this one is breathable. But it’s not quite as breathable as other shades, so water takes a longer time to seep through. This means that the shade has more time to stretch out under the weight. If you’re in an area that sees a lot of rainfall, you may opt for a different shade sail because of this.
- Good selection of colors and sizes
- 90% shading rate and 95% UV blocking
- Includes ropes
- Curved sides and steel D-rings for improved strength
- Not as breathable as other sails, so it sags when raining
9. Windscreen4less Shade Sail Canopy
If you’re looking for the shade sail that offers you the most diverse selection of colors and sizes to choose from so you can perfectly express your tastes, then you need to take a look at the Windscreen4less Shade Sail Canopy. It’s offered in more colors and sizes than any other shade sail I’ve seen, so if that’s your most important selection criteria, then you should start here.
More than just attractive, these are durable shade sails as well. A three-year warranty keeps you protected and shows that Windscreen4less stands behind their product. Unfortunately, you’re quite likely to need that warranty if you live in a windy area since this shade doesn’t do so well in high winds.
It does hold up well against UV rays though, blocking up to 95% of them. Plus, it won’t mildew, mold, or stain, so it’s pretty durable overall. And you can easily clean it with some mild detergent and water to keep it looking brand new.
Thanks to the curved sides, this shade sail can be installed very tight, ensuring that it never droops. Since it’s breathable, water will pass right through, never pooling and stretching out your shade.
- Incredible selection of colors and sizes
- Protected by a 3-year warranty
- Curved sides for improved strength and reduced drooping
- Won’t mildew, mold, or stain
- Doesn’t stand up well to high winds
10. TANG Sunshades Depot Permeable Canopy
If plain colors just aren’t bold enough for your backyard, then you might consider covering your deck with a TANG Sunshades Depot Permeable Canopy. There are plenty of colors to choose from, but TANG goes one step further by offering striped patterns, giving you another option for expressing your unique tastes.
With a stainless steel D-ring attached to each corner of this shade sail, installation is quite simple. To make things even easier, TANG has even included 20 feet worth of rope for the installation. This is a nice touch that’s not included with all or even most of the shade sails on the market.
The TANG shade sails are made well overall. They’re also protected by a three-year warranty, so even if something does go wrong with yours, you should be able to get it replaced without any issue.
That said, the biggest issue with this shade said is poor quality control. It’s common to have this sail shipped to you with pre-existing holes or even shoddily patched repairs. Considering the price you pay for this product, that’s a pretty egregious flaw. Make sure to check yours thoroughly before going through all the trouble of installing it!
- Available in striped patterns
- Many colors to choose from
- Includes ropes for basic installation
- Stainless steel D-rings make for easy install
- Poor quality control
Deck Shade Sail Hardware Kits
Unfortunately, these shade sails don’t generally include everything you need to get them up and working. You’ll need to purchase a separate installation kit for that. Some people miss this key fact and go to install their shade only to realize that they can’t!
Because shade sails are susceptible to shrinking and stretching, you’ll need a way to adjust the tension. You’ll also need very secure mounting to ensure that a strong gust of wind doesn’t blow your sail away! A good hardware kit will take care of both of these major issues, so let’s take a look at a few.
Shade&Beyond Shade Sail Hardware KitWith everything you need to install a shade sail included in one kit, the Shade&Beyond Shade Sail Hardware Kit makes it simple and easy to add some shade into your life.
This kit is available in both five and six-inch lengths. Of course, both sizes are adjustable, giving you additional room to adjust the tension. With the five-inch kit, you’ll have two inches of adjustment space. With the six-inch kit, you’ll get three inches to tighten and loosen each corner of your shade sail.
Windscreen4less Sun Shade Sail Hardware KitWhether you’re mounting a triangular shade sail and need just three anchors or you’re mounting one with four corners, the Windscreen4less Sun Shade Sail Hardware Kit is available in a configuration to meet your needs.
You also get a lot of selection as far as adjustability is concerned. Their smaller anchors allow for just short of two inches worth of adjustability. They also offer kits with six-inch and eight-inch hardware that allows for up to three inches of adjustment at each corner of your shade.
COSCOOL Rectangle Shade Sails Installation Hardware KitIt’s only available in one size, but the COSCOOL Rectangle Shade Sails Installation Hardware Kit includes everything you need to install a four-cornered sunshade. However, you’ll only get two adjustable turnbuckles, so you’ll only be able to adjust the tension on two corners of your sail.
Included with this kit are the necessary screws, anchors, carabiners, and mounting rings. They’re stainless steel and rust-proof, making them strong enough to withstand heavy winds and inclement weather, and less prone to corrosion and rust.
Considerations When Choosing Deck Sun Shade Sail
Size one of the most important factors to consider when purchasing a shade sail is finding one that will fit your deck! They come in many different sizes, so you should have no problem finding one that will work with what you need. You might want to purchase a bit smaller than you need, to account for shrinking and stretching.
Shape – You’ll also need to decide what shape will work best with your deck. The most common shapes are rectangles and triangles, but you can have them custom made to almost any shape.
Material – Most shade sails are made from HDPE, which is high-density polypropylene. It’s very durable and can easily withstand UV rays. But it can differ from shade to shade, with some allowing a lot more breathability than others. Some are also made with thicker material, allowing better wind-resistance.
Color – This is a purely aesthetic decision, but it’s still important because you need to enjoy your new shade sail! You can find a color that matches your tastes or your home. Some manufacturers only offer a few drab colors, but others offer impressive color selections. Look around to find the color that best suits your tastes and home.
UV protection – This is one of the main reasons to install a shade sail in the first place; to get shade! Ultraviolet rays are harmful and can even contribute to cancer, so blocking them is essential. Most of these shades block up to 95% of the harmful UV rays, providing ample protection underneath.
Waterproofing – Some shade sails are made waterproof, but this makes them much heavier and more difficult to install. Plus, you’ll need to install it on a hard angle to ensure proper water shedding. More common are breathable shade sails that allow water to seep through. This ensures that water can’t pool and stretch out the sail, likely damaging it.
Installation – Who’s going to install your new shade sail? It’s a question you should consider BEFORE you purchase one. If you can install it yourself, great! But if not, you’ll need to keep the additional expense of hiring an installer in mind.
Warranty – Shade sails are out in the baking sun, the pouring rain, and even the roaring wind. That’s a lot of potentially damaging weather to deal with. A good warranty can ensure that even if your shade doesn’t hold up, you’ll still have a shady deck since yours will be replaced! Some of these shades offer three-year warranties, but the best offer warranty periods of five years.
How to Install a Shade Sail on a Deck
Installing a shade sail on a deck isn’t the most difficult project, but it will take a bit of a DIY experience.
First, you’ll need attachment points for each corner. They need to be very strong, so they can withstand the force of the sail being blown in the wind. Some of these can be attached directly to your house. For the farther corners, you’ll need to install posts to mount them to.
4X4 posts are a great choice. You’ll need to dig a hole and set the post in concrete to make sure that it’s sturdy enough to prevent any issues down the line.
Once your posts are installed, you’ll need to cut them to the proper size. Remember that you’ll want to mount your shade sail on an angle to aid with water shedding. This is still true for shades made from breathable materials, but they don’t need as harsh of an angle.
After your posts are set, the concrete is dry, and their cut to the proper size, it’s time to install your hardware. Depending on the kit you purchased, some or all of your corners might be installed on adjustable turnbuckles. You’ll need to install them, so they’re loose first, tightening them up once all corners are attached.
To get extra reach or create more distance between your sail and the mounting hardware, you can use a chain, switching links as necessary. Once installed though, you’ll only want to make tension adjustments using the turnbuckles.
Tighten the turnbuckles until the entire sail is tight, taut, and free of droops.
You’ll likely need to check your sail after a few days and make some adjustments since they tend to stretch out when installed.
Shade sails are an easy, cost-effective solution to make your deck much more enjoyable and protect you from the damaging UV rays of the sun. We’ve discussed why shade sails are a great choice, how to choose the right sail, what to look for, and even how to install it. I even reviewed some of the most popular options to help you choose.
My favorite is the Shade&Beyond Rectangle Sun Shade Sail. It’s got an impressive five-year warranty, blocks up to 98% of the sun’s harmful UV rays, and allows water to seep through to prevent pooling.
The second choice of mine would be the Artpuch Shade Sail UV Block. It’s available in many sizes and colors, blocks up to 95% of harmful UV rays, and can be mounted at a shallow angle since water won’t pool on it.
If you have any questions, leave them in the comments box below and I’ll answer them as quickly as possible. Also, please feel free to share this article if you found it helpful.