How to Choose a Shade Structure

How Should I choose Shade Structure

When purchasing a commercial shade structure, it might be difficult to find the right solution for your park, playground, or parking area as there are numerous types and options to go for.

There is a lot to digest as you try to choose the right structure, and it becomes increasingly difficult as deadlines draw closer and you want to protect your kids or community from the hot summer sun. Investing in a shade structure is an expensive endeavour, so choosing the right one is important. We hope the article below can shed some light on the subject for you.

Who will be using the shade cover?
Who will be enjoying the shade? How old are they? Do you expect people to sit and eat under it or is it just covering a thoroughfare.

If the structure will have kids around it, it is important to get a high entry height in order to prevent children from jumping to grab hold. When covering a playground, look at keeping the shade height 7' above the tallest surface you can stand on.

How will the shade structure be cared for and maintained

Are there trained people who can clean and protect the shade structure or remove it if necessary.

What is the budget for the shade structure?
Whether you run a parks department or small business, budget allocation is always a priority. Shade structures can be expensive. A good shade structure can last a lifetime, there are numerous nationwide and community grants available for these types of purchases. Speak to our experienced reps to explore funding options that might eb available to you. This kind of purchase is an investment in your business or community and the health of all those who might use your premises.


With a non-porous permanent structure that has a aluminum or shingled roof, its life expectancy is a very long time but the cost of replacing and servicing it will increase with time. On the other hand, a fabric structure, with steel supports will last just as long as any non-porous permanent structure, but cost you far less and any replacement fabrics is relatively low.


Budget constraints may actually determine the shape, height, and size of the shade structure you can purchase. For example, sale shades with tension mounts require a heavier gauge steel, which quickly increases the cost.

When you get into varying fabric levels or complicated posts, costs rise. For example, going with an hexagon shape will simply increase the number of posts you need, increasing the steel being used.

Be mindful of the installation costs. Installation costs in general can be up to 100% of the shade price. You could pay a total of $10,000 to install a $5,000 shade. And if heavy machinery is needed, this cost could go even higher.

Depending upon the lengths and dimensions you choose, shipping may cost you upwards of $2,000, so you’ll want to take that into account as well.

Where will the shade cover be used?
Are you putting this shade at a playground? Are you covering a play system, a parking lot, a pool? If you’re covering parking, it’s important to think through the coverage you’re interested in. If you’re shading a pool, that poses new questions and needs.

Think through the site constraints as well! Is the area flat? Will the posts all be able to be set at the same level? Does it have good access for augurs and other heavy machinery to set the posts? Have you taken careful measurements of the area for your product search?

How about the footers and anchors? Are you attaching it to a concrete slab? Installation is definitely a construction site, so is your surrounding area okay being torn up for installation or are there other considerations needed with hiring an installer?

When will the most people be using the shade structure?
Shade structure will be used most often during the summer and times of good weather. But, have you considered what time of day do you expect the most traffic? For instance, if you’re buying a shade structure for a school and recess is typically at 10 AM, your positioning and shape may differ greatly from and after school day-care that expects usage to be from 3-5 PM.

Our experienced Reps are used to dealing with all these issues so it is definitely worth giving them a call.

How will the shade structure be installed?
Have you discussed installation with a professional? Have you considered the amount of tools and equipment they will need on site? Can you shut down the park or shaded area for up to a week in order to complete the installation process?

Installation is a big consideration than you may expect. Depending upon the size of the shade you choose, it is possible that holed that are up to 5 feet in diameter and 6’ deep may need to be dug. To drill those kinds of holes, you need access for construction equipment. Pouring concrete and setting posts need an experienced professional to complete.


MAINTENANCE
Depending upon which type of shade structure you choose, maintenance can look very different. A permanent non-porous structure can be much more difficult to clean on a regular basis. A fabric shade structure is much easier to pull down and power wash as needed.

DESIGN
The fabric shade structure allows the ability to change the connection heights and number of posts, you can get interesting patterns and shapes.

Custom and interesting designs may pose some maintenance and budget challenges.

CUSTOMIZATIONS AND OPTIONS
The right suppliers and manufacturers can add electricity for audio speakers or lights.

You may find your space constraint limited and want a tall entry height. Perhaps a fabric valance from one side of your shade structure can create more shade despite space limitations.

Other options are varying colors of posts and shades.

Shade structures