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The Insider: What Makes A Shade Sail Great?

Shade sails are a great alternative solution that creates usable, functional spaces outside of the home, and like most things in life, have a huge margin of varying qualities within the industry.

Below, you will discover all you need to know and ask that will help in deciding
on your shade specialist.

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So, what makes a shade sails great? Is it the materials, the tools, the level of craftsmanship? Is it where the product is made? Perhaps it’s the people who build it that make it great? Or, is it the people who use it?

At Modiform, we believe and agree with all of it. From the words of Founder Dayne Hall,

We make products made for life, and lifestyle. Where form and function meet, and the quality of our craftsmanship, adds quality of life. Because we know that health is happiness, and more time outside means more time together.

We’ve pulled together the most important information you’ll need when deciding on an outdoor shade solution that works for you and your home.


Every project is different, yet there are fundamental elements to achieving a successful sail design.

1. Height Variation

Height variation refers to the heights of the mounting points of the sail. When the corner mounting points are at different heights, that’s what we call ‘height variation’. If all the mounting points are at the same level, you can expect a flat sail.

Height variation is a good thing because it allows water to run off from the slopes created, instead of suffering that ‘pooling’ effect in the middle of your sail.

2. Next, The Twist

Instead of putting high corners next to each other, you are better off putting them opposite each other. With two high opposing corners, and two low opposing corners, a unique shape is created that is ideal. Why? Not only does it allow water to shed off, but the sum of opposing forces creates tension in the sail, which prevents the sail from sagging and catching wind.

So how high is too high? Our rule of thumb is to aim for a height variation of 1:5 so the proportions are complimentary and yet the function is performed.

3. Post-Free

Cantilevered posts are, in our opinion, one of the cleanest and most functional shade solutions.

With columns fixed at one end and free at the other, your outdoor area can remain open and unobstructed by awkward posts.


How can a shade sail both keep you cool & protected?

A quick lesson in Ultraviolet and Infrared Radiation. Not to get too science-y on you, but the sun emits radiation in the form of electro magnetic waves at many different lengths. Infrared radiation is what is felt. So when it is blocked by a shade sail, you no longer feel that heat, making you much cooler.

UV is the stuff you can’t feel and can only see the effects of when you’ve been sun burnt.

Sails do a great job of blocking the electro magnetic radiation for UV and IR.

Depending on the colour of your shade sail, your fabric will generally block between 77% and 95.7% of all electromagnetic radiation (more like 91 & 98.8% UV).


Eye bolts

Eye bolts that are welded are optimal because they allow for higher working loads – not all eye bolts are welded shut and we at Modiform steer well clear of them as we have had experience of others that fail when put under tension.

A turnbuckle works because the two eye bolts have opposite threads. One, a conventional thread (right to tighten, left to loosen) and the other, a reverse thread, (left to tighten, right… you get the idea)

Because the threads are opposite, when the main body is turned, the eye bolts are either drawn in together, or pushed away from each other.

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We hope this has been helpful information as you decide on an outdoor shade solution that works for you and your home. For more insights, check out our ‘frequently asked questions’ blog here. 

We hope this has been helpful information as you decide on an outdoor shade solution that works for you and your home. For more insights, check out our ‘frequently asked questions’ blog here