How to Install a Shade Cloth Structure
A common question is: “Will the shade cloth last over time?” The answer we always give is the same. The longevity of the shade cloth depends on the installation method. In fact, our OBAMALLA® shade cloth doesn’t deteriorate with exposure to the sun. The greatest enemy of this type of material is the wind. If it’s improperly installed and secured in a few points, it can act like a sail. If the structure of the shade cloth isn’t adequate, it will tear quickly. In this tutorial, we provide some simple tips on how to properly install shading so that it lasts over time and also has a pleasant visual effect.
Our high-density polyethylene mesh fabrics are widely used in gardens or terraces. They can be installed vertically as privacy screens or windbreaks, or in patios and terraces. When stretched horizontally, they provide protection from sunlight. They can also be used in outdoor spaces, such as carports.
Installing OBAMALLA® is as easy as following these simple steps.
This practical guide will help you install the shade fabric on a steel or any other type of structure.
Before you start, you’ll need the following tools:
OBAMALLA® shade cloth, with approximately 25% extra for overlap
A structure you want to cover with the shade cloth (pergola or fence)
Scissors, a sharp knife, or another sharp cutting tool
Fastening hardware: clips, steel wire, plastic clamps, or 1-inch staples (or a heavy-duty staple gun with 3/4″ or larger staples). Stainless steel hardware is strongly recommended, but there are many other types of fasteners specifically treated for outdoor use.
Instructions for installing shade cloth on a structure:
The shade cloth has two sides, with one side looking better. Place the roll in the correct orientation, with the better-looking side facing where it’s most suitable. Unroll the fabric.
How to start installing shade cloth on a structure: If it’s a shade cloth structure to protect from sunlight, we advise starting by attaching the cloth to the topmost beam or pole. It’s a good idea to fold the edge for a neater finish and greater strength. Conceal the fabric’s seams at the top of the support beams. When positioning the cloth along the edge of the structure where it will be cut, ensure you move the attachment point slightly inward from the outer edge of the beam or post to leave space for cutting the fabric. Extend the fabric along the structure and pull it tight into place.
When extending the cloth, ensure it settles evenly at the end with some excess on each side. Leave at least 8-12 inches (300 mm) of overhang on all sides. Tie off one point and repeat along the entire length of the supporting structure. During this phase, you can punch holes in the cloth to make the operation easier. The more attachment points we use, the greater the strength will be.
Begin at one end, applying medium tension as you go. Then, work on one edge at a time.
Make sure the woven lines on the fabric are straight. Work from one end of the frame to the other along the length. Pull the fabric towards you and also lift it up and bring it forward. This creates significant tension and keeps the fabric well-taut. When you reach the ends, tighten along the length and sides. Finally, carefully trim all edges. For wide spans that require joining two rolls side by side, try not to overlap the fabric if possible. They are joined along the beam and fixed every 450 mm (18″). Attach clockwise. Keep the fabric lines straight. Finish attaching the outer edges, continuing clockwise or counterclockwise.
Make sure the lines of woven knots on the fabric are straight.
It’s better to perform the installation with the help of another person: one holding the fabric in tension and the other tying it to the structure. Initially, it’s enough to position the fabric and then stretch it. Use steel wire and pliers to secure the fabric every 10-15 cm. Always make sure to tension the fabric before tying it. First one side, then the center, and the opposite side. If you decide to use hooks, these can be attached to the stretched fabric on the ground beforehand and then placed on the structure. This way, the hooks embrace the fabric and a shade cloth structure is easily created. Plastic clamps are also practical. We emphasize the importance of maintaining a maximum distance of 15-20 cm between ties, otherwise, the fabric can lift due to the wind.
To secure the center, instead of puncturing, a good idea is to place a tensioning cord that is tied to the ends. This is done on both sides. Place the strap while ensuring it remains at the same height throughout its length or height and tension it. This achieves a continuous fastening over the entire surface and prevents the fabric from inflating and suffering tears. If it’s a large area, support it with intermediate ties. The goal is to keep the fabric firm and fixed on the existing structure, whether it’s a pergola or a fence for privacy. If you want more shade in your patio, shade cloth is a quick and easy way to achieve your goal. Follow these basic steps on how to install shade cloth on your pergola so you can enjoy your terrace or patio even more.
Congratulations! Now, with your shade cloth structure in place, you can enjoy your outdoor space.
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