How to Measure for a Shade Sail

Looking to create some shade? A sun shade sail is a versatile and easy solution for creating shade, reducing heat, blocking the sun, and providing protection against UV rays. It also preserves well and is very cost effective. However, to enjoy all the benefits a shade sail can provide, you must measure properly for it.

Location. Location. Location.

Start with your location. When choosing the location of your shade sail, ensure it’s safe. Avoid installing a shade sail over hot surfaces, such as a fire pit, and away from tree branches that can damage it. Determine what time of day you’ll be utilizing your shade sail the most, then go outside at that time and note where the shadows are being cast (using rope as a visual aid helps). For example, if your goal is to cover the outside patio furniture so you can sip on a glass of wine after work, without the sun being in your eyes, then you may not want to install your shade sail directly over the patio furniture. Instead, you may want to offset the sail to take advantage of the shade being cast.


Maximize Shade

Hyper-Hypar Sun Shade Sail DesignUsing a hyper design, which is when you have two high attachment points of the shade and two low ones, is a great option.


Once you find your location and determine where the shadows are being cast, note how many attachment points you’ll have. Try to select a shade sail that provides you the maximum amount of coverage with the number of anchor points you have available. Setting the attachment points at different heights will ensure effectiveness. If more attachment points are needed, consider installing steel anchor structures or poles. These usually come in a variety of designs, to help achieve the look you’re going for.


Shade Sail Sizing

The size of your sun shade sail can depend on a few factors. If you’re going with the hyper design, account for a size that’s large enough to create a twist in the sail, maximizing your shade area. Also allow for maximum tensioning at the corners— if they’re not taught, they will wear quicker in the wind and you’ll experience slack in the shade sails. A general rule is the shade sail will begin about 12 inches away from your anchor point. Typically, turnbuckles or pulleys are used to create tension between the anchor point and shade sail.


Lastly, determine if your desired shade can be accomplished with one shade sail or if multiple would be better. If multiple sails are needed, leave about an 18-inch gap between each so they don’t rub against each other when windy.


Sun shade sails are a favorite when it comes to methods used to block the sun because they are simple to install and affordable to purchase. If you need assistance in measuring for your shade sail, contact our expert team today!

Create Your Shade Space

10 thoughts on “How to Measure for a Shade Sail

  1. Jenni says:

    Hi There,
    It is quite interesting and helpful.
    Keep psoting !

  2. Mae says:

    Hi Chicagocanvas,
    Thank you for posting your article. I found it interesting.
    Keep posting !

  3. Casey says:

    Hi, I have 4 posts that I want to attach a sun sail on. The measurement is 20′ x 14′. What size sail should I get? I want to add a hook at the top of each post so the sail will be horizontal, but I also want to add a hook a little lower so I can change the height to the high/low dimensions.

  4. Jenni says:

    Thank you for sharing this article with us. It’s really nice to read.

  5. Mae says:

    Very useful information. Thank you for sharing this with us. Keep posting!

  6. Jenni says:

    Thank you for posting this information about measuring Shade Sails. So excellent, very useful!

  7. It’s good to know more about shade sails. I love how you said that it’s smart to find a safe place to hang it over our patio. That shouldn’t be too hard because we don’t have anything dangerous there.

  8. I’ve got a larger back patio that we spend a lot of time in. Now it is exposed well to the sun so I think going with some kind of shade cover for it would work out in my favor. I’ll be wanting to maximize the amount of shade I get so I will take your advice and go with a hyper design.

    • Brad Mangurten says:


      Vinyl Mesh will blockout 55% shade. Vinyl Coated Polyester or Iron Horse Canvas will blockout most light. What size piece are you looking for?

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