We admit, we love the sun!
Let’s get that straight. As a swimming pool company, there’s little finer than glimpsing rays of sun reflecting off sparkling clear pool water. It’s special taking a cool dip, then relaxing poolside on a comfortable chaise, soaking up the sun. Then, when you get a little too hot, slipping back into the water and restarting the process. That’s living life large.
However, we fully understand that there are times that you want out of the sun. That’s what this message is all about. You have that option.
Made in the shade.
When I was growing up, we had folding lawn chairs for outdoor relaxation. I have fond memories of sitting under the big maple tree in the family’s front yard. You’d get the occasional tree dirt. No biggie. Of course, the family of cardinals that lived there sometimes sent us reminders that we were their guests. That was a little more problematic. But we had no outdoor dining table or seating group, so we did with what we had.
Today, if you have a deck or patio, chances are you have a table and chairs on it. If not, maybe just some comfortable chairs. Perhaps an ottoman or two. No matter, both situations are great for the proper type of umbrella.
Dining table with umbrella hole.
This is the most common scenario. If you have a table but don’t have an umbrella, you’re not getting the most from your set. Imagine you’ve just spent the last couple of hours mowing, weeding, or performing other outdoor chores. Now it’s time to sit and cool off. Get that cold beverage, plop down on your favorite patio chair, and…boil in the sun. What? Seriously, you need an umbrella.
Most round umbrellas have a tilt option that allows you to hide the sun as it moves across the sky. The most common is a simple push-button tilt. They are easy to use but can be a little awkward for shorter people to reach. Fortunately, there are several ‘auto-tilt’ options available, making the tilting almost effort free and well-within the reach of almost everyone.
A couple notes: Firstly, if you have an oval or rectangular table, consider a similarly shaped umbrella. The ends of the table will have better coverage and aesthetically, it will look better, too. Secondly, be aware that most extra-large umbrellas don’t tilt. That would simply put too much weight on the tilted end and could upset the table. Thirdly, make sure to get a quality, weighted umbrella base. I’d avoid the economy plastic bases that you fill with sand, water, or gravel. They just don’t weigh enough to support the umbrella and provide stability. Ask your sales professional for assistance if you aren’t sure what base you need. Lastly, never leave an umbrella up when not in use. Then double-down by tying the straps to keep it bundled up tightly. Pop-up storms happen.
“I don’t have a table with an umbrella hole.”
No problem. Again, you have options. Some umbrella bases are designed to work as freestanding supports. In other words, they do not need the additional support supplied by a table. However, these bases are limited in how big an umbrella they can hold. Properly sized, they can usually manage nine-foot or smaller umbrellas. If used in locations that have consistent wind issues, I recommend trying a different option.
Cantilevered umbrellas are often the choice for those wishing to shade a large area, with or without a dining set. These use a strong, oversized support pole set to the side, with a massive base holding everything in place. When unfurled, the umbrella hangs over the area. While they come in varied sizes, the largest can shade as much as one-hundred-thirty square feet, or more. That’s a big umbrella! Many also can turn horizontally to follow the sun, and some even have a tilting mechanism.
Signs of quality.
An umbrella is only as good as the frame that supports the fabric. Count the ribs. Better market umbrellas have eight aluminum ribs. I’d avoid any pole or rib system made of steel. Steel rusts, and bleed-off has been known to stain decks and concrete.
If you don’t want to replace the canopy or umbrella every couple of years, select a fabric resistant to fade. They may be more expensive but will save you money in the long run. Solution dyed acrylics such as Sunbrella™ hold their color incredibly well. You’ll enjoy those vibrant colors for years to come. Olefins are also quite fade resistant and cost less. Unfortunately, many big box stores and lumber yards sell economy umbrellas that feature spun polyester. Colors fade quickly and the frames themselves are often inferior. In my world, spun poly is the least desirable fabric on the market.
As I stated, I love the sun, and after enduring winter’s agony, I’ll never again complain about the heat. But I do enjoy reading and having lunch outside in the comfort of a well-shaded deck. Again, it’s all about options and getting the most out of our warm-weather months. If you’d like to do the same, see us at Eastgate Pools & Spas. We have a huge selection of umbrellas sure to make your deck or patio the family’s favorite go-to place.