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Custom vs Standard Shade Sails

Are you trying to choose between custom vs standard shade sails? Shade sails are a fantastic way to create long-lasting low-maintenance sun protection in the home all year round. There are two main options to choose from when contemplating DIY shade sail installation.

You can either purchase a ‘standard sized’ shade sail, where the dimensions of the cloth are predetermined by the manufacturer, and can either be made to order or purchased premade off the shelf, or a ‘custom sized’ shade sail, where the installer determines the dimensions of the shade sail based on their own measurements of a specific area. 


Considerations When Choosing Between Custom vs Standard Shade Sails

There are advantages and drawbacks for both, and the best option out of the two often depends on the area where the shade sail will be installed as well as personal choice.

It should be no surprise to hear that a custom shade sail is the best fit for any area because it will create a perfectly-shaped and professional looking shade solution that can also fit smaller or awkwardly shaped areas, while a standard sized shade sail has to be incorporated into a space which will then need to be organised around it. 

Custom vs Standard Shade Sails

Ordering the Shade Sails

A standard sized shade sail is easier to order, however, because all of the sizes, shapes, and colours have already been chosen by the manufacturer. There is some extra effort required for a custom shade sail which needs to be done before the sail can be manufactured – a shape needs to be chosen, the posts need to be installed, and the distance between anchor points needs to be accurately measured before production can start. 

With standard sized shade sails, you do not need to have the posts installed before you order the shade sail though mapping it out is recommended before ordering.

How the Shade Sails were Manufactured and Materials Used

An advantage for standard sized shade sails is that they are quicker to order, especially if they are available off the shelf. Saying that, it is important to be aware of the limitations of off-the-shelf shade sails – you have no control over the way that it has been manufactured or any say in the fabric or thread that has been used. 

For an idea of the quality of the shade sail, check the warranty that is given- anything under 3 years is not going to last effectively in your home and is not worth the effort of install. Many are made overseas with specifications for other countries and will not hold up under the harsh Australian sun. 

Made to order shade sails on the other hand are made in Australia with commercial-quality fabric and UV resistant thread, and they are hand stitched with a warranty of around 10 years which is vastly different to most shade sails available off the shelf. 

They’re also usually stronger with a higher level of durability – especially if they have a wire perimeter instead of webbing as a way of attaching the shade sail to the posts and are made with stainless steel fittings.

It is also important to note that both DIY and custom sized shade sails can be made to order using the same high quality fabric, so there isn’t an issue in quality with made to order standard sized sails. The main reason that custom sized shade sails take longer to order is because the installer will need to install the posts for the shade sail and take measurements before confirming the order for the shade sail.

Custom Shade Sails vs DIY Shade Sails

Cost of Custom Shade Sails vs DIY Shade Sails

Between the two options, Standard shade sails usually cost less because they are pre-designed; they have either already been made or the materials to make them are easily available and ready to be sewn together. 

Custom sized shade sails cost somewhat more due to their unique dimensions which reflect the measurements of the specific space being shaded, and these lengths need to be precisely cut and gathered before sewing. This means that the final cost of the shade will also depend on the size of the sail- the more materials that are used, the more the final cost will be. 

The choice of fabric as well as the different options to attach the shade sail to the posts will also affect the price; if you prefer a stronger and longer-lasting wire or cable rope border guide then it will cost more than simple webbing, for example. 

Installation Process

Lastly, installation of the shade sail may also affect your choice between a custom shade sails and DIY shade sail. It has already been stated that before you order a custom shade sail you need to install the posts and measure the attachment points – this can be done by you or you can hire a handyman or shade installer to do this. 

If this is the case, you will need to organise two visits for the installer to firstly install and measure the posts, and then to come back and install the shade sail once it has been delivered. You can just install the sail – it will be relatively straightforward because all of the measurements have already been made and you can be sure it will fit. 

A standard-sized shade sail will only need a handyman or installer to visit once, depending on the scope of the project, though there is the chance that the shade sail may not fit the space as well as intended. The scope for oversight is higher in standard sized shade sails because there is less work done beforehand.

Wrapping Up Our Guide to Custom vs Standard Shade Sails

When it comes to ordering a Do-It-Yourself shade sail, there are many reasons to choose either a custom or standard size over the other; if you’re after a little less work then you may prefer a standard sized shade sail, while if you wanted a perfect fit then a custom sized shade sail would be your best choice. 

The most important thing to remember when it comes to shade sails is to make sure that the material is high-quality and the sail construction itself is durable and long-lasting. Keep in mind these helpful tips and you can be confident that you will select the perfect long-lasting shade for your outdoor area.

Last Updated on November 14, 2023

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About the author 

Gary Clarke

Hi, I'm Gary Clarke, gardening enthusiast and former landscaper. I have had privilege of sharing my gardening knowledge at Aussie Green Thumb since early 2020.

I have a passion for using native Australian plants in Aussie gardens and I always try to promote growing fruit trees and vegetable gardens whenever possible.

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