Finding the right patio umbrellas is actually more difficult than it might first appear.
As we learn more about the harmful effects of the sun's radiation, patio umbrellas are now a "need to have" rather than just a "nice to have".
And to be fair, whether you’re the backyard BBQ chef or simply a guest at a barbecue party it’s always much more pleasant cooking and dining outdoors away from the direct intensity of the sun.
You might think that umbrellas are just like one another but there are some key features that you will want to consider when thinking about buying a new one.
Wood or Aluminum – Wood looks the part and is best for something that’s going to be permanently in situ. The disadvantage of wood is both the weight and also how good is it going to look in a couple of years time? Wood needs to be maintained. If you’re looking for something more portable and maintenance free then check out aluminum frames.
How does the umbrella go up and down. It could be a simple push and click into place or a more elaborate pulley system where you pull on a rope and when the umbrella is up, secure it with a pin. These systems are fine and work well provided your umbrella isn't too big.
sophisticated is a crank system where you turn a level located on the
shaft of the umbrella, a must for the larger heavier models. We find that anything over 9 ft needs a crank system, that's not just because we are weaklings, there's been a number of occasions recently when we've had muscular strains when trying to put an umbrella up.
This will help maximize the amount of shade that your umbrella delivers and there are three options:-
Most fabrics are focused on durability and colorfastness when exposed to the elements. There are 5 main fabrics to choose from:-
In today’s climate and sensitivity to skin cancer and sun burn you will want to consider the size of the umbrella and ultimately what shade size it provides. Your shade size should be at least 5 feet more than the dining area you want to protect.
You would expect the quoted size of an umbrella to equal the diameter but this is not the case. Most manufacturers measure the size from one end, over the top and down to the other end.
As a general rule of thumb:-
Also referred to as cantilever patio umbrellas, these have to be the ultimate because they offer great flexibility and convenience. The main points are that they are free standing so there’s no need for the extra cost of an umbrella stand and also because the pole is to one side, you have the freedom to position the umbrella where you want to maximize shade or simply to ensure that the view isn’t interrupted. Perfect for the barbecue chef!
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When not in use the best way to protect your umbrella from the elements is with a cover and all the stores above provide covers.