Sun umbrellas cast valuable shade, and complement landscaping, outdoor furniture, and homes in a truly unique way. They are a fantastic addition to any outdoor living space. Outdoor umbrellas, especially cantilever umbrellas, are often a feature, framing the view, and are so attractive it can seem a shame to close them. And if the sun umbrella is a Shade7 umbrella, its strength and stability give its owners such peace of mind and confidence in its durability that closing their Shade7 umbrella can seem needless.
So, should you close your outdoor umbrella when you aren’t using it? Even if it is a Shade7 outdoor umbrella? Or can you leave your outdoor umbrella open all the time?
Shade7’s recommendation is that yes, you should close your outdoor umbrella when not using it. Here are two compelling reasons why:
- Wind gusts can be unpredictable and incredibly powerful.
Canvas, especially premium canvas such as the Recasens acrylic canvas used in Shade7 umbrellas, is essentially a sail. A sailboat can be propelled across water by the wind, but an umbrella has nowhere to go. A powerful gust of wind can lift an unsecured centre pole or market umbrella out of its base or table setting or push it over. If the canopy falls onto something sharp, it can tear, and if the umbrella is heavy, it could break or cause damage to the property. And if the umbrella is bolted down, and the wind-force is greater than the materials or construction, something must give. The result can be significant damage to a once beautiful umbrella.
- Dust and dirt collect on an open canopy.
When an umbrella is left up permanently like a roof, just like a roof it can become filthy. In worst-case scenarios canopies can become green with mossy growth and even lichen, or discoloured from soot, pollen, bugs, leaf fall, and bird droppings. And if a canopy is left open most of the time, and only closed after stormy weather has rolled in, the build-up of organic matter on the now wet canopy can cause further problems if a wet canopy is left closed. Premium acrylic canopies like Shade7’s Recasens canvas, are resistant to rot, but not all canopies are, and, just like a tent, any canvas canopy can stain if stored wet. If the canopy is closed when it is wet, it is important to open it again as soon as possible to let it thoroughly dry before closing it again.
Closing your umbrella when it is not in use is an excellent step towards ensuring your umbrella will last and look beautiful for years. But there are a couple of other important steps you can take to ensure your patio umbrella will last for years.
How to store an outdoor umbrella
Shade7’s outdoor umbrellas are designed to be outside year-round. With your umbrella still bolted to the ground, or sitting through a table, or standing in a moveable base, it will be ready to go the moment the sun come out. Simply lift off the umbrella cover bag, unstrap the canopy, and open the umbrella. But when you have finished using the umbrella, before you put the cover bag back on, it pays to draw each canopy fold free from between the closed arms and wrap the folds firmly around the umbrella before strapping it closed. This is because if the canopy fabric gets pinched between the arm joints, holes can wear through the canvas over time. Once it is snuggly folded and closed, lift the cover bag on. Shade7 cover bags have a pole stitched inside them for easy operation. If you are unsure about the value of using a cover bag, check out the tips in this article. And for a comprehensive overview on how to look after your outdoor umbrella, reading this article will be helpful.
Some people prefer to remove their umbrella completely and store it out of the weather over the winter months. Most outdoor umbrellas are too long to easily store inside your home, and not everyone has access to a 3m-long clean, dry space. If you do choose to lie your umbrella down, and it is outside against the edge of a house, or on a garage floor, make sure it has a protective cover bag on so it can’t get grazed if it is pushed across the ground, and to prevent dust and dirt from working into the canopy. Bugs are attracted to dark crevices, so if you choose to store your umbrella lying on the ground over the winter, when using it for the first time in summer, it can pay to open the umbrella with caution, and check for insects, webs, or nests before using.
If your canopy needs some TLC, you can check out this article on cleaning your canopy. Or if you are getting ready to choose your new outdoor umbrella, you can browse the Shade7 collection online or visit the friendly team in their showroom at 1096 Great South Road, Mt Wellington.