Can You Use A Moveable Base With A Cantilever Umbrella?

15 July 2023
Is installing a cantilever umbrella on a moveable base a good idea? Will a moveable base give you the best shade coverage? This article explores the options.

A common question for anyone interested in getting a cantilever umbrella is ‘do you have to bolt a cantilever umbrella down?’ The short answer is ‘you don’t always have to, but you might want to.’ This article explains why.

Some people planning to enjoy a Shade7 cantilever umbrella in their outdoor living area, especially those familiar with more lightweight cantilever umbrellas, expect to use the umbrella on a moveable or freestanding base. While this can be the right solution for some locations, for most, bolting your cantilever umbrella down is often the best installation choice.

Here are five common reasons people think they need a freestanding base, and why they may not.

  • To move shade over the day. The sun moves over the course of the day, so unless you have multiple umbrellas [Link to multiple umbrella blog], it makes sense that your sun umbrella should move too. Shade7’s Riviera and Stellar cantilever umbrellas rotate 360° and tilt to screen low sun. These features, combined with the scale (up to 4m octagonal and 3.5m square in the Riviera), mean the reach and coverage from a single installation point is vast. With Shade7’s versatile cantilever umbrellas, moving the entire umbrella, mast and all, is usually not necessary.


  • Physically impossible to bolt down. If access to the underside of the deck is challenging or non-existent – for example, elevated on a sheer slope, or only inches above the ground – a deck installation can seem impossible. Similarly, if the preferred location is garden or lawn, or shingle under paving stones, it is obvious that bolts won’t hold an umbrella in place. However, deck installation is usually accessible by lifting just a couple of planks either side of the joists in your preferred deck location. And in-ground fittings are designed for soil and shingle substrates and can offer the strongest installation of all.


  • Easier than bolting it down. The idea of bolting a cantilever umbrella onto a wheeled or freestanding base can seem easier than bolting it directly to deck or patio. Sourcing and adding the ballast (metal chip, sand or pavers) for a freestanding/wheeled base doesn’t require a builder’s skill, just practicality and perhaps some helping hands. However, the steps to bolting to timber deck or concrete patio are also practical and straightforward. Full instructions and video demos are available from Shade7 and on their website [LINKs]. And if bolting down isn’t something you want to personally undertake, a builder could get the job done quickly and affordably – see the next point below.


  • Cheaper than bolting it down. It might seem that hiring a professional builder to install bolted-down fittings would be expensive. However, the engineering required to support the strength and scale of Shade7 cantilever umbrellas makes their freestanding/moveable bases a considerable investment. Shade7’s cantilever umbrellas can be bolted down, for example, to a concrete patio, for a little as the cost of bolts. Builders’ fees for installation are also much less than the cost of a freestanding or movable base and the necessary ballast.


  • The property may change hands. Many Shade7 umbrella owners intend to take their umbrellas with them if they move. Some believe that the best or only way to achieve this is to keep the umbrella on a freestanding base. However, it is a relatively simple task to unbolt a base plate or spigot from the ground to move the umbrella. In-ground fittings remain behind as they are set in concrete, the umbrella spigot can be unbolted from the in-ground fitting.

If the fittings are left behind when the umbrella is moved to a new property, replacement fittings (or a freestanding/moveable base if that is the best solution for the new location), can be purchased from Shade7.

NB. When moving a freestanding/moveable base to a new location, first unbolt the umbrella, then remove the ballast. Refill it once it is in the new location before re-bolting the umbrella to the base.

  • The exception to not needing a freestanding base when anticipating removing an umbrella would be if the location is very temporary, or if it is important not to leave installation marks behind, for example in premium porcelain tiles (although bolt holes can be filled.)

You might also like to learn of four reasons why bolting a cantilever umbrella down is a great idea.

You can browse installation options on the Shade7 website. If you would like to discuss installation solutions with the team at Shade7, CONTACT them by email or call into the showroom at 1096 Great South Road to view all the options.

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