SAIL shades are a common sight in Australian backyards where householders are only too aware of the harmful effect of UV radiation and the need for sun relief. A simple sailcloth sail shade fixed over barbecue or outdoor terraces can reduce up to 90% of the sun's UV rays.
When landscaping an outdoor area, Australians use these streamlined tension membranes to enhance their backyard appeal as well as making it sun smart. A series of overlapping sails can also turn a problem into a fresh and contemporary design feature.
GV Mulder's shade sails, a long established Australian manufacturer of shade structures has been designing shade solutions since early last century.
Most DIY sail shade customers tend to buy a sail only as they have already worked out which posts or other strong fixing points they are going to use. The sail design process is then fairly rapid and usually starts with a fax or email of the customers proposed drawing.
Mulder’s principal shade designer suggests four main points to getting the initial DIY drawing correct. Decide where the shade is wanted and measure the sides and diagonals of this whole area. Allow for the fact the sail covers a smaller area after allowing for fixings and tension curvature.
To ensure the shade sail is stable in winds it must have some curvature and not be on one level plane. The most common method is to have each pair of diagonally opposite corners at significantly different heights.
Finally, ensure that any proposed fixing points are strong enough to bear the stresses of a sail under strong wind conditions. If unsure consult a local engineer.
Once the overall dimensions are finalised, the sail cloth area and the number of fixing devices needed to pull the sail into tension can then be costed.
Typically a basic sail shade made of sail cloth is 4m X 4m (16ft X 16ft) and costs about $720 Australian dollars.
A computed aided final design is then developed in-house. This determines the sailcloth cutting plan, ensuring every sail meets the exact specification.
Low cost shipping rates and the low comparable cost of living often makes Australian sail shades an econonomic proposition for US customers.
Sails are usually made of high quality shade cloths, architectural grade polyester mesh and solid PVCs.
Colour choice is endless and these materials are built to withstand the wind and rain and UV rays.
Mulder’s has a rich history of tradition in Australia. The business began as a saddlery in 1896 and it has been making tents, canvas and shade products for domestic, industrial and defence purposes since the 1930s.
All material and sail designs can be seen in Mulder’s centrally located Melbourne showrooms.
Colour swatches and a photo catalogue showing over 70 of their sail shade designs can be easily posted overseas.
A full range of sail shades can also be seen online at www.mulders.com.au.