When thinking of installing a shade sail, most people don’t pay much attention to the posts that will keep it in place. They mainly focus on the size and shape of the sail they intend to install. While doing so, is vital to make sure your shade offers the greatest amount of cover, it detracts from the important decision to choose the correct posts.

A shade sail’s structural stability and longevity are mostly dependent on the posts. However, that is not its only function.  It is essential to the appearance of your sails.  A shade sail’s visual attractiveness can instantly be diminished by its posts.  Give it careful thought.  Create a fashionable yet robust construction and end up with a charming backyard.

Sail shade support poles vary significantly from one another. Thin posts will flex and break, causing damage and possible injury.  A good post can live for more than ten years and withstand the strongest storms.

Here are some things to think about when selecting your posts.

  • What different types of posts can I use?

Galvanized steel posts or Treated wood posts.

shade structures powdercoating

  • What are sail shade post sizes?

For Steel posts with sails less than 20′, we advise at least 3′′ OD (outside diameter), if it will remain in place all year. For larger sails use 4”–6” OD. The larger your sail, the thicker your posts.

  • What are sail shade post-height options?

The main options for height are 8 feet (96′′) and 10 feet (120′′), which are both popular choices. You are free to choose whatever your design calls for as long as it does not cause a hazard.

  • What does sail shade gauge mean?

For steel posts, the wall thickness of a pipe is measured using a gauge. We advise using 12 gauge (0.1″ thick). The smaller your gauge the stronger your post.

  • What is the best concrete for shade sail posts?

The soil composition in your neighborhood will greatly impact the answer. Different combinations and items will work best in various parts of the country. Go to your neighborhood hardware store or building outlet.  The experts in the pro section have a wealth of knowledge.  Ask them for advice rather than using a one size fits all approach.

  • What is the best post-hole depth?

Depending on your soil, we advise going at least 32′′ deep, though you can go a little deeper.  Having a 3rd of the post below ground is a good rule of thumb.

Shade Sails Wood Post - retail

  • Can you use wood for sunshade posts?

Yes, this can make for a fantastic DIY project. For wooden posts with sails less than 20’, we advise at least 6”x6” treated wood posts.  For larger sails use 8”x8″ or telephone poles/pilings. 4”x4” Posts are not strong enough to counter.

Can you use PVC pipes for sail shade supports?

We STRONGLY advise against doing this. This question has been asked so frequently that I decided to add it to the page. They are far from sturdy enough to carry the weight. Regardless of cost, this is simply not something you want to do. Some of our customers add concrete inside the PVC pipes.  I still do not like the idea at all.

We hope that this gives you some inspiration and a general idea of how you might get started with your beautiful backyard shade sail project.