How to Install a Shade Sail

A custom-made shade sail can be moved to shield from sunlight
A custom-made shade sail can be moved to shield from sunlight
Download Custom Shade sail Project PDF

This 5800 x 3500mm sail was custom-made by a sailmaker to cover the shallow half of an inground pool so that the sun warms up the water but there is still shade for swimming when it’s hot.

The sail retracts to fold against the timber crossbeam, and when shade is needed, straps unclip and the rectangular sail is slid along four stainless-steel wires. These 3.2mm wires are fixed to 6mm stainless steel eye plates attached to a crossbeam, supported by metal posts and the deck fascia. The wires are tensioned just enough to prevent sagging.



Secure the metal posts
Paint the posts with a metal primer and apply two coats of colour. Dig two holes 3100mm apart, 250mm diameter and 800mm deep. Plumb the posts to lean away from the sail. Check the tops are level then add concrete, sloping the surface away.


Secure the crossbeam
On the treated pine crossbeam, mark out and drill the bolt holes using a 12mm drill bit. Position the beam to span the posts, securing with 120 x 10mm galvanised bolts.
TIP: If the timber bows, curve it away from the sail.


Attach the eye plates
Mark the eye plates on the deck fascia and the top of the crossbeam, matching the eyelet spacings on the sail (see Diagram), drilling four 2mm pilot holes, then securing with 65mm x 8g stainless steel decking screws


Swage the wire to plates
Cut the wire to span between the eye plates, allowing 80mm for swaging and turnbuckles when fully extended. Push thimbles around the eye plate hooks, thread wire through the swages, around the thimbles, back into the swages to crimp with a swager.


Thread the wire
Position the sail beneath the eye plates and pass the wire in sequence through the eyelets, checking you haven’t missed any before swaging at the end by threading the wire through the swage, around the thimble, and back into the swage.


Attach the turnbuckle
Wind out the turnbuckle to maximum length, connecting one end to the eye plates on the crossbeam, and the other end to the thimble on each wire.
TIP: You’ll need an extra pair of hands to hold the sail up.


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