Frequently asked questions
1. What area do we service?
We service the Southern California area:
from LAX airport area North to Carpinteria
from the West coast to the Pasadena - Antelope Valley areas.
2. Why are we the best?
Licensed General Contractor and a preferred distributor-installer for Shade Sails LLC, the oldest and most experienced Shade Sail Co. in the USA.
1) We sew with UV stabilized PTFE (Poly Tetra Flouro Ethylene) thread. It is rated to last 70+ years under severe UV. Almost all others sew with Polyester thread and that will last only 5-7 years (maybe).
2) We use a 100% mono-filament (same as fishing line) woven fabric. It is 3-4 times heavier than the other available tensioned fabrics and due to it's round slick fiber this fabric stays much cleaner.
3) We offer commercial & residential design, fabrication and installation. Engineering is available if desired.
4) Owner operated, so what we agree to, is what you get. No misunderstandings or unpleasant surprises.
3. What are some important Sail guidelines?
Sail MAX Sizes
Triangle - No side of a Triangle Sail is longer than 30 feet.
Quadrilateral - No side of a Quadrilateral Sail is longer than 40 feet.
Note: No side of a Sail shall be less than 1/2 the length of it's longest side.
Shade Sails need to be installed on a substantial slope to prevent stretching and sagging during rain. Once stretched, Sail cloth will not shrink back and results in a floppy Sail with unsightly staining from sediment that remains after rain sieves through leaving a dirty egg shaped stain.
The minimum recommended slope is 3:12 (that is 1' elevation for every 4' of Sail length). So typically a 20' Sail with a low side that is 8' high requires a high point that is 13' high.
Sails that have less than minimum slope will void the fabric manufacturers warranty.
Please Note that the following information re Posts is a general guideline and there are several considerations that change the requirements.
Post diameters vary and are sized based on Sail size and post height. They are typically set in a footing that is 1/2 the depth of the exposed length of the post. In other words, an eight foot tall post would typically have a 4' deep 30" diameter, 3000 psi concrete footing.
A common post size for a medium size Sail would be 6" diam sch40 round pipe or 5" square (1/4" wall) tubing.
4. How does the process work?
We usually are able evaluate your project by using the info you provide and satellite imagery. (see next FAQ #5 for details on what info to send us)
We acknowledge the receipt once we receive a query from you and then study it. We contact you if there are questions or options. With sufficient information we are usually able to provide you with Sail plans and a Proposal.
It's free and there are no strings attached. Using this method provides you with a free plan and price quote for your consideration. It allows you to determine whether you would like to continue based on the design and projected cost. There is no charge for this service. If you approve, a site visit (described below) will be scheduled to verify actual ground conditions and a new more detailed plan will be generated to be included with your Contract.
During this visit I take measurements and take pictures with a camera drone from about 175 feet up. These will be used as the Photoshop background for the Sail plans I provide you. A $200 consultation fee is charged. This fee is forgiven when the project is approved.
If you would rather start with an on-site visit this can be arranged at your convenience.
In all cases, before a Contract is signed, an on site visit is scheduled to verify the actual conditions and dimensions.
After a contract is signed, we install anchor hardware and posts as necessary. We then take precise measurements and Sails are ordered, fabricated and, via air, drop shipped to us from Shade Sails, LLC's exclusive Mfg plant in New Zealand.
Within 3 weeks we complete the installation of your Sails.
5.What should I send in for a free analysis, design, and cost estimate?
Please send the following to Mike@PerfectShadeSails.com
1) Your name.
2) Contact information - Tel#s, email, etc.
3) The site address. (used to view project site via satellite)
4) Photos of the entire area, especially buildings & roof eaves (if considering building attachments).
5) Please tell me the area(s) that you want to shade.
6) Anything you think might help me understand what you want.
7) (optional) Plans, drawings, sketches that you can share.
I love lots of big pictures. Trouble is that the WEB doesn't.
Anything over 25MB will bounce back.
So send multiple emails of no more than 25MB at a time.
or use Dropbox, or Google, or direct me to a site, etc.
Thank you, Mike
6. Why do we use Monotec370® fabric and PTFE thread exclusevely?
Monotec370® fabric is long lasting (15 year warranty) and it allows us to sew with (Poly Tetra Flouro Ethylene) PTFE thread.
Monotec370® fabric has been specifically developed as an extremely strong and stable fabric for use in tension structures and enables us to build very long lasting Sails. It is 100% monofilament and 3 - 4 times heavier than other shade fabrics. Due to the unique construction, using 100% round monofilament yarn, Monotec370® provides increased stability and resistance to high winds.
Most all other tensioned fabrics contain 30% monofilament (or less) and the balance is tape fill. These lighter weaker fabrics do not last as long, but more importantly, they stretch so much that they are only compatible with "stretchy" polyester threads.
Using Monotec370® fabric allows us to use the UV stabilized and very strong PTFE thread which is designed to provide dependable service in harsh Solar conditions for 70+ years.
10 times longer than the 7 year service life of polyester threads.
7. Why do our Shade Sails stay cleaner?
Almost all Shade Sails on the market today use fabric that is less than 30% mono-filament the remaining 70% is flat fill. This flat fill holds dirt and dust and will eventually start to look very dirty and may even start growing stuff.
Monotec370® eliminates this problem because it is made from 100% round mono-filament yarn. The round mono-filament yarn allows dirt and debris to fall away from the fabric rather than accumulate on the surface. Surplus dirt will be washed and blown away with wind or rain.
An occasional hosing down will help keep your sails clean in dusty dry conditions.
8. Are Quads better than Triangle Sails?
Triangle (Tri) Shade Sails are very spectacular especially when they overlap each other and use multiple colors. And sometimes a triangle shape is just what's required, but they are not very stable. They are most suitable in multiple Sail structures and where shade is generally a secondary concern and visual "WOW" is the prime requirement.
Quadrilateral (Quad) Shade Sails provide much more shade per $ than Tri Sails. Quads are less expensive per sq foot of shade because Sails are priced by the perimeter foot not by the sq foot. Tri's have long perimeters but provide relatively small shade areas. To get good shade coverage with Tri's requires multiple overlapping Sails.
Additionally, no matter how you raise or lower any corner of a Tri, it will always remain a flat sheet and relatively unstable. A Quad Sail however may be twisted to achieve structural stability.
9. Why are the sides of Shade Sails curved?
The edges of Shade Sails curve inward to control tension throughout the membrane. This curve is required to provide proper sheet tension.
The edge will curve inward about 10% of the edge length.
(example - 2' of deflection on a 20' long edge).
10. Can a Shade Sail float over an area with use of a cable?
Yes, one (1) corner of any Sail may be floated (tethered) on a steel cable to an anchor point up to 100 feet away.
One (1), and only 1 corner of any sail may be tethered this way, otherwise the Sail will become unstable from the shock of wind loads and wear out very quickly.
Multiple Sails may NOT be attached to a single cable as this will also create unstable conditions.
11. Is the shade and UV blocking the same with all colors?
The amount of protection from the UVA and UVB rays does vary slightly with color.
The light colors offer about 80% blocking and the dark colors about 90% blocking.
See the Monotec370® Fabric Details in the "GENERAL INFORMATION" tab for specifications.
12. How much wind can a Shade Sail take?
Our Sails are commercial quality, designed for 85 mph wind gusts. They can be engineered for higher winds.
13. Can I attach a Shade Sail to my house?
Yes, we utilize an assortment of custom stainless steel hardware designed to anchor your Sails properly.
The structure at the point of attachment must be strong enough to take the wind loads the sails will generate.
Attachments must be to the frame or structure of the house, not to siding, fascia, or the roof.
14. Are Shade Sails waterproof?
Shade Sails are made with a knitted cloth that is about 10% porous. This porous knit is what allows for hot air to rise and escape through the Shade Sail.
When Sails are properly sloped most of the rain will shed to the perimeter with some mist getting through.
16. Will someone from PerfectShadeSails.com install my ready made sails?
Sorry, no. We only install our custom Shade Sails.
Ready made Sails are difficult to install. Most pros avoid them.
Ready made Shade Sails are designed for the "do it your-selfer" or the homeowner with a trusted handyman. They are smaller and are fabricated to different standards.
With Ready Made Sails the anchor points must be installed based on the predetermined size of the Sails.
Very often where the "Ready Made Sail" requires anchoring is not suitable and lack of suitable anchor points often makes it difficult or impossible to do a professional installation of "Ready Made Sails".
15. What are the pros & cons re "wire edge" and "web edge" style Sails?
The "wire edge" style is the original standard. It uses a stainless steel cable sewn into the entire perimeter of the Sail and attached to the steel rings at each corner. When tightened this steel cable stretches the Sail.
The "web edge" is a newer design and utilizes a pre-tensioned web belt (similar to a car seat belt) instead of the steel cable used in the "wire edge". The "web edge" in theory provides a better load/stress distribution to the edges of the Sail.
I prefer the "wire edge" Sails.
Although it is harder to install a "wire edge" Sail (vs "web edge"), I prefer the "wire edge" Sails as there is much more adjust-ability allowing for a PERFECT installation.
17. Why are custom Shade Sails expensive?
To make a custom sail, we have to make a "one-off pattern".
The sail is then laid out and fabricated by hand and shipped by air freight from our facility in New Zealand.
Our Sails are commercial quality and feature Monotec370® fabric, Solarfix® thread, more reinforcements, and marine grade stainless steel hardware.