Buying a Pool Umbrella: Everything You Need to Know

June 26, 2019

Multi-Mast Cantilever Umbrellas

Choosing an umbrella suitable for the poolside

When it comes to spending Summer by the pool, the addition of an umbrella is a great way to enjoy the relentless Australian heat safely and comfortably.

With so many choices available, selecting the right umbrella for your poolside can be a process that requires careful consideration. A suitable pool umbrella will provide a great space to make the most of Summer with friends and family, not to mention improving outdoor practicality and flow, which can be a significant selling feature for any home.

Ultimately, there are a few criteria to keep in mind when deciding on a poolside shade umbrella that best fits your situation. It is important that your pool umbrella has marine grade components for both the mast and canopy, and is within your budget. Continue reading for an outline of what to look for when deciding on a pool umbrella that best suits your needs.

Choosing the right umbrella mast

There are a number of mast types available for a poolside umbrella. Depending on your situation and pool area layout, you will find that some are more appropriate than others.

Firstly, the centre-pole umbrella has a traditional mast design. Centre-pole umbrellas are often budget friendly and useful as a simple, yet effective, solution. Their suitability around a pool will depend upon your pool area layout and situation, however they are usually more appropriate for use with a table setting.

In comparison, a wall-mounted mast can be a more suitable option for a poolside setting. This mast can be attached to a wall or pillar, making it beneficial if you have a suitable wall, limited space, or ground fixing limitations. When it comes to pool umbrellas, the flexibility and wall-mounted nature of this mast type places it at an advantage in comparison to the center pole. They may also include the ability to rotate up to 180 degrees, limited by the wall and canopy shape. However, the viability of a wall-mounted mast will be determined by a few key criteria. These include the availability of wall space; the functionality of the umbrella depending on its placement, and whether the aesthetic design matches your pool area.

Finally, the cantilever mast, also known as side-post or offset, is our suggestion for the best poolside umbrella mast. An elegant and practical option, this umbrella mast allows for a more usable space under the canopy, as the mast itself sits to the side of the canopy. Offering a more contemporary solution, many cantilever umbrella masts include the ability to rotate 360 degrees. This may allow for coverage both of the area around the pool, and within the pool itself. It also allows for adjustment depending on the position of the sun, so that you can enjoy the pool throughout the day, whether you are lounging on a deck chair, or having a swim.

Deciding on the best umbrella canopy for your poolside

When deciding on the canopy for your pool umbrella, there are again a number of criteria to consider. The ideal pool umbrella canopy should be made with fabric that is resistant to both UV rays and water. This fabric should be of a high quality, made from a material such as acrylic.

Some aspects of the umbrella canopy that you may want to take into consideration include:

  • The waterproof rating
  • Available colour choices
  • Canopy weight
  • Colour fastness
  • Future maintenance requirements

The ability of a canopy to repel water is an important aspect, which can be determined based on its official waterproof rating.

Umbrella canopies are available in a range of stock colours, often with the option for custom colouring. This is great if you want a poolside umbrella that specifically suits your pool aesthetic, or if you are looking for commercial umbrellas that match your branding.

The greater the canopy weight, the thicker the fabric. Our umbrellas range from 190-314 grams per square meter, depending on the model:

  • SU3 – 190 gr/m2
  • SU2 – 250 gr/m2
  • SU6/SU7 – 290 gr/m2
  • SU4 – 310 gr/m2
  • SU10 – 314 gr/m2

Colour fastness refers to maintaining colour without fading or running, and is measured on a scale of 1 to 8. Umbrella canopies should have a rating of at least 3 out of 8 (3/8). Our umbrellas range between 6/8-8/8 . The fabric should also be 100% solution dyed, which all of our umbrellas are. This means that the actual molecules of the solution are dyed, whether it be acrylic, polyester or olefin. 100% solution dyed acrylic is considered to be the optimal for outdoor fabric.

A high-quality fabric will have been thoroughly tested, ensuring it can withstand the rigorous pool setting. For example, Sydney Shade umbrellas use Sunbrella, Dickson and other high quality, 100% solution-dyed, marine-grade fabric.

Regular care and maintenance of your umbrella is essential. The following points will assist in keeping it looking smart and clean, whilst ensuring its ongoing performance and reliability:

  • Always place the protective cover over the umbrella when not in use
  • Close and cover your umbrella in adverse conditions, this includes rain, snow, hail and high wind
  • Take care when opening or closing the umbrella
  • The umbrella should never be left stored/collapsed for long periods whilst wet
  • Any early signs of mould or mildew must be removed immediately
  • The umbrella canopy is removable and fully washable. Clean fabric using cold or warm water and mild natural soap, rinse thoroughly and leave to dry in the open air
  • Never clean any part of the umbrella with a corrosive/abrasive product or a high-pressure hose
  • Never use waterproofing or cleaning sprays on the umbrella fabric without seeking appropriate advice first
  • All moving parts on the umbrella are best maintained with an annual application of dry lubricator, such as dry contact silicone spray

Other important umbrella features to consider

Given the nature of a poolside setting, there are a few other features you may want to consider:

  • The base of the umbrella should be weighted, with load bearing being taken into account, either with concrete pavers (if a portable base) or fixed to the ground. This ensures increased safety in high wind conditions.
  • A tilt mechanism.
  • Gas strut deployment systems.
  • The composition of the mast should be high quality and non-corrosive.
  • The optimal size of your umbrella.

Choosing a pool umbrella: our recommendation

Ultimately, not only does an outdoor shade umbrella complete your pool’s aesthetic, it is a crucial element in the protection of you and your family from the Australian sun. Be sure to take into careful consideration the mast type, canopy size and shape, the base/fixing option and all of the various other factors already mentioned.

Here at Sydney Shade, we have a comprehensive selection of the best outdoor umbrellas on the market, available in a range of configurations, sizes and shapes, and with fixing options to suit every situation. Suitable for both residential and commercial settings, our retractable umbrellas are designed with quality and functionality in mind. If you are in the market for a pool umbrella, we urge you to consider our range. We are ready, willing and able to find a solution to your shade requirements!