Where can I buy a cheap shade sail?

A lot of hardware stores and even $2 shops now are selling ready made shade sails. However – don’t be tempted – the saying “you only get what you pay for” certainly applies when it comes to shade sails!

The smaller sails around the 3sqm are fine but the larger ones must be designed to work correctly and must be made to exact measurements. Don’t expect a cheap sail to last any length of time.

Cheap sails are made genuinely with cheaper materials. A good sail normally has stainless cables round the edges where as cheaper imported ones have only have webbing. The thread or stitching that holds the fabric at the ends is one of the smallest and yet most important components. If the stitching fails, the entire sail is in danger of ripping. We strongly recommend that you don’t compromise this when you purchase a sail. Get the best to start with as it is all time and money having to remove and replace the sails plus the cost of the repair or re stitching.

Always check the sail material and its UV rating. A good sail will last you at least 10 years where a cheap ready-made sail will only last a fraction of this time.

There are many variables associated with sail design and it is important that the attachment points are suitable for the possible loading created by the elements.

Garry Long has been working in the Australian pool industry since 1978. A qualified canvas goods maker with a passion for innovation, he was inspired by the technology behind the sails used in America's Cup racing sails, and adapted and applied it to the pool industry at ABGAL. In 1990 ABGAL were the first company in Australia to use a single ply robotic cutting system to fabricate vinyl products. In 1993 Garry developed a 3D measuring system for complex shaped inground pools, which continues to be used today. Garry was President of the Australian Canvas & Synthetic Products Association in 2007-2008, and is the Managing Director at ABGAL Liners & Covers.