Once the storm has passed, take time to investigate the shade structure’s condition. The sooner your team checks the sail, the sooner you can begin repairs. Look for aspects like:
- Connection points: All connective points between posts and fabric need to be securely attached. Make sure they didn’t become loose during a storm or other inclement weather.
- Tension: The fabric needs proper tension to provide the best protection against the sun. Wind or other weather might cause the fabric to move and lose its tautness. Sagging fabric can form wrinkles or cause other mechanical issues.
- Leftover elements: Storms might leave behind branches, twigs, leaves, standing water or many other materials. During your inspection, clear off the structure’s surface to make sure this debris doesn’t cause further damage to the fabric.
- Other damage: Check for any residual tears or damage in the structure. Try to resolve these as soon as possible. For instance, a patch kit could quickly cover a tear and make the structure secure again until your business can make a total replacement.
To avoid weather impacts entirely, you can take down the shade structure’s fabric. Many owners remove their fabric ahead of storms or poor weather conditions. Put the fabric in storage rather than leave it outside to face the elements.
4. Add Preventive Landscaping
The surrounding landscaping can also impact shade structure maintenance. If your property has nearby trees or shrubbery, they might encroach onto the structure. Long branches can cut or tear into the fabric, and leaves and tree debris can leave lasting stains or other damage. During storms, these risks become even stronger, as wind and rain blow landscaping debris into the structure.
To combat these issues, integrate branch trimming into your landscaping maintenance. Make sure the branches don’t reach too far into the shade structure’s area.
You can also consider the nearby landscape during installation. Trees provide natural shade for outside areas, so it might be better to place your business’s shade structure in a place with minimal shrubbery. That way, you create a comfortable space for all locations.
5. Clean the Shade Structure Regularly
Cleaning is an integral part of shade sail maintenance. Thorough cleaning wipes away dirt, mold and grime, and it also enhances the structure’s visual appearance. The fabric might require specific cleaning materials or methods, so it’s always best to check your manufacturer’s warranty and recommendations before starting a cleaning routine. For instance, some cleaners might contain bleach or harmful chemicals that would harm your fabric type.
You can clean high-density polyethylene (HDPE) shade structure fabrics with a diluted detergent and a power washer. Spray the fabric from the peak and work your way down each side, rinsing off debris and dirt as you go. Make sure not to put the head of the power washer too close to the fabric.
For a more in-depth cleaning, you might take the shade fabric off the structure and follow these steps: