Many businesses these days have outdoor customer areas and they see the need to provide shade, otherwise those people will go elsewhere so they don’t have to sit in scorching sun. However, there are several ways to ensure the customer area is shades and two of the most popular are with shade sails and sun umbrellas. So which is the best?
- Sails offer a larger area of shade that can include tables, chairs, walkways and borders of the area.
- The sail is higher, which allows more air and breeze to pass under and through the structure, so the area is cooler.
- You get more UV protection from a sail and they are usually showerproof as well.
- Commercial sails don’t have to be taken down; in fact they are not meant to be removed like residential ones are.
- Umbrellas are more budget friendly.
- You can spread the seating arrangements out more since each table has its own shade.
- Since each setting has its own umbrella, it gives a more intimate, private feel.
- Umbrellas are easy to fold down in windy conditions.
- They can be set up quickly and you can add more as your customer base expands or as your budget allows.
- Sails are more expensive to purchase and erect
- You really need to have an expert to work out the placement of the sail for the best result.
- There will need to be posts cemented in, so no one can use the area while the shade is being erected.
- All the settings will have to be gathered under the shade, which can make it feel crowded and lacking in personal space.
- An umbrella is usually placed in the middle of the table and is meant to shelter only that area, but because it is smaller, when the sun is low in the sky the shade falls away from the table and chairs, so customers have no protection from sun or showers.
- On a very hot, windless day, the air under the lower umbrella gets superheated which heats the table and chairs and anyone hardy enough to sit there, even if there is shade.
- Relying on umbrellas for shade means a lot of the total area will still be in the sun, since they don’t offer very much shade overall.
- Often people sitting on one side of the table are in the sun.
Once you’ve consider the pros and cons of sails over umbrellas you’ll be able to make the right decision for your kind of business and the space you have, taking into account when the busiest time of day is, how many customers you need to provide shade for and of course, council regulations.