Shade Structures for Playgrounds, Parks, Daycare Facilities and More
Types of Shades Available
There are two main types of shade groups: structured and sail. The structured shades have a steel skeleton that maintains the basic form even without fabric. Sails on the other hand are shaped by the fabric itself. These are often considered more artistic looking, however, they require more planning to ensure they provide the proper shade coverage for an area.
When selecting a shade, it’s important to consider multiple factors:
- What it is being used for
- How much space you have
- Who is going to be using it
What it is being used for
A shade’s purpose can determine a lot about it. If it is going over play equipment or a basketball court, it might need to have a peaked roof, as on a Square Hip Shade. Shades over equipment for younger children need to be set out of the way or even outside of the actual usage area, like a Cantilever Umbrella. Maybe a set will be used over bleachers at a baseball field, making a Hanging Cantilever the best choice.
How much space you have
Conceptually, it might be easy for you to figure out how you would like the space to look, but shade sizes can vary greatly based on style. Square and Hexagon Umbrellas offer a very limited range of space. This makes them good for restaurants and poolside because the area they are shading is so limited. If trying to cover a large play area or venue with one shade, Hip Shades typically can cover the largest amount of space and can be doubled for extremely large areas.
Who is going to be using it
Shades are more than practical, they can be beautiful. Some shades accomplish a job in a clean, well put together manner, while others do it with grace. If there is a secondary motive, to renew or “class up” an area, Sail Shades present a beautiful option. They double as shade and a focal point of interest.
Uses for Shades
Shades can be used in a variety of outdoor environments. While a majority of the shades used today will cover playgrounds, that is only one of the many places they can be utilized. The basic rule of thumb is, if you want people to stay in an area for any length of time but it’s in direct sunlight, shades are necessary. Here are just some of the places that might need a shade:
- Dog Parks
- Picnic Areas
- Outdoor Classrooms
- Outdoor Auditoriums
- Outdoor Art Exhibits
Shades are just another way to make it easier to spend more time outdoors safely. Harmful UV rays cause damage to skin. Materials left in direct sunlight can fade or be damaged over time.
Glide Elbows and Easy Removal Systems
One of the most talked about additions to a shade is the glide elbow, noted as the “Easy Removal” on some of the shade names on our site. By adding such a system, adding or subtracting a shade becomes much easier, especially on taller shades. Essentially, the glide elbow functions as a lever that when tightened with an electric drill, it pulls the shade taut. When loosened, the arm of the lever moves backwards decreasing the tension on shade. With the addition of glide elbows, the fabric of a shade requires less physical muscle to pull tight.
The majority of the shades that are found on the commercial market today provide protection from the sun rather than rain. However, they are often made from PTFE Fiber fabric, which is the same polymer used to coat non-stick pans. Which, if you’ve ever heated up a droplet of water in a non-stick pan, you’ve seen how you can chase it around as it slowly evaporates. That is to say that the water stays on top of the surface rather than being absorbed into it. Posts and hardware are constructed from steel. Posts are powder coated as well.
What’s a Sealed Engineer Drawing and Why Do I Need One
Shades are considered a building and require a building permit to be put up in a public space. To apply for that permit, a Sealed Engineer Drawing often needs to be submitted with the application to prove that the structure will meet that area’s building codes. With an additional fee and furnishing us with your zip code for the area where the shade(s) will be built, a Sealed Engineer Drawing can be provided matching your specific building code. Please note, that in areas that are subject to more stringent building codes, there may be a change to the overall price of the shade. All prices shown are the most basic models available.
As with anything, there is a degree of care that needs to happen to extend a shade’s life to its maximum length. While shades can handle winds up to very high speeds and up to two inches of snow, they will always last significantly longer when the stresses put on them are reduced. Simply taking down shades for large season changes, such as before a rainy season or winter, can reduce strain on the shades.
Additional Shade Questions
Adding a commercial grade shade to an area can feel daunting. At Playground Outfitters, we will help guide you through the process to help you make decisions that fit your needs. Call us at 1 (888) 342-8228 for more information.