Shade Cloth: A Simple Concept With Many Uses

Posted on 31 October 2010


At it’s simplest a shade cloth is a durable piece of fabric that offers sunshade and UV protection. There are two basic varieties, knitted shade cloth and woven shade cloth. The former is more ‘cloth like in texture and very breathable. Woven shade cloth is a heavier material with a plastic texture. Here are some examples of how shade cloth is used:

  • Patio shade cloth can be used to protect outdoor furniture. By draping the cloth over a wooden patio chair or a plastic sun lounger around the pool, the cloth will protect the furniture from sun damage and reduce heat build up.
  • You’ll find shade cloth often used on boats in anchorage to protect the deck and outside installations from the sun.
  • Gardeners use shade cloth to provide sun protection to light sensitive plants. A lower grade material is normally used to allow some light in for photosynthesis. Many orchid growers for example us 60% shade cloth.
  • Farmers lay shade cloth over the ground to prevent soil erosion, cracking, protect crops from birds and to retain moisture. Livestock and poultry areas can be shaded with the cloth. 90-95% UV resistant fabrics are available offering a high degree of protection. Shade cloth can also be used to provide temporary fencing.
  • Shade cloth is used for the production of sun sails. These are visually attractive shades that are commonly used to protect outside seating areas and BBQ pits. As the material is slightly porous, hot air can rise up and out of the shade, keeping things nice and cool.
  • When purchasing grade cloth, ask the supplier for a warranty. The length of this will depend to a certain extent on whether you are buying knitted or woven fabric and the level of sun protection. The industry standard for 95% knitted shade cloth is a 10 year guarantee from sun degradation.

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