Outdoor Shade Canopy

Useful Canopy Tips

Here are a few tips for making an outdoor shade canopy wind resistant.

The first place to start is the feet.  Mine came with four holes in the bottom and two holes in the sides for attaching the poles.  I used skirting spikes to anchor my feet to the ground.  Skirting spikes are aluminum or steel nails about 10" long that are used to hold the skirting bottom track to the ground on mobile homes and park models.  Any extra long nail will do the job.  If the feet can be lag bolted to an existing wood floor that is even better.  Be sure your poles are bolted into the feet.



anchoring a shade canopy
In addition to the feet I use four corner anchors.  These are 16" pieces of rebar with a loop welded to one end.  With one of these at each corner it is easy to strap the tent down in multiple ways.  Cross strapping and tying the sides and ends is also a good idea.  Use bungee, ratchet type straps or rope for this purpose.  The more places the canopy is anchored the better.



grommets on shade canopy
The use of extra grommets is a very common way of battling the Arizona monsoons.  Grommets every 6" is not at all overkill.  Most tarps or canopies have grommets spaced every 12" to 16".  The more the better.  Each one added will take pressure off the ones next to it.  When the grommets start to pull out it just takes one good wind and the cover is gone.






canopy screws
tape on canopy frame
The tubes on the portable canopies that are meant to slide together and be held in place by the cover itself can always use a little reinforcement.  Some people use duct tape for this.  I choose to use small, painted, self tapping screws.  Every place a tube slides into another tube I secure with a screw.  Always use screws on the bottom, or inside, side of the frame.  You do not want the fabric rubbing against the screw heads.



If lights are needed in your outdoor shade canopy, be careful with throwing chains or cords over the top pole.  It is far better to screw the chains into the poles from the bottom preventing any contact with the fabric.  Anything that wears on the fabric will cause holes in a short time.  When holes do appear in your cover they need to be repaired quickly.  When small holes are allowed to grow it just takes one good wind to rip the whole cover into pieces.  Patch kits are made for just about any type cover material made. They are good to have.



pvc pipe for canopy
PVC pipe is used a lot in our park for the purpose of holding the tents down.  They take some of the pressure off the grommets and make rolling the sides up a lot easier for one person.  A 20' side panel can be a hand full for one person to roll up by themselves.  A pvc pipe added at the bottom makes this much easier.

Canopies, tarps and tents were not made with Arizona monsoons in mind.  To install the kit the way it is purchased is just asking for trouble.  A little extra work is needed to protect your investment.  I have not added more than $40.00 to the cost of my canopy but I have probably doubled it's live span.

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