Can You Waterproof Shade Sails? We Answer This Popular Question

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July 15th, 2020 · Published to Shade Sails by Steve Lewis

Shade sails are, by far, the most popular shade solution in Australia. They’re affordable, versatile, easy to install and provide excellent protection against the sun. But, there are many other benefits of shade sails that many consumers aren’t aware of, one of which, we will look at today.

As a shade sail manufacture, people ask me questions about shade sails all the time. One of the most common questions is “can you waterproof shade sails?” The answer to this question also happens to provide one of their most significant benefits.

So, continue reading to find out if you can, in fact, waterproof shade sails.

Waterproof Shade Sails? Yey or Nay?

You will be happy to know that the answer to this question is Yey! You CAN waterproof shade sails, or to be more precise; you can get waterproof shade sails.

How to Waterproof Shade Sails

If you have existing shade sails, then, unfortunately, it isn’t a case of merely painting a waterproof coating over the top.

Standard shade sails are manufactured from shade cloth, a porous fabric that allows air to pass through it freely. Therefore, shade cloth alone is not waterproof. You are not able to “upgrade” a standard shade sail into one that is waterproof. The decision needs to be made before purchase as they are made from entirely different materials.

Waterproof shade sails receive their waterproof properties in the fabric manufacturing process, and more common than not, shade cloth isn’t the fabric of choice, though it can be a foundation.

Waterproof Shade Sail Fabric Options

As mentioned above, waterproof shade sails are capable of being manufactured from shade cloth, but more often then not, they are made from other fabrics, such as a polyester-based PVC fabric.

DriZ and Serge Ferrari, from Rainbow Shade, are two excellent examples of waterproof shade cloth. DriZ is made from Rainbow 16 shade cloth and has an advanced waterproof coating applied to the underside. On the other hand, Serge Ferrari is a high-tenacity polyester mico-yarn based cloth with dual layers of PVDF coating to provide waterproof properties.

Other popular waterproof fabrics used in the manufacturing of waterproof shade sails include Polyplan 680 and Valmex 580S, all of which we use here at Global Shade. Polyplan 680 comprises a low wicking polyester base cloth with a protective acrylic lacquer applied, and Valmex 580S is PVC coated Polyester low-wick base fabric finished with PVDF lacquer on its top side.

These fabrics are used not only to manufacture waterproof shade sails, but they are also used to create commercial shade structures like custom canopies, tension membranes and awnings.

Installing Waterproof Shade Sails

Waterproof shade sails are not like standard shade sails. Waterproof properties aside, they are heavier than standard shade sails and should only be installed by professional shade sail installers. This is mainly because they must be installed at the right tension to ensure maximum longevity.


If you’re one of the many people wondering whether or not you can waterproof shade sails, the answer is Yes. But, there is a catch. You cannot waterproof existing shade sails made from shade cloth. You must purchase “waterproof shade sails”. The difference is, waterproof shade sails are manufactured from fabrics that have waterproof properties; fabrics such as DriZ, Serge Ferrari, Polyplan 680 and Valmex 580S.

Waterproof fabrics make waterproof shade sails, and other waterproof shade structure possible, however, they must be installed by a professional for long life.

If you’d like to order a waterproof shade sail, give me a call. As waterproof shade sail manufactures, I can put you in contact with one of our local agents for a free measure and quote.

Call Global Shade today on 1800 724 407.

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