Top 3 Fabrics for Waterproof Shade Sails

Top 3 Fabrics for Waterproof Shade Sails

December 14th, 2022 · Published to Shade Sails

Shade sails are a vital part of any outdoor space, but they aren’t waterproof. This is where fabrics come in! You can still enjoy the flexibility of shade sails with the waterproof qualities of a permanent roof by simply choosing the right fabric.

There are many different waterproof fabrics on the market, so it can be difficult to know which will work best for your needs. And while each waterproof fabric will provide you with a 100% waterproof solution, they each offer different pros and cons and of course, price points. Therefore, it’s essential to choose the right fabric for your application. You don’t want to go overboard and invest in a fabric designed for large architectural structures, nor do you want to skimp out and opt for a fabric that won’t offer longevity.

We’ve done the hard work for you and narrowed the options down for you.

In my last post, we looked at the top 6 fabrics for shade sails. Today, I will share my top 3 waterproof fabric choices below.

Ferrari 502

A highly durable waterproof fabric, Serge Ferrari 502 has excellent dimensional stability. It is also a heavy-duty cloth that is highly water-resistant.

Serge Ferrari 502 is made in Australia from the finest materials and is precisely engineered to withstand the continent’s harsh conditions. As such, it offers numerous advantages. To begin with, it’s essential that it is completely watertight. Comfortable and fashionable, it also boasts a high UPF rating. Flame retardant and fire retardant, the fabric provides long-term durability and weather protection.

With its water-resistant properties, Serge Ferrari 502 is the most adaptable fabric on the market. It can be utilised in almost any setting imaginable, including homes, businesses, and even corporate organisations. It is perfect for outdoor shade sails, awnings, and carports.

A 10-year warranty covers Serge Ferrari 502 against defects in materials and workmanship.

Learn more about this fabric

Polyplan 680

Polyplan 680 is a heavy-duty waterproof fabric made from polyester. This fabric is heat-resistant and flame-retardant, and it can withstand temperatures up to 70°C. It features a 3000N/3000N maximum tensile strength and 300/300 maximum rip strength.

Polyplan 680 is an architectural fabric with a dull embossed upwards side and a double-sided PVC coating. A polyester base and an acrylic lacquer give it a matt or unlacquered look, depending on the finish you like. It is flex-resistant and can last up to 100,000 flexes, making it an excellent choice for high-wear applications.

This waterproof fabric is excellent for large projects where you need to cover an entire surface with water protection. The material can be installed without tape seams and will not peel away in high winds like other materials.

Polyplan 680 is a long-lasting fabric that will keep you and your guests safe for many years.  A 5-year warranty covers it.

Learn more about this fabric

Valmex FR580S

VALMEX® FR580 is an excellent polyester-based fabric for tents, sails, and other tensioned structures because it is PVC-coated and low-wicking.

This waterproof fabric is ideal when designing custom structures because it’s easy to install and offers good ventilation properties, which allow air to circulate through the material.

VALMEX® FR580 is made from materials resistant to UV rays, fungi, and fire. Acrylic coating on both sides provides long-term durability and excellent resistance to dirt. UV stability and fire resistance are made possible by the PVDF lacquer, an essential component of this fabric (tested to AS1530.2 & AS1530.3). As a result of the anti-fungicides, the fabric can be used for outdoor furniture and other products where water is present. 

Anything is possible with VALMEX® FR580. A 10-year warranty backs the fabric.

Learn more about this fabric

Tips on choosing a Waterproof Shade Sail Fabric

Now that you know the best waterproof fabrics available, you can look at personal considerations. To help you with this, I have compiled a few tips surrounding the type of fabric, budget, appearance, durability, UV resistance, wind resistance, and installation. All these items should also be considered when placing an order for waterproof shade sails.

Type of Fabric

When choosing a waterproof shade sail fabric, one must first decide what type of waterproof fabric one would like. There are three main types of waterproof fabrics for shade sails: polyethylene (PE), vinyl (PVC), and woven or knitted polypropylene (PP or PPKP). Each waterproof fabric is best suited for specific projects. For instance, PE is an inexpensive waterproof fabric that can be used for shade sails, but it does not have the strength or appearance of PVC or PPKP waterproof fabrics.


The materials you choose for your waterproof shade sail depend on your budget. Fortunately, all these waterproof fabrics are affordable and can be used to make a variety of waterproof shade sails that will last a long time.


Whenever you’re going to put up a waterproof shade sail, aesthetics are important. Bright colours work well outdoors because the waterproof fabric will not fade in the sun.


If your waterproof shade sail is located near a pool or an outdoor barbeque area, then durability is essential. Thanks to their high tensile strength and resistance to peeling, these waterproof fabrics are perfect for waterproof shade sails that need to be sturdy.

UV Resistance

Sunlight is very hard on waterproof fabric. If you’re going to leave your waterproof shade sail exposed, it’s crucial to choose a waterproof fabric with excellent UV resistance. This will keep the waterproof fabric looking as good as new for longer.

Wind Resistance

High winds can cause problems for waterproof shade sails that aren’t appropriately secured. Choose a waterproof fabric with high tensile strength, such as Ferrari 502, to ensure the wind won’t lift your waterproof shade sail.


All the waterproof fabrics mentioned in this article are easy to work with and not difficult to install. However, due to the nature of the material, shade sails made from any waterproof fabric should be installed by a professional; otherwise, the warranty may become void.


Convenience is what waterproof shade sails are all about. The fabrics must be waterproof and durable, but they must also look good when the sun goes down.

Waterproof shade sails are a great way to protect yourself and your belongings from the sun and rain. There are a variety of waterproof fabrics available, each with its own advantages and disadvantages. From heavy-duty polyesters like Valmex FR580S to waterproof fabrics with great ventilation properties like Polyplan 680, you can find a waterproof shade sail material that will meet your specific needs. For more information on waterproof fabrics, please read ‘Types of Waterproof Fabrics Suitable for Shade Sails and Shade Structures‘.

Any waterproof fabric for a waterproof shade sail can be chosen according to personal preference and the final design of the waterproof shade sail you want to build. To find out more about waterproof shade sails, contact Global Shade today. Call 1800 724 407 or submit an online enquiry.



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