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Columns: We Support Shade Structures!

Meet the forgotten heroes of shade structures – columns, or “posts” as most of our clients like to call them. And contrary to common belief, shade structures just won’t “stay up there” without some visible means of support.

That’s where columns come in. For shade sails and other fabric structures there are various types of columns we use in our designs. Some must rely on their own rigidity to resist the forces applied to them by the fabric structures, others are strengthened by the addition of back-stays or solid stays or struts.

Here are the main varieties of columns we use to support shade structures:

column types table

Sometimes our designs call for short columns, like these little guys:

short columns

While other projects require something a little more serious:

big columns

Some columns are made more rigid by adding the support of stainless steel cable back-stays (left) or solid steel struts or stays (centre), and sometimes the columns are designed to be free-standing (right). Free-standing columns generally require larger footings, which normally are reinforced concrete masses below the ground onto which the column bases are firmly mounted.

cable solid no back stays

Columns can be made from a variety of materials: (left to right) marine-grade epoxy painted mild steel, stainless steel, galvanised steel or timber.

column materials

End-fittings for timber columns can be stainless steel (2 left images) or epoxy-painted mild steel.

stainless & mild steel fittings for timber components


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