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:
Sometimes our designs call for short columns, like these little guys:
While other projects require something a little more serious:
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.
Columns can be made from a variety of materials: (left to right) marine-grade epoxy painted mild steel, stainless steel, galvanised steel or timber.
End-fittings for timber columns can be stainless steel (2 left images) or epoxy-painted mild steel.