Sunday, April 17, 2011

Shade Sails, Umbrellas Help UV Protection

The sunny spring and summer months have begun, making protection from ultraviolet rays a concern for those who spend time outdoors. Unfortunately, shade sails and umbrellas are often overlooked in playground designs.

Umbrellas and sails provide shade for playground patrons and also keep the intense heat of direct sunlight from benches, slides, swings and other play structures. This can of course prevent burning-hot injuries to tender young skin, but it also prolongs the life of playground equipment, which takes a beating from the sun on a daily basis.

Durable shade sails can be designed to accommodate irregularly shaped areas, and low points can be positioned relative to the sun's direction for optimal blockage.

Beyond playground applications, shade sails are a cost-effective solution for keeping direct sunlight from most outdoor areas such as pools, barbeques, house fronts and spas.

"They can be the best idea for your outdoor areas, improving the look while also offering  protection from the sun's harmful UV rays," according to Coastal Design Concepts Inc. "They can be successfully used in public outdoor areas -- at shopping centers, car parking [facilities], community centers, kindergartens, schools, outdoor playgrounds/activity areas and sport facilities."

Shade sails are easily customized with lots of flexibility in shape, size and color.

Sails and umbrellas are attached to free-standing uprights or suitable existing structures and don't require any form of structural roofing support.

Coastal Design recommends products made by Georgia-based Skyspan Structures. According to the company, Skyspan umbrellas and sails are designed for longevity and can withstand wind gusts over 90 miles per hour, in addition to being easy to install and use.