Beautiful patio umbrellas make a great addition to your patio design but don’t get overwhelmed by their good looks. You must keep in mind that the primary purpose is sun protection.
There is no definite answer how much UV rays can be blocked by a certain type of umbrella canopy fabric. Some sellers say 80 percent and some say up to 98 percent. Additionally, there are many types of fabric that a patio umbrella can be made of. This somehow makes confusions.
To help you avoid much confusion, you just have to remember some pointers in determining the best outdoor umbrella in terms of UV blockage. These include fabric characteristics and the method of making.
Fabric characteristics that can block UV rays:
- Weave and Thread Count - the denser, the better protection. UV rays can hardly penetrate dense materials.
- Color - umbrella fabrics are generally solution-dyed for UV protection. The darker the color means more dye and better protection.
- Weight - this concerns the weight of thread. 7 oz or higher means better at UV blocking. For example, an 8 oz, 600 thread count Polyester is great.
- Coating - Some fabrics are coated with UV protective agents.
The method of making add another level of protection. Some umbrella canopies have multiple layers of fabric and fibers.
Here is a list of best known fabrics for patio umbrellas, offset umbrellas, commercial umbrellas, and other outdoor umbrellas. Try to look for these when you are buying a patio umbrella.
- Solution-Dyed Acrylic
- Solution-Dyed Polyester
- Olefin & Acrylic Umbrellas
- Spun Polyester Fabric
- Heavy Gauge Vinyl
Sunbrella is a famous brand of umbrella fabrics. They’ve have been tested and proven to give up to 98 percent UV protection in shade applications. Recommended by many umbrella manufacturers. In fact, Sunbrella fabrics have been awarded the "Seal of Recommendation" by The Skin Cancer Foundation, an international organization dedicated to the prevention of skin cancer.