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Choosing the Right Patio Umbrella

Jan 19, 2008
Most outdoor tables benefit from the shade of a good patio umbrella. They protect you not just from the brightness and heat of the noonday sun but keep dangerous UV rays out as well.

When buying your patio furniture, your table often comes with an umbrella as an option. However you can also buy the umbrella separately and often you get a superior product when you do. You have more options so that you can find the ideal piece.

When you buy this piece of patio furniture, there are a few options to consider.

Start with the Frame:

Patio umbrellas are built on either wood or aluminum frames. Both materials have their advantages depending on your needs.

You want something that matches the rest of the patio furniture so that might make the decision for you. If you selected teak furniture you probably want a teak umbrella to match it. Many people prefer the look of wood, although the aluminum has the advantage that it can be painted any color.

Aluminum frames are more functional than wooden ones. They can be tilted to one of several positions as the sun moves while most wooden frame are fixed. Some people find the aluminum crank lift easier to open than the wooden frame pulley lift.

Choosing the Right Fabric For Your Environment:

Umbrellas are available in a range of fabrics to suit your needs. The fabrics themselves are offered in many colors to match your decor. There are several fabrics but the two most common are:

Olefin canvas offers protection from rain and sun, is durable, and doesn't easily fade. It is a popular and cost-effective choice. Most manufacturers offer a 1-year warranty.

Sunbrella is an acrylic fabric that is a bit more expensive but worth the cost. It's a heavier duty fabric that holds up to the elements long after a canvas umbrella has been replaced. It resists mildew and typically carries a 3-year warranty.

Choosing the Right Size:

As a rough rule of thumb, each foot of the umbrella's diameter covers 5 inches of a table's diameter. A 6 foot umbrella would be fine for a 30 inch bistro table but too small for anything larger. An 11 foot umbrella, the largest you are likely to find, would be appropriate for a table as large of 55 inches or more.

Generally, it is better to get an umbrella a bit too large than a bit too small, since too much shade is better than too little. An 11 foot umbrella would dwarf a bistro table and probably would look clumsy and out of place.

Do You Need A Stand?:

When you buy patio furniture, you will notice that not all tables have holes for umbrellas. This means you will need to buy a free-standing umbrella. The advantage of a free-standing unit is that you can place it wherever you want, such as over a bench, and move it as weather or sunlight changes.
About the Author
Author is a freelance copywriter. For more information on patio furniture, visit http://www.LaPatio.com/.
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