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Relax in Cool Comfort with a Patio Umbrella

The sun is shining and your backyard looks like a summer oasis just waiting to be enjoyed. Grabbing your favourite book and a glass of frosty lemonade, you head outside and take a seat on your plush patio chair. Within minutes, beads of sweat start dripping down your sweltering cheek. It gets too uncomfortable to read and your head feels like it's on fire. In comes your patio umbrella to the rescue!

Patio umbrellas protect you from the sun's rays and keep you shaded so you can enjoy being outdoors all summer long. When choosing one to complement your patio set, you'll need to acquaint yourself with the different types of patio umbrellas and then consider your space and style needs in order to make a sound buying decision.

Choosing the Right Type of Patio Umbrella for You

There are two types of patio umbrellas available: freestanding and offset. Freestanding umbrellas are considered the standard type and are placed in the hole at the centre of the patio table. They also offer an easy way to spruce up the look of your patio setup without having to buy a brand new table or chairs. Offset patio umbrellas don't need to rest within the table and can be placed virtually anywhere if given enough space. Offset umbrellas can be easily relocated to shade your conversation set, lounge chairs, bench, or grill. Because of their versatility and growing popularity, offset patio umbrellas are generally more expensive than freestanding models.

Assessing Your Space and Patio Umbrella Sizing

Patio umbrella canopies are usually 6 to 13 feet in diameter. When deciding on size, remember that your patio umbrella should be 5 feet larger in diameter than the space it's supposed to cover. A 6-foot diameter umbrella delivers a shade diameter of up to 30 inches, while a 13-foot umbrella offers up to 72 inches of shade. Canopies also come in a variety of colours and shapes to match your outdoor décor.

Finding an Umbrella that Lasts

Patio umbrellas are made with a variety of materials and fabrics that offer different levels of durability. Many canopies are constructed of polyester because it's a strong synthetic fabric that delivers superior mould and mildew protection. UV resistant polyester can prevent the colour of your canopy from fading as well. Many models also feature tilting capabilities to better protect you from the sun.

The frame is the main structure of the patio umbrella and is typically made of aluminum, wood, or steel. Aluminum is rust resistant and provides exceptional durability, while wood gives your patio that rustic outdoor look. Steel is also a common frame material and offers the same benefits of aluminum minus the strong resistance to rust.

Lastly, you'll need to consider the stand. Also known as the base, this component needs to be weighted in order to support the umbrella. Make sure the base opening is large enough to fit your umbrella pole. Offset umbrellas come equipped with both an umbrella and base. If you're set on getting a freestanding model, you'll most likely have to purchase a base separately.

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