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Old 02-20-2017, 02:31 AM   #1
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Question building shade sail - type pole? - 55' OK? - help me not screw up

Hi all

There are so many wise people here on the escape Forum I thought I’d post a sketch of my design for a custom made shade cloth, and see what suggestions people had.

Please check out the (horrible) drawing I made that shows the rough layout and design of what I have in mind. Please pardon my lousy drawing skills.

My intent is to keep UV off our Escape, and yet we dont want the hassle of a cover on the Escape.

I plan on cutting the concrete (how big of a hole should I dig?) to sink a tall metal post by the corner of the garage. (see drawing)

This will be where the 3/16th stainless cable attaches at the east end of our driveway.
I plan on attaching the 3/16th stainless cable (55’ long) about 13’ or so above the ground, to make sure that even with a bit of droop, the shade cloth*doesn’t droop down and hit the Escape roof or HVAC.

The west end of the 55 foot long 3/16th stainless cable will attach to the peak of our carport. Height of the peak of the (very strong,*structural wood, built into the house) carport is maybe 16’ up?

I’ll attach at the peak of the carport to get the necessary height to ensure that the shade cloth doesn’t droop down to hit the top of the Escape.

I can’t put poles along the side of the escape, between the Escape and the non structural wall along the property line…. because there isn’t space.

I can’t use / tie into the wall along the property line at all, as it is weak and can’t be strengthened at a reasonable cost. (don’t ask)

What I think we’ll use is this - COMMERCIAL 95 - the best mesh they sell. 15 colors…. including a color that we love (tan)

Commercial 95 Shade Sails in Standard Sizes

With grommets down 2 sides, and with all sides re-inforced the cost would be about $750. Blocks about 95% of UV.

The 10’ x 30’ shade sail would be an actual rectangle, with straight edges. I am advised by the shade sail makers that I can simply thread the 3/16ths stainless cable thru the grommets down the side of the shade sail, and it’ll be fine. I’d use something else (what to use?) to attach the short gap between house rafter area to shade sail (see drawing)

Due to the situation (a relatively flat installation of the fabric) Sunbrella is not suitable, as water could pool in it in the rain. The mesh allows water to drain thru it.

The alternative shade sail option would be this ready made one, in a color we do not like, but it is much cheaper.

https://www.walmart.com/ip/Mighty-Pr...Green/50547619

I’d likely buy the steel pipe (or whatever is best) from Metal Supermarket in Anaheim
https://www.metalsupermarkets.com/anaheim/

I read somewhere that 4″ schedule 40 steel pipe (galvanized) would be a good choice, but I do want to get a very strong pipe for the east support. (suggestions?)

If the post is 14’ above the ground, and at the top I have a 3/16th stainless cable attached, that then runs 55’ to the peak of the carport, and has turnbuckles on either end to keep the cable under *some* tension…. and there is a 10’ x 30’ shade sail on that cable… I can understand that there would be considerable force on the pipe…..

How many feet into the ground do I need to sink the pipe? I’d bury the pipe in concrete…. how big (width x width x depth) of a hole am I going to need to dig? Luckily I’m 99.9% positive that there are absolutely no water lines, no gas lines, no wires of any sort where I want to dig and sink the pipe.

So the questions are:

What size and kind of pole do I get?

Is 4″ schedule 40 steel pipe (galvanized) ideal?

How much of the pole (# feet) needs to be underground?

Do i need to attach some sort of metal ‘fins’ to the pole to make it stronger / more secure in the concrete? Not sure what they are called, but a smart friend mentioned these fins that attach to the pole, before the concrete gets poured around it.

Given that I can’t put poles along the side of the escape, between the Escape and the non structural wall along the property line…. am I going to be ok using 55’ of 3/16th stainless cable - attached at both ends, but with no support in the middle?

How much tension do (or i do NOT) want on the cable?

Anything else to consider?

Many thanks!
Attached Images
File Type: jpeg Drawing shade sail feb 19 2017.jpeg (142.4 KB, 33 views)
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Old 02-20-2017, 09:40 AM   #2
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In Texas, we would have a heavy rain, the ground would be soft, then a good gust of wind would drag those poles across the trailer. I would use weak points of attachment for the sail cloth so that it would detach before the poles went with it in a strong wind.
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Old 02-20-2017, 09:59 AM   #3
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Not sure about pole type or how to install- doesn't the sail mfg. have ideas about that? To cover your .01% of doubt about any underground utilities you should call USA (underground service alert) at 8-1-1 for free utility location. If you do hit something it's on your dime.
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Old 02-20-2017, 11:18 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdf-texas View Post
In Texas, we would have a heavy rain, the ground would be soft, then a good gust of wind would drag those poles across the trailer. I would use weak points of attachment for the sail cloth so that it would detach before the poles went with it in a strong wind.
To clarify - I am only planning on installing one pole.

The good news is that I am going to dig a big hole, and fill it with concrete - thus sealing in the pole.

:-)
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Old 02-20-2017, 11:24 AM   #5
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Second Ross on getting the utilities marked prior to any digging, it's free service. That's a huge span you're attempting to run so I'd be a bit nervous on this one with the storms that come through there. House and trailer will potentially sustain damage if it goes south. Have you gotten a shade sail company to estimate and give input/suggestions/estimate? They are all over the place here in AZ and not horribly expensive. The installations here are usually fairly small triangle shapes, have pretty robust poles, and span is never very long between support poles. Anyway, just throwing out initial impressions based on ur drawing, but not anything I've ever done so maybe the engineers that know more about stress/loads will weigh in here with what's needed.
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Old 02-20-2017, 11:43 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rossue View Post
Not sure about pole type or how to install- doesn't the sail mfg. have ideas about that? To cover your .01% of doubt about any underground utilities you should call USA (underground service alert) at 8-1-1 for free utility location. If you do hit something it's on your dime.
I'll for sure call USA (underground service alert) at 8-1-1 for free utility location.

The nice person on the phone from the sail mfg. was a bit vague about post selection..... didn't really seem to know.

john
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Old 02-20-2017, 12:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Losangeles View Post
To clarify - I am only planning on installing one pole.

The good news is that I am going to dig a big hole, and fill it with concrete - thus sealing in the pole.

:-)
I'm wondering why only one pole? I can understand that it may not be feasible to reinforce the wall and use it. But several poles instead of one would greatly change the dynamics of the situation.

I think that it's feasible, given a deep enough hole and enough concrete, that the pole could strong enough for the intended use.

But there are considerable forces involved. Just the weight of the cable is a factor. Then there's the tension from the turnbuckles that increases dramatically as you tension them up. Lastly, there's the shock loading the will inevitably be placed on your carport structure. The sail will kite and collapse in gusting winds. The shock loading can be formidable. The carport structure may seem strong but it's not intended to be subjected to this kind of shock loading. Unless all structural members are bolted together it will start loosening up and ultimately fail.

Sorry to be negative but I'd hate to see you spend a considerable amount of money and then have to deal with some negative outcomes.

Ron
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Old 02-20-2017, 12:13 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron in BC View Post
I'm wondering why only one pole? I can understand that it may not be feasible to reinforce the wall and use it. But several poles instead of one would greatly change the dynamics of the situation.

I think that it's feasible, given a deep enough hole and enough concrete, that the pole could strong enough for the intended use.

But there are considerable forces involved. Just the weight of the cable is a factor. Then there's the tension from the turnbuckles that increases dramatically as you tension them up. Lastly, there's the shock loading the will inevitably be placed on your carport structure. The sail will kite and collapse in gusting winds. The shock loading can be formidable. The carport structure may seem strong but it's not intended to be subjected to this kind of shock loading. Unless all structural members are bolted together it will start loosening up and ultimately fail.

Sorry to be negative but I'd hate to see you spend a considerable amount of money and then have to deal with some negative outcomes.

Ron
Thanks for the ideas and info Ron - much appreciated.

There can't be poles beside the Escape, due to clearance issues. There is not enough space

The carport is, in fact, bolted together. It is as sturdy as the house, so I'm not concerned at all about the carport being stressed. It is massively strong.

I wont fully tension the turnbuckles. No need to, as I'll have enough height in the pole. A moderate amount of slack will help everything

Plus the area is very sheltered by our house and the neighbors house, so luckily wind is not a huge factor at all.

John
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Old 02-20-2017, 12:14 PM   #9
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UV inhibiting wax would be a lot cheaper and not subject to damage by high winds etc.
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Old 02-20-2017, 12:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Losangeles View Post
I'll for sure call USA (underground service alert) at 8-1-1 for free utility location.

The nice person on the phone from the sail mfg. was a bit vague about post selection..... didn't really seem to know.

john
Just a idea . What about a electric awning ? Maybe you could attach the end of awning to wall for winds . I would worry about. The sail having slack in it . When they install them there are to be tight . You really don't want the wind moving the sail around , more stress on your attachments . They make electric (120)awnings for homes .Pat
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Old 02-20-2017, 12:40 PM   #11
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Quote:
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UV inhibiting wax would be a lot cheaper and not subject to damage by high winds etc.
We do not have high winds there. Period. Very sheltered.

Plus UV degrades everything over time - including stuff that can't be waxed.

We want the shade sail up. But thanks.

John
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Old 02-20-2017, 12:52 PM   #12
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UV degrades everything over time - including stuff that can't be waxed.
Including the sail shade, I presume.
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Old 02-20-2017, 12:55 PM   #13
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For me, a cover is most cost effective

John, for me, a good trailer cover is most cost effective and protective. I have a parking space similar to yours alongside my home in Southern California where the sun beats down all year. I purchased a good cover from CalMark Covers 4 years ago and it has protected my trailer well and is still in great shape after all that time. I also have 3 commercial shade sails suspended over my patio area so I know about those but I would go with the trailer cover again if I had to do it over again. The shade sail will be much more expensive than the cover by the time you are finished. Good luck either way!
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Old 02-20-2017, 12:55 PM   #14
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John,
Did you see this page? Answers some of your questions.
Shade Sails - Installation Tips

I'm confused about your comment to threading a long cable through grommets down the sides. The shade sails should be constructed with integral webbing making them very strong with attachments only at the corner D-rings. If you thread through grommets you cannot properly tension the fabric. Also you shouldn't need full length cables so that saves money and weight right there.
Commercial 95 Rectangle Shade Sails in Standard Sizes

I believe this can be done with what you describe and very strong mounting points. If you look at the gallery on the website the mounting points are all very robust. If you work with a good manufacturer I'm sure they can help engineer a proper system for support.
Shade Sails | Sun Shades | Photo Gallery

Good luck.

On edit I see that the Walmart one you linked has grommets every 2' down the sides. This isn't made properly for what you are trying to accomplish in my opinion...and nothing that demands high quality and is complicated should have something from Walmart in the equation.

Also it appears even with the properly manufactured sail it would be rectangular in shape and you would be pulling straight from corners on the shade sail (inline with parallel sides). That could be a problem for proper tension on the sail. It appears that the mfr wants to see it pulled at 135 degrees (?) from the sides.
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Old 02-20-2017, 12:58 PM   #15
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If you want to stay with your design, my only suggesting is to move the pole closer to the yellow area on your diagram. Then also set an anchor eye bolt into concrete where you currently have the pole located. Run the cable from the eye bolt, up over the pole, then to the carport. This would change the forces so you have a downward instead of lateral force on the pole. The pole would not need to be so large as now the force would be in compression instead of lateral.
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Old 02-20-2017, 01:42 PM   #16
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Lot's of good idea's here . Do love sail shades . We put up one so our car ,with leather is parked under during the summer ,especially . The house and garage are a L shape and the sail is a triangle . We have had it 4 years . It is only attached at the corners . Stainless D rings and turn buckles . The material is commercial and we see no degrading even with the uv's . Interested in your installation . Have been now thinking of installing poles on other side of driveway and getting larger sails going to garage . Then the trailer would be under cover . Good luck with your project . I mentioned the electric awning because you said not much wind where your trailer is parked . We couldn't do that because we deal with lot's of wind here . Pat
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Old 02-20-2017, 01:48 PM   #17
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John,

I'm in the process of figuring out how to cover our trailer, due 04 Apr, but our concern is more pitch from the trees than sunlight.

I'm considering a rectangular shade sail or some combination of multiple triangular sails. I have a PDF of installation instructions from Coolaroo that talks about what to use as a post, how big the hole should be and that the pole should be angled 10 degrees sloping away from the center of the sail. I have plenty of room to do that, you many not.

I tried to attach the PDF but it's too big, so here's the link.

Gary
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Old 02-20-2017, 02:00 PM   #18
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If you want to stay with your design, my only suggesting is to move the pole closer to the yellow area on your diagram. Then also set an anchor eye bolt into concrete where you currently have the pole located. Run the cable from the eye bolt, up over the pole, then to the carport. This would change the forces so you have a downward instead of lateral force on the pole. The pole would not need to be so large as now the force would be in compression instead of lateral.
I agree. If the pole location could be changed to allow for a guy wire, that would be a better way to go. The pole could be a smaller diameter. The analogy would be a mast on a sailboat. Often you have masts mounted on deck, 40 or 50 feet tall supported by a shroud mounted only about 6' away at the base. They carry huge loads without any problem.

It wouldn't be necessary to have the cable continuous. It would be better to have an eye on either side of the pole. The guy would be tensioned up first. Then the horizontal cable.

If you could go that route it would be a better solution.

Ron
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Old 02-20-2017, 05:06 PM   #19
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Hi John,
I'm a building contractor from Alaska and I get involved in a lot of "creative" building projects for my customers. If your project was one that I was involved, I would approach it like this:
1) Make a scaled drawing with dimensions and work out all the 'bugs' that I could on paper. Here are some hints: There is no way I would ask a schedule 40 pipe to support your long wire unsupported .... its too great a span. I'm assuming that it would need to be about 12' tall above ground level ... at least. Perhaps 45 degree pipe gussets on both corners - one end fastened at top of pole and the other 'planted' into the ground. Maybe these could be made removable so you can get your trailer in and out easier.
2) Go to your local Building Department and ask them for suggestions with your drawings. You may find out that what you want to do can't be done because of building codes, set back requirements, etc. Better to find out now that after you build it - stay on their good side. I'm blessed up here with a Building Department that appreciates being involved at this stage and has always been helpful and involving them early makes it much easier to pass inspections. If you are putting in footings likely you'll need a permit and inspections.

3) After working out the best design, I'd approach an engineer to look over your drawings. Include pictures of all attachment points - house, garage, etc. Make it clear that you are not asking for their Engineer stamp on your project. Might be hard to get him to spend his time looking at it for a presumed minimal charge. Otherwise maybe an experience building contractor might help you. Know any retired ones?

4) In looking over your Shade Sail web site, one thing that jumped out at me was their turnbuckle and attachment packages. There is no way I'd use an open hook turnbuckle. You'll want closed end turnbuckles and attach with shackles. Someone suggested using sewed in webbing with the shade cloth wrapped around the webbing instead of grommets. Much stronger than grommets - use non stretch webbing made of dacron instead of wire. Grommets rip out too easily. You have quite a span along your drive - I'd anticipate a sag of at least 2' after all possible tensioning and adjust the height of pole accordingly. There is no way schedule 40 pipe will take the lateral loads unsupported - guy wires or gussets will be needed. Fins? mmmmmm The attachment point to your garage will be of concern and probablly will need strapping and backing plates on the garage wall parallel to the long 'wire' to take the load. Put fasteners in shear. Don't rely on a screwed in "eye" bolt.

Hope I have helped .... I'm not an engineer and I like to build things that will stay put with minimal care. Safety is not an option - good luck,

Tom
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Old 02-20-2017, 06:51 PM   #20
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Two summers ago I wanted to put a deck on the back of our cabin where sliding door was, but had never been completed outside. I called several licensed contractors to come estimate it. The first fella came out looked everything over and told me a deck would violate several building codes and could not be done legally, thus he would not build it. He said it could be done legally using pavers and adding steps down. He would do the job, but said if it were him he'd just go to HD have the supplies delivered and do it myself since pavers are a fairly easy project and I'd save tons. I took his advice, did it myself, and have a legal, nice paver patio, that ended up being cost efficient.
Moral of the story:
Having some licensed contractors come out and estimate your sail install would give you a lot of insight into how they would do it, refuse to do it, what the issues would be, or whether it would run afoul of the building dept and or require permits. Costs nothing to have them come out and most of the ones I've dealt with are good folks like my deck guy was.
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