How to Create Shade in a Hot Conservatory Using Shade Sails
A Cheap Way to Shade a Hot Conservatory
Conservatories are useful spaces in a home, but in some houses they are hard to use in the summer months. The sun comes in through the glass or plastic and heats up the room quickly. The light is often too strong to use a computer or TV, and furniture can fade in the sunlight.
After searching for a cheap way to shade and cool my conservatory, I stumbled upon sails which are used to create shade outdoors, but they have proved to be the perfect answer to our overheated conservatory.
They were really easy to install and cost very little to buy. The end result looks modern, and they are really easy to take down when it is needed.
A Shade Sail Can be Used to Keep a Conservatory Cool
How to Attach Sails to a UPVC Frame
How to Fix Shade Sails Inside a Conservatory
Shade sails are primarily made to create shade outside in gardens, and above patios and deck areas. They are often seen outside hotels, restaurants and bars as they look neat, modern and chic. Ready-made sails come in a range of colours and a there are few different sizes are available. There are triangular and rectangular shaped ones to choose from.
To start with measure your conservatory space carefully, and allow a little extra as the sails will be attached with ropes which add several centimetres to the overall size of each sail. The ropes on the corners allow you to adjust the sizes a little, which is very helpful especially in oddly shaped rooms.
When you measure, think about how the sails will look once they are up. In my opinion, having them too regimented and square spoils the effect, so we have ours crossing over at some points and they sit slightly askew to create interest.
The fabric is lightweight, and the Kookaburra brand of sails I have used block 95% of UV light, so although they look like functioning sails, they are actually purpose made shade makers.
Once you have decided on the best size and shape for your space, wait for them to arrive before you start to attach the fixings to the conservatory. When you get your sails home, iron them smooth first so they look neat, then work out the best place to screw in the fixings.
The fixings we used were ones recommended by the shade sail company. They are Stainless Steel Eye Plates - see the picture. They are not expensive, but they are very strong. They need to be screwed into place.
It is a bit nerve racking, screwing into the plastic trim of a upvc conservatory, but it has worked well and we are only DIY people, not experts. We did it by first marking the holes with a Sharpie pen. Then we drilled the two holes using a drill bit one millimetre smaller than the screws (we used 4mm wide screws and a 3mm drill bit for ours as an example). We used short, self tapping screws. We also used Gorilla Glue - a strong epoxy glue - on the back of the eye plate just to make sure because the screws needed are very short. You MUST drill the holes into the plastic first, do not be tempted to just screw straight in because you could make a crack in the plastic!
Once we had the first two eyes screwed in, we attached two corners of our triangular sail so we could see the best place to attach the final corner. Play around a little to give you the best position.
Before Photo - Glass Roof Without the Shade
After Photo - The Shade Sails are Up
Why Using Sails to Shade a Conservatory Works Well
We are very happy with the sails we have put up.
- They are cheap, they only cost us £15 each sail and the eye plate fixings were £2 each
- They come completely ready to put up, they just needed an iron to smooth out creases
- They are washable
- They come down very easily to shake out flies and insects that land in it
- They look much more stylish than the blinds usually fitted
- They can easily be removed for winter and be stored away simply
- You can create your own look using different colours, shapes and positioning
We like them so much we plan on creating matching shade on our patio area just outside the conservatory to make a unified, chic home design.
Buy the Shades I Used Here
Creating Your Own Style
The triangular sails do not cover every square inch of the roof in our conservatory . There are times in the day, as the sun moves, that it shines past the shade. We do not mind this, but for the main part of the day our table is shaded nicely. You could create total sun block by having more sails crossing over each over, and positioning them to cover the whole roof area. How you have them us up to you. I would suggest starting with a few and putting them up, then working out if you want more, and which size would be the best.
As they are fabric, you could alter them slightly to fit your room better if you are handy with a needle and thread.