Susan enjoys travel, art, writing, and natural products. She lives in Kent, just outside of London.
Conservatories are useful spaces in a home, but in some houses they are hard to use in the summer months because the sun comes in through the glass or plastic and heats up the room to an uncomfortable temperature. In addition, the light is often too strong in a conservatory to use a computer or TV, and furniture can fade in the sunlight.
After searching for a cheap way to cool my conservatory, I stumbled upon sails that are usually used to create shaded areas outdoors. But they have proved to be the perfect answer to cooling 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.
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 and bars as they look neat and modern. Ready-made sails come in a whole range of colours, and there are few different sizes available. There are triangular and rectangular shaped ones to choose from.
To start, measure your conservatory space carefully. When looking at the sails, allow for the fact that the sails will be attached with ropes which add several centimetres to the overall size of each sail. The ropes on the corners will allow you to adjust the sizes a little, which is very helpful, especially in oddly shaped rooms. Remember, if the sails are too big for the space, they will hang down and look baggy, so think about the best size for the space.
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 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 4 mm wide screws and a 3 mm 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, and the eye plate fixings were just a few pounds/dollars 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 are small to store.
- 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.
These are the sails I used: Kookaburra Waterproof Sun Sail Shade – Sand - 11ft 10" Triangular.
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 between the shade. We do not mind this because 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.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2016 Susan Hambidge
Alison on June 30, 2019:
I am up for making my own conservatory sail blinds, but am really struggling to find the eye plates. Can you suggest where to purchase them?
Susan Hambidge (author) from Kent, England on August 09, 2016:
Thank you Flourish. I looked for ages for something inexpensive and different to shade my conservatory. I'm glad you like it.
FlourishAnyway from USA on August 08, 2016:
This is a very attractive look and I haven't seen it all elsewhere.