Choosing a Patio Umbrella
Warm days are upon us. Wouldn’t it be nice to have your very own shady spot on your patio or deck to sip coffee or enjoy a BBQ? A patio umbrella can do that for you.
Unlike those briefcase or purse-sized umbrellas, there are some things to consider when you are shopping for a large umbrella that will become part of your outdoor scene.
- First, make sure you are getting the correctly-sized umbrella to fit the space you have. Patio umbrellas can range from about 7.5 ft. to 11 ft. so it’s important to know which will work best for you. They also come in round and oval shapes (to match up with your table). Talk to your salesperson about which size is right for your needs.
- Check out the Skin Cancer Foundation’s recommendations for umbrellas offering the best sun protection.
- Consider which type of ribs you want your umbrella to have. (Ribs can be made of fiberglass, wood and steel.) Aluminum poles tend to last longer and require less maintenance than wood, which can rot and break, but most people like the look of wood better, according to an article in the USA Weekend magazine.
- Choose a sturdy base for your umbrella, keeping in mind that the “bigger the canopy, the heavier the base needs to be.” If your umbrella is free-standing, it needs a base of 80 pounds, but 100 to 150 pounds is best. (Golly, you might want to have this umbrella delivered in that case.)
- Be sure to read over the warranty and keep it in a safe place. Some warranties are as short as a year, while others last up to five years.
By Teresa K. Flatley