Your favorite patio umbrella

EG3dMarch 17, 2013

I have gone through several patio umbrellas due to the wind breaking them. Have any of you found a brand that is very strong? I also like the lit umbrellas very much. The table is a rectangle but the last rectangle shaped umbrella I bought always spun with the wind so the umbrella shape never aligned with the table. Any advice? Thanks!!

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I should have bought stock in patio umbrella manufacturers.....we lost one or two every year for the same reasons---- unpredictable wind gusts. I have an umbrella graveyard in the basement consisting of extra canvas thingies I've saved when the skeleton (pole and ribs) have been broken.

After spending thousands of dollars on MANY umbrellas of different sizes, here are my insights:

1. No umbrella is sturdier than any other. We've had aluminum and wood, both teak and fake teak, pull mechanisms and crank mechanisms, square versus rectangle versus octagonal... All so-called "market" umbrellas have more or less the same construction, and when one is whipped out of a stand and flung on the ground, the rib making contact with the ground or patio WILL break or bend.

2. You need a heavy stand ( ours are granite). But even more than that, you need to understand that the screw that goes in a hole on the column of the stand to make contact with the pole will not actually keep it there UNLESS you drill a hole in the pole as well. The screw won't be long enough, so you will need to replace it with something long enough to go into the pole at least a quarter inch. This will also prevent it from spinning and will keep the rectangular umbrellas aligned with your table.

3. Doing the above AND having a heavy base will mean it won't be flung out into the yard (except in a hurricane), but if the umbrella is up the ribs can still be broken by a wind gust, so you need to collapse the umbrella when you are not using it. Or run out to pull them in the down position when any wind is coming up. Which is impossible when you are on vacation. And also increases the possibility that when you do put it up, you will find hornets' nests, bird nests, mud dauber structures, snakes, etc. Dont ask me how I know this.

Looking over this, it def sounds obsessive! But we have several tables with umbrellas and I have been fighting this battle for YEARS. My last piece of advice is to always get a Sunbrella canvas. The others will not last a year in strong sun.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 8:17AM
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I lol'd at number 3 because I can completely relate. I didn't even know what a mud dauber was until I got a patio umbrella!

Great advice. I never thought of drilling a hole through the pole

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 10:29AM
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Or maybe you could use a sun shade sail.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sun shade sail

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 10:30AM
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We just bought an offset 11' umbrella from Costco. We are not ones to leave something like this open and leave the house. The base is filled with 200# of sand. It folds back and has a cover for longer term protection. It has been standing on my deck during the last week during some very heavy wind and rain and it hasn't budged (it's been closed, btw). The fabric is Sunbrella too.

Last house we had a 12x13 canopy structure on the deck. I really loved not having to worry about opening and closing umbrellas, etc. It was just always up and ready. We replaced the cover of that ($80) annually because it always seemed that a Noreaster would rip through the week before we planned to take the cover off and rip it.

I do know they make the awnings that roll out from the house with a wind sensor. (Costco has a deal with one manufacturer, if you are a member).

Before we bought the 11' one from Costco, we were at a patio store where they had a 13' offset Party Umbrella. It had lights, very heavy base too. Unfortunately it had a center globe light and a radio also. We didn't want those two things.

Oh, and the one Costco has online is around $900, not sure why. In the store it was about $500.


    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 10:40AM
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We have a 14ft sunbrella retractable awning over our bedroom deck. It extends 8 ft and was originally attached to the side of our brick house with lag screws. A wind gust pulled it out of the bricks--- and pulled out one of the bricks, too. We had to have the awning reattached to the underside of our roof trusses, which is more complicated than it sounds. This anchored it where it was supposed to be, but the wind whipped through and ripped the heavy duty (not the umbrella or upholstery weight, this is MUCH thicker and heavier) awning. So we got a wind sensor, which sometimes works, and sometimes doesn't.

We live in Georgia, BTW, in a low valley not known for high winds, but a strong gust at the right orientation can be very damaging anywhere. We thought about a sun sail, but the thought of it coming loose and whipping around on the patio is too much for me to even think about!

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 11:55AM
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If you have a Chipotle Grill near you go and see their umbrellas. They are made in Italy and are crazy expensive. But...they withstand all that has been commented on above...wind, rot, etc. They never come out of the stands and they never break. If money is not a problem then these are the umbrellas for you.

I am not at home or I would go by and see the brand. could also call a Chipotle near you and ask them to go out and read the label to you. :) c

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 12:57PM
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I agree with kswl in that none is better than any other. I haven't delved that deep into figuring out how to not break them; rather I have delved deep into getting the best price on umbrellas so that that it doesn't hurt as much when I inevitably replace them year after year. My vote for cheapest patio umbrellas? Aldi. Last year they had 9 ft aluminum patio umbrellas for $29.99. They follow the same seasonal patterns on their sales. Last year the patio umbrellas were on sale either the week of April 19 or the following week. I'll be looking again this year ;-)

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 10:48PM
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Oh, and when I can find them, I always but the "mesh" ones in lieu of the solid umbrellas. They still shade nicely but it takes the edge off of the wind gusts,

    Bookmark   March 17, 2013 at 10:53PM
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I have no idea what brand ours are. We have the large market umbrellas. Heavy base - wood umbrella. I'm with Bee - we do not leave them open. Open only when in use. We learned that lesson years ago when a bad storm picked up not only an umbrella, but the table it was attached to and pitched it over the deck railing. Shattered the glass tabletop and of course, destroyed the umbrella. Being in TN, we use ours alot (we have one that opens over our two favorite loungers - that's a spot we use alot LOL), we use our umbrellas alot.


    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 8:39AM
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This thread came at just the right time! I live in the countryside of Austin, and the winds are like Chicago's windy city, very unexpected to me. My patio needs a bit of shading, and even tho the umbrella wouldn't cover the whole space, partial shading would be fine and the umbrella could be adjusted where shade is needed. Thanks everyone. ;o)

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 4:00PM
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I stopped buying the wooden umbrellas due to their breaking so often and now only get the ones with bendable plastic spokes (is that what they are called?) which will not break when they fall. I also got one that has lights in the spokes, which is kind of fun, but they are yellow lights which surprised me and I didn't like at first. But, the yellow lights will not attract bugs like the white ones will. I will try and find out who makes them if you want. The wooden umbrellas are so much more attractive, but I got so sick of having to replace them every year.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2013 at 4:07PM
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TN storm took ours crashing into the concrete. The rib connecting the top of the main pole and the bottom of the cover, the top rib?, snapped in half. Anyone know where just to replace that? It's 52 inches, maybe someone has something in there umbrella graveyard even
Thank you...Trent

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 1:58PM
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cyn427 (zone 7)

Gail, please do share the manufacturer of your umbrella with lights on the ribs. I used to have a solar one like that and would love to find one again.


    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 5:25PM
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I found my octagonal umbrella at the swap shop at the dump. It lasted about 15 years for me! Unfortunately, when I pulled it out of the basement this spring, mice had dated away at the top of it, so I've had to buy a new one.

It was an aluminum crank umbrella with a valance. Valance umbrellas are hard to find now, but I love them, and fortunately I mentioned my disappointment to the owner of the store I was buying the new umbrella from, and he looked in his book, and lo and behold, in the Commercial section, they have them! So I've got a 9 foot, octagonal umbrella with a valance coming.

What I do, though, is drill a hole in the umbrella pole JUST where the pole meets the underside of the table, and then I put a pin of some kind through that hole. Umbrella cannot be lifted out of the stand/table that way. I have it over a rectangle table, and it's fine.

Cyn, last year I bought this type of light for my dining table umbrella. It's really nice when it's on, and it's chargeable, so no electrical cord. You just snap it on. If you want to lower the canopy, you have to take it off.

    Bookmark   June 9, 2014 at 5:57PM
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