Patio umbrellas are outdoor umbrellas. As with other umbrellas they are used for protection from sunlight, rain and provide a covering in an open area. They are also known as garden umbrellas or market umbrellas.
Patio umbrellas are used in hotels, motels, restaurants cafes, resorts and for domestic consumption also. Patio umbrellas are generally fixed to the ground or to a base and they are more colorful than ordinary umbrellas. Patio umbrellas are available in many shapes, sizes and colors. The common shapes are round, rectangular, octagonal, and square. The sizes vary anywhere from 5 feet to 13 feet. Some patio umbrellas provide tilting attachments. Usually patio umbrellas can accommodate up to 4 people, depending upon the size more number of people can be accommodated.
Patio umbrellas are available in simple roof like designs or complicated designs like tent shapes for more privacy. The ones used in hotels have a hole in the table for the umbrella pole to pass through. They are used for covering the table. The operation can be basic push up system, pulley and rope system, electric auto lifting or crank handle type arrangement.
The fabric can be poly canvas canopy or polyester, synthetic thatch, acrylic, vinyl and porous fabric material. Chemical coatings are provided for stain resistance, ultraviolet protection, rain or snow etc. Darker color fabric does not reflect heat, so lighter colors should be chosen. Vents or porous weaves are provided to increase stability in windy places and improved air circulation.
The poles are usually made of chrome steel or anodized aluminum. Wooden frames like ash, teak, mahogany, hardwood are also available. Taller poles cast bigger shadows, but have lower stability.
Most patio umbrellas are stand alone and can be installed easily, but complex designs need professional installation. Complex models have intricate lighting arrangements with low voltage adaptors and lights.
Lighting arrangements are used for night decoration. Flickering light systems are available in continuous, rotating, alternating and other fancy patterns.
Cost varies as per the model. A good quality patio umbrella may cost between 100$ to 300$. Most models offer warranties of one to five years. Attachments usually provided with the patio umbrellas are matching carry bags, fabric cleaners, lights, torches, replaceable canvas, bases for stability. Bases can be of stone, steel, sand weighted and may be attached with wheels for moving easily.
Maintenance of patio umbrellas is fairly easy. Patio umbrellas should be closed when not in use, cleaned regularly and sprayed with ultra violet canvas protectant annually.