The Benefits of a Wind Resistant Patio Umbrellas

A wind resistant patio umbrella.  What does that really mean?  Some of our customers often ask that question, wondering how something like a patio umbrella can resist the pushing and pulling of natures breath.  (I know, I'm getting quite poetic)  Not exactly sure if they need one or not, we often get questions like:

  • What makes your umbrellas wind resistant?
  • I live in a condo with a balcony, does my umbrella need to be wind resistant?
  • Does more than one vent make the umbrella wind resistant?

What makes your umbrellas wind resistant?

All patio umbrellas with a wind vent are somewhat "wind resistant," however, the real king of the game is the fiberglass rib umbrellaFiberglass was originally made from fine fibers of glass, composite together to form a strong but flexible material.  Today, what's known as "fiberglass" is a carbon composite invented by Russle Games Slaytor at Owens Corning.

The simple reason why our fiberglass umbrellas are wind resistant is their flexibility.  Fiberglass is strong, very strong, but more importantly they flex and retain their shape.  You can literally bend fiberglass this way and that and they will not only NOT break, but they will bounce back to their original shape.

The problem really  is the mechanics of wind.   Wind circulates and moves around an object, forced by currents that act a lot like water or the ocean.  One down swell of wind will catch an umbrella cover and push it down or up, leaving it exposed to higher gusts of wind.  Here is were we can get into a little bit of trouble.  Now that the canopy ribs are at an angle that puts more stress on it, the more likely it will either topple or break at the weakest point of stress.  Toppling over is what usually does it.

All of our patio umbrellas are engineered for day to day use, so I don't want for you to think that our umbrellas can't handle a little wind; they most certainly can.  But wind resistant umbrellas are another thing altogether.

The ribs of a fiberglass  umbrella flex and turn and bend, wind hitting the umbrella will push and pull the canopy in different directions, but won’t hurt the rib.

  • The wind flows over and through the umbrella with hurting it.
  • If the umbrella actually happens to fall, the umbrella ribs will just flex as it hits the ground.
  • No breaking, no snapping, just bending.
  • The fiberglass ribs snap back to their original straight position, stretching the canopy out to where it should be.

The University of Miami did a study that found that fiberglass ribbed umbrellas could resist winds between 45 and 50 miles per hour, as everyone knows in South Florida, these are tropical storm winds!

Does more than one vent make the umbrella wind resistant?

A wind vent on a patio umbrella is meant for two purposes.  Allowing heat to escape out of the top of the umbrella, and allowing the wind a way of passing through the fabric without making your patio umbrella a giant kite.  Like this:

flying umbrellas - not wind resistant

As you can see, these umbrellas had tiny little vents; not really helpful in high gust winds.  Maybe a dual wind vent might have helped.  Our best fiberglass patio umbrella has an option for dual vents to avoid being taken away down the street and scaring your neighbors.

Also, most of our 11' patio umbrellas come in dual wind vent by default to ensure your large patio umbrella doesn't become a large flying object.

So, when picking out an umbrella, make sure to give something with fiberglass and wind resistance and try.

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