While we call our tensioned shade products “SkyShades”, across the industry they are often referred to as shade sails, tensioned membrane structures, tensile structures or fabric structures.

These are various names for structures that are supported by the use of tension applied to a surface membrane. The use of tension as opposed to compression and bending utilized in traditional building method is what enables SkyShades Hawaii to create such free flowing, exciting shapes with shade cloth and waterproof fabrics.

A typical SkyShades Hawaii shade structure

…consists of the sail or canopy fabric, steel cable, mounting hardware, stainless steel fittings and structural supports which are usually columns or specially fabricated attachments to an existing structure. Each design is tailored to the meet the needs of your particular situation.

High amounts of tension and catenary curves designed into the perimeters of the membranes are what enable us to design a strong, safe and long lasting installation. To obtain this tension, it is important that the structural elements are sound and secure.




The structural columns

…are typically made of steel or aluminum. They are set in concrete footings, which can be quite large. The columns are engineered for proper size based upon the size of the sail area, number of sail attachments, wind load conditions and local building codes. For finish, they can be hot dip galvanized, painted with an industrial quality paint or powder coated. We ensure that installations in proximity to the sea are properly protected from the salt and marine conditions.

Hardware and attachments

…consist of marine grade stainless steel components. History has proven that these will maintain an attractive appearance and provide many years of low maintenance service. Except for very large sails, it is relatively simple to remove sails in case of severe storms or other potentially dangerous conditions.   

Our Tension Membranes

(sails and waterproof canopies) are made from the very best commercial grade fabric available in the industry. It could be either HDPE (high density polyethylene) shade fabric or fully waterproof PVC composite fabrics. They come in a variety of designer colors. We can even provide certified flame retardant material if this is required for your site. 

Our Sails

are fabricated with integral perimeter sleeves with stainless steel tension cable passed through. The sails are connected and tensioned to the structural columns or existing structure attachment points. The size and shape of the sails are virtually limitless and each design is unique and tailored to fit your existing conditions. 


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