Cantilever umbrellas use a special side arm to support and maintain a wide, open canopy but without the right amount of weight, the base and arm can easily blow away. Therefore, before you buy an umbrella, you should ask yourself, “how much weight does a cantilever umbrella need?”
A cantilever umbrella needs a minimum base weight of 100lbs or more. The high weight requirement of a cantilever umbrella base is because the “cantilevered” away from the base support.
Think of the strain difference between wearing a back directly supported on your shoulders versus holding the same backpack in your extended hand. Your hand “cantilevered” away from your body will tire much more quickly compared to being directly supported by your body.
The same is true about cantilever umbrellas versus pole umbrellas.
A cantilever umbrella will need more weight to support the same size umbrella.
Not to mention, there are some amazing, big cantilever umbrellas ideal for shading a large portion of your deck. Often larger than any “standard” patio umbrella for your deck table.
So let’s get into how heavy your cantilever umbrella needs to be.
Word of caution before getting into the details. This is general advice, I don’t know your deck environment and how much wind you experience. Always check your specific owner’s manual. And lean towards “overdoing it” instead of having your umbrella falling on your guest.
Plus, if it gets windy, collapse your cantilever umbrella. When folded in, it will be much less likely to fall over. This is one thing I love about cantilever umbrellas. They can easily adjust to the weather. Wind, sun and everything else needed to make your deck more enjoyable.
Starting with an example of a correctly weighted cantilever umbrella.
Why Do Hotel Cantilever Umbrellas Never Blow Over?
If you’re new to cantilever umbrellas, you may be surprised to learn that a typical patio stand simply won’t support your new sun cover. If you have been using an old patio umbrella stand, your cantilever umbrella has probably fallen over enough times that you’re wondering how hotels manage to keep their cantilever umbrellas perfectly upright.
The answer is that they use incredibly heavy bases that weigh anywhere from 100 lbs to 210 lbs. These bases are often custom-designed for their specific brand of cantilever umbrella and then filled with sand or water to make them even sturdier.
Such weighted bases are not always included with a cantilever umbrella. You may need to purchase additional weights for the base of your umbrella. Sometimes classified as industrial-strength. The main thing is you are looking for is a minimum weight potential of 100 lbs or more.
In construction, for safety, we often use the rule of 3. If 30 lbs is needed, use 90. If it can support 60 lbs, limit it to 20. Like I said earlier. If your deck can support it, the additional weight will do no harm but will do much to ensure it stays up.
This additional weight can also be achieved by adding sandbags or bricks at the base of the stand. Or, of course, anchoring the base to the deck. Outside Modern has a fuller article about anchoring a cantilever umbrella.
Along with weighting the base, you can do things with the umbrella to minimize the impact of the wind.
How to Position a Cantilever Umbrella to Survive the Wind
Even with a sturdy base, your cantilever umbrella can sway or blow over in the wind. Therefore, it’s best to set it in a special position whenever the wind picks up. First, you should open the umbrella and then lean it slightly away from the wind. This will help the wind flow over the umbrella’s top rather than catching and flipping it over.
If you have a weighted base, you can also try to position the umbrella so that the wind hits the side of the base furthest from the umbrella. This will help to keep the umbrella more stable. Of course, the best way to keep your cantilever umbrella from blowing over is to simply take it down when it’s windy.
This may seem like a hassle, but it’s definitely worth the effort if you have an expensive or large umbrella.
You can also move your umbrella away from the poolside or patio furniture if you suspect a storm is coming. Leaving it to brace for a heavy thunderstorm could cause your umbrella to fly around and damage nearby objects.
How Much Wind Can a Cantilever Umbrella Take?
A standard cantilever umbrella with a 100 lbs base can usually withstand winds of up to 35 mph. While this may not sound like very much, the National Weather Service describes winds above 31 mph as “powerful enough to cause trees to sway and impede walking”. Stronger can snap twigs and send branches flying.
The same can be said about a deck umbrella.
Your umbrella should be able to withstand a typical breezy day.Les than 35 mph wind. As long as you aren’t leaving it outside in a thunderstorm, a standard 100 lbs base should provide enough stability to take any amount of wind.
Much winder than that, and you will not enjoy being out on your deck anyway. A sturdier, more permanent wind block structure is required. But that’s a topic for another day.
However, if you do live somewhere particularly windy, such as by the beach, you may want to add extra weight to your umbrella’s base.
Can You Tie a Cantilever Umbrella Down?
Because of their unique side supporting arm, you’ll likely find it difficult to tie a cantilever umbrella down. What you can do, though, is use a set of wind stabilizers to reduce side-sway. These simple pieces of rope attach to the frame of the umbrella using a set of hooks and then eliminate some of the motion created by the wind by holding the canopy in place.
While wind stabilizers won’t keep your umbrella from blowing over in a storm, they will help to keep it from being pulled out of its base or toppling over in a strong breeze. Just be sure to remove them before closing the umbrella to avoid damaging the canopy’s fabric. Additionally, you won’t need stabilizers on a calm day.
Summing it Up
Cantilever umbrellas are usually more stable in the wind compared to traditional patio umbrellas but that doesn’t mean they’re 100% wind-proof. If anything, they require sturdier bases than a standard patio umbrella. These umbrellas are often sold with 100 lbs bases but if you live in an area with high winds, you may need to purchase a base that weighs up to 210 lbs.
You can also try to weigh down the base by adding sandbags, metal weights, or cinder blocks. Whenever it’s windy, you should also take care to position your umbrella correctly. This means opening it all the way and leaning it slightly into the wind. You can also try to position the umbrella so that wind hits the side of the base that’s furthest from the umbrella.
If all else fails and your cantilever umbrella blows over, take it down and store it safely until the weather calms down. Additionally, you can help reduce some of the swayings in your umbrella by purchasing wind stabilizers and securing the umbrella canopy to its metal frame. This won’t prevent the umbrella from blowing over in a gale, but it will provide some support.