Covering the Competition:
ShadeFX vs. Umbrellas

ShadeFX’s newest product is the Freestanding Retractable Canopy System. Best described as a large two-post cantilevered umbrella, consumers will discover it’s a better alternative to the traditional big box store solution. Therefore, we’ll compare the Freestanding Canopy with patio and cantilevered umbrellas. By the end of this blog, you will be “blown away” by our newest offering.


Patio & Cantilever Umbrella: Most umbrellas measure anywhere between 6’ – 11’ in diameter.

ShadeFX Freestanding Canopy:  These canopies can be customized from 8’ – 16’ with a width of 8’ or 10’. Multiple bays can be connected to provide unlimited coverage.


Patio & Cantilever Umbrella: Large weighted bases are required. The bases to keep the umbrella standing upright are also sometimes not included. It is recommended to weigh down the bases using sandbags, patio blocks, concrete blocks or water-filled support tubs. Minimum weight requirements range from 50-200 lbs. to maximize safety in windy or inclement weather.

ShadeFX Freestanding Canopy: The posts are anchored to either concrete footings, concrete slabs or a supporting deck. Weighted bases are an alternative to mounting.

Wind Tolerance

Patio & Cantilever Umbrella: Umbrellas are notorious for toppling over with the slightest wind gust. Even with the recommended weight requirements, a breeze can send your umbrella across your deck or patio. It is suggested to close the umbrella during windy conditions as a precaution.

ShadeFX Freestanding Canopy: The structure and canopy are wind rated for 39-46 mph (extended) and 55-63 mph (retracted). Toppling is not an issue with the system anchored to your patio, or deck.


Patio & Cantilever Umbrella:  Different manufacturers construct their umbrellas with different materials. Most use an aluminum post with the same material used for the ‘ribs’ of the umbrella. Some manufacturers use wood or steel. The ribs are thin, pliable rods that support the fabric which are prone to breaking in windy conditions. For windy locations, a fiberglass material is preferred.

ShadeFX Freestanding Canopy: The structure’s two-post frame is fabricated using a structural and tempered aluminum. All parts are held together using stainless steel hardware and the single track is made of anodized aluminum.

Tilt Mechanism

Patio & Cantilever Umbrella: Some umbrellas have an option to tilt allowing you to follow the sun across the sky.

ShadeFX Freestanding Canopy: The canopy has 3 tilt positions which are preset at installation/assembly. The tilt feature offers optimum shade accommodating the changing position of the sun.


Patio & Cantilever Umbrella: To extend an umbrella’s lifespan, there are a few maintenance tricks. Manufacturers recommend closing the umbrella in its deadlock position when not in use, put on a durable cover to prevent the fabric from fading, store the umbrella indoors and diligently clean the fabric. The ribs are susceptible to damage and most umbrella models do not offer replacement rib parts. Big box store-bought umbrellas typically last one to two years as long as elements of nature haven’t gotten to it first.

ShadeFX Freestanding Canopy: ShadeFX has designed this system to be low maintenance. The retractable canopy system has an industry leading 12-year warranty, and dependent on the fabric chosen, warranty ranges from 5-10 years. It is recommended to remove the canopy during the winter months and store it in a dry location. However, the structure can remain in place throughout the changing seasons.

In either case, a sunny day can make your favorite outdoor chaise lounge uncomfortable. Adding shade for maximum coverage will ensure you enjoy your time outdoors. Considering the factors listed above, you’ve probably realized that sometimes being blown away isn’t always the best option.

Whether for poolside coverage or shade for your outdoor kitchen, our Freestanding Canopy might be the solution for you.