Installing an umbrella on your patio is a fantastic way to add some shade to the area and make the place look and feel cozy. More importantly, installing an umbrella also provides protection against the environmental elements.
If you like to read outdoors, adding an umbrella allows you to enjoy your time outside without having the harsh sun beating down on you incessantly. However, while there are different types of patio umbrellas to choose from, you also need to learn a thing or two about how to maintain them.
Fixing an umbrella on your patio is a relatively straightforward procedure, but the real problem occurs when you have to keep it affixed in one position. With the passage of time, the umbrella may start spinning, or may get completely uprooted.
A common issue that many people experience is that their patio umbrella starts spinning. It can be a serious distraction when you are just sitting outside and trying to enjoy your time with your loved ones or alone.
More importantly, a spinning umbrella is also dangerous because you never know when it may pop out of its socket and fall over on someone. But why do these umbrellas spin so frequently?
Probably the most common reason why these umbrellas tend to spin is due to the hole in the bottom. If you have the patio umbrella installed in the table hole, you might want to check whether the hole is too big.
If the pole of the umbrella is smaller in circumference than the hole in which it is placed, the gap between the shaft and the hole will cause the umbrella to lean at a specific angle. It may rest against the table as well, and could scuff it too, thus affecting the polish on the table.
However, it also makes really annoying noises every time it rubs against the surface of the table. If you are just trying to talk to someone on your patio, this could be very annoying.
People who put up patio umbrellas usually like to relax after a long day of work or invite friends over so they can just unwind on a casual afternoon. While they are a fantastic visual addition to your patio, the constant spinning will be a problem.
You also have to make sure that the umbrella is firmly fastened to the ground when the wind starts blowing. There have been plenty of cases when the wind manages to blow the patio umbrella out altogether.
So, how can you ensure that your patio umbrella stops spinning and doesn’t fall over? Here are just a few strategies that will do the trick.
1 – Find and Tighten the Bolt Securing the Umbrella
The first and the simplest way to fix the issue of the spinning umbrella is to look for the bolt that keeps the umbrella in its place. All you have to do is look for the bolt that secures the umbrella in position, and then see if it’s loose.
With the passage of time, the constant forces will cause the bolt to become loose, and this will allow for more space for the umbrella to move around in its socket. If you have had the umbrella for a longer period of time, you might want to take a look at the bolt underneath.
This is a prevalent problem in areas that receive consistently high winds. It can make your umbrella move in its place, and before you know it, the umbrella will begin to spin.
Another reason why the bolt might loosen up over time is because the person who installed the umbrella for the first time did not tighten it properly. Like all nuts and bolts, this one is also likely to loosen up with time due to the constant force.
Eventually, this is going to cause the umbrella to start spinning, and it may eventually topple over at some point.
2 – Choose the Right Base
If you don’t want to go through the hassle of tightening the nut again and again, you might want to opt for a better, more secure base. The base in which the umbrella is secured is perhaps the single most important component of the entire structure as it offers support for the entire umbrella.
When looking to buy a base for your umbrella, you need to make sure that you buy one that is heavy and has an appropriately sized hole. This will ensure that the umbrella remains firmly fixed in place despite the heavy winds.
The sheer force and the pressure applied by the outdoor elements can uproot the whole umbrella if you are not careful. In most cases, manufacturers that make bases also offer complementary umbrella models that will go well with their base.
If you are looking for an umbrella and don’t know which one to go for, just choose the one that the manufacturer recommends. The only downside to this is that it won’t come with an additional set of weights.
3 – Get a Cone Wedge
A cone, also known as a cone wedge, is perhaps one of the best fixes for securing a spinning umbrella firmly in place. It’s a small device usually made out of rubber that needs to be placed on the shaft of the umbrella.
The device is then connected to the umbrella and the table and gets wedged in between the gap that existed before. The gap that causes the umbrella to wave around and spin is covered by the wedge, thus keeping the umbrella firmly in place.
Think of it as a stabilizer for the long shaft of the umbrella. Cone wedges are generally quite inexpensive, and the friction caused by the rubber and the pole will prevent the umbrella from spinning as much as well.
Installing a cone wedge is a wise idea if you want your umbrella to stand up straight without scuffing the finish of your table. If you constantly hear rattling noises when the wind is high, installing a cone wedge will also prevent this from happening.
4 – Drill and Secure the Base in the Patio
If you are going to use an external base to keep the patio umbrella firmly fixed in position, you might want to consider drilling the base and securing it firmly in the patio. There are certain bases that come with holes and screws already in the package.
These holes can be aligned with the ones on the floor (or you can make some) and then secure the base tightly by drilling it in the floor. You can also mount it on a deck if you want.
This not only offers greater safety, but it also offers greater aesthetic appeal. The only downside to using this method is that you will be making holes in the patio floor.
More importantly, in case you want to move the umbrella from one position to another, you will have to unmount the entire thing and then affix it elsewhere. However, most people don’t really have to worry about unmounting the umbrella again and again.
If the winds in your area are considerably high, you might want to consider doing this. Not only will it increase the safety of people around you, but it will also give you peace of mind that your umbrella won’t fly all over.
5 – Check the Table Rings
All of the patio umbrellas that are sold nowadays come with different kinds of plastic rings that are placed around the opening of the hole. The stock rings that are included out of the box are usually of generally poor quality, and they tend to wear out relatively quickly.
If the umbrella is kept out in the sun and the plastic rings are exposed, they are also going to wear out over time. With the passage of time, these table rings will sustain a lot of damage, and will eventually crack and lose their importance altogether.
If that happens, the umbrellas will begin to spin in one place. These rings can be readily replaced, although most people will recommend that you opt for a cone wedge instead.
If you install a cone wedge, you don’t have to worry about replacing the table rings. However, if you can’t find a cone wedge anywhere, you should consider replacing the table rings.
6 – Add Some Weights
The weights are generally designed to keep the entire structure firmly in place. Like the base, manufacturers usually recommend different weights that can help keep the umbrella in place.
The minimum weight required for keeping the umbrella in position is usually specified. If the patio receives a lot of wind, using heavier weights might be a wise idea. It’s generally a wise idea to play it safe and add slightly heavier weights.
For instance, if the diameter of your umbrella is five feet, you should consider a minimum weight for your base at 50 lbs. Similarly, if the diameter is 10 feet, the base weight should be at least 100 lbs.
Basically, for every foot, you need to add 10 lbs to the base weight. Obviously, the best thing to do would be to test it out for yourself. Remember, while it’s always good to take precautions, you should know that heavy winds can cause the umbrella to topple over.
7 – Keep it Closed
When there is a lot of wind, the best thing to do is to keep your umbrella firmly closed. In fact, if you take a look at the instructions provided by the manufacturer, you will realize that they also recommend you keep the umbrella firmly closed in windy conditions.
Ideally, you should play it safe and close the umbrella at night so that it doesn’t blow over. After all, the last thing that you want when you go out the following morning is to see your umbrella knocked over, or blown all the way onto someone else’s property.
You also need to double check the strap that is used for keeping the umbrella closed. It should remain firmly closed when the winds are high. During periods of very strong winds, the umbrella might open up.
If the screws are loose, it may cause the umbrella to start spinning.
8 – Install a Cantilever Umbrella
If you are not satisfied with any of the options, you might want to consider using a cantilever umbrella. Cantilever umbrellas are completely free-standing structures and all you have to do is install a heavy, weighted base to keep the umbrella in a fixed position.
However, cantilever umbrellas generally cost a bit more money compared to ordinary models. You might want to visit a few stores in your area that sell patio furniture and take a look at the different cantilevered umbrella options available before making a decision.
There’s another option that you can use, and this one involves using bungee cords to firmly keep your umbrella in one place. However, the reason why this one is the last recommendation is because bungee cords can actually damage your umbrella.
All you have to do is wrap the bungee cord around the pole of the umbrella, and then hook it up with a larger bungee cord. The larger cord will need to be stretched all the way to the center of the canopy, and you will have to firmly connect it to the frame.
9 – Go for a Sturdier Frame
Finally, if you don’t want to go through all of the hassle involved in buying a cone wedge or other things, you should just consider opting for a steadier frame.
A steadier frame is going to be more expensive, but it’s definitely worth the money in the long run. You don’t have to worry about the umbrella topping over either.
Ideally, when selecting a frame, look for one that has a painted coat as that will prevent any kind of rusting in the future and also make it easier for you to clean the frame from time to time.
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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