ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Shade Cloth: What You Need to Know Before You Buy

Updated on September 7, 2009

Shade cloth has many applications in the home, recreational areas, gardens, greenhouses, and agriculture. But your requirements for shade cloth will vary depending on whether you're shading a playground, building a windscreen, or trying to reduce your greenhouse heating and cooling bills. Whatever shade cloth project you're planning, this article will give you an overview of what you should know before you buy shade cloth.

Woven versus Knitted Shade Cloth Fabric

Both woven and knitted shade cloth fabric are breathable fabrics available in a variety of shade ratings (usually from 30% shade all the way up to 90% shade). They are appropriate for agricultural and greenhouse applications, as well as for outdoor recreation areas, patios, and pet areas. Here's what you should know about the differences between woven and knitted shade cloth.

Woven shade cloth is typically manufactured from UV-stabilized polypropylene. Due to the nature of woven material, woven shade cloth is susceptible to unravelling when torn or punctured, as well as to sagging and losing its shape. The polypropylene in woven shade cloth tends to degrade faster under exposure to daylight than the UV-stabilized polyethylene typically used to manufacture knitted shade cloth.

Knitted shade cloth is typically manufactured from UV-stabilized polyethylene fibers. The lock-stitch used in knitted shade cloth resists unravelling and can be repaired if the fabric is torn or punctured. Knitted shade cloth is also 25-35% lighter weight than woven shade cloth of the same shade rating.

Woven shade cloth was the traditional choice for greenhouse and agricultural applications in the past, but for most applications knitted shade cloth is now preferred due to its superior durability and appearance.

Black and White versus Colored Shade Cloth

Black and white shade cloth are the most commonly used shade cloth colors for large-scale greenhouse and agricultural applications, so black and white shade cloth will usually be available in the widest range of shade ratings (often from 30% to 90% shade in 10% increments). Colored shade cloth, more often used for smaller-scale applications, may only be available in a single shade rating, such as 60%, but higher effective ratings can be achieved with colored shade cloth by using a double or triple layer of cloth.

Aluminet Shade Cloth

Aluminet shade cloth is a knitted fabric made from high density polyethylene (HDPE) strands that are coated with reflective aluminum. Aluminet fabric is more expensive per square foot than regular woven or knitted polyethylene shade cloth. If you're considering whether to spend the extra cash for aluminet fabric, decide whether the following benefits are important for the space you're trying to shade:

Aluminet reflects light and heat better during the day: Aluminet fabric acts like a mirror for light and heat during the day. An area shaded with aluminet fabric will be cooler during the day than an area shaded with black or dark-colored fabric of the same weave density. For greenhouse applications, this means aluminet can reduce your daytime cooling expenses.

Aluminet traps heat better at night: The aluminum coating of aluminet is better at reflecting heat than regular uncoated shade cloth of the same weave density. At night, this means that aluminet fabric works as a thermal blanket, trapping the heat energy being released by the earth in the shaded area. For greenhouse applications, this means aluminet can reduce your nighttime heating expenses and prevent frost damage to plants during the coldest times of year.

Aluminet produces better light diffusion during the day: Because aluminet fabric is woven from twisted reflective strands, the light passing through the cloth bounces off the fabric at many angles, producing a more diffused light than light that passes through a black shade cloth. For greenhouse applications, this means that light coming through the shade will be spread more evenly across the leaves of plants beneath the shade, which may produce higher yields for some kinds of crops.

Edge-Reinforcement Tape and Grommets

To hang shade cloth, you will need to choose an appropriate edge fastener for your application. The most common edge fastening options are:

Reinforced hem and metal grommets: The strongest mounting point is with a metal grommet punched through a reinforced shade cloth hem. Most shade cloth suppliers provide hem finishing (also called reinforcement taping) on shade cloth and will punch the metal grommets through the reinforced hem.

Plastic locking clips: If you plan to hang shade cloth by guy wires or from a chain link fence, you can used plastic locking clips. These clips are typically made from UV-stabilized plastic and can be clipped into a folded-over cloth edge to provide a secure anchor point.

Galvanized nailing plates: For attaching plain (unreinforced) shade cloth to wood frames, a metal nailing plate can be used. These plates can be hammered through one or two layers of cloth into wood.

Custom Sized Shade Cloth

Many shade cloth suppliers will cut and hem shade cloth to your specifications, even producing custom sizes, as long as there is a single 90-degree corner in the shape you need. The suppliers linked to below all offer custom shade cloth finishing services.

Pre-Cut Shade Cloth and Finished Shade Products

Coolaroo and a number of other companies offer pre-cut shade cloth and finished shade sales appropriate for home shade applications. See the list below for a number of example finished products.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • profile image


      4 years ago

      The only answer to fix or repair your torne shade clothe is to use the old fashion way , this means pull out a 6 inch sewing needle and start sewing or stitch propely with nylon gate wire , doing so with out mourning of cause .

    • profile image

      Janet Mannato 

      6 years ago

      i have a shade screen house for my plants and I need to repair some rips in it. Do you know where I can find something to patch it with?

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Learn to spell "hole".

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      i have shade cloth and my dog put a whole in it, how do i fix this?


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)