How Does a Cantilever Patio Umbrella Work

Last Updated : January 16, 2021 |

If you’re someone like me, then you might look around the house and see different things and keep wondering, how it actually works!

Or you might be one of those who wants to learn about the functioning methods of the significant product purchases they make, so they can tell by themselves which one will hold up in the long run and which ones won’t.

A patio umbrella could be one of those purchases. The way it looks, many tend to think, will it hold up and not tip over with a strong storm?

If you’re like me you probably went through an anxious moment of thinking, what if it falls over me?

I’m sure there are many of these people as I often get asked, how does a cantilever patio umbrella work?

Here’s how:

What is a cantilever?

Learning what a cantilever is and how it works is the prerequisite to understanding how does a cantilever patio umbrella work.

Cantilever is a term mainly used in the construction industry. A cantilever is a structural element that extends horizontally and is supported at only one end.

The single support has to be strong enough to carry its (lever) weight and the weight put on it.

Typically, a cantilever extends from a vertical surface to which it must be firmly attached, which is the pole for an umbrella.

You might not feel confident enough by now. Will one single support be enough?

Ever heard of the famous Howrah Bridge of the joyful city of Kolkata, India?

Howrah bridge

This is one of the busiest bridges in the world, and for a few times picked as ‘the busiest’ bridge in the world. It’s supported by the cantilever mechanism.

Sure, the cantilever can hold up the weight of your umbrella, and you feel confident about that by now I believe.

How does a cantilever patio umbrella work?

Quite self-explanatory at this moment.

The umbrella pole acts as the support to hold the horizontally extended cantilever that holds the canopy. And the pole is supported by the base at the bottom.

But there’s a concern. Your itchy feeling about cantilever umbrellas isn’t really pointless. The base must be heavier if it has to support a pole that’s holding a cantilever versus a pole that will hold the canopy at the center.

The tricky point about cantilever is that single support has to be ‘strong enough’. For the cantilever umbrellas, it has to be heavy enough.

Tips for choosing the right umbrella that won’t tip over

How do you pick a cantilever umbrella that’ll bring charm and class to your patio, poolside, or other areas of the house and won’t tip over as well?

Here’s how:

Cantilever Umbrella Base

The most crucial factor to ensure that a cantilever umbrella will not fall over is the base. A strong, solid, and heavy base is crucial to ensure that your umbrella will stand up against the strong wind.

In the lower-end umbrellas, you’ll find cross style bases or bases that are filled with sand or water. They’re decent but sometimes you might have to buy extra sandbags for added stability.

You’ll find more premium bases made of solid materials like steel, aluminum, etc. For most household needs, they could be overkill and costs a lot as well. But if you live in a really stormy area, you might have to give them a thought.

For another option, you could also stick the umbrella directly into the ground. That’s a permanent solution but save you some bucks by not having to buy a base.

Determine on Size and Shape

One of the most important considerations you need to make is the size and shape of the cantilever umbrella. You want to measure the area first that you need to get shade on.

Think of that space in both square and circular shapes, since cantilever umbrellas come in both forms.

If you need to cover a large area, you might have to decide on whether you should buy a few small ones or a really large one. A huge umbrella might cost a lot so keep that in mind.

Style and Design that Suits Your Taste

Whether you’re buying the cantilever for your patio or your poolside, it should reflect your taste and style. After all, when you see an umbrella in your backyard that fully represents your taste, it’ll instantly uplift your mood.

Another thing you need to keep in mind is that it should go well with the existing decor of a given area. You might have the appeal to go with the trending design but if it doesn’t blend well with your existing decoration, it won’t look good overall.

Cantilever umbrellas come in round and rectangular shapes mostly. It can be octagonal, square, or in other shapes too. Multiple options can be overwhelming but you need to choose wisely keeping all the factors in mind.

Color choices for cantilever umbrellas are quite limitless as well. There are vibrant colors like yellow and red and subtle colors like ash and beige. For my taste, beige, ash would be a great fit for most outdoor conditions.

If you want to bring colors and life to the patio, you could go for vibrant colors, or even shapes and designs. If you’d like to stay low profile, subtle colors are better.

However, there’s another benefit of choosing subtle colors and that is, they seem to not fade much over time since there is not much color to fade.

But vibrant colors fade soon or at least the fading is noticed soon. And they really lose the life in them when the color is faded, and rather looks dull. You want to keep that in mind too.

About Umbrella Height

Cantilever umbrellas tend to be 6 or 7 feet high as default. I said as default because there are few models that let you adjust the height all the way up to 11ft.

If you have someone really tall in the house, height is an important consideration. A 6 feet tall umbrella might create problems when he gets off the chair and will accidentally hit the head many times.

You want to get a tall umbrella or one that’s height-adjustable for such scenarios.

Adjustability and Ease of Operation

To get shade from your umbrella at any time of the day, you have to buy one that has rotation and tilt mechanism. The sun won’t stay at one position all day and it’ll keep changing the angles throughout.

To keep up, your umbrella needs to be adjustable. Few will offer adjustability of up to 90 degrees while few can rotate all the way to 360 degrees. The more, the better.

The quality and ease of the tilt mechanism matters as well.

Another determining factor of the ease of operation is how easy or hard it is to open or close. Some premium umbrellas have an automatic mechanism that requires one click to open up or close.

Whereas, some have manual crank mechanisms to do so.

As you can guess, the automatic ones cost higher, and not only do they make the operation easier, but also gives a sense of class. But take my words, they’re not absolutely necessary.

The manual crank function will do just well and you don’t have to open and close the umbrella that much frequently either.