Coolashade is based in the Costa Blanca region of Spain where the days are warm and the sun shines brightly for many days of the year. As we begin to head into summer, regular warnings of using adequate sun protection start to appear in the local newspapers. Most of us know how important it is to apply sunscreen and cover up our heads and skin if we are not wearing suntan lotion, and how vital it is for youngsters to be properly protected. But what else do we need to think about when we consider sun protection?
I have recently read a few newspaper articles warning against buying cheap sunglasses from the illegal street sellers, also known as the ‘looky looky’ men, that ply their trade along the coastal seafront promenades. At Coolashade we don’t wish to start up a discussion about these sellers and their impact on the life of others and businesses, but we are interested in the sunglasses that they sell because this relates closely to our own Shade Sail products – a product that offers protection from UV rays. Let us explain…
The sunglasses sold by illegal street sellers (and sometimes in cheap Chinese shops) are often made without any UV protection at all. Now, I don’t know about you but my eyesight is very, very important to me and I do not wish to damage it for the sake of buying a pair of ‘designer’ sunglasses for 6€ from a bloke on Benidorm beach! They may cost little to buy but the long term cost could be huge.
Not only do these sunglasses invariably offer no UV protection, the fact is that if you wear them you are in more danger than if you didn’t have them on at all.
In bright sunlight, your eyes will try to protect themselves from too much UV light getting in by shrinking the size of the pupils, but when you put on a pair of sunglasses, light reaching your eyes is darker and so your pupils open up again. If your sunglasses don’t have UV protection then harmful UV light will now be flooding through your – now wide open – pupils into the back of your eyes. If your sunglasses don’t provide UV protection, it would be better if you weren’t wearing them at all!
This worries me somewhat. People buy sunglasses assuming that they are going to protect their eyes, but these cheap knock-offs are actually doing more harm than good. This is a very dangerous situation. Another danger with buying cheap sunglasses is the fact that they aren’t made so well. The materials used in the construction and in the glass is inferior. This may mean that if struck in an accident the glass can shatter, dangerously sending lots of little shards into your eyes. This is something that none of us wish to experience.
How does this relate to Shade Sails?
I think the comparison can be made quite clearly – Buy cheap and you put yourself at risk.
In recent months the market has been flooded with cheap Shade Sails, mostly mass produced in China. Before I go on, we must tell you that our Coolashade Shade Sail cloth is also produced in China, but the difference is that it is being made in a factory under the same strict quality controls that it had when being produced in Australia in the original factory. Many years of development and research has gone into the high quality shade sail cloth that Coolashade uses with UV protection and the material is of the highest grade possible, very much the opposite to the new shade sail cloth manufactured and used in cheap shade sails.
These cheap shade sails are being rebadged and sold in lots of different garden centres, DIY shops and other establishments. They are being sold cheaply because they are cheap. They are cheap to produce because they are made of cheap materials, this includes the cloth and the fixings. Cheap shade sails equal less UV protection for you and a shorter life span for the shade sail.
How can you tell if the cloth is good or not?
So, you’ve visited a garden centre and you’ve seen a garden shade sail which looks to be great value – much cheaper than elsewhere. Is it going to be worth the cost? How can you tell? Well, it is very hard to show the differences in cloth quality on a web page, but where we can assist you is by looking at the fixings. If the shade sail corner connectors look cheap and not adequate enough, then the chances are that the cloth is not very good either.
Take a look at the images below. Ours is the top image. Now compare that to second image below the first. Would you trust any of the connections shown on the bottom being used on a shade sail in your garden or business? I didn’t think so! Our Custom Made Coolashade Shade Sails use only the highest quality fixings and shade cloth to give you the best protection.
So, if the connectors are cheap then the cloth will be too. If the cloth is cheap then it will not be able to offer you the same strength of UV protection as Coolashade Shade Sails do. This is of great concern as your family, friends and possessions will not be protected. You may be sitting under the sail shade expecting it to be protecting you from harmful UV rays when in fact it is offering much less protection than you imagined. This is dangerous.
Cheap shade sail cloth is also more likely to fray, shrink, fade and break, something that our Coolashade quality shade sail material will not do. The cloth we use also has the benefit of having stainless steel reinforcing cables sewn into the edges, making the construction incredibly strong but flexible under strain. Imagine a blustery day when you suddenly see the low priced, sun faded shade sail that you bought six months ago, whipping around in your garden because one of the thin metal fixings had bent under strain from the wind and the corner had become free. I wouldn’t want to be the person having to catch that corner and tie it down, especially if there was a metal hook flapping about on the end!
There is a saying: “Buy Cheap – Pay Twice”. We would like to expand on that by writing: “Buy Cheap – Pay Twice, and put yourself at risk”. Is it worth it?
At Coolashade we make Bespoke Shade Sails using the highest quality cloth attached to the best quality fixings in the greatest range of colours. We offer professional guarantees alongside a dependable and reliable service. We also have hundreds of satisfied, UV protected, customers and this number continues to grow. Contact us to find out for yourself how much better it is to “Buy Quality – Pay Once!”
Coolashade – Shading Spain and Protecting People for over 6 years