The Australian summers are around the corner and, as a business owner, you are already probably thinking about adding a café umbrella to your outdoor dining space. After all, outdoor umbrellas provide the -needed shade on hot days and shelter your customers from the rain. Besides, they can also add a dash of colour to your outdoor space. 

But before you spend your money on purchasing a product, it is always important to take note of how long your investment, in this case your large outdoor umbrella, will last.

The answer to this question depends on several factors. But you must keep in mind that patio or café umbrellas don’t last forever. They might even break after 2-3 years depending on what kind of material was used to manufacture them. However, a good quality café umbrella could generally last up to four-five years provided you take good care of it. 

We take you through the various factors that affect an outdoor umbrella’s durability and how you can maintain your umbrella. Read on…

Reasons why café umbrellas break? 

A café umbrella usually breaks because they wear down. An umbrella is also pretty useless when the spokes get damaged or the fabric of the material gets torn or faded or the frame snaps under wind pressure. All these could happen due to a lot of reasons, such as:  

  • Using the umbrella in high winds 
  • Leaving the umbrella open for an extended period of time when you are not using it 
  • Allowing the material or fabric to get wet for a lengthy period of time
  • Storing the outdoor umbrella in direct sunlight 

Factors that affect the longevity of an umbrella

A large outdoor umbrella’s longevity is directly proportional to the type of material — fabric and frames — they are made of. However, it could be a tricky task to understand the nitty-gritties of various materials considering the number of options that we have in the market. Luckily, we are here to help.

  • Fabric: You would obviously want to buy a colourful and nicely-designed umbrella to gain the attention of customers or diners to your café or restaurant. So it is important that you choose a good quality fabric for the roof of your café umbrella because it would determine whether the colour and design would fade quickly or not. The most commonly used fabrics are:
  • Acrylic: It is one of the most popular fabrics. Acrylic is ideal for regular outdoor use as it is resistant to heat and rain and can hold the umbrella’s colours for years. They come in a range of solid, bright and beautiful colours. They are known to be quite durable and can be customised too.
  • Olefin: It is a strong, versatile and durable fabric best known to provide a high degree of protection from the sun’s harmful rays. It’s also resistant to stains, rough weather elements, and condensation. 
  • Polyester: Extremely resilient and adaptable, polyester can hold the colour of an umbrella for a long time. It comes in colours like black, white, yellow, red, green and blue. 
  • Frame: Once you have selected the fabric, you move on to the frame on which the umbrella will stand. So you must choose a material that is sturdy and can support the large outdoor umbrella. The materials that are mainly used for umbrella frames are:
  • Aluminium: It is malleable, lightweight and durable. The metal is strong as well as corrosion-resistant. They also add a modern look to your outdoor space. The frames don’t show many signs of wear and tear for years and aren’t expensive either.
  • Steel: Stainless steel frames also have a sleek and appealing look. It is corrosion-resistant and resilient to rust as well. That’s the reason why they are a good choice for coastal areas. 
  • Wood: Wood can look quite classy and aesthetic at a café or outdoor restaurant but it isn’t a practical choice. This is because wood tends to snap easily facing strong winds and isn’t durable at all.
  • Fiberglass: It is a strong and sturdy material but flexible and lightweight at the same time. That’s why fiberglass frames are more wind-resistant compared to aluminum, steel, or wood. 
  • Weather-resistant: Now that you have learnt about the details of different types of fabrics and frames, we would like you to consider the climate and weather where your café or restaurant is. If your outdoor space is in an area with high winds or lots of rain, you’ll need to buy an umbrella that is resistant to these conditions. 
  • Windy areas: A strong gust of wind can bend or break the frames of umbrellas, or pull umbrellas out of their bases and send them flying. So it is crucial that you choose umbrellas that are wind-resistant and have a weighted base. 
  • Near the ocean: If your outdoor space is near the ocean, consider buying outdoor umbrellas with an aluminium or steel pole that’s rust-resistant and won’t deteriorate from the moist, salty air easily. 


Now that you know about the reasons that affect the longevity of a café umbrella, it is also important that you understand how you can maintain and get the most out of your café umbrellas. 

  • Use a base: Whether your café is in a windy area or not, it is always a good practice to secure your umbrella with a weighty base. This will prevent the umbrella from toppling over or blowing away and getting damaged.  
  • Storage space: If you store your umbrella in direct sunlight, chances are that the fabric may fade quickly. Storing the umbrella in the rain might not serve your purpose also because it could become dirty and difficult to use. The ideal space to store your umbrella then is in a dry place.
  • Clean the fabric: A good way of taking care of your umbrella is by cleaning the fabric often with mild detergent and lukewarm water. 
  • Close the umbrella when not in use: If you are wrapping up your day at the café, make sure you close the patio umbrella to prevent unnecessary wear and tear. 

If you follow all these tips to keep your umbrella in good condition, there is no reason why your café umbrella won’t last for years.


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