Umbrella canopies are meant to fade, rip, and lose their shine with time. It happens! Even if the canopy is made with the best of fabrics. Even when you take good care of it. That’s understandable because the umbrella is constantly exposed to the elements—the sun, the wind, and the dust. That’s on top of the toll that repeated use takes on the material.
So I say, figure out how to replace your offset umbrella canopy while it’s still in good condition. In my experience, it’s the canopy that’s bent out of shape usually. The base umbrella frame remains more or less the same.
But here’s the catch!
Things like the pole and the canopy ribs might look to be in good shape. The crank mechanism might still work fine. And yet, the whole thing can fail you when you need it to deliver the most. Umbrellas are, after all, finicky by nature. Who hasn’t witnessed the following: a poor soul caught in a gale, holding on for dear life to an umbrella that’s flipped inside out. It’s not funny when it happens to you!
The good news is that replacing an offset umbrella canopy is almost always cheaper than buying a new umbrella. Even if you think your canopy frame is in excellent condition, do consider replacing the canopy before the fateful day arrives.
Also, a replacement canopy can give the appearance of a quality and high-end product without having to spend a fortune on a fancy new umbrella. All you need to know is the correct technique and procedure, and you’ll surprise yourself with the quality of your handiwork.
Still don’t believe me? In this article, I will walk you through the entire process. By the time we’re done, I promise you’ll be an expert on umbrella-ology yourself!
Table of Contents
How to Replace Offset Umbrella Canopies in 9 Easy Steps
Step 1: Determine the Diameter of Your Umbrella Canopy
If there’s an online listing for your umbrella, check out how large the canopy is. The umbrella sizes will differ, of course, usually in the range of 6 to 13 inches in diameter. If you can’t find an online listing, that’s fine as well. Grab a tape and start measuring from the center near the umbrella pole to a tip of an umbrella rib.
Double that number, and you’ll get the diameter of your umbrella canopy. Now, do remember that the canopy isn’t a flat plane. It’s a curved surface with ribs on the ends. So, the canopy is actually slightly larger than the diameter measurements you’ll get.
Step 2: Calculate the Number of Ribs on Your Umbrella
Another crucial factor that you need to keep in mind is the number of ribs your umbrella has. Most umbrellas in the market have 6 to 8 ribs. Needless to say, your replacement canopy has to come with the same number of ribs as the original.
Step 3: Note the Ventilation System of Your Current Canopy
See how the ventilation works in your present umbrella canopy. Most canopies come with a single vent in the center. They also come with a top hat that allows air to pass through the canopy. This is important. It’ll prevent your umbrella from taking flight on a windy day!
And yes, there are other ventilation systems out there, such as double vented umbrella canopies and so on. Just make sure that the replacement canopy’s fabric is the same as that of your current umbrella.
Step 4: Remove the Existing Canopy
First, you’ll have to remove the ribs from the canopy’s sleeves. When removing the ribs, be careful! It’s surprisingly easy to bend or even break these ribs if you’re distracted. You’ll naturally have a little difficulty doing it the first time. But once you’ve gone through a few, it’ll be a breeze. You know what? You might as well get a friend to help with this part of the process.
Step 5: Measure the Opening at the Center of the Canopy
Measure the diameter of the hole at the center of the canopy. That’ll tell you how large the hole in the replacement canopy has to be. Now, if the hole is small enough, you can use a pair of scissors to cut out a hole in the new canopy you’ll purchase.
Step 6: Determine if Your Present Umbrella Frame is in Good Shape
Conduct an honest evaluation of your current umbrella setup. Are the ribs bending too quickly? Is there rust and significant wear on the frame? Apart from rust, check the umbrella pole for peeling paint. Check for any tilts and cranks, and fraying cords in the mechanism
Done? Now, if you find several problems with your umbrella frame, I don’t think replacing the umbrella canopy is a good idea. This is because it doesn’t make any sense to invest in a quality canopy when the poor umbrella frame itself can fall apart pretty soon
Step 7: Order a New Canopy
By now you must’ve already written down the dimensions of your canopy, the vent style, and the number of ribs. Well, you’re now ready to order a new umbrella canopy. Keep each of these considerations in mind! As long as you follow your present umbrella canopy design, you won’t get into trouble with the replacement.
Step 8: Feed the Rib Fingers Into the New Umbrella Canopy Sleeves
It’s easier to feed the rib fingers into the umbrella canopy sleeves if you open them up a bit. Force the bottom of the ribs in the canopy sleeves. Make sure that the sleeves stay on the bottom of the canopy. Like I said before, it’s much less tedious if you have someone to help you with removing and putting on the canopy on the ribs.
Step 9: Adjust the Fit
You’re almost done! Please take a good, long look at your new umbrella canopy and notice how it looks on your original frame. Open and close the umbrella a few times to check the fit.
If you feel the canopy is a bit too small, don’t try forcing your umbrella open all the way. That’s a surefire way of ripping the beautiful canopy material! If that’s the case, it’s unfortunate, but you’ll have to return or exchange the canopy for another. Measure the dimensions once again to get a more accurate read.
If you happen to have a looser fit than expected, I have an easy fix for you. Buy some Rubber Leg Tips from a local store. These tips increase the length of the umbrella ribs. So, that’ll help get a proper fit even if your canopy is a bit too large. Otherwise, return the canopy and get one that’s the right size.
There you go! Now you know how to replace an offset umbrella canopy. Replacing the canopy is one of the quickest fixes for an aging offset umbrella setup. It’s also a great money saver! With just a few minor adjustments, you can enjoy new designs and colors on your umbrella without breaking the bank.
All that remains to be done now is to go out there and enjoy a relaxing time under your new umbrella!