A tear in your large patio umbrella doesn’t have to mean it’s time for a trip to the store for a new one. Patio umbrellas take a beating from sun, wind, and rain. You can expect some damage. You can also extend its useful life in a few steps.
Step 1 - Inspect the Damage and Assemble Materials
If damage occurs to your large patio umbrella, it is most likely to be either a tear in the fabric along the ribs of the extension mechanism, a hole punched through by accident or hail, or fraying along the edges.
The first step in repairing is assessing the damage and assembling the required materials. For larger holes, you may need to source compatible material to act as a patch, in addition to the listed supplies.
Step 2 - Prepare for Repair
To get started, remove the umbrella fabric from the extension mechanism. Then spread the umbrella fabric on a flat surface. Your patio table is often a good surface for this. Clean around the damaged area and remove any dirt or twigs. Using scissors, snip away loose threads.
Step 3 - Repair a Tear
If your large patio umbrella has a long tear, bring the torn edges together, allowing them to slightly overlap. Apply fabric glue to the facing surfaces, keeping the fabric flat and still for the best results. Place weight on the overlapped fabric to allow the fabric glue to bond. When the glue is set, stitch to reinforce.
Be certain not to overlap the fabric too much or the large patio umbrella will not open fully. For a small tear where the edges can be brought together, adhesive is usually not necessary. Stitch the tear closed. Again, overlap the fabric as little as practical.
Step 4 - Repair a Hole
If a hole in the fabric is shaped so the edges cannot be brought together without bunching the fabric, begin as with a tear.
Begin with the outside of the umbrella fabric facing up as a work surface. With the fabric on a flat surface, remove dirt, twigs, and frayed threads from the edges of the hole.
Cut a fabric patch approximately 1/2 inch wider than the hole you are patching. Apply fabric glue to facing surfaces. Be certain the patch is on the outside of the umbrella to prevent tracking water through the patch onto protected surfaces.
Stitch the edge of the hole to the patch.
Step 5 - Address Fraying Edges
If a portion of the edge of your large patio umbrella begins to fray, you have a repair job waiting to happen. Address fraying early, and you will save more work later.
Begin by clipping away loose material. With the frayed area cleaned up, stitch along the new edge. It is possible this leaves a slight scallop in the edge of the umbrella. However, that will be better looking than the tear that will appear if a frayed edge is left unattended.
Step 6 - Avoid the Damage
The simplest damage to deal with to your large patio umbrella is damage you prevent from happening. In the months the umbrella is not in use, keep it folded and stored. Be sure to store it dry to avoid mildew.
In a high-use season, such as summer, close your large patio umbrella when it’s not being utilized. This will save daily sun damage, avoid unnecessary rain, and protect your umbrella from sudden winds.