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Is there a difference between a Cantilever and a side post Parasol?

The answer to this question is no, not for all intents and purposes.

The technical definition of a Cantilever is a beam that carries the load to the support pole. It allows for an overhang without needing external bracing. The overhang is balanced by the weight and position fo the supporting structure. So the weight at the base at the bottom of the parasol might balance it, or the weight of the ground if the pole is inserted into the ground.

A lot of stress is found at the point where the overhanging beam meets the support structure. So a good cantilever has to be carefully designed and engineered to ensure that the stress point will be strong enough, and that the parasol is sufficiently well balanced to be stable. A centre pole parasol does not present these difficulties.

Most side post parasols are cantilevered. Some are variations – so the Shademakers Sola Parasol has 2 beams coming from the centre pole. Technically I believe that this is not a true cantilever as defined above, but nevertheless, the parasol canopy overhangs and has to be counter balanced by the pole and weight holding that pole.

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I’m 4 floors up in a really windy location, what parasol should I use?

This is a difficult one. The most “windproof” parasol we currently have, just recently on the market, is the Tornado , from Tradewinds. It can withstand speeds of up to 95 kph and has an ultra contemporary look.

However, the Tornado will not suit you as it comes with an inground base only – it would need this kind of permenant fixing in order withstand such serious wind speeds.

As an alternative, I would recommend using 2 small Tradewind classic patio umbrellas which extra heavy bases, say double the recommended base weight for standard use. This should reduce the risk of the parasol being knocked sidesways and damaged.

Can I guarantee that this will definitely work? Hand on heart no, but it is your best bet. I cannot guarantee that a gust will not still take the umbrella and break a strut. On the good side, Tradewinds Classics all come with removable and replaceable parts if you do get a breakage.

I would also advise the following:

  • always close your parasol when you are not in or no one is around
  • keep a close eye at first until you get a good idea of when the parasol starts to move around too much or look uncomfortable in the wind. You should close it when this happens

Hope all this helps