When you run a business, general maintenance should be one of your top priorities. If you don’t actively take care of your equipment, not only will things start to break down on you, but your customers will take notice and could be driven away by it. This is the last thing you want as a business owner, which is why equipment maintenance is so crucial.
Since there are many components to keep track of with a business, it’s inevitable that some things may fall through the cracks. One such example is company umbrellas. While not all businesses have these, the companies that do know how important these items can be. With that, you should be aware of some general maintenance tips for making your patio umbrella last longer so you can get the most usage out of it as possible.
Keep It Clean
The first step of any maintenance process is to keep the object in question clean. When it comes to your patio umbrellas, the key reason for doing this is to impress your guests. No one will want to sit under something that could drop dirt on them at any point.
However, keeping the covering clean will also help with longevity. Over time, dirt and debris can slowly deteriorate the fabrics used in umbrellas. While this process certainly won’t happen overnight, you should keep it in mind when deciding how often to wash your umbrella.
Check the Fabric
Fortunately, the most important element to clean—the fabric—is pretty straightforward. About once a week, you should spray your canopy with warm water to rinse away any buildup. Just make sure you don’t use a setting that’s too strong so you don’t damage the material.
If that doesn’t clean things off, you can add a mild soap to your umbrella top and use a soft-bristle brush to remove any tough spots or stains. If your canopy’s fabric isn’t mold- or mildew-resistant, be sure to let it air dry completely. You can use a soap and bleach mix if any mold growth develops over time.
Don’t Forget the Base and Stand
While not as important, your umbrella’s base and stand should be cleaned at regular intervals. It’s easiest to do this during your weekly umbrella cleanings, but you don’t have to wash these pieces down as often. Soapy water and a sponge will typically do the job, but if you start noticing scratches on these parts, you can use outdoor paint to make them look like new.
Monitor Surrounding Objects
If your umbrella seems to be getting dirtier than you think it should, it may be time to figure out why. If the top of your building is filthier than it should be, or you have a nearby tree dripping sap all over the place, your umbrellas will become dirty much quicker. Therefore, keeping your building clean will also help your umbrellas stay clean.
Regarding any trees that leave debris and sap on your umbrellas, there are a few options that don’t include cutting them down. The primary choice is to prune the tree; this method is surprisingly effective, but if you still have sap-related troubles after that, consider using pruning sealants or insecticides.
Protect It When Possible
Even if you make it a point to clean your umbrella regularly, it can still become damaged throughout its lifespan due to certain weather elements, particularly the wind. Luckily, you can take a few preventative measures to reduce the effects of weather-related damage.
Close It Up
The easiest way to protect your umbrellas is to close them up when not in use. A good habit is to shut them all after closing your business for the night and reopen them in the morning before starting your workday. An open umbrella will catch a lot more wind, which will put unnecessary strain on the fabric, causing it to slowly give out as it ages. Additionally, if you close the umbrella, it will be less exposed to direct sunlight, and rain will more easily drip off it; prolonged sun and rain exposure can prematurely age your coverings.
Cover the Canopy
After closing the canopy of your umbrella, the next best thing to do is cover it up. There are many easy-to-use umbrella covers on the market that will significantly increase the lifespan of your materials. Not only will these covers completely block out the sun and rain, but they’ll make it much harder for the wind to gain access to closed umbrellas. While putting umbrella covers on every night might sound like a hassle, it’ll be worth it in the long run.
Store It Away
The final line of protection is to simply put your umbrellas into storage when not in use. Whether it’s the off-season or you’ll be closed for a few days during an upcoming holiday, taking your umbrellas inside is the best way to ensure their safety.
Fix or Replace Parts As Needed
Another maintenance tip that will help improve the longevity of your patio umbrellas is to fix or replace damaged umbrella parts as soon as possible. While fixing a broken part might not be possible—especially when it comes to the canopy fabric—replacing these pieces is an option. Here are some potential problems you’ll want to look out for when evaluating your business’s umbrellas.
Watch for Tears in the Fabric
Once holes and tears start forming in the fabric of your umbrella, it will no longer be able to perform its primary function: protecting people from the sun and rain. While sunlight poking through a few tears might not be the end of the world, your guests will certainly take notice when water starts dripping through.
Fortunately, you won’t need to buy an entirely new umbrella if this happens. Instead, you can simply replace the canopy. Installation shouldn’t be too difficult, and changing the fabric will make your umbrella look brand new.
Look for Dents in the Base or Stand
While scratches might be easy to cover up while cleaning, dents are much harder to fix. If your umbrella’s base or stand has enough of them, it’ll make the entire umbrella look bad. Not to mention, if a dent in the stand is large enough, it could cause the whole covering to collapse. If this is the case, buying a new stand or base is your best option.
Recognize the Point of No Return
No matter what you do to protect and maintain your umbrellas, the day will come when an entire item reaches a point of no return. When that happens, find a company that can make a brand-new custom business canopy. Here at Westshade, we make quality products that will last for many years to come. Plus, you can customize your items however you’d like—nothing suits a company patio umbrella better than some strategic branding.