How to Choose the Appropriate Weight for Your Umbrella Base
Much is put into the umbrella selection (size, color, crack or pulley, tilt or no, and the all-important style), however, the umbrella base that sits at the bottom to anchor it from tipping over, or worse, blowing away, is often an after thought. Unfortunately, this oversight could cost you aggravation, time, and money if your base is not adequately weighted to keep your umbrella upright.
Umbrellas and umbrella weights are sold separately due to the variety of bases available, the location in which they will be used, and whether they are to be used in conjunction with a table or free-standing. When considering the weight necessary for your base, besides the size of the umbrella, it is important to have a good understanding of how much wind you get. If you are at the beach, on a lake or hill, in an area where all trees have been removed, elevated in a high rise or rooftop, or in an area where tall buildings create a wind tunnel effect, a heavier base is required. If your location for umbrella use is protected between the walls of a house in a courtyard area, you may be able to get by with a minimally weighted base. The size and weight of the table will also contribute to the base weight requirements. If your umbrella is to be used in a table, the table will provide secondary support at about 29″ above ground level. A heavy teak, metal, or concrete table will certainly help offset the weight needs of the umbrella base. A lighter table which is open structure may add stability but will not make up for lack of appropriate weight at the bottom.
The minimum amount of weight which should ever be used with an umbrella is thirty pounds which would be used with a smaller umbrella, under a table, and in an area that is fairly protected from wind. Generally, a fifty pound weight is the minimum weight that is advisable with a 7′ or 9′ umbrella in a table. When using a larger umbrella through the table, it is recommended that a minimum of seventy-five pounds be used.
Free-standing an umbrella requires more weight. Most experts recommend taking the width of the open umbrella and multiplying it by ten in order to arrive at the recommended base weight. In this case, a 9′ umbrella would require ninety pounds of weight. Obviously, moving a base that is a hundred pounds or more of dead weight is difficult. Don’t worry! There’s a solution for that. Some umbrella weights come with wheels or handles to aid in maneuvering them around. Of course, each added feature, as with the added weight, will drive the price up for the umbrella base, but will make life easier. And, as with all other consumer goods, the better quality that is purchased will last longer without repeated need to replace.
Another consideration in selecting an umbrella base is the size of the footprint of the base. Generally, a larger footprint helps distribute the weight out and provides more stability. This is particularly true of a low-profile umbrella base which is sleek and not vertically intrusive.
Additionally, the height of the stem into which the umbrella pole is to be inserted may be offered in shorter or taller heights. Once again, this provides added stability especially in those areas where wind is a factor.
Lastly, it is imperative to close your umbrella when it is not in use. Regardless of the weather forecast, a gust of wind may occur at any time and topple an inadequately secured umbrella. In the case of a known weather occurrence, such as an oncoming storm, it is wise to remove the umbrella from the base and store in a protected area until the storm has passed. Not only can your umbrella be damaged, but a flying umbrella in a storm may be a catastrophic projectile.
Clearly, one size does not fit all when it comes to umbrella bases. It is important to remember that your shade protection is only as good as its foundation. If you skimp on the weight at the end of your umbrella, you can expect to be the recipient of wind damage. Fortunately, all of the umbrellas sold at Casual Living are designed to be repaired, with parts available from our manufacturers in case of an accident.