A patio umbrella can be considered the centerpiece of any patio structure. Though their placement in a patio setup depends on the user preference and most importantly, the weather. They come with benefits like providing shade from sunlight, rain, and sometimes from the air surrounding the open space. While not in use, these patio umbrellas are also foldable, just like the regular version we use every day. But due to their bigger size, this ‘open & close’ folding mechanism is a bit different than the former ones and requires timely maintenance. Restring their pulling cord is surely one of them.
These cords are made of industrial-grade high-class fabrics. Over time, this cord gets stretched, damaged, and needs to be replaced. Now if you have such a patio umbrella and its string needs to be changed, then you will find this article very helpful. In this article, I will provide expert opinions on the methods of restring a patio umbrella. So continue reading for a hassle-free, easy-fix restring process for a patio chair.
- Using the right methods and materials, you can restring your patio umbrella by yourself.
- Patio umbrella strings are made of nylon, polyester, and some other flexible polyamide.
- The crank lever twists the string with itself to create pressure for the rib’s hub to open.
- Cut away the excess springs for unwanted twisting and loose tension.
Different Types Of Patio Umbrellas
Though patio umbrellas serve similar motives of providing you with shade from sunlight, air, and weather, there are subtypes based on different designs and purposes of use. Some of the patio umbrella types are:
- Market Umbrellas
- Cantilever Umbrellas
- Beach Umbrellas
- Tilt Umbrellas
- Thatch Umbrellas
The reason for bringing this heading is to let you know that you may find a slightly different mechanism between these subtypes while changing the string. Worry not! You will find the differences relatable once you cover this content.
Basic Parts Of A Patio Umbrella
A patio umbrella consists of a lot of parts and mechanisms. Knowing their name and work process is useful before bringing on the restringing process.
- Canopy: A canopy is the top surface of a patio umbrella. It is a fade of water and heat-resisting polyester fabrics.
- Ribs: Ribs are the base structure through which the umbrella blooms its canopy. Based on the design and size of the umbrella, there are a number of spokes/ribs adjoined with the upper hub.
- Hub: The hub is a round platform that holds the umbrella hubs. It moves up and down while opening and closing the umbrella.
- Crank System: A crank is a handle-like lever resting on a pivot. It is attached to the central iron bar and works as a manual mechanism to make the height of the umbrella higher or lower.
- Pulley: A patio umbrella with a manual crank system will have a round, spinnable disk-shaped lever within its hub area. A string is attached through it with the crank system for manually pulling the ribs up.
6 Steps To Restring A Patio Umbrella
Now we are familiar with the basic components of a patio umbrella and can go for the restring steps. To restring a patio umbrella, you will below accessories for your convenience:
- Scissors: Cut the fabric string to the required measurement.
- Screw Driver: To unscrew the nut and bolts of the bottom hub.
- Measurement Tape: For measuring the string or cord as per requirement.
- New Cord: You will need a replacement cord in place of the old one.
- Needle Nose Pliers: Helps you in threading the cord through narrow spaces and tight openings.
- Heat Source: For sealing off the cord’s edges after cutting to avoid open stitching.
- Thin Steel Wire: You may need it for navigating the cord through the central bar.
Now the steps:
Step 1: Placement And Remove Canopy
To have free access to the umbrella skeleton, you have to replace the umbrella from the base pivot and place it on a workstation table. The attachment between the base pivot and the central handlebar may differ in different designs of patio umbrellas. But as a user, it will be a piece of cake for you.
After placement, you need to remove the canopy carefully from the ribs. For that, first, remove any bolting mechanism from the topmast. Then disconnect the canopy from each of the ribs’ edges one by one. After removing the canopy, the umbrella skeleton will be visible in front of you.
Step 2: Tie The New String With The Old One
Before removing the crank handlebar, untie the old string from the top hub. Depending on the design, you will find the old string knotted with the top hub differently. Open the knot if possible or cut it straightway. Now knot the new strings’ bottom edge with the old strings’ top edge. Keep the knot as small as possible to pass through the pulley disk and every narrow hole till the crank handlebar.
You may think this step is uncommon and too early to execute, but let me tell you the reason. You will find the reason for doing that way in step 4. I bet this will ease your work by a greater margin.
Step 3: Disassemble The Crank
Next, open up the crank holding the bottom hub by using a screwdriver. After removing it, you will see the crank handlebar on one side and the cotter pin assembly on the other. To disassemble the crank lever, you need to unpin the cotter pin. Carefully remove the bolts and other small components as well. After you have removed all the components from this side, the crank should be released easily.
Step 4: Old String Out & New String In
Here comes the interesting part! As soon as you remove the crank lever, the old string attached to it will also come out from the central iron bar. Remember we already had attached the new string with the old one? Meaning, the new string will also come out through the crank lever hole after you have taken out the older string completely. Note that, to execute this stunt properly, you need to keep the length of the new string longer than required for now.
Step 5: Attach The New String In The Hub
After the new string has been placed through the pulley and central bar, it is time to attach them to the top and bottom hub. Take the strings’ top edge and place it through the rib hubs’ designated hole. Before putting a knot, heat the edge of the string to stop any unthreading in the future. Now put a large knot to the edge very tightly. This knot should be larger than the hub’s hole to prevent the string from slipping through it even after putting pressure. But if the hub has an external string attachment point then just tie a knot for attaching the string to it.
For Attaching the bottom point, slip the bottom edge of the string through the cranks supporting the brace and eyelet. Pull the string gently to keep the overall tension tight between the top hub point and the crank lever point. You will get the desired length and tension of the string by keeping the umbrella ribs closed. After you have taken the measure, open the ribs to assist you with some extra strings to ease your work. Keep the tension the same and put a big knot at the same time as per your measurement. Cut the excessive strings away.
Step 6: Reassemble The Patio Umbrella
Now it is time to reassemble the parts together as they were before. Feed the knotted end of the crank lever through the crank hole first, and reattach the slotted washer, gear, and nut in sequence. Tighten the nuts to a moderate level and attach the cotter pin in place. Rehouse the crank handle bar cover with the required screws. Put the canopy on the ribs. In short, just reverse step 1.
Congratulations! You have successfully restring a patio umbrella by yourself. Now put it in vertically and do some test opening and closing. It may feel different for now but after some use, you will find everything normal.
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Important Notes For Restring A Patio Umbrella
Restring a patio umbrella isn’t that hard if you have prior knowledge and enough preparation to do it. But whether you are doing it for the first time or your 100th time, you have to take some consideration while doing it. Such as:
- Assess The Damage: Restring process provides you with a chance to take a deeper look into your umbrella. Oil the moving parts if necessary. Look for any visible cracks or loose rib springs.
- Use Quality String: A quality string is a must for using your umbrella smoothly. A cheap string will break after a little use. So it is wiser to always use quality full string as they don’t cost too much.
- The Extra String: Many of us don’t cut the excess string and tend to bend it with the crank’s inner metal or hang it in the ribs hub. But it shouldn’t be kept that way. It may affect the required tension.
- Keep It Tight: In the process of restring the umbrella, it is important to keep the tension moderately tight. Too much tension will cause it to break easily, while less tension will cause the umbrella not to open properly.
- Trying To Do It Alone: A patio umbrella is somewhat large in size. So it is better to have a helping hand while restringing it. This will help you to restring quickly and correctly.
1. What are patio umbrella cords made of?
Patio umbrella replacement cords are mostly made of nylon and polyester. These materials make a patio umbrella string stretchy yet durable.
2. Do all patio umbrellas need a base?
There are different types of patio umbrellas for different uses. Depending on their type and your patio setup, you can use an external base or simply put it in the center of your patio table.
3. What is the top of the umbrella called?
The top of an umbrella is usually called a ‘Ferrule’. It is situated on the top of the canopy and can be plain, pointy, and other decorative form. It helps to hold the canopy in place and prevents pouring rainwater through the central bar hole.
Restringing your patio umbrella on your own can be a fun task to do if you know the methods profoundly. Proper placement, quality materials, knowing what you are doing, and careful consideration are all it takes to restring a patio umbrella properly. Without such proper execution, you will find your patio umbrella non-functioning or damaged very soon. Along with that, take care of your patio umbrella for having taken care of it in return. Store it while not in use, don’t open or close it frequently. It will keep the string healthy and prevent you from doing restringing tasks again for a long time.
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I am Donald M. Beyer and I am backyard enthusiasts. I am a homeowner who has been doing DIY projects in and out of my house for many years. From simple backyard lunches to making an old-school pizza oven in my own backyard, I have a lot of experience in turning my backyard into my and my family’s personal playground.