Shade Cloth – Which Type is Best?

Knitted Colored Shade Cloth Knitted Colored Shade Cloth

Woven vs Knitted Shade Cloth

The two main types of shade cloth are knitted and woven.

Shade cloth is used to provide protection from the sun. Its used to shade people, plants, livestock & domesticated animals.

Woven Shade Cloth is the least expensive of the two. With this type of cloth the shade cloth fibers are simply woven together. So if a rip or hole forms, it can grow quickly, even rendering the entire shade cloth useless.

Knitted Shade Cloth is priced a little bit higher than woven, but its normally well worth the added cost. Knitted shade cloth is knitted together, so everywhere a fiber crosses another fiber is a small knot, making this design “ripstop”.

High quality knitted shade cloth can easily last 4 years or even longer depending on environmental factors.

Shade Cloth Colors

Which color shade cloth is best depends on your intended application. Black, & Aluminet (silver) are the most popular for greenhouse & gardening applications. Other colors such as violet, red, brown, green & blue are used as privacy barriers or patio coverings.

Colored Shade Cloth

Black is the most common color used in agriculture. But for heat sensitive crops, or for those looking to obtain maximum cooling effect, the “Aluminet” shade cloth is best.

Aluminet is silver and has a much higher reflective quality than black shade cloth does. So an Aluminet shade cloth will not only provide the same amount of shade as a similarly rated black cloth, but it will also provide a more pronounced cooling effect on the under side.

Aluminet Knitted Shade Cloth

Which Shade Rating is Best?

Shade cloth is made in shade ratings ranging from 5-95%. The higher the shade rating, the more shade that it provides. So a 95% shade cloth will filter out 95% of the light

Garden variety vegetables, nursery stock & marijuana normally require about 50% shade.

For orchids, ferns, livestock, pets, and people shading, 70% is the most popular

Black Knitted Shade Cloth

For privacy barriers, a 50-80% rating is normally best. A lower shade rating will still provide excellent privacy, but will also allow more air movement than higher rated shade cloths.

Installing a Shade Cloth

Shade cloth can be ordered with raw and unfinished edges. Or it can be ordered with “taped” edges & brass grommets.

A “taped edge” means that the edges of the shade cloth are bound with material similar to a seat belt. This provides a firm fastening point for brass grommets. Grommets are normally installed every 12-24″.

To save money, some people prefer to order a shade cloth with unfinished edges, and then use “snap on” style grommets.

Regardless of which type of grommet is used, the shade cloths can then be secured with suitable bungee cords, rope, cable, or wire.