Restoring a Faded Red Patio Umbrella

A red patio umbrella that has been exposed to the sun for a long period of time often becomes faded. The length of time your umbrella will retain its original color depends on many factors, including the type of material the umbrella is made of as well as how long it is in the sunlight each day. The shape of the umbrella only matters so far as how much of the umbrella is exposed to the sun; all other things being equal, a rectangular patio umbrella will fade just as quickly as a round one. While some brands of patio umbrella claim to be more fade-resistant than others, you may find that after a year or two of use even your expensive, top-of-the-line umbrella has faded from bright red to a duller pink color.

At that point, what are your options? You could just live with the color, which is the easiest way to deal with the problem. However, if the rest of your patio d├ęcor is red, or you just do not like the faded pink color this option will probably not be appealing. You can of course just buy a new umbrella, which is a quick and simple solution but also the most expensive and wasteful. Between these two extremes is the possibility of restoring your umbrella to its original color, using dye or paint.

Whether it is possible to dye a faded red patio umbrella depends on what material the umbrella is made from. Natural fibers, such as canvas, can be dyed, while synthetic fibers such as nylon will prove more of a problem. Many patio umbrellas are made with synthetic fibers so as to be water-resistant, making dying them a time-consuming and difficult, if not outright impossible, task. If you have a natural canvas umbrella, you will need to find the correct dye to use. Craft stores are a good place to find what you need, and they can help you choose your dye as well as explain the procedure to use it.

For synthetic fibers, you will need to paint your umbrella to restore its color. This can be done either with spray paint or fabric paint. Spray paint is the quicker option, but fabric paint allows more design and color choices. In either case it is important to choose a paint that will not only adhere to the fabric, but can also stand up to different weather conditions. Painting your red patio umbrella, whether it is made of synthetic or natural fibers, allows the opportunity to make your umbrella more personalized, by painting stripes or other simple designs instead of a solid color. You can even choose to use parts of the faded color in the design.

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Installing String Patio Umbrella Lights

Attaching patio umbrella lights to your deck or patio umbrella can give both aesthetic and practical benefits to your outdoor entertainment area. At night a patio umbrella with lights can provide an ambient glow while also making it easier to see in the dark, so you can relax safely on your patio no matter what time it is. There are two main types of patio umbrella lighting: a single patio umbrella light which attaches to the pole of the umbrella and can be adjusted for height, and the popular string outdoor umbrella lights which provide for more decorative, but still useful, lighting.

String lights attach to the ribs of your umbrella and around the rim. Often they are LED lights, and will not attract as many flying insects as most other lights will. They come in many colors, and can either be battery powered or require an extension cord. Setting up string lights can take some time and effort, but since they are designed so that the umbrella can still be lowered while the lights are attached once they are installed they do not have to be taken down again. Just as when you buy Christmas lights, it is important to make sure when purchasing your umbrella lights that the entire string will not be affected by a single bulb burning out. Having to remove and reinstall lights is a hassle, and undermines their convenience and usefulness. In addition, since most umbrellas are round, if you have a rectangular patio umbrella you will want to check that the lights can be used on those as well.

To install string lights on your patio umbrella:

1. Open the umbrella fully while it is held securely in its stand.

2. Make sure the lights are not tangled up, which they may be when you remove them from their packaging. Then, following the instructions given on the lights, attach the strings to the ribs of the umbrella underneath the fabric cover and to the outer rim of the umbrella.

3. If your lights are battery powered, the battery will attach to the umbrella pole. Otherwise run an extension cord to the pole to plug in the lights.

It may take longer than expected to install your lights, but the finished result will be worth it. A lighted patio umbrella does double duty, proving shade from the sun during the daytime and a festive source of light at night. While you could always use more conventional lighting for your patio instead, having patio umbrella lights will add an extra flair to your nighttime parties. Your guests may be so impressed that they decide they need to have lights on their own patio umbrellas as well!

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