Congratulations on choosing commercial shade fabrics for your shade structure! This decision alone will not only offer you a much longer warranty on your shade structure, but also greater protection overall – and that’s the most important thing. However, deciding on which commercial shade fabric to actually go with can be a much tougher decision.

Many assume that all commercial shade fabrics offer the same commercial grade fabric, but unfortunately this is not the case. There can be major discrepancies in the quality of shade fabrics offered at a commercial level, just like there is between pre-fabricated and custom made solutions.

Sunshades at Westfield Shopping Centre Car Park

Today, I’ll discuss some of the areas you need to look at when choosing commercial shade fabrics for your shade structure to ensure that you end up with nothing but the best in quality and protection for you and your family.

How to identify commercial grade shade fabrics

Most shade fabrics that you will come across in the Australian market will be touted as “commercial grade”. However, depending on the quality of raw materials used and knit construction, shade fabrics can perform differently when put to the test under the harsh Australian sun.

When it comes to the quality and performance of a shade fabric, there are 3 main factors which come into consideration and these factors can mean the difference between fabrics that last for over 10 years or fabrics that fail after only 1 year of use.

The knit design

The knit design will determine the strength of a commercial shade fabric and also its UVR block capacity. Shade fabrics which have a poor knit design will invariably stretch over time and lose their shape and they will also possibly tear quicker than shade fabrics featuring a strong and a stable knit. UVR block capacity of a shade fabric is also partly determined by the knit design. Shade fabrics that have a high coverage knit can block more UV Radiation from passing through them.

Our commercial shade fabrics, z16 and eXtreme 32 are unique, each offering high strength, high UVR block and low elongation/stretch, meaning that shade structures made out of these commercial fabrics will be far less likely to bow down or flap about over time.


The colour pigments

The colour pigments used in a commercial shade fabric determine its colour consistency and its ability to resist fading. Shade fabrics featuring poor quality colour pigments tend to fade much faster than their high quality counterparts, such as the shade fabric we offer here at Rainbow Shade. The UVR block capacity is also influenced to some extent by the colour pigments used in a shade fabric. Stronger base colours increase the ability of a shade fabric to absorb or reflect UV radiation.

The quantity and quality of UV stabilisers

The quantity and quality of UV stabilisers used in a commercial shade fabric determines its ability to last day in day out in the harsh Australian sun. Unlike Rainbow Shade fabrics, those which use fewer stabilisers of poor quality tend to deteriorate much quicker and consequently tear and fail much faster than fabrics made out of a high quantity of quality UV stabilisers.

Beware, some commercial shade fabrics on the Australia market use inferior knit constructions, colouring pigments and UV stabilisers and these are more prone to stretching, failing or tearing, losing shape and fading, faster than high quality fabrics.

High quality commercial grade fabrics offered by Rainbow Shade

To ensure you don’t end up with an inferior quality commercial shade fabric, be sure to look at the knit design, colour pigments and the quantity and quality of UV stabilisers of the shade fabrics. Better yet, avoid the issue all together by ordering Rainbow Shade fabric for your shade requirements, which are considered by the industry to be of the highest commercial grade.

Here are the commercial shade fabrics we have on offer:

Z16: A lightweight, versatile and strong commercial grade shade fabric, which offers exceptional UVR protection of up to 99%. This 200 GSM fabric features high tensile strength and proven longevity and durability. Find out more

eXtreme 32: Made out of 320 GSM, eXtreme 32 has excellent strength specification and tear resistance, is dimensionally stable and is suitable for all types of applications. This fabric features a UVR block of up to 95.8%. Find out more

These commercial shade fabrics feature a unique, proven knit construction for high coverage and high strength, the best quality of colour pigments for fade resistance and colour consistency and the best possible quality of UV stabilisers so as to ensure that you receive a long lasting quality shade fabric. Both the Z16 and eXtreme 32 fabrics are high quality commercial grade fabrics, ideal for any commercial shade requirements.


If you’re in the market for commercial shade fabrics, then you must take the time to consider the knit design of the fabric, the colour pigments used in the fabric and the quantity and quality of UV stabilisers used in the fabric. Only when a fabric meets all these criteria should you choose it for use in your applications.

Thankfully, Z16 and eXtreme 32 each score very well across all these factors and are the perfect choice for your commercial shade requirements. If you’d like to be put in contact with a shade company that uses our commercial shade fabrics, please let us know your location and we’ll be more than happy to provide you with a few recommendations.