How much does a shade structure cost?

Whether you’re involved in a daycare or church administration, run a small business, or work at the parks department, you want to offer a welcoming place for people to congregate and relax. One of the most inviting places to do that, especially in the summertime, is outside.

However, sometimes strong sunlight and high temperatures can prevent people from coming together even on the days that need it the most. On these days, it’s a good idea to have a shade structure to facilitate outdoor assembling. Whether it’s at a park, a pool, or a playground, shade structures can save the day and heighten the enjoyment of the outdoors.

If you’re worried about your budget, trying to incorporate a quality shade structure without breaking the bank can be frustrating, but it’s not impossible. Today, we’re going to go over everything you need to know about finding a good, high-quality shade structure that will not only serve your needs well but will also fit your budget.

What Kinds Are Available

When it comes to outdoor shade structures, there is a wide variety of construction designs and types that are geared toward different situations and budgets. 

For example, modular fabric shades may work well for shading certain portions of a playground, but the same design wouldn’t be as efficient as a pavilion-style for use as a park gathering place.

As you set out to find the most cost-effective shade structure for your organization’s uses, it’s important to be honest with yourself about what is needed. Substituting for a less expensive style or option may save money upfront, but in the long run, if the shade structure doesn’t perform the job it needs to, that cost will end up being wasted.

For many playground and outdoor leisure space-related needs, sun shades with sturdy metal framing will do the trick and will last for a long time while still being cost effective. Let’s break down the different costs associated with these types of shade structures.

How Much Do Typical Shade Structures Cost 

Construction of these permanent shade solutions can cost anywhere from $3,000 to upwards of $30,000. Many different factors interact in determining those prices.

Types of materials used, design, size, and the necessities of the construction location can all contribute to the cost of the shade structure. 


Projects that require more heavy-weight posts and supports will have to utilize more steel and metal. When designing your own shade structure for your particular space and use, keep in mind that, the more posts used in the design, the higher the cost. 

Because all of the posts are powder-coated steel or, in cases with lighter load limits, carbon steel, the more posts utilized in your design, the sturdier it will be. Of course, larger shade structures will also have to implement more posts for sturdiness and, therefore, will feature more steel.

For more complicated designs, steel is also utilized in areas like the roofing frame. Because we make our shades wind resistant up to 150 mph, a tough steel frame is the best way to ensure reliability and safety. 

Another reason we choose steel for the framework of your shade structure is that it’s a relatively lightweight metal that is still more sturdy and reliable than other metals. This helps make installation quicker and more efficient without compromising on quality.

The support frame of your shade also contributes to the lasting power and tension of the fabric shade. We use a special system of tension and compression that attaches the fabric shade straight onto the metal frame, so your fabric roof is just as sturdy as its structure.


For these kinds of shade structures, the fabric is really what seals the deal. Porous, UVB-resistant fabrics are great for shade structures because they can withstand weather and don’t trap heat like other types of shade roofing.

The most popular type of shade fabric, High-Density Polyethylene, provides maximum shading, air circulation, and UV protection while avoiding any water pooling. HDPE is a thermoplastic polymer similar to a plastic. 

HDPE material currently costs around sixty cents a pound, and because of its usefulness and implications for recycling efforts, is trending upwards. Environmentally conscious and cost effective, this is a great fabric for shade structures.

As with anything else, the more of it that is utilized in your shade structure design, the greater the overall cost will be depending on the square footage the structure will cover.


The best shade structures that are the safest and up to code in many areas need to be installed with permanent anchoring. We always install our shade structures with permanent anchoring, although the structure can still be easily disassembled for cleaning or other needs.

Concrete is essential in the anchoring process. Depending on your chosen design or your custom specifications, your shade structure might require a larger anchoring space that utilizes more concrete. 

Larger structures that require heavier steel frames will also need greater quantities of concrete to act as a solid foundation to anchor the structure down and also assure its safety and dependability for those using it. 

Installation Costs

Installation is the most expensive component of your shade structure’s cost. In order to make sure that your quality structure lasts for years and performs the job it needs to, a great deal of work must be done to ensure that it’s properly installed.

That’s why your installation costs could be as much as 80–110% of the materials cost for your shade. For example, if you choose or design a $10,000 shade, then your installation costs could add another $8,000 to $11,000 to your final cost.

However, installation costs will vary greatly based on the style you choose and the location in which you want to construct your shade structure. Less complicated styles that don’t need extensive permanent anchoring will cost less to install; heavier and more expansive structures will need much more labor in order to properly set up.

Digging Footers

One labor-intensive part of the process is digging footers. These are the areas where the concrete will be poured to act as the foundation of your shade structure. If you choose a large or heavily architectural structure, then more extensive footers must be dug.

Cranes and Equipment

In many circumstances, special equipment must be brought to the construction site and used for the proper installation of your shade structure. Tall structures with heavy steel beams will need cranes to place the framework of the structure safely.

Likewise, for structures both large and small, special equipment is used to pour and set the concrete for the foundation. Really, think of your shade structure installation as a construction site. In many cases, it requires much of the same effort, equipment, and processes as any other construction.


Regardless of the size, design, or weight of your shade structure, it will require a great deal of labor to install. Multiple workmen will arrive on-site and work tirelessly to get your structure installed. 

Since we install around the country, we use a network of installers and teams who are local to you. Utilizing our extensive network means a quick, quality installation every time. So when it comes down to labor costs, the most important thing to consider is what is necessary to get your structure installed safely and properly as well as quickly and efficiently.

Most Cost-Effective Shade Structures 

Now that you know a little bit more about the costs that are associated with building your own shade structure, there are also many ways to save money during the process.


If you are looking to install a cost-effective shade structure, go for a simple but useful design. We offer a wide variety of shade designs, from basic to extravagant. If you don’t need something extensive, we suggest going for a smaller, simpler design.


Hip-roof shade structures utilize a simple, straightforward design that benefits from a sturdy metal frame. Either four or six steel posts support the fabric roof in this style of framework, and it is available in a wide range of sizes to suit lots of needs.

There are many different styles of hip-roof structures. They run the gamut from basic to more involved. For mid-range budgets, a special, mid-sized hip-roof structure is a great value and will add both quality and visual interest to any outdoor area. 


Pyramid structures are also a great way to save money if you don’t need a very large structure. These shades utilize an umbrella-type structure with one steel post and a pyramid-shaped fabric shade.

Doubling Up 

With any of these cost-saving designs, you can reduce your costs even further by pairing multiple hip-roof or pyramid structures together to cover a larger area rather than paying for a heavier, larger structure with a more costly steel framework.

Why are Fabric Shades More Cost Effective?

Although any quality sun shade structure will be an investment, fabric-utilizing shade structures are much more cost effective compared to other types of structures. 

There are many reasons for this. Of course, the cost of materials is less for fabric shades. Other structures that employ solid roofs of metal or even wood are far more costly to construct both in securing materials and in installation.

However, an overlooked cost benefit of fabric shade structures is their durability. Traditionally, they last longer than their counterparts and require far less maintenance. Given that they also provide the extra benefits of UV protection, they are far more cost-conscious in the long run. 

Other Ways to Save

If you’re still struggling to find a shade structure that fits into your organization’s budget, then don’t give up hope. We do work with government entities for order purchasing.

There are also grants available to organizations for installing community playground equipment and structures like sun shade structures. Visit this link to learn more about how to find grants and apply.

Final Thoughts

A high-quality, thoughtfully chosen shade structure will provide your organization with an inviting space for people to gather for years to come. 

Fabric shades are the perfect marriage of function and cost-effectiveness because they hold up well for years, require little maintenance, cost far less to purchase and install, and also provide UV protection. 

As you consider which shade structure is the perfect fit, make sure to take style and design into consideration. If you can’t find a style that suits your needs, then contact us to create a custom-made shade to fit all of your unique needs, so you won’t be paying for any features that won’t serve you.

If you’d like to learn more about our shade structures, how they’re made, and the benefits they can bring for your outdoor gatherings of any kind, visit our FAQ page and browse our selection of shade structures to see which type could work best for you. 

Shade structures