About Me

Creating A Fun, Safe Garden For Your Children

As the mum of five young children, I know how important it is to have access to a safe outdoor space for your children to play. Being cooped up in the house all day isn't good for the kids or the parents, but you also can't let young kids play in a space that's hazardous. When we bought our new family home, there was a lot of work to do in the garden to make it childproof, and we also wanted to make it a fun place for the kids to play. We erected a new fence, fitted a combination lock on the garden gate, had poisonous plants removed, cordoned off the pool and created a play area complete with swings, a slide and outdoor games. I started this blog to share my DIY gardening tips, and I hope you find it interesting and useful.



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Creating A Fun, Safe Garden For Your Children

How To Waterproof A Patio Umbrella

by Darlene Jenkins

A fabric patio umbrella makes a stylish sunshade, but an unexpected shower can ruin the material, and if you put the umbrella away while it's still damp, mould and mildew can form, leaving unsightly stains and a nasty smell.  However, waterproofing your patio umbrella is a simple job that can be done in a couple hours.  Read on to find out how to do it.

What you'll need

  • fabric waterproofing spray
  • large drop cloth
  • rubber gloves
  • face mask

A good quality waterproofing preparation will not only protect your umbrella from the rain, it will also help to repel dirt and will offer protection from the fading effects of the sun.  Most large DIY stores sell a good range of waterproofing products – look for one that comes in spray form and is suitable for use on fabric.  Once your umbrella has been treated, all you need to do to keep it clean is to wipe off dirt with a damp cloth.

How to do it

  1. The best time to waterproof your patio umbrella is when it's new, before the first use.  This will ensure that the brolly will stay pristine, won't fade, and isn't damaged by showers.  However, even if your umbrella is a few years old, treating it now will protect it from further damage and could make it last longer, saving you the cost of a new one.  
  2. Before you start, make sure your patio umbrella is completely dry and clean.  If the umbrella is damp or dirty, it will stain when you apply the waterproofing product.  If necessary, wash the umbrella with a mild solution of washing-up liquid and warm water to clean it.  Rinse well with clean water, and then leave the umbrella to dry, fully-opened, in the sun.  
  3. Now you need to check that the fabric of your umbrella is safe to treat.  Some types of dye will not tolerate chemicals, causing the colours to 'bleed' when the spray is applied.  Put a small amount of spray on an area of the umbrella that's not easily visible to check that it is colourfast.  
  4. Place a drop cloth on the floor underneath the umbrella to protect the surface from overspray.  The drop cloth should be large enough to cover the whole area beneath your brolly when it's fully opened.  Choose a site away from your pool and from any trees or plants, and carry out this task on a quiet day when it's not windy, so that the spray doesn't blow around while you're applying it.  
  5. Open the umbrella out fully, and set it down in the centre of the drop cloth.  Put on the rubber gloves and face mask to give you some protection from errant spray.  Hold the spray can away from the fabric so that the jet isn't too concentrated.    Work methodically on each section of the umbrella, paying particular attention to the seams.  Apply the spray using light, continuous strokes until you've covered the whole of the umbrella.  
  6. Next, turn the umbrella upside-down, and repeat the process on the underside.  
  7. When you're happy that the whole umbrella has been treated, allow it to dry completely, and then apply a second coat of waterproofing spray to both the outside and the inside.

 In conclusion

Waterproofing your fabric patio umbrella will protect it from water damage and staining, and will prevent sun-fade too.  The waterproofing will wear off after a while, so it's a good idea to apply a new coat of spray at the beginning of each season to make sure the protection is continuous.