Hot day on the beach? Too much sun? We run for shades. Even in Miami Beach sun worshipers run for shades when the sun is unbearable. But nothing is for free. If you forgot to bring your umbrella to the beach you can rent one for 10 dollars. Just walk up to hotel properties and talk to a cabana boy usually dressed up in white shorts and shirt. They will bring your umbrella and place it where you are sitting. If 10 dollars won’t make it then a 20 will definitely work. If you think there will be a language barrier or your Spanish is rusty don’t worry. After all it is Miami where green does the talking. Just flash your green bills and you will be served.
Last week I went over the chaise lounges I saw on Miami Beach. Most of the same properties have their own umbrellas. These are not the umbrellas for rain. They are what we call them beach umbrellas. What’s so special about them? Let me explain:
Beach umbrellas are usually beach versions of market umbrellas. Market umbrellas are commercially durable versions of patio umbrellas. Since these types of umbrellas are used under extreme conditions they need to be able to handle the heavy use. Most beach umbrellas in Miami Beach are staked umbrellas with pointed ends in the pole. Beach properties don’t like to put heavy bases on the sand. First they are heavy and hard to remove at the end of the day. They can’t be left on the beach because it poses an injury risk. So bases can’t be used on the beach; the second alternative is beach umbrella anchors. These are plastic pipe like drills that can be drilled into the sand which is later used to put the umbrella in the pipe. Lots of locals have these beach anchors. I even have one I bought from CozyDays.com. It’s great for individual use because winds will definitely take over your umbrella otherwise. Commercial properties don’t like to use the beach umbrella anchors. I guess that’s because of the injury risk as well. It can be a big liability if they are left over night in the sand. Umbrella manufacturers have solved this with making the pole with a pointed end which enables umbrellas to be staked in the sand. Most of the umbrellas I saw on the beach are wood pole umbrellas and some hybrid umbrellas with metal poles with wood staked ends. The parts that break the most in all umbrellas are the joints, ribs, and hubs. There are three types of ribs I saw in use. Wood ribs which can break on high winds, aluminum ribs which can bend in high winds and fiberglass ribs which are the most preferred ones because they are flexible. There are a few brands that we carry such as Fiberbuilt and Frankford umbrellas that offer fiberglass ribbed beach umbrellas. If your property is beach front you should prefer fiberglass ribs. Then comes the top material. The best material used for commercial umbrellas is Sunbrella marine fabrics. Sunbrella has an awning grade fabric which is tougher but most umbrellas are made with furniture grade fabrics. Other than Sunbrella you can see some umbrellas with vinyl tops, and some with cheaper acrylic fabrics. Sunbrella doesn’t fade which makes it the best fabric out there. If you see umbrellas with faded colors than you know it’s not Sunbrella material. Regardless of the top shape beach umbrellas need to be vented which allows the wind to go thru. Vent is an opening on the top of the umbrella just under the finial. They are also offered with valance which is mainly a cosmetic feature. Most of the beach umbrellas I saw on Miami Beach have valance. Pull-up mechanism is also one of the most important parts of an umbrella. Commercial applications don’t prefer cranks which tend to break easily. Cords of the pull mechanism easily jam in the crank making the umbrella unusable. Almost all commercial umbrellas use a push-up mechanism. Some larger umbrellas use pulley and pin mechanism which is much simpler than crank mechanisms.
For commercial properties umbrellas are probably the item that needs to be renewed most frequently together with cushions. While manufacturers build stronger umbrellas every year umbrellas still are one of the annual expenses of hotels and condos.
During my walk from 55th street to South Pointe I saw many colors of umbrellas which were usually matched with the chaise cushions of the same property. Since Sunbrella fabric can be used for both cushions and umbrellas it makes them easy to match colors. You can see pacific blue, green, orange, white yellow, alternating color panels and even pink. Miami Beach is a colorful place and property managers tend to use that color in their beach areas.