What is a Cantilever Umbrella?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 03 October 2019
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A cantilever may refer to a structure that is supported on only one end or that appears to hang without much support. It’s a common term in architecture and building. When it comes to the cantilever umbrella, the term usually means an outside umbrella used for shading that is connected to a single freestanding pole from one side.

The typical cantilever umbrella has a sturdy base and a rod or pole that begins to curve slightly as it reaches the top. Part of the rod angles over and is attached to the top of the umbrella in the center. Sometimes the rod has an additional piece that rises above the curved piece and then descends toward that piece, creating a triangle shape. This may provide greater stability. There are many variations but the key components, rods rising from one base and attaching to the umbrella center, are usually present.

Most of these umbrellas are large enough to shade several chairs or a small table. A lot of people prefer this umbrella style for tables. Shaded tables can be desirable, but many people don’t like umbrella tables because the umbrella pole rises from the center of the table, taking up table space. With a freestanding cantilever umbrella, the pole can be placed to the side of the table.


Sizing and shaping of the cantilever umbrella can vary, as can price. Range of size of the umbrella section is usually between 9-13 feet (2.74-3.96 m) in diameter, with a fair amount of umbrellas measuring about 10 feet (3.05 m) across. Variants in shape for the umbrella section include square, round, hexagonal and octagonal shapes.

It’s commonly noted that these umbrellas are popular in homes with people of a certain financial stature. It is true that some cantilever umbrella types can cost well above $1000 US Dollars (USD), but there are others that are much more reasonably priced and can be purchased for about $100-200 USD. It really depends upon where shoppers look for these umbrellas, and they’re likely to find good deals if they search at big box stores or inexpensive home improvement stores.

Other things that can vary in each design include fabrics. Some of these umbrellas are made of materials like linen, while others may use polyester fabrics and are usually less expensive. Colors can vary too, and fabrics may come in single colors, stripes or various patterns. Material for poles may have differences. Metal is frequently preferred but wood or plastic could make up at least part of the umbrella pole.

One thing that may concern some people about the cantilever umbrella is the stability of the base. Most designs are heavy enough that they won’t fall over or get blown over in windy weather. Some designs have a base that is filled with several gallons of water to create additional bottom heaviness. Disadvantages to this style include the fact that they may be difficult to move and water will need to be drained at the end of the season in order to move the umbrella to a storage place.


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