How to Repair a Patio Umbrella

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How to Repair a Patio Umbrella

The function of patio umbrellas is pretty obvious. Adding to an outdoor living space by creating tailor-made shady spots, patio umbrellas provide much-needed respite on hot summer days. For this reason, many people choose to invest in high-quality patio umbrellas which not only blocks the direct sunlight but also have the strength to stand up to Mother Nature's wrath over the years. Therefore, when a patio umbrella breaks, it is common to look for ways to repair, rather than replace it. In such cases, understanding the major parts of a patio umbrella and how the parts break as well as how to repair two of the most common damage points is essential.

Major Parts of a Patio Umbrella

While most people easily identify a patio umbrella and know how it works, the specific parts which combine to make that happen may be a bit too technical for most. However, when looking to repair a patio umbrella, knowing its major parts, described in the table below, allow owners to correctly identify what is broken and how to fix it.

Umbrella Part



An ornamental piece located on the top apex of the umbrella


The top portion of the umbrella which provides shade

Consists of the fabric, vents, and pockets


The large cloth part which provides the physical shade of the umbrella

Sometimes cotton or other synthetic material designed to repel UV rays


The additional fabric 'flap' at the top of the umbrella which allows wind to escape and keeps the umbrella from blowing away


The small holders in the fabric which secure the ribs


Long metal or wooden rods which give the umbrella its shape

Hub and runner

The place where the ribs attach to the pole and moves up and down, allowing the umbrella to extend and contract


The shaft in the centre of the umbrella which holds it upright


Generally on metal umbrellas

The machine which raises and lowers the umbrella

Pulley and string

Generally on wooden umbrellas

The mechanical alternative to the crank used to raise and lower the umbrella

Repairing a patio umbrella is about more than a step-by-step set of instructions. This is because, as the parts listed above clearly illustrate, there are many different ways in which umbrellas break. Knowing each of the major parts and identifying them helps users figure out whether or not they have the ability and tools to complete the proper repair.

Basic Umbrella Repairs

Not all broken patio umbrellas are easily fixed; repairing a broken umbrella pole, for example, is much more complicated than repairing ripped fabric. However, all patio umbrella owners should be able to accomplish two basic repairs: fabric patching and string replacement.

Patching Umbrella Fabric

Small tears in the fabric of a patio umbrella are not big problems themselves. However, if left unattended, they grow and have the potential of ruining the entire function of the umbrella. That is why basic fabric patching is so important. In fact, all a person needs is a canvas repair kit in a colour similar to the umbrella's fabric, some fabric glue, and a needle and thread. Depending on the size and nature of the tear in the fabric, patching may involve gluing alone, gluing and sewing, or sewing on a patch. Each situation is different, but in all cases, fixing the tear quickly is the key to minimising the damage.

Fixing an Umbrella String

Another common breaking point for an outdoor umbrella has to do with the stringing mechanism used to retract and expand the umbrella. These mechanisms are more common on wooden umbrellas, though some metal ones use the string-and-pulley method as well. When the sting breaks, repairing the umbrella means simply replacing the patio umbrella string with a new one or figuring out another way to raise and lower the umbrella.

For the first repair, take the umbrella down and take it apart. If it is a simple design, it should be easy to remove the broken string and replace it with a new string of approximately the same thickness. Otherwise, consider taking the broken string out and manually raising and lowering the umbrella, using a hose clamp to hold it in place when raised.

Buying a Patio Umbrella and Replacement Parts on eBay

Whether you are in the market for a new patio umbrella or the parts needed to repair one, eBay is the place to shop. Offering great deals on backyard items, eBay's selection includes everything from a patio umbrella and additional patio items such as an umbrella stand or patio table and chairs to canvas patch kits and string.

The importance of a good patio umbrella is creating a functional outdoor living space, and this is obvious, which is why investing in a high-quality one is so important. In addition, a little bit of knowledge about umbrella parts and the basic repair skills needed to keep a patio umbrella in good working order is enough to protect that investment for years to come.

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