Umbrellas are a necessary piece of equipment if you live in rainy city. They help keep you dry and block the wind, but sometimes it is those very same these that will eventually cause an umbrella to break. Fortunately, it is easy for one to make simple, effective repairs to an umbrella on your own without breaking the bank.
All you need are some small tools and supplies on hand and you will be able to repair bent, torn, or blown-out umbrellas in moments. Don’t know where to get these supplies? Try visiting your local hardware or craft store, or use an online vendor like Amazon or eBay.
Reparing a Canopy
When a powerful wind rips the umbrella canopy to pieces, fear not. Replacing the fabric is easy and you can still salvage your umbrella. To repair any rips, holes, or tears in an umbrella canopy, you can simply sew a patch of new fabric on the hole. Even better, if the tear does not require any additional material, simply stitch the rip closed to prevent any further damage. If you want to secure it further, sew a patch on top of this repair.
Try to use a piece of fabric that is similar in color and texture as the original canopy. Ideally, the material should also be water resistant, like nylon. Make sure the threading is also water resistant (e.g. a nylon fabric should use nylon threading). In essence, the patch on top acts as a shingle for the tear, preventing water from leaking down. When stitching, make sure you use small stitches so that the fabric secures firmly. Once the sewing is complete, you may wish to spread a layer of water repellent on the entire canopy.
Repairing the Stem
One can accidentally damage the stem of an umbrella by getting it caught in a door or, once again, using it during heavy winds. If the stem hasn’t completely snapped off, there is an opportunity to do some repairs. Beginning from approximately an inch below the damaged section, wrap small gauge wire tightly around the stem until you’ve reached an inch above the damaged area.
Repeat this process two or three times, or until you feel the stem is sturdy again. If the break is complete or a section of the stem has severed, straighten the stem and push the broken sections together with a pair of pliers. Apply a durable adhesive, like super glue or even metal epoxy to the broken areas and keep them in contact until the glue dries.
When choosing an adhesive, look for one that dries evenly, does not remain sticky, works on metal, and most importantly, is safe to touch. Afterwards, wrap the outside with wire to further secure it in place. Users may even wish to apply more adhesive to the wire for ultimate stability. On larger umbrellas, you may want to place a small dowel rod into the empty space inside the stem before performing the aforementioned steps. This is to add an extra layer of support.
Repairing the Spoke
The spokes are the network of small metal wires that protrude outwards from the stem and support the canopy. Over time, the spokes will deteriorate, and the connective joints on the spoke and stretcher come loose. In some cases, the spokes can no longer support the canopy when faced with strong winds and flip inside out. Once again, thin gauge wire comes to the rescue.
To prevent the spokes from inverting, run a length of wire from the end of the spoke to the nexus where the stem and spoke connect. Secure the wire on each end. When the connective joint between spoke and stretch breaks, it is typically due to the small fastener keeping the two pieces together breaking. Supplant the fastener by inserting and wrapping multiple layers of wire through the holds where spoke joint and stretcher connect. Allow some wiggle room or else you may find it difficult to close and open the umbrella.
When it’s no longer worth the hassle to repair the umbrella
Even though it’s simple to repair an umbrella, sometimes it is wiser to outright buy a new one than to attempt to fix an old one. For instance, if the entire canopy has torn off, or if the spoke or stems have broken in multiple sections, it’s probably not worth the effort. Additionally, the more breaks in the stem, the less sturdy the umbrella, and this can be quite dangerous during a storm. Do not both repairing an umbrella that has rusted or has sharp, protruding edges.
In essence, if your umbrella is in shambles, just toss it away and buy yourself a new one.
Where to buy umbrella repair material
You will most likely find suitable supplies in craft or hardware stores. For more specific supplies, perhaps an online vendor will have it in stock. Check the listings for supplies, tools, or even outright purchase a new umbrella if the situation is right. Additionally, it would be wise to order extra fabric, thread, wire and tools to form an umbrella repair kit for future repairs.
Photo Credit: Frank Kloskowski