What To Do With Old Patio Umbrellas? (Here's What You Can Do)

Jennifer Eggerton
by Jennifer Eggerton

There is nothing better during the summer than sitting in the shade of a patio umbrella sipping a cool drink. As much as we love our patio umbrellas, the constant exposure to sunlight and the elements breaks down the materials. When it’s time for a new patio umbrella, you need to figure out what to do with your old patio umbrella.

Sell, restore, donate, or salvage your old patio umbrellas. Repurpose them. Use the fabric for outdoor pillows and cushions. You can also make canopies for your windows or RV. Make a sail umbrella from the fabric, and hang it over your patio. Use the frame for a trellis or plant stakes in your garden.

When you’re ready for a new umbrella, here’s what to do with your old patio umbrellas.

7 Types of Patio Umbrellas

Patio umbrellas come in styles to fit every backyard oasis. Here are the 7 most common types of patio umbrellas.

1. Table Umbrella

A patio table umbrella comes with a fabric canopy, frame, pole, and base. The pole fits through a hole in your patio table. The base is filled with sand or concrete to keep the umbrella in place during high winds.

2. Tilting Umbrellas

Are you tired of squeezing into a small bit of shade under your patio umbrella? A tilting umbrella is the ideal solution. The pole of the umbrella has a hinge that lets you point the canopy towards the sun.

3. Off-Set Umbrella

Most patio umbrellas have bases that are centered under the canopy. The base of an offset-umbrella is off to the side. The pole has an extension that holds the umbrella over your patio table. Off-set umbrellas are good for larger seating areas.

4. Tiki-Style Umbrella

Tiki-style patio umbrellas take you to a tropical island. The canopy is made from faux grass that resembles a tiki hut. Tiki-style patio umbrellas filter the sunlight rather than provide complete shade.

5. Sail Umbrella

Resembling more of a canopy than a patio umbrella, a sail umbrella is a single piece of triangular fabric. The ties at each corner let you anchor the umbrella to trees and patio furniture. The design is good for home with children and pets that may knock over a traditional patio umbrella.

6. Commercial Umbrella

Commercial umbrellas are larger and more durable than those made for home use. If you have plenty of space on your patio, this is definitely the way to go!

7. Solar LED Umbrella

Patio umbrellas look great during the day, but at night, they do little for your outdoor space. Many people hang small lights to their patio umbrellas for a bit of ambience. A solar LED umbrella is designed with solar lights built into the spines that hold up the canopy.

Parts of a Patio Umbrella

Every type of patio umbrella uses the same basic parts. Below is a list of parts for your patio umbrella.

  • Finale: a decorative piece of plastic or metal at the outside center of the canopy
  • Canopy: The fabric cover of a patio umbrella
  • Ribs: The metal spines that run along the underside of the canopy
  • Tilt Mechanism: Located at the top of the pole where it connects to the canopy
  • Collar Tilt: The second tilt mechanism on a tilt umbrella – located approximately halfway up the pole
  • Crank Lift: The crank on the side of the pole that opens and closes the canopy
  • Pulleys: Pulleys work in conjunction with the crank lift to raise and lower the canopy
  • Base Tube: A tube in the base that secures the pole of the umbrella
  • Base: The bottom of the patio umbrella that provides stability for high winds

How to Sell an Old Patio Umbrella

Buyers on internet marketplaces are looking for pre-used patio umbrellas that are in good condition. If your umbrella is not in very good shape, review the list of parts of an umbrella. You can sell those parts individually through the same marketplaces.

If you decide to sell your patio umbrella, clean it up, and oil the crank. Take photos from every angle, including close-ups. Really stand out from other sellers by making a video of opening and closing the umbrella.

How to Restore an Old Patio Umbrella

A bit of paint and some new fabric gets your patio umbrella looking like new. Do this before you sell the old patio umbrella, and you may make a bit more money. If you do a really good job, you may decide to keep your old patio umbrella.

Remove the canopy from the frame. Use a good exterior spray paint. Black works the best because it hides scratches. Starting from the top, apply a layer of paint. Make sure to get all sides of the spines and pole. Let the paint dry, and apply a second coat.

If the canopy is in good shape, clean it with a few drops of dish soap in warm water. Spray it with a garden hose. Let the canopy dry before rehanging it on the frame.

Can You Replace the Fabric on an Old Patio Umbrella?

You can replace the fabric canopy of an old patio umbrella. Look for kits online. If you have sewing skills, make a replacement canopy. The best materials for outdoor use are acrylic and polyester fabrics. Check in the upholstery section of your fabric store.

Can You Paint an Old Patio Umbrella?

Believe it or not, you can paint the fabric of your old patio umbrellas. Outdoor fabric paint is lighter than latex paint. It lets the fabric breathe. Clean the umbrella fabric with warm water and a few drops of dish soap. Apply a single, even coat of fabric paint. Let it dry, and apply a second coat.

Donate Your Old Patio Umbrellas

Old patio umbrellas that still work make great donations. Check with senior centers, community centers, and other non-profit organizations that have outdoor areas. Make sure that the umbrella is clean, looks good, and works properly before you donate it.

Recycle an Old Patio Umbrella

Old patio umbrellas can be recycled. Disassemble the umbrella so the pole, ribs, and fabric are separate. Take the parts to your local recycling center.

Repurpose Old Patio Umbrellas

The parts of an old patio umbrella can be used for several DIY projects. Use the fabric to make outdoor pillows and cushions for your patio. You can also make a sail umbrella with the fabric. Just sew some cord or rope ties to the corners. The spines work well for plant stakes in your garden, and the entire frame makes a great trellis for climbing plants.

How to Dispose of an Old Patio Umbrella

If disposing of an old patio umbrella is the only option, check with your local sanitation department. They may have requirements about how to break down the umbrella and where to drop it off for processing.

Related Questions

Are patio canopies worth it?

Patio canopies are made from canvas, acrylic fabric, and vinyl, and they last 8 to 10 years. The fabric blocks sunlight and may reduce ultraviolet light as well.

Do sail shades really work?

Sail shades do provide some protection from sunlight, and they have a sleek, modern design. The design is not ideal for blocking wind or rain. A sail shade will get blown around by the wind. Make sure that it attached to a solid object, such as the side of your house or a tree.

Can you refill the base of a patio umbrella?

Check the base for a plastic plug. If your base has a plug, you can add more sand to the base. If there isn’t a plug, you’ll need to replace the damaged base.


Now that you know what to do with old patio umbrellas, set aside some time to restore or repurpose your umbrella. You can continue using it, or donate it. If the umbrella is in really bad shape, sell the parts online. You can also use the parts in your garden and outdoor area. Whatever you decide to do with your old patio umbrellas, it will be put to good use.

Jennifer Eggerton
Jennifer Eggerton

Jennifer L. Eggerton loves being hands-on, whether it's with a home DIY project, making repairs, re-decorating a room, or keeping life organized. She enjoys helping people by sharing her knowledge, insights, and experiences, as well as her lessons learned. In addition to her work as a writer, Jennifer is a Jeep® overlander, self-published author, and nature photographer who loves being outdoors.

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