How to Tilt Your Patio Umbrella (& Why Umbrella Won’t Tilt)

Do you sometimes find it challenging to enjoy your outdoors when there is too much sun? A patio umbrella can make your outdoor experience enjoyable by shielding you from the hot sun. 

However, when the sun is not in midday, you may find that it becomes bright in your eyes. Therefore, you need to know how to tilt it to make yourself more comfortable. So, how can you do that?

It can either be over the table, shading a spot in the pool, or just on your deck. No matter where you use your patio umbrella, it will always give you that desired shade from the sun. Here’s how you can tilt your patio umbrella in easy steps:

  1. To begin, turn the umbrella’s crank clockwise to open it.
  2. Then, in the middle of the pole, hit the button.
  3. Allow the umbrella to tilt to the side as far as you’d like it to.
  4. While it’s windy or stormy, don’t open the umbrella, and always close it when it’s not in use.
  5. Push the umbrella back up to its upright position until the button snaps into place to close it.
  6. Crank the handle in the other direction until it is entirely closed.

This article will look at various ways to tilt your patio umbrella and why sometimes it may not tilt.

How Do You Tilt an Outdoor Umbrella?

How you tilt an outdoor patio umbrella depends on the type of umbrella you have; you can either press a button, crank a handle, spin the ribs, or turn color by tilting a patio umbrella.  

The kind of umbrella you choose should come with a manual or guidelines on tilting it. So what are the different types of outdoor umbrellas, and how can you tip them?

Types of Outdoor Umbrellas 

1. Push-button Tilt Patio Umbrella 

The push-button tilt was the first patio umbrella invented, and it is also the least expensive. When using it, all you need to do is press the button on the tilting mechanisms. The button is on the pole.

Steps in tilting a push-button patio umbrella:

  • Move the crank in a clockwise direction. This opens the umbrella.
  • Press the button at the center of the pole.
  • Tilt the umbrella to the side as much as you want. Do it carefully. 
  • Push the umbrella to an upright position till the bottom on the middle of the pole snaps into place, which make sure the umbrella is closed. 
  • To close the umbrella completely, crank the handle counterclockwise.

2. Collar Tilt Patio Umbrella 

The collar tilt patio is beautiful and easy to use. All you need to do to tilt is open it up, turn the collar, and turn it to your preferred position.

Steps in tilting a collar tilt patio umbrella 

  • To open the umbrella, turn the crank clockwise.
  • Twist the collar counterclockwise. 
  • Push the umbrella to your desired position
  • If you want to adjust the umbrella in any direction, you move it.
  • If you want to close it, turn the crank counterclockwise. 

3. Auto-Tilt Patio Umbrella

Auto tilts patio umbrellas are affordable and the most popular patio umbrellas. To lean one over, all you need to do is turn the handle. You can also use this procedure to open it.

Steps in tilting a tilting an auto-tilt patio umbrella 

  • Turn the crank clockwise. 
  • Turn the handle repeatedly to put the umbrella in tilt mode. 
  • Push the umbrella to your preferred position.
  • To close the umbrella, turn the handle counterclockwise. 

4. Rotational Tilt Patio Umbrella

The rotational tilt of the recent inventions of the patio umbrella, and it’s expensive as well. However, after using it for some time, you will realize it is worth the price.

To tilt a rotational tilt patio umbrella, all you need to do is crank it up and push its ribs clockwise.

Steps in tilting a rotational tilt patio umbrella 

  • To open, turn the crank handle clockwise. 
  • Then turn the umbrella clockwise using any of the ribs to tilt it.
  • Push the umbrella to the place you want 
  • When closing, take hold of one of the ribs and turn it counterclockwise to straighten it.
  • Then crank the handle counterclockwise to close the umbrella.

How Do I Get My Umbrella to Tilt?

To get your patio umbrella to tilt efficiently, you have to solve or repair the problem that could be preventing it from tipping smoothly, such as a broken rib.

Purchasing the correct type of patio would save you the headache of having to repair it often and serve you for long. However, like any furniture, patio umbrellas may fail.

You may find you can no longer tilt your patio umbrella, and hence you cannot move it to your desired position where you get well shielded from the sun.

Why Can’t My Patio Umbrella Tilt?

There are three main reasons which may hinder your patio umbrella from tilting.

  • Broken rings
  • Broken rib 
  • Bent/broken poles 

Once your patio umbrella can no longer tilt, you can repair it quickly if you have the required instruments. 

However, you must carefully go through the patio umbrella manual to note the manufacturer’s guidelines on repairing it because different patio umbrellas have other tilting mechanisms and hence varying repair methods.

You can also call an expert. If you choose to get your patio umbrella to tilt on your own, here are the steps on how to fix every fault that prevents your patio umbrella from tipping efficiently:

1. Broken Strings

  • Pull out the pin which holds the umbrella together to remove the patio umbrella pole from the pivot.

    This procedure can vary from one patio style to the other – in some patio umbrella types, you may need to separate the pole differently.

    Refer to your patio umbrella manual for the proper procedure. To proceed with this step, you need a pair of pliers.
  • Look at how the winding mechanism works on the umbrella (check from your patio umbrella manual). If there are rings on top, and the bottom of the umbrella, take a putty knife or a screw drive to get rid of them or make them less tight. 
  • After removing the rings, you can get rid of the housing too. Using a screwdriver, take off the nut which is attached to the winding bold and the handle. 
  • Keeping the umbrella closed, attach the new cord to the end of the broken cord by tying it to the end. Then pull the cord through the pole and the pulley on the top using a grabber pick-up tool by connecting it into the pole and grabbing the cord. 
  • Using a pair of scissors, cut the end of the cord where it is connected to the umbrella ring. Then tie the new cord to the old cord and pull it back through the pole to tie it to the lift ring. 
  • Using a pick-up grab tool, pull the cord out of the hole to work with 8 inches of cord. Cut the cord and tie it to the umbrella crank with a small knot using a pair of scissors. Then using a light match, melt the end of the cord to prevent it from fraying.
  • Put the knot into the hole and position the crank bolt to tighten the nut with pliers.
  • Lastly, reassemble the other side housing using a screwdriver and re-install the retaining rings. 

2. Patio Umbrella Rib Repair

Repairing the ribs of your patio umbrella is very easy, and you can do it on your own using a drill, a hammer, and some nuts and bolts. 

Here are the steps to follow: 

  • Purchase a 6″ piece of 5/8ths copper from the local home store. 
  • Hammer it down or flatten it till it can fit over the broken parts of the umbrella rib. 
  • Fix it on the broken piece and make sure you leave enough room to drill a small hole in the middle of the copper piece.
  • Connect the fixed rib on the umbrella and check if it works out. 

3. Bent/Broken Poles 

Bent or broken poles make tilting of your patio umbrella impossible or difficult. If you notice bent or, worse still, broken posts in your patio, don’t worry. Fixing it is easy. 

Why Do Patio Umbrella Poles Break?

There are a couple of reasons why your umbrella pole may break, including strong winds and heavy storms. The umbrella pole can also fail because it is too old and cannot support the weight or serve its purpose.  

When you find out your bending or breaking of your umbrella pole, the first thing to do is contact the manufacturers and inquire if they can replace it. If they cannot, follow the following two steps to fix it.

Step 1: Check out a UPVC pipe of the same size as the diameter of the umbrella pole. 

Step 2. Put the pipe over the broken region of the umbrella pole and glue it up to cover the gap. You can also use a self-tapping screw on every half of the bar to make it stronger. 

Please note you cannot repair the bent or broken pole. You can only replace it with a rod or a pipe of the equivalent size.

What are the Different Styles of Patio Umbrellas?

There are many styles of patio umbrellas you can find in the market; some patio umbrella styles are very pricey, while others are relatively affordable.

The different types of patio umbrellas dictate where you would use the umbrella. These umbrellas include the following:

  • Lighted umbrellas
  • Drape or garden umbrellas
  • Offset or cantilever umbrellas
  • Market umbrellas

Some styles are fit for an outdoor garden experience, while others are perfect for your outdoor table or pool. 

1. Lighted Umbrella 

A lighted umbrella is fit for holding a party or staying outdoors at night because it has built-in LED lights under the canopy along the ribs.

A lighted umbrella will offer you that desired party ambiance. It will also give you a romantic scene for an evening dinner.

2. Drape or Garden Umbrella

This style is perfect for a garden experience. You can choose it if you are out with friends or alone. It is very economical and functional. The garden umbrella has a drape of valance hanging on the edges of the canopy.  

The center pole is made of aluminum and has no steel ribs as compared to other styles of umbrellas. Hence if you are in a stormy area or an area with strong winds, a drape or garden umbrella is the style that fits your needs.

3. Offset or Cantilever Umbrella

This style of patio umbrella does not have a pole at the center. The post is outside or on the side of the umbrella. It is the most preferred style of a patio umbrella since it does not block one view with the pole.

4. Market Umbrella

You must have noticed a particular patio umbrella dominant in your nearest market. The market umbrellas come in different colors and designs. You do not have to be in a market or selling groceries to use a market umbrella.

Tips to Consider When Buying a Patio Umbrella

Like everybody else, your main desire is to get a patio that offers you adequate shade, safety, and protection.

Below are some helpful tips that can help purchase a patio umbrella fit for your needs:

Use Table Umbrellas on Level Patios

Table umbrellas consist of a patio table with a hole in the center and go on top of the table. The table and the umbrella can be sold separately and come as a single item.

A table umbrella cannot be moved from one location to another and needs a perfectly level surface to prevent wobbling. 

Hence before purchasing a table umbrella, make sure you have level patios to avoid disappointments. Table umbrellas are convenient for open spaces, large decks, and evenly developed areas.

Mobile Shades

Mobile patio umbrellas can be moved easily from one location to the other. Hence they are the best for complete yard protection as you can choose where to place your umbrella depending on your preferences.

Also, if your ground is not level, you do not have to worry as mobile patio umbrellas can fit everywhere.

The disadvantage of using mobile patio umbrellas is that they are not as stable as table umbrellas. Hence you have to develop ways to support them as they can tilt easily. Also, you need to keep it away after you finish using it.

Please note that free-standing mobile umbrellas use a screw-in system. Therefore, you need to have these instruments in hand every time you move the patio umbrella. However, you are not limited to screwing them permanently in a base or a wall, or even a floor.

Get an Umbrella that’s Bigger than Your Patio

For proper shade or a shade that covers your patio, the umbrella must be more significant than the patio. Observe the rule of having an umbrella a couple of feet wider than the table or space you are sitting at. 

Most home patio umbrellas are nine feet in diameter and fit tables around 36 inches in diameter. If the umbrella is meant to be used by only one person, then a 6.5 feet umbrella would be enough.

Take Note of the Fabric

If you want your patio umbrella to serve you for long, make sure it’s a durable fabric. Patio umbrella fabrics should be lightweight, strong, stain-proof, and easy to fold.

Tilting Umbrella for Rotating Shade

A tilting umbrella is essential as you can tilt it in the sun’s direction for proper shade. If you are in an open area, choose a tilting umbrella so that you can rotate the shade to where you want it at.

Weather Conditions

Strong wind and storms are enemies of patio umbrellas. If there is a lot of wind in your area, you can choose a design that uses flexible materials like fiber glasses and wood. Aluminum is strong and moisture resistant. However, it gets destroyed easily by strong winds.

Do’s and Don’ts When Using a Patio Umbrella.

  •  Don’t open an umbrella in high winds or storms: they are likely to destroy your umbrella.
  •  Always close the umbrella once you are done using it.
  •  Never leave your umbrella unattended.


Patio umbrellas would give you that desired outside experience, whether alone or with friends. While purchasing your patio umbrellas, always make sure you choose the one that perfectly fits your needs. Also, be observant of the weather as stormy or windy weather is dangerous for your patio.


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Hubert Miles

Hello! My name is Hubert Miles. I'm a licensed Home Inspector, Certified Master Inspector (CMI), and FHA 203k Consultant. One of my favorite parts of my job is inspecting decks and patios. I also enjoy spending time in our backyard with friends and family. My team and I started this site to share this journey. We hope you enjoy the content.

DISCLAIMER: The content published on is not professional advice. You should consult with a licensed professional and check local permit requirements before starting any project. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to We also participate in other affiliate programs with other affiliate sites. We are compensated for referring traffic and business to these companies.