How Do Solar Shades Work? And 4 Reasons Why They Are Perfect for Summer
There is little doubt that summer is one of the most anticipated seasons each year. The dregs of cold weather are finally gone, schools are out of session, and the days are longer and brighter. Whether you are making the most of the warm months or escaping the heat, the summer is an important season for your window treatments. With intense sunlight and high temperatures, now is the time to examine which window treatments are right for your house. Solar shades are particularly suited to keep your home both looking and feeling cool in the summer months. Here’s our ultimate guide to the modern window treatment for the warm-weather season. This guide will show you how solar shades work. And also help you decide if they are the right choice for you and your home.
What Are Solar Shades?
Solar shades (also called sun shades or solar screens) are similar in design to roller shades. Both designs have a single large shade that rolls out when the bottom of the shade is pulled down. But, that’s where the similarity ends.
Unlike roller shades, they have a woven fabric for better light control. Where other shades block light completely, solar shades focus on blocking harmful UV rays. At the same time, they still allow a view to the outside. This makes them a perfect fit for rooms that have high sun exposure and beautiful scenery. They also provide natural lighting to a room. But they do this without fading or damaging your furniture or hardwood floors from UV rays.
What Are Solar Shades Made Of?
The way solar shades work is a unique combination of visibility and light-blocking is the material used. Typically made with a PVC, HDPE, or vinyl mesh, the coated material is woven tightly. This is to let in natural light, block harmful rays, and provide heat coverage. The small perforations or holes within the weave also allow for visibility at the same time. That way you can soak in the lush summer views outside while controlling the brightness of your home.
How Do Solar Shades Work? And What Are Openness and Percentage?
If you are thinking about buying solar shades and want to customize them to your liking, you have to understand what the openness percentage is. Openness percentage can determine the color, light control, and visibility of your shades.
While shopping for your solar shades, you’ll see that some have a range of percentages to choose from. The percentages directly correlate with the openness of the fabric’s weave. In other words, how much UV rays and light filter through the shade. The tighter the material is woven, the smaller the holes and small perforations will be. This affects the amount of light that is let in and gives solar shades that “see-through” appearance.
The lower the openness percentage, the tighter the weave, and the greater UV and light protection will be. For example, if the percentage is 1% to 3%. Then your shade will be darker in opacity and will block light more effectively. But, the shade will have less visibility to the outside. On the other hand, if the percentage is higher, such as 10%, then your shades will let in more natural light. This means they will be a lot more see-through but have less light control and protection.
What Is the Difference Between Light and Dark-Colored Shades?
You may notice that some types of solar shades come in a lighter fabric while others come in a darker fabric. Though the choice of your shade’s color could come down to personal preference or the design of the rest of your room. There are some additional benefits to choosing one over the other.
Light-colored fabrics usually come in a light beige color. That means their color reflects heat away from your window. Solar shades with lighter fabrics also allow more visible light into a room. So they are perfect if you want your room to still have the glow of natural light with extra UV protection. The visibility through the material can compare to looking through a sheer drapery.
Dark-colored solar shades are a great match for windows that tend to bring in harsh light or an extra glare. The dark fabric reduces the visible light that comes through, providing glare and UV control. Unlike light-colored fabrics, the dark material will not reflect heat. Instead, it will absorb it and keep heat from escaping into the rest of the room. Additionally, dark-colored shades can provide a better view of the outside than lighter shades. Especially with a higher openness percentage.
Do Solar Shades Keep the Cold Out?
No — but they can block heat. The way solar shades work is that they reduce heat by reflecting or absorbing the bright light and UV rays that warm your home. However, the higher the percentage of openness in your solar shades, the more light will be let in. As a result, the less effective the heat control will be. Thus, if you are worried about energy efficiency during the summer months, it might be a better choice to pick a fabric with a tighter weave.
That being said, solar shades’ woven material doesn’t insulate against the cold. That is due to the small holes in the fabric. If you want solar shades but need more insulation during the winter months, you could pair your shade with another window treatment. This will give your windows extra protection.
Do Solar Shades Provide Privacy?
Given solar shades’ see-through quality, you might wonder if people outside have the same amount of visibility into your home. The answer is pretty simple — if you can see out, others can see in.
Though they offer moderate privacy during the daytime, at night it can be fairly easy to see inside if you have lights on. Of course, this depends on the percentage of your fabric. If you have shades with a low openness factor, your home will be more protected from curious eyes.
If privacy at night is a concern for you, you can easily layer your solar shades. For example, you could use a liner, shutters, curtains, or blackout shades that you pull down during even hours. This will allow you to enjoy the look and visibility they provide. But at the same time keep your privacy.
Another easy solution is to think about the placement of your solar shades. For instance, you might want more privacy in the bedroom or bathroom. Thus, solar shades could be a better fit for patios, living rooms, and kitchens that have a more casual setting.
Why Are Solar Shades Perfect for Summer?
There are functional qualities that make solar shades work and an excellent match for the summer months. Here are our four main reasons why you should want solar shades in your home this summer season.
1. UV Protection
The summer months contain the most sunlight of the entire year. As a result, window-heavy rooms run the risk of exposing furniture to damaging UV rays. With solar shades, however, you can protect your leather couches and wooden cabinets from fading. Made with PVC or HDPE mesh instead of vinyl or fabric, the material in solar shades filters harmful rays. At the same time, allowing natural light to enter your room and keeping your furniture looking good.
2. Energy Efficiency
Another great quality of solar shades is that they save you money on air conditioning in the summer heat. The light-filtering material keeps your home cool by blocking harsh sunlight during the brightest hours of the day. This allows you to maintain your home at a reasonable temperature.
Do you like the efficiency of blinds and shades but hate the way they block the view out your window? Solar shades might be perfect for you. With varying percentages of light filtration, you can control the visibility to the outside. This is done through their openness percentage. Depending on the percent you can choose how much of a view you want. A lower percentage means less light coming through and higher means more visibility.
If you want to see outside during the day but privacy is a worry at night, pick a lower openness percentage. Another option would be to pair your solar shades with a blackout curtain. This will prevent others from seeing inside once it gets dark outside.
4. Adaptable to Indoors and Outdoors
Not only do solar shades filter light inside your home, but they are also made to be used outside as well. Exterior solar shades work great for spending hours on your porch or deck in the summer months. Blocking the hot sun and keeping you cool in the shade. Durable and long-lasting, the exterior shades’ fabric is made to withstand outside elements. So they won’t be damaged by rain or the sun.
They Can Be a Great Addition to Your Home
Solar shades offer some great benefits for your windows and the summer months. Their unique design gives them functions and benefits that other shades options don’t. Especially the fact that they protect you from the sun but still let natural light pass through. This alone has some great benefits. I hope this answered your question of how do solar shades work and made you understand why they are so good for summer. If you love the visibility and light control that they offer, it might be time to make the investment to upgrade your home.
Do you want solar shades, but have more questions on whether they are right for your windows? Book a consultation with one of our experts. This will give you the answers you need to make a decision you feel confident about.