What Are Solar Shades?
WHAT ARE SOLAR SHADES AND SOLAR BLINDS?
Solar shades and solar blinds offer excellent sun- and light-blocking benefits. If excessive sunlight shines through your windows, then solar shades may be the ideal solution. Solar shades are an excellent window treatment option for windows in rooms that are exposed to the sun. Besides simply blocking the light, solar shades also reduce glare, protect against harmful UV rays, and prevent fading from the sun on carpets, furniture, and household surfaces.
WHAT ARE SOLAR SHADES MADE OF?
Solar shades are made with a coated material that is finely and tightly woven to provide light and heat coverage. Typically this material is made from vinyl, but there are many options to choose from. If you want to compare different types of solar shade materials, you can order free solar shade swatches to find the best match for your home before making a decision.
UNDERSTANDING SOLAR SHADE PERCENTAGES
When it comes to choosing window treatments, you may notice that some solar shades may have different percentage options. These solar shade percentages represent the openness factor, or how much UV rays and light are filtered through the shades. A lower percentage number indicates a greater solar shade opacity.
For example, if you want a significant amount of light and UV protection, you should choose a solar shade with 1% -3% openness. For moderate light control and protection, 5% solar shades are a good choice. However, if you want to allow more light, you can choose solar shades with up to 10% openness.
DO SOLAR SHADES PROVIDE PRIVACY?
Solar Shades offer moderate daytime privacy and can prevent people from being able to see into your home. Of all the solar shade options, 1% solar shades may offer the most privacy, since they have the tightest weave. If you’re looking for maximum privacy over light control however, you may be better off with a more protective option, like Roller Shades. You can also get the best of both worlds by layering solar shades with drapery to provide light filtering during the day and additional privacy at night.
DO SOLAR SHADES BLOCK OUT HEAT?
In addition, solar shades help to reduce heat by minimizing glare and blocking out light. Similar to the degree of light that is allowed in, the level of heat protection from solar shades also depends on the openness of the weave (the solar shade percentage). The fabric color can also influence heat and light blockage. Since lighter fabrics reflect more light compared to darker ones, choose darker fabrics if you want to block more light and heat.
FIND THE RIGHT SOLAR SHADES FOR YOUR HOME
Ready to find the right solar shades for your home? Visit one of The Shade Store’s 90+ locations nationwide to meet with a designer or to schedule a free measurement to purchase solar shades for your home.
Solar Shades 101—Are Solar Shades Right for You?
What Are Solar Shades?
Solar window shades (also called sun shades) are roller shades crafted with a specially designed fabric that’s woven just tight enough to protect against UV rays while still optimizing your views. If your windows overlook gorgeous scenery and a lot of sun is coming into the room, solar shades will block the annoying glare and reduce heat without obstructing your view. They’ll also prevent sunlight from fading or deteriorating your upholstery, carpet, hardwood floors and artwork—and they may even help lower your energy bills!
Solar Shades: Openness Explained
Openness refers to how tightly the fabric is woven. The lower the openness level and the tighter the fabric weave, the better it blocks the sun—but the less you can see through the shades. The higher the openness level, the looser the weave and the less it blocks the light—however, you have better visibility. Designer Screen Shades come in openness levels ranging from 0% to 14%, so you have options for filtering light.
With hundreds of fabrics and opacities, numerous decorative options and a variety of top and bottom treatments, you can customize your solar shades to fit your personal taste. For unusually large windows, Designer Screen Shades are available in widths ranging from 12″ to 192″ and heights from 12″ to 144″. They can also fit bay and corner windows. If you have doors in the same room as your windows, you can create a cohesive look by coordinating Designer Screen Shades fabrics with vertical window treatments like Skyline® Gliding Window Panels.
Solar Shades and Color
One thing to keep in mind when choosing solar shades is the fabric color. Even if you compare fabrics with the same opacity level, lighter and darker colors work a bit differently. Lighter colors better reflect heat and illuminate a room, but the view might be a little hazy (similar to that of sheers). So, if you have small windows or want to brighten a space, a lighter color may work best. Dark colors, on the other hand, are excellent at reducing glare and providing better view-through. A darker fabric is a great choice for larger windows that overlook an amazing outdoor setting.
Do Solar Shades Offer Privacy?
Yes and no. The higher the openness level (the looser the fabric weave), the better you can see through the fabric. But during the day, you have a little more privacy—you can see outside, but others cannot see into your home. When your lights are on at night, the effect is the opposite and outsiders can see inside. You might want to consider adding a liner to your solar shades, or for a more dramatic look, layer your shades with curtains.
Since solar shades on their own don’t provide as much privacy as other shades, they work best in more public areas like kitchens, living rooms, media rooms, sunrooms and patios as opposed to bathrooms or bedrooms. You might also notice them in business offices, where they reduce glare on computer screens, or restaurants, where you can take in the surrounding views.
UV Protection and Energy Efficiency
Besides protecting your furnishings from damaging UV rays, Designer Screen Shades provide excellent energy efficiency, reducing the amount of heat that escapes in the winter and enters in the summer, so you stay comfortable all year long. And for more light control, you can combine two Designer Screen fabrics of varying opacities on the same shade.
Minimal Light Gap
Even if you choose a low openness level, some solar shades may still let in light through a slight gap between the shade and the window frame. Designer Screen Shades and Designer Roller Shades are designed with an ultra-slim Custom Clutch which, because of its small profile, allows for the absolute thinnest light gap in the industry.
How Solar Screen Shades Work
Solar Screen Shades Block the Sun, but Not the View!
Solar screen fabric is available in a wide variety of colors, styles, and openness factors to meet almost any criteria. These fabrics fall into three categories; dark fabrics, light fabrics, and high performance reflective fabrics, all of which provide:
Natural Light Management
View through connection to outside
High performance solar shades
High performance solar screen fabrics are designed to outperform light and dark fabrics when a project requires excellent heat control, glare control, UV protection and view through characteristics. High performance fabrics like SilverScreen and EnviroScreen have a highly reflective exterior regardless of the room-side color. Metallized high performance fabrics are able to provide low visible light transmittance (VLT) values in combination with low shading coefficient (SC) values, independent of color. Typical light and dark colored solar screen provide a dedicated solution where one or two criteria are required or deemed the most important.
For excellent view through and glare reduction select dark colored fabric
For excellent heat management select a light colored fabric
For view, glare control, heat reduction select high performance fabric
Dark-colored solar shades
Dark fabrics provide excellent glare control by reducing the visible light that comes through the fabric. Fabrics that block 94%-96% of the visible light provide excellent glare control characteristics, and will absorb some heat and keep it at the window until it dissipates into the room. In applications where passive solar warming and glare control are desired, dark colored solar screen fabrics are optimal.
Higher AS (Solar Absorptance) values mean more light and heat is absorbed,
Lower VLT (Visible Light Transmission) values mean less light passes through the fabric, resulting in excellent glare control
Light-colored solar shades
Light colored fabrics are more effective at reflecting heat, and allow more visible light into the room. Fabrics that block 80-90% of the visible light are an excellent choice for providing more light where windows are small, and in common areas where a lighter, brighter ambience is desired. Light is filtered, and view through the fabric is similar to a sheer drapery.
Higher RS (Solar Reflectance) values mean lighter colors reflect more heat away
Higher VLT (Visible Light Transmission) values mean more daylight is allowed to pass through
WHY solar shades work- the science behind the fabrics
Solar shades are based on science. Solar Screen mesh shades control heat and light, allowing a lower percentage of both to enter the room. Fabric color and density determine the solar/optical/thermal performance of individual fabrics. No single fabric has the precise combination of thermal/optical properties to satisfy every application requirement. The combination of properties of each fabric allow for a perfect match for every application and aesthetic. Your dealer or the fabric expertise of Insolroll’s customer service staff are available to help you make the perfect fabric choice for your needs. The Key Thermal/Optical Factors (see tab below for further explanation)
Ts= Solar transmittance
Density= Openness factor
VLT=Visible light transmittance
SHGC=Solar Heat Gain Coefficient
Solar shades control 3 kinds of solar radiation
Solar shades block infrared rays- we feel them as heat
- Decrease the heat gain through windows
- Reduce cooling costs
- Raise shades to any level to take advantage of solar heat gain in winter
Solar Shades Block Visible spectrum Rays: light
- Decrease glare
- Increase visual comfort
- Keep the view! Like looking through sunglasses- glare is reduced and colors are more vibrant and true.
- View media, work or relax in comfort
Stay connected to the outside world
Solar shades block damaging ultraviolet rays (unseen or felt UV rays)
- Block up to 99% of harmful UV rays
- Lower risk of skin cancer and cataracts/eye damage
- Prevent suppression of the immune system
- Lessen premature aging of the skin
- Greatly decrease photodegredation (fading and cracking of home materials and finishes)
WHAT ARE SOLAR SHADES MADE OF?
There is no dearth of options when we seek different products as per our liking. Technology has ensured that we are constantly in the know of newer things that arrive in the market. So as long as you have a minimum amount of money to spare, the world is your oyster, drowning you with alternatives and options to choose from. In the world of window treatments, we are constantly treated to different designs in curtains, shades and blinds that boast of different fabrics and materials. Of many such window treatments, solar shades, or roller shades as they are called because of their functioning, are some of the most common and go-to window coverings for a number of reasons. They are ideal summer window treatments, treating you to substantial natural light every day, especially when your home is subject to direct exposure to the sun. In this section, we observe the functioning of these shades and seek to answer some of their key highlights and benefits that make them such a favorite of people across the globe.
The Various Opacity Levels of Solar Shades
There are different fabrics in window coverings that decide the level to which they allow light or how opaque or transparent they are. In solar shades, the opacity level ranges from 1% up to 15%.
1. 10 to 15%: These shades allow the maximum possible light to enter your home, blocking only a minimal percentage. Despite being popular, they do not bring any privacy to the room during the night when the lights are on inside. During the day they will provide mild privacy. They, however, provide a good and unobstructed outdoor view. They can be comparable to a tinted window.
2. 5 to 9%: They are a good middle ground that allows a good view through while blocking a decent amount of sunlight. They will still be easy to see through at night time when you have the lights on. Ideal for blocking more glare while preserving a view through.
3. 1 to 3%: These percentages only allow you to see most movement and shapes, but not details. Since they still have openness they won’t provide full privacy and will help you block most of the sunlight while keeping a shrouded view. Ideal for blocking most glare and sunlight.
The Fabrics Involved In Construction Of Solar Shades
The fabrics used in the construction of these shades depend on their openness level. Clearly, you would not use the same material in a light-filtering shade as you would in a blackout one. Also, how tightly or loosely the fabric is woven together determines its light-filtering or light-blocking capabilities. However, a combination of polyester and vinyl-coated yarns are commonly used in their construction.
The benefits associated with using these materials in solar shades are as follows.
1. They are flame retardant and dust-resistant.
2. Being made of specially designed sunscreen material, they reduce your risk of UV exposure, which in turn keeps you protected against chances of skin cancer, pigmentation and other diseases.
3. They come in a variety of shades and materials to match your style.
4. The fabrics are non-toxic and can be easily maintained over a period of time.
5. They protect the home from heating up during scorching summers, thereby controlling your electricity costs.
6. They offer a sleek and minimal appearance to a room, which suits a contemporary home decor.
7. As the fabric is not bulky and the shades can be easily rolled up when not in use, they hardly occupy any space, thus leaving a lot of scopes for you to include other items besides the window.
8. They are available in both corded and motorized options, allowing you to choose from a range of styles.
You can get these blinds at different prices, which makes them suit your budgetary requirements. They can be easily customized as per your window size and operation style. Besides, installing them is a simple and effective procedure. They can be mounted both indoors as well as outside the window. Being durable and able to withstand exposure to the sun, they can work equally well when installed outside the window.