Solar shades are a window treatment option which has become increasingly popular in recent years. This is due to their eco credentials (they work by absorbing heat from the sun, blocking UV rays). Such is their strength that solar shades are effective in blocking up 90 per cent of UV rays – not bad for a piece of fabric!

Another benefit of solar blinds is that they allow the room in which they are installed to maintain a constant temperature. As a result there is less dependency on air conditioning and hence utility costs are lower. The blinds also provide plenty of privacy but at the same time don’t distort the view – effectively giving the homeowner the best of both worlds.

Solar shades these days tend to be of the roller blind variety so are simple to install and don’t take up much room if they’re put up inside the window recess. They are particularly effective for windows on your porch or sun room and can also be useful for blocking out glare from a skylight. However, before you rush out and purchase some of these fabulous new blinds, there are a few things to consider first such as:

Where you’ll put your new solar shades

Check out where your home gets the sun strongest. Usually it’s on an east facing window at the start of the day then west towards late afternoon and evening. This means you’ll need a stronger fabric for these windows (ie the weave will have to be denser so that the shades can block out more light). This is referred to within the industry as ‘an openness value’ and where the weave can vary to provide anything from an 80 per cent UV blockage all the way up to a dense 99 per cent.

Colours of solar shades range from a light stone to fawn and chocolate brown. Getting a dark coloured blind will help block out more light. However, conversely it doesn’t help when it comes to privacy. Lighter colours are, in fact, better in this respect since they absorb infrared heat and warm up the room. Dark blinds will also mean you’ll need to use more artificial light since they’ll cast a darker shadow on the room.

What size of solar shade to get

If you’re intent on blocking out all UVs rays (or at least not allowing any to filter through into the room) then it’s actually best to get a shade that you can put up on the moulding (ie not inside the window frame). That way you can be sure no light will get through. It does make the blind more noticeable in the room however. Then again, that needn’t be a bad thing, particularly if your window isn’t that attractive to look at in the first place.

Different types of solar shades on the market today

The blinds come in both manually operated (with cords) and motorised versions (obviously the latter will be more expensive and involve installation costs). They can also be fixed with a valance in place to add decoration or simply installed as they are.

How regularly do solar blinds need to be replaced?

The good news is that because they are so sturdy, your typical solar shade should last for a couple of decades at least. So, not only will they save you money on an on-going basis in terms of lower electricity costs for air conditioning, but you won’t need to replace them any time soon either. A bit of a win/win situation wouldn’t you say?

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