Solar shades for windows in your home or business have been gaining popularity. With good reason! Solar shades have some unique benefits and features that other window coverings don’t offer. They also come with some caveats that are important to understand when choosing new window treatments.
So, let’s talk solar shades and answer questions about these unique window coverings!
Solar shades for our West Hollywood client
What are Solar Shades?
Solar shades are very similar to roller shades. The biggest difference? The material the shade is made from!
Roller shades are made from things like polyester, cotton, linen, flax, even nylon, often in blends to bring out the best of multiple materials. They’re designed to have a more fabric-like look, and provide somewhat sheer to opaque options.
Solar shades are made from materials such as polyester blended with PVC, vinyl, and yes, still sometimes sometimes linen. Many of the solar shades we offer are made from 100% PET plastics. These plastics are not one use, then off to a landfill. They’re completely recyclable, and designed to be remade. One of our manufacturers gets their PET plastic from ocean plastics. Clean the ocean, make shades, and when your shades have lived their life, they can be recycled and made into something else. It’s also non-toxic, which is why most single-use water bottles are made from PET plastic these days. Solar shades are designed to be sheer – meaning you can see through them even while closed.
Note from Galaxy: The idea of plastics used in a home rightfully give some people hesitation. However, our solar shades are GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certified®. This means they are determined to be low chemical- and particle-emitting fabrics, which provides healthier air quality in your home. Children especially breathe more per body weight, so they get a bigger dose of whatever’s in the air. Ensuring your window coverings keep the air in your home safe even for children or educational settings requires a GREENGUARD Gold Certification, which has stricter standards. Many of our solar shades are Gold certified!
Do solar shades block out heat & UV Rays?
Yes! Adding solar shades to the windows on your home can absolutely help block heat.
The fabrics help reduce “heat transmittance” – that is, how much heat transfers through a material. When less heat makes it through your window shades, rooms stay cooler. It also means your energy bills may be lower too, since your air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard.
Solar shades don’t come in various opacities – instead they have various “openness” amounts. This is how tightly woven the materials are. It also determines how much light and UV rays are able to pass through. Basically, a 1% openness is the more opaque solar shade. It also blocks all but 1% of UV rays. A 10% openness rating blocks all but 10% of UV rays. Since it’s not as tightly woven, it allows more view through the closed shade, but also more UV rays, and heat transfer.
Higher UV protection comes with less view through a solar shade.
What color of solar shade should I get?
As we all know, the lighter a material, the more sunlight will reflect off of it. The darker a material, the more heat it absorbs. Solar shades are not immune from this fact. If blocking heat is your main goal, lighter colored shades will get you the best result. However, the trade off there is of course that the lighter the color, the less view you have through it when the shade is closed.
Darker colored solar shades, while not as heat reflective, offer a much better view while closed, even at equal openness. In exchange, they’re actually far better at removing glare. Check out the photo below compared to above. As you can see, the view is clearer with black solar shades compared to white solar shades.
Which leads us to our next point…
Do solar shades offer nighttime privacy?
No. Plain and simple, solar shades are not the route to take for nighttime privacy.
Take a peek at the openness photos above again. What you can see through outside during the day is about what your neighbors can see in at night.
That isn’t to say they’re not good for homes – they are! After all, are you in your home office in the middle of the night? (We hope the answer is no.) There are plenty of rooms where nighttime privacy isn’t a concern. You may also have windows that are not visible from the street or other backyards, where the privacy element isn’t a factor.
You just don’t want solar shades in your bathroom. Or your bedroom, for that matter. Though you could layer some beautiful draperies over them so you get all the daytime benefits, and then have nighttime privacy with the drapes drawn shut!
Solar shades are easy to keep clean & allergen-free
If you suffer from allergies, you already know that fabrics typically are not your friend. One of the first recommendations from allergists is to remove carpet and put down hardwood flooring, and swap curtains for other non-fabric options.
Solar shades, given their materials, are incredibly easy to clean. In fact, they’re virtually maintenance free! While it’s important to always check the manufacturer’s specific instructions, here’s one of ours: “Only periodic vacuuming and an occasional cleaning with a mild detergent, soft brushing, and thorough rinsing is required.” That’s it. Give it a quick wipe, let it dry, and you’re all set. That’s easy.
Because of their materials, solar shades we offer are also anti-microbial and anti-fungal.
This means you can even use them in high moisture areas, such as your bathroom or laundry room without worry! As long as you allow them to dry, you don’t have to be concerned about allergens.
Solar shades help protect your interior
Think of window coverings as an investment on your investments. One of the benefits of providing filtered sunlight is it’s not just you who needs UV protection. Your furniture, floors, artwork, and other elements of your home also suffer with direct UV exposure. By preventing direct sunlight and full-strength UV rays from hitting these items, you extend their life. I’m sure we’ve all seen what happens to plastic or even wood when it’s been left in sunlight for extended periods. Or maybe you’re unfortunate enough to have already seen how sunlight can bleach a wood floor.
Adding solar shades protects items in your home from sun damage, along with you and your family.
As you can see, solar shades are a unique option for your windows. They provide plenty of benefits, as long as you understand the best way to use them! They’re fantastic options for many homes and businesses that protect you, your investments, and provide a clean and modern look.