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What Is A Solar Shade?

Legendary football coach Vince Lombardi, used to start out each new season with the team in the locker room where he would pick up the football and say to the team ”This is a football.” It was all about getting down to basics.

Conference Room Solar Shades Greenville SCWhat Is A Solar Shade?

This is a solar shade and as you can see, it offers a fair amount of protection from the sun, but still allows a respectable amount of light to pass through giving you a nice view to the outside.

Solar shades are part of the expanded family of roller shade style window treatments.

Now before you tune out, you need to realize that roller shades have evolved more than any other type of window treatment over the years.

Even though some companies still make roller shades with the spring loaded lift system (which has a reputation of spinning uncontrollably as the shade is raised), there are a large number of companies that have developed a variety of alternative lift systems and control mechanisms.

Modern roller shades and solar shades can be fabricated with a clutch and chain mechanism where you have to pull on a continuous loop chain to raise and lower the shade. They can also be made with an electric or battery powered motor allowing you to operate shades that are hard to reach at the touch of a button. There have also been some improvements on the spring loaded systems that prevent the shade from spinning ’round-n-round’ when it gets to the top.

Solar shades are most commonly used in commercial environments such as retail stores, coffee shops, restaurants, hotels, and hospitals. However there is a growing trend of use in residential areas, especially sun porches, kitchens, breakfast nooks, and rooms where privacy is not a concern.

The privacy aspect is really the largest drawback to these shades. During the day, they provide great light filtering performance and very good privacy. However, at night, when the interior room is illuminated with lamps, can lights, etc the privacy effect is reversed. Outsiders can see into the house, but you can’t see outside very well.

A large number of solar shades are made from a fabric than contains PVC coated fiberglass or polyester yarns. That means they are very easy to clean. If they are extremely dirty, you can even take the shade down, take it outside, roll it out and hose it down with soap and water, then let it dry and reinstall.

Something else that some people may not be aware of, the color of the fabric can impact the performance of the shade.

Lighter colored fabrics, reflect the heat better than the darker colored fabrics. However, the lighter colored fabrics tend to glow (for lack of a better term) and as a result sometimes create a glare effect when you are trying to look through them to the outside.

Darker colored fabrics on the other hand, tend to absorb the heat coming in the window but allow for much easier “view-through” because they are less likely to “glow.”

One thing you want to be aware of, especially with windows that already have a screen on the outside… Some solar shade fabrics, when hanging in front of an exterior insect screen, can create an optical effect called a moire. When these materials are layered like this it makes it look like one or both of the fabrics are warped or warbled. Unless you plan on removing the insect screens, it is recommended to choose a solar shade fabric that has a random weave which helps dissipate the moire effect


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James A. Holloway
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James A. Holloway

James A. Holloway has been working in the window coverings industry since 2001 but it wasn't until 2009 that he took the leap and started his own installation business.

In 2011, he created the "Window Treatment Installers Network" a online forum for window treatment professionals.

In 2013 he began writing for window coverings blog called TraVerse.

And in 2014 he was recruited by the Custom Home Furnishings Academy to teach their Installation 101 Curriculum .
James A. Holloway
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