Solar Shades vs. Roller Shades

To the untrained observer, roller shades and solar shades may appear quite similar. Both cover a window using a single sheet of material and operate with a roller and tube mechanism. Consequently, many assume that they are just different names for the same thing. However, this is not entirely accurate. In reality, solar shades are a specific type of roller shade, but not all roller shades are solar shades. Each variety has its own unique uses and advantages. The knowledgeable team at Bloomin’ Blinds can provide you with the necessary insights to understand the distinction.

What Separates Solar Shades from Roller Shades?

The primary distinction lies in the materials used for construction. Solar shades utilize a screen-like mesh material designed to limit UV rays while still allowing for a view, while roller shades can be made from various textiles, typically vinyl or fabric, with the purpose of controlling light in a room. Roller shades are commonly employed to darken or completely block out light, whereas solar shades focus primarily on UV ray control and can occasionally be found as exterior shades. Let’s take a closer look at the unique features and functionalities of each type.

Solar Shades

Gray Opaque Solar Shade

Solar shades, a specific type of roller shade, are specifically designed to provide light control and UV ray protection. They come in different levels of “openness,” which determines the amount of light they allow in. With solar shades, you can decide how much light you want to let into your home while still maintaining a view of the outdoors.

Solar shades consist of a single layer of woven, screen-like material attached to a roller and tube mechanism for opening and closing. Some solar shades have looped lift chains or cords, while others operate cordlessly with a gentle tug, similar to a projector screen. The primary function of solar shades is to filter and block harsh UVA and UVB rays from entering your home. This helps regulate indoor temperatures, save energy, and protect floors, furniture, and artwork from fading.

When shopping for solar shades, it’s crucial to consider the “openness” factor. This measurement refers to the tightness of the weave and the amount of UV rays that can penetrate. For example, a solar shade labeled as 7 percent openness blocks 93 percent of UV rays and allows 7 percent to pass through. The openness of solar shades typically ranges from 1 to 14 percent.

What Colors Work Best for Solar Shades?

Solar shades are typically available in neutral colors due to their reliance on woven mesh for UV ray blocking. However, the choice between light and dark fabrics can yield different results, so it’s important to consider this factor.

Light-colored fabrics are better at reflecting heat, keeping a room cooler, and brightening the space. However, they can obscure the view or create a cloudy appearance due to the brightness they introduce. Darker colored solar shades, on the other hand, absorb glare and provide a clearer view. To achieve the same temperature regulation as a lighter colored solar shade, darker shades may require a lower openness (i.e., a tighter weave).

Do Solar Shades Provide Privacy at Night?

One drawback of solar shades is their lack of nighttime privacy. During the day, solar shades block UV rays while preserving the view from indoors to the outside world. However, at night, when the lights are on inside and it’s dark outside, passersby can see into the house. It’s important to keep this in mind and consider using solar shades on windows that don’t face the street or neighboring houses, unless they are used in conjunction with curtains or other drapery.

Roller Shades

Window with White Transparent Roller Shade

In a broad sense, roller shades are window coverings made of a solid piece of material that rolls up around a tube at the top. They are controlled by a continuous-loop lift cord or chain, or a spring mechanism. Roller shades are commonly used when complete light blocking is desired, making them particularly useful in rooms such as bedrooms and home theaters. They are available in various opacities, ranging from sheer to light-filtering to room-darkening and blackout.

Are Roller Shades Considered Stylish?

Roller shades are always a simple, classic, and budget-friendly option. They offer clean lines, easy operation, and a range of customization choices. Although some may consider them “boring,” roller shades can provide both stylish function on their own or serve as a foundational piece under drapery or curtains.

Unlimited Customization Options

When considering roller shades, keep in mind that they come in a wide range of colors, patterns, textures, materials, and opacities. There are also different operation options to choose from, including continuous-loop lift cords, spring mechanisms, or motorization. Bloomin’ Blinds also offers decorative touches, such as matching cassette headers to hide the roller and create a finished look. Contact us today to request a free consultation and learn more about your options!

If you enjoyed this blog, check out these similar topics to learn more:

  • Should All Your Window Treatments Match?
  • The Difference Between Light Filtering and Room Darkening Shades
  • How Motorized Window Treatments Can Reduce Sun Glare
  • Home Improvements that Won’t Break The Bank

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