Think of exterior shades as you would the high-end sunglasses you wear when out and about. You wouldn’t take a trip to the beach without them because they provide comfort and protection against the sun’s glare. When you install exterior shades on your home’s windows, they provide functionality similar to what those “designer shades” provide for your eyes, with the added bonus of allowing the people around you to see your unique style on display.
We can take the metaphor further as you consider whether to choose exterior shades for your home instead of interior shades: If you forget your sunglasses when you leave for the beach, you will have to squint in the glaring sunlight, hindering the view before you. And, of course, you’ll also be exposing your unprotected eyes to the sun’s damaging UV rays.
Benefits of Installing Outdoor Shades
So, exterior shades are to your home what designer sunglasses are to your eyes — they can:
- provide full, unimpeded views of the outdoors
- significantly cut down on the sun’s glare
- block harmful UV rays with the use of polarized materials
The benefits of exterior shades don’t end there, however. If you live in Napa, Marin, or Sonoma County, you know we experience warm summers, and rising temperatures mean rising electricity costs to keep your home cool. Exterior shades offer not only an investment in your home’s value and its curbside appeal, but they can also reduce your electricity bill.
Improves Your View, Inside and Out
Another notable benefit to using outdoor shades requires a statement of the obvious: they are on the outside. Placing window coverings on the outside of your home or business leaves the entirety of your interior windows’ framing, design, and style in full view. When you choose outdoor shades you’ll benefit from unencumbered inside wall space around each of the windows, making displays of artwork, custom wall colors, window customizations, or woodworking surrounding the windows more visible.
More importantly, outdoor shades allow for unobstructed views of the outside world when fully open. If you want to maximize the view out your windows and you don’t want to lose the space that draperies, shades, or window blinds take up — not to mention the wall marks made by installation of brackets, rods, valances, and tie-backs — then exterior shades are a great choice.
Exterior shades, which also go by other names, such as outdoor shades, sun shades, solar shades, and rolling shutters, have many other benefits to consider as well. Outdoor shades will:
- lower the temperature of a room approximately 20 degrees
- cut 95% of solar heat before it even gets to the window
- better regulate room temperatures in winter to keep heat in the home
- provide near-instant decreases in temperature in a home’s interior rooms when in use
- make a lasting investment, with durable construction using high-quality materials
- add privacy and comfort without compromising views
- reduce or nearly eliminate outside noise
- protect furniture in interior rooms from fading due to harsh sunlight
- provide insect and dust control
- let you control the amount of sunlight you let in
- offer a great shade solution for west-facing rooms, media rooms, and bedrooms
Motorization, Automation, and Operation
Typically, exterior shades are motorized, although we can also install them to be manually operated via a hand crank. We recommend you choose motorization for outdoor shades or rolling shutters that will cover large windows or skylights, as hand-cranking a rolling shade more than eight feet wide just becomes too difficult.
We partner with Polar Shades for the exterior shades we install for our customers. Polar offers many innovations to its line of automated and motorized control systems for their products, including features such as:
- remote control
- radio frequency
- solar powered
- battery powered
- wire free
When you are shopping for motorized exterior shades you should also consider ease of operation. Does the outside area where the shade will be installed have a plug nearby with standard 110 volt power? We will run wires via a cable to motorize the shade, so already having electrical capabilities outside your home cuts down on cost (we don’t do electrical work). We can easily operate two shades running at 2 full load amps per shade into one plug.
Exterior shades can be operated using either the cable track, or a side track or zipper track. The cable track is less visible than the side track, but we will often recommend using a zipper track, which has a higher price point, for any outdoor areas that experience a lot of wind. The zipper track leaves the fabric taut and tight. It prevents wind from getting behind the shade, because the fabric is locked into the track at all times, creating a seal between the shade and the track.
Spotlight on Polar Exterior Shades
We have installed Polar exterior shades in many North Bay areas where the climate gets very hot, or where the home is in direct sunlight for much of the day. We invite you to take a quick look at the Polar website to see these sun shades in motion. The images offer a visually compelling reason why we like these products. You can see the difference in mood and light that they create in a room, providing instant, cooling comfort.
Polar began developing its shade products in the hot climes outside of Las Vegas, where temperatures remain hot for 7 to 8 months per year, so the company understands first-hand the importance of creating functional, easy-to-use shade systems that provide protection from the sun. That knowledge plays a large role in the manufacture of Polar’s quality line of exterior shade products.
Other factors that influence our decision to partner with Polar include the product’s:
- high-quality design and construction
- affordable pricing
- superior customer service
- manufacture in the U.S. (and because they’re made in neighboring Nevada, we can have their products shipped in timely manner)
- fabrics, which come in multiple colors, last 5 to 10 years, and block 95% to 97% of ultraviolet rays
- blackout options, using patented ZipRite track
- unique, heavy-duty, bracketing system
- durable headbox construction into which the shade rolls up
- quality overall mechanics
We Can Help With Your Window Shading Project
At Hartley Window Coverings, we often recommend installation of exterior shades for clients who want window treatments that can withstand the elements, without sacrificing style. Please contact us to discuss whether adding outdoor shades makes sense for your window covering project.
We offer complimentary consultations and we work with you at every step of the way to ensure the beautiful exterior shades we install for your home will be a feature you proudly want to display.