May 15, 2023

Shade Screens vs Insulated Window Coverings: What’s the Difference?

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When it comes to keeping your home comfortable and energy efficient, selecting the right window coverings is a crucial decision. But with so many different types of window coverings on the market—from drapes and blinds to shutters and shades—it can be difficult to determine which will best suit your needs. In this blog, join us as we compare two of our most popular types of window coverings – shade screens and insulated window coverings – to help you make an informed decision. 

We’ll discuss the differences between these two products and the benefits of each, and follow up with some tips for selecting the right window covering for your home.

Getting the Words Right: Shades vs Shade Screens vs Window Coverings

Since shades screens, screen shades, and window coverings tend to be used interchangeably, it can be helpful to clarify what we're talking about in the first place. 

Shades, sometimes called “roller or solar shades” refer to a type of interior window treatment that is typically made of fabric and is used to filter or block light from entering a room. 

Shade screens, also known as “solar screen shades,” or “window screens” for short, are similar to regular shades in that they filter and block light but are made of a material that is similar to mesh and are often more transparent. In contrast to shades, screen shades are designed to be installed outside the home and are primarily used to block the sun’s rays while still allowing some light to pass through.

Insulated window coverings, on the other hand, refer to any type of window treatment that is used to decorate and insulate a room, and can include shades, curtains, blinds, shutters, and more.

The Main Differences Between Shade Screens & Insulated Window Coverings

While both shade screens and window coverings are designed to provide privacy and shade, they’re not the same.

Exterior shade screens are usually made of mesh and are designed to reduce the amount of sunlight and glare that can enter a home while providing privacy from the outside. They’re a great alternative to interior window treatments and can be used on the exterior of large windows or doors where you don’t want to block the view.

Insulated window coverings, on the other hand, are designed to insulate your windows from both heat and cold, as well as provide shade and privacy. They are usually made of materials like wood, vinyl, or fabric, and are designed to reduce energy costs by trapping air between the window and the room they’re in. 

The Pros & Cons of Shade Screens and Window Coverings

Shade screens and window coverings are both excellent options for controlling the amount of light that enters a room. However, they each have their benefits and drawbacks, which can be helpful to consider when choosing between the two.

The Pros & Cons of Shades Screens

The primary benefit of shade screens is that they offer a degree of privacy while still allowing some light to pass through. This can be beneficial in rooms (or patios) that require privacy but still need some natural light. Shade screens also tend to be more energy-efficient when compared to interior treatments, as they can block as much as 95% of solar heat before it enters your home.

That being said, exterior screens are not as versatile as window coverings when it comes to aesthetics. And, since they’re made to be installed outside, they’re not as effective at keeping out drafts of cold air in the winter months. Finally, because they're exposed to the elements, they also must be maintained regularly to keep them looking their best. 

The Pros & Cons of Window Coverings

When it comes to window coverings, there are many options to choose from:

  • Roller shades are typically made of thin fabric material, and they allow a moderate amount of light to pass through while blocking out the sun’s rays.
  • Blinds are made of a variety of materials like wood, plastic, and fabric, and can be adjusted to block out more or less light. 
  • Shutters are typically made of wood or vinyl and are designed to provide complete privacy and light control. 
  • Drapes are typically made of thicker materials like velvet or silk and can be very effective at blocking out light and providing privacy. 

The primary benefit of window coverings is that they are very effective at blocking out light, can be adjusted to provide more or less privacy, and often come in a wide variety of colors and styles to match the decor of a room. Some window coverings, like rolling shutters, can also provide a good deal of insulation and protection from the elements, which can help keep your home more comfortable, as well as more secure.

While window coverings can often be more expensive than shade screens, the fact that you can choose the materials, styles, and features of your coverings to suit your needs more than makes up for it. Plus, since they provide more privacy and light control than exterior screens, they’re often a better choice for those who want to create a more comfortable living environment.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Solar Screens And Interior Window Treatments

Not sure how to choose between exterior screens or interior coverings like shades, shutters, or drapes? Consider the following factors to make the decision easier.

  1. Consider the type of protection needed
    Remember: exterior shade screens are better for protecting from the sun (and can often be more energy efficient), while interior window coverings are better for controlling light and privacy.

  2. Think about the amount of maintenance required
    Exterior screens may require more frequent cleaning and inspections, while interior window coverings can be more low maintenance.

  3. Consider the aesthetics
    Exterior shade screens can add a decorative element to the outside of a building, while interior window coverings can make a room feel more cozy and inviting. Moreover, with dozens of options to choose from, window coverings, unlike exterior treatments, can be used to create a unique look and feel for any space.

  4. Assess your budget
    Depending on what you’re getting, shade screens can be more or less expensive than interior window coverings, so be sure to factor the cost of what you want vs what you need into your decision.

Get Help Choosing Your Window Treatments With Hartley!

Are you looking for the perfect window coverings for your home in Santa Rosa? Look no further than Hartley Window Coverings!

As California’s #1 window covering provider, we’re happy to provide expert guidance to help you make the best choices when it comes to window treatments for your home. From our Santa Rosa window screens to our interior window treatments, we offer the best selection and quality. And with our professional installation services, provide everything you need to bring out the best in your décor. 

Reach out today for assistance selecting the perfect window coverings for your home, or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation!

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