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What are Solar Blinds?

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  • Written By: Dorothy Bland
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 20 September 2016
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    Conjecture Corporation
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Solar blinds can be thought of as sunglasses for windows. These window coverings are made of tightly-woven sheer materials that work to absorb heat and block out solar rays while allowing a view of the outdoors to be maintained. The ultraviolet protection that these blinds provide can help protect flooring, furniture and interior decor from fading. Since sun blinds are able to reduce heat transmission from outdoors, they may also be useful to those seeking to save on energy costs.

Before investing in solar blinds, buyers might want to compare the differences between interior and exterior blinds. Most indoor solar blinds are roller shades, meaning the blinds are simply rolled up or down to use and are mounted on the windows casing or frame. These sun-blocking blinds are often featured in media rooms and sun rooms for their ability to softly diffuse natural light and filter out sun glare. Such abilities allow these blinds to reduce the amount of visual fatigue experienced when reading or staring at a TV or computer screen as well.

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Exterior blinds, on the other hand, are full-length blinds attached to the outside of a window casing or on patios and porches. All solar blinds have the ability to block sunlight, but outside blinds block this light before it even enters the building; these coverings also have a greater capacity to reduce room temperature. They can also be more efficient at keeping heat in during the winter and lowering the cost of summer cooling. The ability of these window blinds to allow for ventilation and block insects has made them handy for commercial and industrial use. A potential drawback of external blinds, however, is that they are generally more expensive than interior blinds and usually require custom installation.

To compliment the aesthetics of homes and offices, solar blinds come in a wide array of tints, textures and styles. Sellers offer everything from simple woven designs to elaborate contemporary prints and patterns. Users may choose to purchase cordless blinds for safety purposes, continuous loop control systems for easy roll up or choose remote-controlled models for simpler handling. Materials used in creating solar blinds include polyester, fiberglass and a number of environmentally-friendly options. The location of the solar shades may also impact the type of materials used; for example, blinds placed outside are likely to be more durable if they are moisture resistant and easy to clean.

Sun room blinds are sold in a variety of openness ranges or numbers that reflect the level of light allowed to shine through and the amount of UV rays that are blocked. Generally, these numbers range from 5 to 14 percent; it is possible, however, to find manufacturers that carry blinds in a range from 1 to 30 percent openness. A smaller percent of openness means less clarity, but more UV protection. For example, an openness of 10 percent means that up to 90 percent of ultraviolet light is blocked, while 10 percent of the actual fabric is open space to allow light through.

When care is put into understanding the different options available, solar blinds can be a smart investment for creating a more comfortable living and working environment. These blinds are easy to retract or remove when not needed and are priced to suit different budgets. Users should be aware, however, that such blinds usually do not provide adequate privacy at night. For optimal privacy protection, solar blinds can be combined with other window treatments.

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