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How Solar Shades Work

Solar Shades, or sheerweave shades, are designed to maximize both views and natural light while still minimizing direct sunlight and glare. These remarkable shades are composed of a single layer of sheerweave fabric and built around a standard roller shade bar. This means that solar shades use the same continuous cord loop system used to raise and lower standard roller shades. Instead of blocking light, however, solar shades use a variety of textures and weaves to minimize direct natural light while still providing you access to the views outside your window.

Sheerweave solar shades are composed of a single layer of woven fabric. Each weave has a unique “openness” factor that provides a specific level of shading depending on the density of the weave. Solar shades with tighter weaves have smaller openness values and therefore higher degrees of shading. These openness factors range from 1% to 30% openness with shade values ranging from 80% shaded to 50% shading respectively. The lower the openness factor, the higher the shade value. This means that solar shades with tighter weaves and lower openness values have much more shading than those with loose weaves and higher openness factors.

The higher the openness factor, the more view will be preserved. Large weaves and larger openness values in solar shades mean that you'll be able to see and enjoy more of the view outside your window. These may not work for windows that get a lot of direct sunlight during the day, however, since they let in significantly more light than solar shades with lower openness and more shade. Although tighter woven solar shades will block some of the view, they can be the perfect choice for large windows with continuous sunshine throughout the day.

Keep in mind that the color of the solar shade fabric will also influence the incoming light. Lighter colors on the inside of the shade allow more light to be reflected within the room, thereby preserving not only incoming but also the atmosphere of your home. Natural tones can blend in with most decors and still provide a lighter feel to the décor as well. Darker colored solar shades will still let in a lot of light and preserve your view, but will absorb light and slightly darken the room.

You will need to determine the unique needs of your home and rooms prior to choosing the right solar shades for your home. Keep in mind that solar shades and sheerweave shades are designed for daylight hours and not for privacy. Since solar shades have looser weaves than other shades, more light is let in during the day but more light is let out at night as well. This means that solar shades are not good for privacy and allow others to see into your room at night. Solar shades can, however, be combined with other window treatments to provide maximum light control during the day and privacy at night. You may also want to consider only installing solar shades and sheerweave shades on windows that face yards or trees and not congested streets and sidewalks.