How Do Exterior – or Outdoor – Shades Work?

A growing trend in insulation and protection from the sun are exterior solar shades.

Much of the heat that is produced by the sun within your home is amplified by the glass of your windows. Even if you have the shades down during the day, you can tell the difference in temperature just on the other side of the blinds. The air in your home is still getting warmed, and indoor shades don’t block air circulation completely.

Exterior shades, on the other hand, block the sun’s rays before they hit the window. This means that the air inside your home stays cooler, which makes a really big difference on those hot summer days. If you have windows that face that hot morning sun or burning afternoon sun, exterior shades can significantly reduce the direct sun that your interior spaces get. This leads to a reduction in overall cooling costs, since your rooms stay cooler anyway. Direct UV rays to your windows are reduced by 80%. In fact, some exterior sun shades reduce heat transfer by as much as 15%.

For those of us in hot climates, especially where it can get blazing hot during the summer, the idea of keeping the air cool inside the house isn’t just a convenience, it’s a necessity. Exterior shades make a big difference and end up paying for themselves over time with the reduction in cooling costs that you get after you install them.

Exterior sun shades are made from durable vinyl and polyethylene and have a woven look that is simple but classy. They come in a variety of colors from white to brown to black. They are also available in a variety of opacities, so that you can see through your sun shades if you only need partial opacity. Exterior shades also work well for porches, gazebos, and other outdoor spaces where you want shade but don’t want to block the view. The woven design also allows for air to pass through, keeping up air circulation so the heat doesn’t build up.

If you are looking into ordering exterior sun shades, be sure to read the manufacturer notes completely. There are specific designs and mounting requirements that may require additional know-how or a particular home exterior to work properly. You can find the right exterior sun shades for your home, but shop carefully to ensure there are no headaches!


Our BG designer, Katie, has been creating bright looks for windows and rooms for over ten years. Katie has great ideas and "picks” for your windows. She will be sharing with you her design choices and seasonal recommendations throughout the year. Katie reminds you that all our BG window blinds, shades and drapes are all custom made for you. Each one is hand crafted to your size, color, fabric and special requests with our added attention to quality and detail. Katie will make sure you love your windows.

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