By July 28, 2011 0 Comments Read More →

Selecting Solar Shade Density and Color

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Solar shades are built to prevent the sun’s light and heat from entering your home. How much sunlight and heat gets in is determined by the density or tightness of the fabric mesh weave used for the solar screens as well as the color of the shades.

Density or Openness

Most solar shades are made of fabric that is woven together. This weave can be tighter or looser. This tightness or looseness in solar shades is defined as density, or openness. The openness factor is expressed in percentages ranging from 1% to 20%.

The openness factor tells you two important things about how the solar shades will impact the sunlight – how much shade will be provided inside the room and what that means for your view out the window. This chart sums it up.

Openness % Amount of shade provided View through the window
Lower More (less light will get in) Less
Higher Less (more light will get in) More

For example, if a solar shade were available with a 0% openness factor, you would have pretty much 100% shade inside your room and be able to see very little of the view outside the window.

A solar shade with a 5% openness of will provide approximately 70% shade and more of a view of the outside than a shade with 1% openness.

You’ll sometimes read about shades with an 80% or 90% sun block. This is just another way of saying if the openness is a higher or lower percentage.

Here are some visual examples of a higher or lower percentage of openness.

Larger weave = higher openness %



Tighter weave = lower openness %



Here are some tips for choosing the percentage of openness for your solar shades.

  • 10 to 20% openness: Choose this higher percentage when you want the greatest view out of you window. The solar shade will still block incoming ultraviolet rays and will offer some protection against fading and glare. This might be your choice if you have a window that does not directly face the sun all day.
  • 7 to 10% openness: This choice will give you a good balance between blocking the sunlight and getting a decent view out your window.
  • 2 to 6% openness: This is the right choice if you have a window that is getting sun during most of the day. It will give you the most fading, glare, and UV protection, as well as privacy during the day.

Solar Shade Color

Another factor to consider is the color of the solar shade fabric. As you would expect, dark colors will absorb a lot of sunlight, which can result in a shadier room and a better view. Lighter colors for your shade fabric will be best for reducing the heat that gets into your room.

Natural colors are also available to give you more window treatment options.

Some solar shades will combine the two and use a darker color on the inside of the room with a lighter color facing the sun. The lighter color will reflect the sun’s heat back out, while the darker color can reduce the light getting in, while still providing you with a decent view.


Solar home window screens offer a lot of great benefits. In the summer they can greatly reduce your energy bills by reducing the heat that gets into your home. And by blocking the sunlight, these shades can also prevent your carpet and furniture from fading as well as blocking harmful UV rays.

Use a combination of openness percentage and color to achieve these benefits.

Video Version

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