Install Solar Screens for Year-Round Privacy and Protection

Install Solar Screens for Year-Round Privacy and Protection

Whether you want to block excessive sunlight, provide a buffer from outdoor elements, or simply gain more privacy in your home, installing solar screens is an excellent choice. Solar screens, also called sunscreen filters or solar shades, help regulate temperature, filter light, and provide an extra layer of security without compromising outdoor views. Their unique design and functionality make solar screens a versatile addition to any home.

What are Solar Screens?

Solar screens are screens or shades installed on the exterior of windows and doors. They are made from a durable, weather-resistant mesh material that allows air to circulate while blocking up to 95% of direct sunlight. The mesh is tightly woven to provide visibility and light transmission while maintaining privacy.

Solar screens come in a variety of styles to complement any architectural design. Common materials include aluminum, vinyl-coated aluminum or steel, fibreglass, and stainless steel. The frames holding the screen mesh can be fixed or retractable. Fixed screens remain in place year-round, while retractable rolling screens can be opened and closed as desired.

Benefits of Solar Screens

Reduces Solar Heat Gain

Solar screens are extremely effective at blocking solar radiation and infrared heat from directly entering your home through windows. By filtering sunlight, they can reduce indoor temperatures by up to 25°F, lowering your cooling costs significantly in summer. The shade created also prevents sunlight from damaging furniture and flooring over time.

Provides Privacy and Security

The tight weave of solar screen mesh allows you to enjoy outdoor views while maintaining privacy. No one can see clearly inside. At the same time, the durable mesh makes solar screens a strong deterrent against break-ins. It is reinforced to prevent cutting or tearing.

Protects from Weather Elements

Solar screens serve as a wind and weather barrier, protecting windows, doors, and indoor spaces from rain, snow, hail and wind-driven debris. They filter out pollen, dust, and insects too. This extra shielding keeps your home's interior drier, cleaner and more protected all year round.

Allows Natural Light and Ventilation

Unlike dark, opaque alternatives, solar screens admit plenty of natural light thanks to their permeable mesh design. They also allow cross ventilation so indoor spaces stay fresh. The airflow reduces moisture buildup and helps prevent mold and mildew issues. It keeps indoor air healthy and balanced.

Saves on Energy Costs and Preserves HVAC Equipment

By significantly reducing solar heat gain, solar screens have a major cooling effect. This results in lower energy consumption from air conditioners and reduced wear and tear on HVAC systems. Over time, the savings on utility bills and maintenance costs can offset the initial investment in solar screens.

Complements Different Architectural Styles

Solar screens come in a wide range of colors, finishes, mesh patterns and screening densities to suit any exterior. Whether your home has a traditional, modern or rustic style, there is a screen option to seamlessly blend in. You can choose a subtle or bold look depending on the overall ambiance.

Adds Decorative Flair

Beyond functionality, creatively designed solar screens can also complement your home's aesthetics. From decorative metalwork and hardware to stained glass patterns and ornate woodwork - adding personality to solar screens is a fun way to accentuate architectural details and landscaping features.

Health Benefits

In addition to comfort advantages, solar screens may provide health benefits too. By reducing indoor temperatures and shielding from direct ultraviolet (UV) rays, they lower exposure to heat-related illnesses. Some studies also suggest filtered daylight through mesh supports well-being in a way that artificial lighting cannot. Overall, solar screens create a healthier indoor living environment.

Solar Screen Installation and Maintenance

Installation

Professional installation by an experienced contractor is highly recommended for solar screens. They will conduct an assessment of your windows, measure accurately, and install screens securely using mounting brackets or tracks suitable for the window type and material. Proper installation is important for long-term performance and to prevent damage. Expect the process to take 1-2 days depending on the number of screens.

Maintenance

With regular cleaning, solar screens require very little maintenance over their multi-year lifespans. Use a soft brush or feather duster to remove any built-up dirt, dust or pollen from the mesh surface. Occasional rinsing with a hose may also be necessary depending on your area's environmental conditions. Check mounting fixtures annually for any signs of deterioration and ensure screens roll up and down smoothly if retractable. Storage and replacement of worn parts is usually only needed after 10-15 years of use.

Cost Considerations

The total cost of installing solar screens can vary widely based on factors like the number of screens needed, size of windows/doors, material choice, and geographic location. As a general rule, expect to invest anywhere from $100-$500 per screen on average. Larger dwelling types or commercial buildings will incur correspondingly higher total installation fees.

Some potential added costs could include replacing deteriorated window frames, repairing damaged screens, or installation of a motorized system for retractable screens. Budget 3-5% of the initial cost annually for maintenance and repairs over the long run. However, solar screens typically pay for themselves in 2-5 years through the energy savings they provide. Some utility rebate programs may also help offset the upfront investment. Professional installation ensures optimal performance to maximize return on investment over the estimated 15-20 year lifespan.

Choosing Solar Screen Materials

Aluminum

An affordable and durable option suited for most climates. Comes pre-painted or anodized in a range of colors. Lightweight aluminum holds up well to weathering but can dent more easily than steel. Frames are corrosion-resistant.

Vinyl-Coated Aluminum/Steel

More impact-resistant than plain aluminum, vinyl coating protects the metal underneath from scratches and corrosion. A popular mid-range choice that combines the strengths of aluminum with a tougher plastic overlay. Completely maintenance-free.

Stainless Steel

The most robust and longest-lasting material. Very strong and damage-resistant. Does not rust, corrode, dent or require painting. However, stainless also tends to be more expensive than other options. Ideal for highly-trafficked commercial or seaside applications.

Fibreglass

Strong yet lightweight. Excellent for windy coastal properties thanks to its combination of strength and rigidity. Resistant to saltwater corrosion. A premium material that may not blend as seamlessly contextually as metal screens.

Best Usage of Solar Screens

Maximize benefits with strategic solar screen placement based on sun/wind exposure:

  • South, west and east facing windows - Receive maximum sunlight, ideal for heat reduction.
  • Windows above the first floor - Elevated screens have greater cooling effect, less maintenance.
  • Single pane, non-insulated windows - Prioritize older windows that conduct more heat.
  • Skylights and glass doors - Major heat conduits without solar protection.
  • Oceanfront windows - Provides wind protection from salty sea spray.
  • Garage doors - Filters out dust, pollen when open; deters break-ins.
  • Porches, patios and pergolas - Offers shaded comfort for outdoor living.

So in summary, thoughtfully installing solar screens where they can intercept the most sun, wind and outdoor elements ensures maximizing energy savings, comfort benefits and protecting your investment over many years. With proper placement and routine care, solar screens deliver great results.

Whether your goals are enhancing home security, lowering energy bills, or simply enjoying more natural daylight and privacy - solar screens are a worthwhile long-term addition for any property. Their versatile multi-functionality and low maintenance needs make them a smart choice compared to other window treatments. Contact an experienced local contractor today to discuss a customized solar screen solution tailored to your home's specific requirements. Taking advantage of the many perks solar screens provide will greatly improve your indoor and outdoor living spaces for years to come.

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