How to Choose Exterior Blinds and Shades for Your Patio

Posted on: 26 July 2016

A patio can be much more comfortable and inviting if you opt to install blinds or shades around the area, to help control the amount of sunlight and heat you get in that space and also to provide some privacy where needed. Good blinds and shades can also help keep heat in the patio if you have an outdoor heater or fire pit and may even work to insulate against noise outside your home or keep your own conversations from being heard by neighbours. Note a few features to look for when choosing exterior patio blinds or shades.

Blinds versus shades

Blinds are usually made of hard materials like wood or vinyl, whereas shades are made from fabric. The hard materials of wood or vinyl may withstand more rain and inclement weather and you can usually just wipe them down or even use a pressure washer to clean them; fabric shades may need professional cleaning if they get dirty from rain, saltwater, sand, mud, spilled food or beverages, and the like.

The thicker material of blinds may also provide more insulation against noise, so if this is a factor in your home, you want to choose blinds. They may also give you more control over how much light you allow into the space; you can open blinds just partially and have some sunlight come through, whereas closing shades may block out all the sun at one time.

Light versus dark colours for shades

Darker colours may look good against your home, but note that they may allow more heat to pass through the shades. If you're looking for protection against summer heat or for homes where the patio gets lots of direct sun, you want to opt for a lighter colour of shade. This will allow heat to escape rather than trapping it and will also bounce sunlight back rather than absorbing it, and will keep the patio cooler year-round. 

However, as odd as it may sound, darker colours provide a better view through the shade. This is because of how the light passes through the shade; the light from inside your patio will reflect against a lighter colour of patio shades so you can't see through it, much like how you can't see through a window when you have a light on inside. If you want to have some shade but still see through your blinds, a darker colour is better.

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