Helping you plan your home improvement project, from start to finish

How Much Do Solar Screens & Shades Cost?

In most homes, some kind of window treatment is selected in order to provide residents with privacy, add a layer of insulation to the home and keep glare and direct sunlight out when needed. While there are plenty of window treatment options to choose from including curtains, shades and blinds, solar shades are an increasingly popular option that can work well in many different homes. This cost guide can be used for a better understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of solar shades, where to use them in the home, varieties available and the various costs associated with installing solar shades.

The Costs

  • Average Minimum Cost of Solar Shades: $40 for standard window size

  • Average Maximum Cost of Solar Shades: $280 for standard window size

What are Solar Shades?

Before delving into the various pros, cons and varieties of solar shades on the market, it is important to understand what these shades actually are. While they are similar to any other shade that reduces sunlight and glare in the room, solar shades are designed specifically to block UV rays and prevent any direct, natural sunlight into a space. Solar shades are made from a mesh material that can fold like fabric but acts like a plastic. 

Advantages of Solar Shades

There are a number of different reasons that homeowners choose solar shades over other window treatment types. Some of the many advantages of solar shades include their insulation, ability to reduce energy costs, privacy, UV absorption and potential to be removed. Since this is a more durable and often thicker material than what traditional blinds or curtains are made from, it insulates much better against outdoor temperatures. This means that it will take less energy and time to heat or cool the home, resulting in lower energy costs for the owner. In addition, solar shades come in a range of mesh types to provide complete privacy and darker spaces or less privacy and brighter spaces. By absorbing UV rays through glass doors or windows, solar shades can also prevent wood flooring, carpeting and furniture from fading over time. Unlike some window treatments, solar shades can be removed temporarily or put up just for certain seasons of the year. Finally, these shades look sleek and attractive, and they are especially popular in more contemporary homes. 

Disadvantages of Solar Shades

Along with the many perks of using solar shades in the home, there are some drawbacks that need to be considered. Solar shades can partially obstruct views, and it may make the home feel darker or colder during the winter. The shades can be more expensive than traditional curtains or blinds. Installation is more expensive than many other window treatments.

Where to Best Use Solar Shades in the Home

In order to make the most of solar shades in the home, it is important to use them in locations most suited to this kind of window treatment. Any room that receives lots of sunlight, for example, will be a prime candidate for solar shades. Many homeowners choose to put solar shades on south-facing windows because these will receive the most morning light and the most sunshine throughout the course of the day. Solar shades also create privacy when used on bathroom windows, and they can help grant privacy in large sitting or living rooms without sacrificing views of the outside. For completely unobstructed views, however, using solar shades may not always be the best choice. Solar shades can be used on almost any window type as well as on glass patio doors, French doors or sliding doors.

Choosing an Openness Level for Solar Shades

One fact that many people don't realize about solar shades is that they come in varying ranges of light filtering and privacy. Since these shades are made from a mesh, the size of the holes in the mesh will dictate what is called the openness factor, or amount of natural light let in. Typically, the range of openness factors starts at 1 percent and goes up to 12 percent. At 1-percent openness, a solar shade will look almost black from the interior. It grants complete privacy and does a fantastic job of keeping the home cool, but it is also the most detrimental to the view. Moving up to 3 percent reduces the dark color of the solar shade, but it still provides almost complete privacy and sun protection. Solar shades with a 5-percent openness are among the most popular as they still offer relatively clear views without direct sunlight, but 10 percent is also a popular choice. Homeowners looking to buy their solar shades from a retail company rather than a custom-designer might find that most shades are available in either 5- or 10-percent openness.

Factors That Can Increase the Cost of a Solar Shade

There are a variety of factors that can increase or decrease the cost of solar shades. Size is the biggest influence on price, and large solar shades designed for doors will be much more expensive than the standard-sized shades made for windows. For the most part, the openness factor of solar shades should not be a factor, but some retailers do charge more for 1-percent openness because it requires more raw materials overall during manufacturing. The most expensive solar shades will absolutely be those that are custom-made to fit a particular window or door. These shades will have to be measured in advance and then manufactured by hand, which drives up the price substantially.

What Homeowners Should Know About Installation

With some DIY experience and the right tools, homeowners can install their own solar shades. However, leaving it to the professionals ensures a sleeker fit and better insulation. One thing to think about before installing or even purchasing solar shades is whether they will be mounted inside of the recess of the window or above the frame itself. Whenever possible, installing solar shades inside of the window recess is a good idea that looks fantastic and blocks out the most sunlight.

Last updated on Jul 21, 2014

Top Articles on Solar Screens & Shades

View All Articles

Looking for accurate quotes on your project?

  • Get multiple quotes for any home improvement project
  • See pro's rating, reviews, projects and more
  • 100% free, no obligations
  • Only takes a few minutes

Find pros in your area.

Close ×