Solar shades are a practical window treatment option, especially for homeowners that live in warmer climates. These window treatments have many benefits including UV ray protection, glare reduction, and keeping unwanted heat out of homes! Solar opacity, also known as the openness factor, is a solar shade-related concept that is sometimes misinterpreted. This article will explain what solar opacity is and how to choose the best solar shades for your needs and lifestyle. Are opaque or see through solar shades the better option for you? Continue reading to find out!
Solar Shade Openness Factors
The openness factor of solar shades is calculated using percentages to reflect how densely woven the fabric is. This percentage also lets you know how many UV rays will be allowed to pass through the shade. A solar shade with a 5% openness factor, for example, will block 95% of UV rays while allowing 5% to come through. Solar shade opacities range from 0% to 20%, with 0% completely blocking out all light and containing the tightest weave and 20% letting in the most light and having the loosest weave. But which openness factor should you choose for your solar shades?
Sheer Solar Shades (14% and Above)
See through solar shades with an openness factor of 14% and above are perfect for rooms that don’t get much sunlight but benefit greatly from it when they do. Sheer solar shades gently diffuse sunlight and eliminate glare, allowing you to use your devices without being blinded by them. However, extra light also means more heat, which may require you to run your air conditioner more often, resulting in higher energy bills. Additionally, see through solar shades provide a decent amount of privacy during the day, but not as much at night. If privacy is a priority, choose solar shades with a lower opacity or combine them with additional window treatments for maximum privacy. These shades are ideal for sunrooms, dining rooms, and kitchens.
Semi-sheer Solar Shades (10%-14%)
Semi-sheer solar shades with an openness factor of 10%-14% will still provide you with a beautiful view of your backyard or garden while offering privacy and UV protection.
However, they also aren’t the best option for privacy at night, so consider choosing solar shades with a lower openness factor if substantial privacy is required.
Semi-opaque Solar Shades (7%-10%)
Solar shades with an openness factor of 7%-10% are called semi-opaque solar shades. Semi-opaque solar shades will block out most natural light and most of your view (without making the room too dark), while also protecting your skin and furniture from harmful UV rays!
Opaque Solar Shades (3%-5%)
Often described as room-darkening shades, opaque solar shades will almost completely block out all natural light and your view while offering considerable amounts of privacy during the day and night!
Blackout Solar Shades (0%)
Blackout solar shades, as the name implies, completely prevent light from entering your home. These shades provide excellent privacy, keep your rooms cool, and protect you and your furnishings from damaging UV rays. When they are lowered, though, you will be unable to appreciate your outside view. However, you may easily lift them for natural light and a glimpse of your beautiful garden. Because they block out the most light, blackout solar shades are ideal for media rooms, bedrooms, and nurseries. They are also excellent for night shift workers or anyone who needs to sleep during the day!
Which Opacity Is Right for You?
Should you choose blackout or see through solar shades? It mostly depends on where you live and what the purpose is of the room you are treating. If you live in a warmer state, you might want to consider purchasing solar shades with a lower opacity to keep out more heat, reducing the need to run your air conditioner as frequently. But if you live in a cold location, solar shades with a lower opacity will meet all your needs while preserving your view!
When looking for solar shades for bedrooms, media rooms, or nurseries, we recommend choosing solar shades with a lower openness factor (room-darkening or blackout solar shades) since privacy and light blockage are of incredible importance. If you want to treat the windows in your kitchen or living room, which naturally benefit from light, we recommend designing your solar shades with a higher openness factor so that you may take advantage of natural light without the drawbacks.
Are you still having trouble deciding? Don’t hesitate to reach out to Urban Window Treatments. Our experts will help you choose the best solution, design the window treatments, and install them correctly the first time. Contact us today!