I feel like window treatments have been an ongoing project since we’ve moved into this house. We started out hanging shades only where we needed them for privacy – and, now, we’ve been adding them in other spaces too to help with temperature control.

Most recently, we added shades on the little side porch off of the kitchen. It wasn’t something we had really been planning to do, but after we cut down a tree that had been in the middle of our deck, the full afternoon sun hit the side porch and it got incredibly hot.

I guess it shouldn’t have been a surprise that this would happen – the room has large windows on 2 sides (and a door with a window on the third side) and absolutely no ventilation. It heated up much like a car in a parking lot on a hot day, even causing the paint on one of the window sills to blister. I still have to figure out what to do about that. Ugh.

Blistering paint on the window sill from the extreme afternoon heat.

Once we realized how hot it was getting, we ordered solar shades for the room. They were really the perfect choice for this space since we were looking to block out heat, but didn’t really want to block the view to the outdoors. They were also a good fit because the material is more plastic-y than fabric-y – I feel like they’ll be easier to clean if I need to since this is kind of an indoor/outdoor space.

We ordered these shades in Ivory. I debated a little on what openness to choose and wound up going with 5% as kind of a compromise between being able to see outside and blocking enough light/heat to make a difference. (The higher the percentage of openness, the better you can see through the shade, but less heat is blocked, too.) If I were to do this again, I might have picked 10% openness since I feel like our view out the porch windows is a little more obstructed than I would have liked — which means I’m more likely to raise and lower the shades every day rather than just leaving them down.

For reducing heat gain in the room, they have done a pretty good job. The temperature on the porch is pretty much the same now as it was when the the majority of the sun was blocked by the maple tree – still warmer than the air conditioned house, but not much different than outside.

A few other notes:

  • We ordered the solar shades online, which is pretty much what we do for all shades/blinds now. There are lots of websites to order through – we like BlindsGalore.com. They typically have lots of good sales.
  • Typically, I order “name brand” window treatments through Blinds Galore (usually Levolor). For these solar shades, though, I ordered the Blinds Galore branded ones since they were significantly cheaper and just going on the side porch. These shades are probably not as high quality as other Levolor shades we have, but for the price, they are still a great value and perfect for this application.
  • We did outside mount for these shades because it worked better with our trim. When I ordered them, I measured the window inside the trim – and then added 3″ to the width (to allow for some overlap on the sides) and 6″ to the height (to allow for mounting the shade above the window and still having plenty of length to pull it all the way down past the sill).

Even though we weren’t really planning to need these shades, they have worked out to be a good solution for managing solar gain on our now extra-sunny side porch. I’m actually pretty impressed with the difference they’ve made. And as far as shades go, that’s 2 more windows to cross off the list – we’ve gotta be almost done!

Filed Under: Decorating,Our House

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