A Lofty Idea or an Easy Solution?
Exterior roller shades can at times seem like a wonderful solution to make outdoor spaces easier and more comfortable to use, but are they truly a universal solution? It is easy to see applications of outdoor roller shades and admire how they reduce sunlight, are customizable and easy to use. There also can be a sense of “too good to be true” that follows shortly after.
Recently, we put our very own SunTex 95 to the test. From installation to use, we did a case study on the effectiveness of an exterior roller shade and analyzed the results. What we found was an interesting argument for the use of exterior roller shades and SunTex 95. Take a look, below.
Sun, rain & variation in seasonal temperatures reduced comfort and usability of a west-facing screen porch.
The homeowner had an elevated screened porch on which four of the screen panels faced directly west. During the hot weather months, the heat was unbearable during the late afternoons. During the winter, cold temperatures reduced the ability to enjoy the porch.
Rain, wind and storms, usually entering from the west blew water into the porch through the aluminum screening, soaking the porch’s furniture, thus preventing the homeowner from being able to furnish the space with their desired indoor/outdoor décor. The determined solution was to find an automated exterior shade product that would drop down over the four screened panels in times of weather related circumstances.
Research on available shade systems revealed that there were no local dealers or installers within a 60-mile radius for the desired product. The 20' elevated porch design presented a difficult installation of any exterior shade system.
With no experienced dealer/installer
available, the homeowner determined that the job would become a DIY installation. Specific measurements, color choices for the shade’s cassette and SunTex 95 fabric were specified to the chosen shade manufacturer, SW Sun Control of Tuscon, AZ. A 15' wide by 8' length motorized, remote control shade was ordered and shipped to the homeowner.
The DIY installation required three people, two of whom were standing on extension ladders on each end of the 15'/ +100 lb shade unit. Because the shade’s cassette “box” was installed in the only 6" location where a ladder could “rest,” placement of the ladders was critical to prevent bursting through and
destroying the aluminum screened porch panels. Installing a 15' 1"X6" board to which the shade box could be secured was the first step. Next steps were to install the shade’s box frame followed by the actual SunTex 95 roller shade and motor mechanism. Total time for the project was four to six hours.
The SunTex 95 exterior shade exceeded the homeowner’s expectations, including an added bonus of privacy when lowered.
The remote control allows for ease of adjustment, and driving rain and wind from the west is substantially reduced by the 95% closed fabric and aluminum screen “layers”. Simply lowering the shade raises temperatures on the porch by 15 to 20 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter months and lowers temperatures by the same amount in the summer.
As you can see, the pros far outweighed any cons this project presented. While difficulties and obstacles were present, the consensus was that the presence of a SunTex 95 exterior roller shade made the outdoor living experience much more enjoyable year round. The remote control convenience and more comfortable temperatures greatly improved the porch’s environment and use. So, while the process may be a bit more than expected, it is definitely worth the effort to enhance your outdoor space.
For more information on the full line of Phifer SunTex solar control fabrics, visit our website.