Is hot summer sun in your house getting on your nerves? In this article, we cover the best exterior window solar screens and DIY tinting for under $300, and tips for what to look for when getting new screens.
Summers are getting increasingly warmer, and homes are heating up faster at the same time. Window solar screens are an excellent means of protecting your home against heat from the sun. Not only that, but they’re also an ideal investment that can ultimately last for years.
Nowadays, people turn to window screens to block sun heat and damage. Apart from drastically minimizing the amount of heat within your residence, solar window screens significantly help lessen cooling expenses. These window screens obstruct the harmful UV rays emitted by the sun; too many UV rays can result in various problems for your home, such as fading of furniture.
The best window solar screen for your home depends on your budget, personal needs for privacy, and efficiency in sun blockage. It’s essential to be serious in your selection process so that you’ll have a window solar screen that can prepare your home for the hottest days of the year.
That said, this article will list down some of the best, most affordable window solar screens for you to choose, from, their different types, and the importance of having one in your home.
WHY INSTALL WINDOW SOLAR SCREENS?
If you live in an area with a warm climate, you know that the sun’s bright light can cause uncomfortable glares at times. Reducing the amount of light traveling into your windows is a great way to increase comfort in your home while cutting down on costs during hot days. Window solar screens are an effective way to lessen the amount of sunlight coming through your windows.
Solar window screens help intercept some sun rays as they come in contact with your windows, effectively decreasing heat and light. SO what does this mean for your home?
For starters, these screens block UV light which is often the culprit for textile fading and damage, a finding supported by Florida Solar Energy Center.
Consequently, the reduced heat load will also help lower your cooling bills and makes watching television or reading books more enjoyable due to decreased sun glares. Moreover, window solar screens also provide you with a certain degree of privacy during daytime since they are heavier and darker than typical window screens.
TYPES OF WINDOW SCREENS TO BLOCK SUN
Installing solar window screens in your home can provide you with plenty of benefits such as air ventilation, damage prevention, and decreased heat. But while deciding to install one is easy, the challenging part is to choose which window screen is best for your home.
There are several types of sun-blocking window screens in the market for you to choose from. Depending on your needs and budget, there is an external window solar screen option suitable for your home. Listed below are some of them.
Window Screens Blackout
Blackout window screens are the perfect solution for rooms where you need to increase privacy, such as the bedroom and media room, among many others. Installing a blackout window screen in your bedroom helps improve comfort and good night’s sleep. Moreover, it’s also an ideal choice if you find yourself worried about the idea of other people looking into your space.
However, the downside to this is that a screen with tighter mesh limits your visibility. Tighter weaves will make it more difficult for you to have a clearer view of the outdoors. For this, you might want to try on various mesh styles to decide which one works best for you.
Insulating Solar Control Films
Solar control films that are modified and designed to be installed within window interiors help in insulation and offer solar control function simultaneously. With these solar control films, you can still have an unobstructed view while lowering heat gains and blocking unwanted UV lights.
Even so, these solar films come in different opacities marked by specific percentages. Higher percent values generally mean that more sunlight is transferred through the material.
Semi-Transparent Window Shades
These shades offer similar benefits as solar control films but offer extra flexibility since they can be pulled back on overcast days or when there is desired solar gain. These shades are available with motorized options, operated rollers, and spring-operated ones.
Home DIY Window Tint
If any of the options mentioned above don’t work for you, you can try home DIY window tint film. DIY window tinting provides a more straightforward and convenient installation since they’re relatively easy to handle. All you need to do is choose a solar film that suits your need the best and then tint your window yourself.
FEATURES TO LOOK FOR WHEN BUYING WINDOW SOLAR SCREENS
When looking for window solar screens for your home, there are a few things you should remember. It’s important to search for a good balance between functionality and aesthetics. To get the best window solar screens for your home, keep in mind these factors:
Solar shade percentage
Window solar screens usually have percentage ratings that describe their openness level. Higher percentages mean more spaces between the weave and vice versa. It basically means that a higher solar shade percentage will allow more light to pass through, and it’s also see-through as well. Lower shade percentages mean the exact opposite.
The best window screen percentage for you will base on how much sunlight travels through your windows and the extent of privacy you need.
It’s also worth considering the amount of privacy you want from your window solar screens. This depends on whether or not you want to have a more private space for yourself and prevent other people from seeing through your windows easily. For this reason, choose a screen percentage that fits your respective privacy needs.
Shape and size of windows
The size and shape of your windows are crucial in determining the overall feel and look of your solar screens. They tend to look and perform best on broader windows, while narrow windows don’t need solar screens since they don’t let in too much light. If you have tall and wide windows, you may consider investing in motorized solar shades or screens for convenience.
REVIEWS: WINDOW SOLAR SCREENS & SHADES FOR HOME
Saint-Gobain ADFORS Window Solar Screen
The Saint-Gobain ADFORS window solar screen is specifically designed to block 75% of the sun’s heat and rays. It is ideal if you’re looking for shading in patios, sliding doors, decks, and windows. With this solar screen, you’re able to cut down on airconditioning costs, with the fabric being less prone to fading. It’s also ortho-phthalate-free and is Greenguard gold certified. The material is built to handle wear and tear without compromising visibility.
Price range: Very Cheap (Under $50)
- Made with high-quality material that makes it durable
- Ideal for long windows
- Offers increased protection against active children and pets
- Its ordinary packaging may be prone to damage
Blackout EZ Total Sunlight Blocking Window Cover (Window Screens Blackout)
If you’re looking for complete room blackout window screens against the sun’s heat, the Blackout EZ is your best bet. Blackout EZ helps you achieve maximum privacy in bedrooms, nurseries, bathrooms, and more. It also comes with an exclusive loop Velcro fastening system and seals tight around your window frame for a total window blackout effect.
Price range: Very Cheap (Under $50)
- Easy to Install
- Complete blackout
- High-quality fabric
- Vinyl emits a rather distasteful smell
Phifer 3032232 SuperSolar Screen
Phifer Super Solar Screen provides optimum shading protection by blocking as high as 90% of UV rays or the sun’s heat regardless of whether windows are closed or open. Moreover, it also keeps draperies and carpets from fading while saving energy at the same time. Phifer Super Solar Screen also has environmental certifications that help guarantee low chemical emissions and maintains fresh air during the use of the product.
Price range: Cheap ($50-100)
- Easy to work with
- Durable and Effective Screen
- Retained visibility
- Can emit a distasteful odor
Coolaroo 462116 Outdoor Roller Shade
The Coolaroo brand is well-known for window shades as well as other outdoor gear, and this particular Coolaroo Outdoor Roller Shade effectively combines a seamless wand-operated mechanism and breathable knitted fabric to make the ideal solar shade for your windows. With the HDPE knitted fabric, the Coolaroo roll-up blinds can block 80% of harmful UV rays to keep your friends and family comfortable throughout the year. The durable and resistant aluminum headrails help make sure your enjoyment and use for many years to come. Its light-filtering capacities significantly lessen sun glare in without darkening your interior space.
Price range: Cheap ($50-100)
- Durable and Sturdy
- Quick and Easy to Install
- Instructions can be quite vague
- May not be suitable for dealing with intense heat/light
REVIEWS: SUN-BLOCKING WINDOW TINTING (HOME DIY)
BDF NA05 Window Film Privacy and Sun Control
The BDS Natural window film allows you to enjoy a nice sunshade through your windows without being exposed to extensive heat and sunlight. Its traditional dark and black color offer your window a tinted and classic look that makes it look naturally dim. But even so, the BDF window film still maintains clear visibility and won’t block your view of the outdoors.
Price range: Moderate ($100-150)
- Solar Heat Control
- 99% UV Blocking
- Easy Installation
- You may need to buy extra for thorough covering
KESPEN One-Way Window Tinting Film
KESPEN Window Film provides the ideal solution for privacy-seeking individuals who still want clear visibility of the outside. This glass mirror, one-way window film is built to reduce the heat traveling through the window glass by reflecting it back outdoors but still letting in an adequate amount of light. You can also customize the surfaces to efficiently suit your wishes and needs. The Kespen Window film ensures daytime privacy protection without the disturbance of sun glares, all while saving money on cooling costs.
Price range: Very Cheap (Under $50)
- Maximum protection from fading and UV damage
- High-quality material and thickness for a lasting experience
- Easy to Remove and Install
- Difficulties with installation for larger windows
Gila Heat Control Platinum Adhesive Residential DIY Window Film Sun Blocking
Gila Heat Control Platinum utilizes advanced technology that efficiently blocks and reflects heat and UV rays while reducing the sun’s glare to maximize comfort within your home. Its highly-reflective exterior material also ensures top-tier privacy during the day while maintaining an unobstructed view of the outside at the same time. The Gila Heat Control Platinum is ideal for DIY projects since it’s very easy to install.
Price range: Expensive ($200-300)
- Can cover up to 3 standard windows
- Glare Control
- Optimum Daytime privacy
- Easy to Install
- Does not offer nighttime privacy
HOW TO INSTALL HOUSE WINDOW TINTING (HOME DIY)
Knowing how to tint your windows yourself will help you save a lot of money. However, doing this by yourself is not as seamless as it looks since there are bound to be errors and mistakes that can happen along the way.
Fortunately, you can easily prevent this by following the steps outlined below for a more convenient installation process.
- CLEAN. Clean your house windows completely before unpacking the tint you bought. Make sure that there aren’t any streaks or dust.
- MEASURE. Measure your window. Write down the measurements and then cut the tinting film carefully. You can add an inch to your measurements so you have leeway.
- PEEL. Afterward, peel off the backing from the tint and expose its adhesive. This is best done with an assistant to prevent the tint from getting stuck on its own.
- PLACE. Once this is done, cautiously set the tint on your window.
- PRESS. Once your film is attached to your window, remove any bubbles or air by pushing it out of the edges. You can either do this with your fingers or with a squeegee.
- TRIM. With the extra inch you’ve added, you should be left with an extra tint over the edges. Trim the edges carefully after removing the air bubbles, then your job is done.
Window solar screens are a great investment for protecting your home’s interior from the sun’s harmful rays without getting rid of natural light completely. However, it’s important that you consider a few essential factors such as shade percentage, privacy, and the size of your windows to ensure that you get the best solar screen that fits your needs.
Now that you have your exterior window solar screens sorted, how about blocking those annoying summer insects with some new window screens? In this article we cover the best window screen kits and instructions for how to DIY your own window mosquito screen for your house or apartment. Happy DIY’ing!
This article was written 23 May 2022, updated 15 December 20233, and updated 17 April 2023.