Keep your cool with the right outdoor shades
An outdoor shade buying guide
Many people enjoy bright sunny days, but often the heat of the sun can become too much even for the most devoted sunbathers. At such points, shade can be in high demand. Take steps to create a cool spot for all your family and guests simply by learning how to buy outdoor shades.
Outdoor shades perform the same function as indoor shades: they block sunlight and provide privacy. Learning about the different types of outdoor shades can help you purchase the best outdoor shades for your home.
>> Consider different types of outdoor shades
One of the secrets to finding an outdoor shade that can help cool both your indoor and outdoor living areas is to select one that enhances your overall home decor. Consider the full scope of an outdoor shade collection before deciding which one is the best outdoor shade for your patio, porch, pool or windows.
Roll-up shades provide a classic way to enhance porches, patios, decks or other any other area with an overhead structure onto which a shade can be attached. New outdoor shades are simple to install and use. They work when a cord passed though two or more pulleys rolls the shade up in the same way you would roll up a beach towel.
Outdoor pull-down shades are similar to indoor window shades, but they are specifically designed to stand up to outdoor use. These shades are firmly attached to a spring-loaded tube so the shade can be pulled down as needed. A short, sharp tug releases the shade's inner locking mechanism to allow the spring to tightly roll up the shade. A big advantage of these unique outdoor shades is their low profile when they are not in use.
One of the most versatile types of outside blinds can be raised and lowered like roll-up blinds from a string, but can be adjusted to allow a light breeze to pass through. Outdoor patio blinds can be mounted to porch eaves, gazebo rafters or any overhead surface that runs in the same direction that you would like the shade to hang.
Providing shade when needed to a wide, uncovered patio area is a job perfectly suited to a portable canopy. A canopy is basically a piece of cloth hung over a frame. Sold with other patio and garden supplies, they provide large shade areas almost instantly and can be taken down or relocated just as quickly. Canopies are the best outdoor shades for locations without permanent or semi-permanent structures because they come with their own built-in frames.
For those who would like to shade large or oddly shaped areas, a shade sail might be the answer. Among the most unique outdoor shades, shade sails are made of large pieces of durable fabric that are securely fastened at three or more points to upright posts or structures. Shade sails can be erected in a wide variety of shapes using fabric of any color to ensure they complement your other patio and outdoor decor.
>> Which shade material is best?
Comparing the construction materials that make up outdoor shades can also help you determine the best outdoor shades for you.
Bamboo is prized for its strength, durability and light weight. A popular material for roll-up shades, bamboo lends a welcoming feel to any area. Bamboo is often naturally finished or stained in a large palette of tans and browns. It can be highly effective in providing privacy and blocking sunlight and heat.
PVC is a hard plastic that is commonly used in indoor window coverings such as vertical blinds. Thanks to its durable characteristics and light weight, it is also used to make the ribs of outdoor blinds. When you shop for outdoor shades of different styles, you will likely note that many contain PVC parts.
Many of the best outdoor shades are made of fabric because of its ability to block the heat of the sun while also letting in much-needed light.
Canvas is a heavy-duty plainly woven cotton material that has been used for centuries in ship sails, making it the perfect material for shade sails. Canvas can be dyed to virtually any color and is designed to withstand years of exposure to the elements. A significant advantage of canvas shade sails is that they also offer protection from the rain.
>> Consider outdoor shade uses
The best outdoor shades for any situation are the ones that are suited to their locations and common uses. A complete outdoor shade collection will take into account the different needs of each area of your home.
The addition of porch shades allows you to easily raise and lower different sections of shade at different times of day so you can effectively block the sun as it tracks across the sky. Another important consideration to keep in mind while you evaluate various outdoor shade designs is a shade's ability to let light and air to flow through so your porch can remain properly ventilated.
Patio areas that are already covered by a pergola can benefit greatly from a series of roll-up or pull-down shades or outdoor blinds designed to protect family and guests from the heat of the sun, especially when it's low in the sky. New outdoor shades on a patio also help eliminate glare from early-morning and late-afternoon sunlight.
Protect indoor curtains, blinds and furniture from the harmful rays of the sun by adding exterior window shades. Some of the best outdoor shades can help lower the temperature inside your home while still allowing cooling breezes through.
If there are times during the summer when the sun is too strong for you to even go in the pool, consider buying a shade sail for your pool patio. A shade sail installed over all or part of your pool can provide just the right amount of shade to ensure you get the most enjoyment possible from your backyard oasis.
Outdoor shades come in such a wide array of styles and materials that it makes sense to compare as many as possible to help ensure you find the best outdoor shades for all areas of your home.