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5 External Sun Shades For Your Windows And Outdoor Spaces


Viability of Exterior Window Treatments

When someone decides to look for window treatments for their home, they usually mean to look for window coverings for the interior of their home. For instance, blinds, curtains, shutters and privacy shades are mostly accessories meant for usage inside homes. Window treatments have a two-fold objective. Firstly, they are extremely practicable and make your living experience much better. This is because they can give you some privacy and can also block harsh sunlight and glare. As far as functionality is concerned, these window treatments can also help in regulating the temperature of your home. The second objective is to bring about a modicum of aesthetic appeal to your rooms. With the versatility in design, shape, colours and materials of these window coverings you can find the perfect shutters, blinds or curtains for your home to go well with the colour of the walls and interior décor.

While a lot of attention is paid to window treatments that are used on the inside of your home, it is equally necessary to know that some window treatments can be used outside your house in open spaces to bring about a similar effect that interior window treatments do. They are just as practical as interior window treatments while at the same time, also acting as an upgrade to enhance the overall look of your home. There is a case to be made that in certain situations, exterior window treatments might have more benefits than interior ones.

What are Sun Shades?

Sun shades are some of the most common types of exterior window treatments. The term ‘sun shades or ‘sunshade’ is used as a general term to refer to certain types of window coverings that are used on windows from the outside. Sun shades have different forms or types. For instance, they can include awnings, parasols, curtains, shutters, covers and even shades. The main point of differentiation is that these shades are mounted on the side of the window facing the outside.

How do sun shades compare to window treatments that are used in the interior sides of homes?

It is common knowledge that window panes that are made out of glass are not good insulators and reflectors of heat or cold. This means that the warm air (during summers and hot days) do not face any difficulty in passing through the window panes to enter rooms. The same can happen during cold winter days as well. The temperature on the outside has a clear and undeniable influence on the temperature inside a home. This not only makes it a difficult place to live but also incurs a financial cost on air conditioning or artificial heating.

Now, blinds, curtains and shutters used on the interiors can solve the problem to a certain extent. They act as a barrier that block the hot air and make it difficult for it to affect the rest of the room even after the layer of the window panes have been breached. This doesn’t fully stop the temperature from outside having an effect on the temperature inside, but it does slow the process down and helps in being energy efficient. There are some window treatments that specialise in temperature regulation such as cellular shades and thermal blinds.

Sun shades, on the other hand, by virtue of being on the outside, will not allow the warm air to reach the windows in the first place. This means that level of insulation is taken up an extra notch when compared to interior window treatments.

If you have an open patio or porch, you can use these outdoor blinds to create a pleasant ambiance outside and keep the sun out.

The other fact to consider is that while window treatments on the inside of rooms are also meant to make the rooms look appealing, sun shades are meant to have a similar effect, but on the outside of the home. This brings about completely different implications and plans must be made accordingly.

Types of Sun Shades

Bases on design and structure, sun shades can be categorised into different types to make it easier for you to review their relative advantages and disadvantages so that you can take a call regarding which of these will fit in seamless with your home –

  1. Hood and Aluminium Awnings – Awnings, unlike many other types of sun shades, offer protection from the sunlight from above the window pane as opposed to covering the surface of the window. This is why they are often referred to as hats or visors for windows. Unlike motorised awnings, these ones adopt a rudimentary style making it easy for you and members of your family to install without having to seek professional help. It takes more than a little bit of strong wind to break their footing. It also gives your house a traditional, sophisticated and classic look. If you want your house to take on a modern look you might want to consider another type of sun shade.
  2. Bermuda Shades – These are louvered shutters. They have a piano-like hinge in the upper portion and tilt upward. They also have side arms to hold the shades at an acute angle. This means that when the shade is drawn up, the people inside the home can look outside, while still getting some protection from the sunlight. The installation process is fairly uncomplicated. It must be noted that these shades do not block the light coming in from either side.
  3. Roller Awnings – These are fabric awnings that are tucked in a tube and are mounted above the window. They can be powered by motors or the can also be operated manually. The awnings will unravel from the tube and create an extension which do not need any vertical support, in order to cover your window. The most important benefit of these awnings are they are retractable, which means that when you want sunlight, you can simply roll the fabric back. The only downside is that the fabric might fade due to overexposure to sunlight. They are also susceptible to wear and tear because of being subject to weather conditions.
  4. Rolling shutters and Sunscreens – Rolling shutters are basically shutters made out of metal that roll down and block the sunlight from getting anywhere near the windows. They look like gates because they are mostly fashioned out of metal. These shutters are a double-edged sword. While the heat is prevented from entering your home, it comes at the cost of the view outside. Your access to the view is restricted. This means that you might have to take a call and decide whether or not these shutters are something you want.
  5. Exterior solar shades – Solar shades can be just the thing you might need for your home. The right solar shade can reduce heat gain, withstand strong window and can be quite durable, all while being a sustainable option for your home.


Sun shades have more than adequate potential to be on par with interior window treatments. It also might be difficult to find the right interior window treatment to match your décor and contrast with the walls. This problem becomes much easier for exterior treatments like sun shades.

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