Blackout roller shades work well in preventing light from entering a room. The question, however, is can they block heat from the outside as well?
Blackout roller shades can block light and heat effectively. This is made possible by their tightly-knit fabric and insulative lining. They're also energy-efficient, as they can help retain heat during colder days.
Want to know more about their light or heat-blocking properties? Read on, since here's everything you need to know about blackout roller shades.
What are Blackout Roller Shades?
Also known as thermal shades, blackout roller shades help ‘black out’ light and heat. They can reduce noise too, which is ideal for city dwellers.
Blackout shades also provide privacy, while improving the appearance of your home.
Because of these features, blackout roller shades are categorized as energy-efficient window coverings.
They're ideal for all homes. That said, older dwellings that lack insulation will benefit from them the most.
Blackout roller shades can be placed inside or outside the window frame.
Compared to blackout curtains, roller shades take up very little space. You don’t have to worry about them getting stuck on sills or furniture, as is often the case with curtains.
Other Types of Heat-Blocking Shades
Apart from roller shades, these window shades can help block heat as well:
- Cellular Shades. These are made with vertically-stacked hexagonal cells, hence their name. These pockets trap heat, which prevents it from entering and 'heating' your home.
- Roman Shades. These shades, made from fabric, help block light - as well as heat - from entering your room. They may be corded or motorized, depending on your requirements.
How Do Blackout Roller Shades Work?
Before we get to the heat-blocking features of a roller shade, let’s discuss how it works first.
Blackout roller shades come with a single ‘rolled’ tightly-woven fabric. Some are made from vinyl, which is lodged in a hidden headrail.
As a type of operable window covering, blackout roller shades work when you pull a cord or chain that unrolls the fabric.
Types of Blackout Roller Shades
Continuous Cord Loop
Some shades are built with a continuous cord loop, which is placed against the window frame or wall. With this, you can lower your shades by pulling the cord in either direction.
There are cordless versions that suit homes with kids or pets. They are made with a hidden control system, which gets the usual cords out of the way.
To operate cordless shades, all you need to do is tug on their bottom rail.
There are also motorized or automatic versions of roller shades. You can operate them with a wall switch or through your smartphone.
Do Blackout Roller Shades Keep Heat Out?
Yes, blackout roller shades can keep heat from entering your home.
Without shades, heat from the outside will readily enter through your bare windows. The glass surface gets hotter, which in turn makes the room hotter.
On top of that, the sun’s rays can end up directly heating up both the floor and furniture. These areas will contribute to the heat in the room, too.
With roller shades installed, you can reduce the sunlight and heat that enters the house.
In addition to reducing heat gain, roller shades can also keep the heat in during colder months.
This is because they help lower the U-value of your windows, the amount of heat any object loses. The lower the U-value, the less heat is lost.
What Shades Block Heat Best?
Exterior or outside blackout roller shades block heat better than interior versions.
Traditionally, double glazed windows have a U-value of 2.8 to 2.9. Interior blackout roller shades reduce the window’s U-value to 2.1, while exterior shades fare better at 1.9.
Exterior shades disrupt the flow of heated air along the window surface. This feature helps reduce U-value by as much as 24 to 26%.
Do Blackout Blinds Reflect Heat?
Yes. Blackout roller blinds reflect heat with the help of intelligent white backing. This layer, located behind the fabric, reflects away heat and light.
According to a report, this reflective material can reduce heat gain by 45%.
Apart from keeping your room cooler during summer, it can keep your area warmer during winter as well. It works as a barrier that restricts heat from escaping the room.
For best results, install the shades near the window glass. Doing so will help reduce the U-value by as much as 6%.
Do Blackout Roller Shades Block More Heat Than Light Filtering Shades?
Blackout shades are commonly mistaken for light-filtering shades.
Although some people mix them up, they're entirely different from each other.
As mentioned, blackout shades can block most light entering the room. Since light filtering blinds can only control how much light enters a room, this makes blackout blinds better for blocking heat.
While there are opaque light filtering shades available, blackout shades still work for they have an additional layer that reflects light and heat.
How Do I Choose Roller Shades?
Here are ten factors you need to consider when choosing a heat-blocking roller shade:
1. Fabric Type and Weight
100% polyester fabric offers the best protection from heat and light.
This means it's advisable to choose a heavier fabric to better block heat (and light.)
Generally, a heavy fabric weighs 8 ounces per yard. Examples of such materials include:
- Hemp/cotton twill
- Hemp twill
- Organic cotton twill
- Heavyweight linen
You’ll want to pick roller shades that are made with UV-blocking insulative material.
This liner is often darker in color, although some are lighter or pearlescent in color. Opt for products that have the same fabric and insulation color if you want uniformity.
Of course, the fewer openings/holes on the fabric, the more effective it is against heat. As spacing/openings increase, efficiency gets reduced by as much as 6%.
This means it’s best to choose shades made from tightly-woven fabric or vinyl. These materials can help reduce solar heat gain (SHG) by 10 to 33%.
These shades can even reduce SHG by as much as 25 to 85% if placed outside.
Apart from blocking heat, you’ll want your shades to filter light effectively.
Lighter shades such as beige, gray, and white work well, though they don't work as well. Darker colors such as black and navy are undoubtedly better for blocking heat.
If you have standard size windows, you can ease the installation process by choosing pre-cut versions.
Depending on where you plan on installing the shades, make sure to measure the frame.
Remember, inside-mount shades require accurate measurement. If not, the uncovered gaps will end up letting in light (and heat.)
Experts call this 'light halo,' where the light seeps around the sides.
Light and heat can also enter through the gap between the shades and their mounting hardware. As such, it's best to install the shades above the window frame.
Using a valance will help prevent light/heat seepage as well.
Blackout roller shades usually come with a cord, although there are cordless varieties available. The latter is ideal for homes with kids or pets because there is no risk of tangling or tripping.
There are also motorized shades available. They 'roll' with a push of a button - whether it's on the wall or your smartphone.
7. Waterproof Feature
Do you plan to install blackout roller shades in the kitchen or bathroom? Then you’ll need to go with a waterproof fabric.
Some roller shades are coated with Acticide, which repels moisture easily. As an added bonus, this coating makes waterproof shades easier to clean.
If you opt for vinyl shades, you’ll only need to clean them with warm, soapy water. As for fabric shades, it’s as easy as vacuuming them with a brush attachment.
On average, blackout roller shades cost about 80 cents per square foot.
The more expensive ones can cost 20 times as much. They have high-end finishes and high-tech functionality, after all.
That said, it’s not always wise to go with the cheapest product affordable. They’re often made with flimsy material, so they’re not that good at blocking light and heat. Durability can be an issue as well.
According to experts, the perfect price point is anywhere from $3.50 to $5.50 per square foot.
One of the best things about blackout roller shades is that they're easy to clean. They're flat and smooth, the exact opposite to the textured Roman and Honeycomb shades.
If you want to get the best value for your money, you need to opt for shades with a good warranty feature. That way, you can have them fixed - or replaced - in case something goes awry.
How Do You Install Roll-Up Shades?
Even if you’re not a handy person, you can install your shades with relative ease. It’s just a matter of following these instructions:
1. Measure the Window Space
If you're planning on installing inside shades, measure the top, middle, and bottom recess widths. Use centimeters and measure down instead of up. Doing so will help prevent your shades from snagging.
As for exterior shades, make sure to measure the top of the recess. Add 4 centimeters to each side so that the shades cover the windows completely (and symmetrically.)
2. Determine Tension Chain Placement
While this should depend on the space, most people opt to put their chain on the right side.
If you don’t have much space on the right, you can always put it on the left.
3. Figure Out the Appropriate Roller Direction
There are two options: over and under the roller. While the latter is the popular choice, going over is good if there are objects (decorations, plants, etc.) inside the frame.
4. Install the Mounting Brackets
You need to use two brackets - the male and female brackets.
Measure a quarter of an inch from the edge of the frame. That way, there’s additional clearance for when the shades roll up.
Mark the screw holes with a pencil. Drill a pilot hole first so you won’t end up hitting frames or wires.
Once you’re sure that you’re in the clear, go ahead and install the brackets. For reference, the male bracket should be placed at the side of the tension frame.
5. Hang the Blackout Roller Shades to Check
Hang the roller and secure the chain with a screw. This is a pivotal step, especially if there are children in the house.
6. Cut the Shades as Needed
If your shades are bigger than the intended space, then measure the window's horizontal width. Cut your shades in a size that still covers the window entirely.
After doing so, place the roller shades back to their proper position.
Where to Install Blackout Roller Shades
Blackout roller shades can be placed in all rooms in your house - inside or outside!
Blackout roller shades can keep your room dark…and more suitable for sleep. It can also help block out heat, which can disrupt your slumber.
According to a report, it’s harder for the body to shed heat and cool down in hotter room temperatures.
It can make you wake up more during the night. Unfortunately, this will affect your sleep quality and efficiency.
A hot room can also reduce slow-wave or REM sleep. These stages are vital, since they help rejuvenate the body and improve the immune system. These stages are needed for processing memory as well.
Research shows that every 10C increase in nighttime temperature can lead to three nights of disrupted sleep.
Blackout roller shades are not only great for reducing light and heat. They're also excellent for providing privacy.
With these features, roller shades are perfect for bathrooms. Unlike curtains, they won't warp and grow mold (with proper care, of course.)
Some babies are light sleepers, which is why they need blackout roller shades more than other members of the family.
Like adults, babies sleep better in dark, cool, and quiet rooms.
Without a doubt, blackout shades can provide these benefits…and more. There is no need to worry about the sun or outside noise waking your little angel up.
4. Movie/Media Rooms
If you have a movie or media room in your house, then it’s one of the best places to install a blackout roller shade.
This will keep your space dark for a cinema-like experience. Blackout roller shades can also block heat, which should keep your room cool…again, just like in a movie theater.
5. Skylighted Rooms
Skylights provide natural illumination. However, they can quickly warm a room up during the summer. Not only is it bad for your home's thermostat, but the intense light may affect your sleeping habits as well.
Blackout roller shades are ideal for skylighted rooms. You can easily roll them up or down, depending on your desired light or temperature.
Outdoor areas, such as your patio, will also benefit from blackout roller shades. They come in handy for blocking heat, especially during the sweltering summer.
They also allow you to control the lighting, especially when the sun is shining outside.
Remember: sunlight can destroy and bleach any wooden artifacts on your patio. A blackout roller shade can protect them, so they last (and look beautiful) for longer.
Blackout roller shades are suitable investments for every home. Not only can they block light, but they can also stop heat from creeping in. In addition, they're good for keeping your home cool in the summer - and warmer during the winter.