You can block approximately 90 percent of solar rays by purchasing and installing solar shades. During daylight hours these shades block ultraviolet rays and prevent outsiders from looking in without blocking your view from the inside out. Use a second layer window dressing if evening privacy is a concern.
Choose shades proven to reflect and absorb solar energy. Heat shades block direct sunlight and radiated heat. Most heat-blocking shade manufacturers provide this information on the label.
Purchase dark-colored shades to block out the maximum amount of heat and light. According to Phyllis Hunt, writer for Boulder County Home & Garden Magazine, dark-colored shades block "up to 95 percent of glare and UV rays." You can opt to let more light in by choosing shades in a lighter color. Or, you can totally block sunlight by purchasing European-style exterior rolling shutters.
Material and Design
Use a solar screen shade as the first layer of your window treatment. Opt for the window shade that fits the style of your room. You can choose a shade made out of vinyl-coated fiberglass or vinyl-coated polyester. Shades made out of other materials are also effective in blocking heat and damaging rays. Horizontal wood or faux wood blinds, pleated shades, vertical blinds and cellular blinds block out the sun and can add a decorative touch to your decor. Increase the protection offered by the shade by adding additional layers in the form of fabric shades, drapes or curtains. You can use curtain ties to allow in a small amount of light when desired.
Many solar screens and shades are designed for exterior application. You can choose shades that fit directly on the outside of your windows or shades that extend and roll up as need dictates. Engage the help of an expert for shades applied to the outside of your home. Solar screens in thin sheet form may look easy to use but the application is tricky. Hiring a professional is usually the most cost-efficient route for exterior solar screen applications.