Most of us would love to spend time enjoying a fresh breeze instead of spending all time in a room surrounded by walls. A balcony, patio, porch, veranda or deck are common places around the house where you can set up a nice seating are to relax. The weather sadly isn’t always suitable to use those places. To make your relaxing place more comfortable, against the heat/ sunlight/ rain or protect your privacy, installing the outdoor blinds is a good option. But, there are so many choices. What’s the best material to look for? Here’s what you need to know.
Outdoor blinds made from wood, reed, bamboo or natural fabric are the best if you focus on style and eco-friendliness rather than durability. In case you want long lasting products which offer UV protection and/or are transparant, the best outdoor blinds are made from polyethylene or polyester.
For more useful details on how to pick out the best outdoor blinds for your outdoor living space, please stay here and read the information below.
What Are Outdoor Blinds? Blinds vs. Shades
The outdoor blinds we’re talking about in this post are vertical blinds that can be rolled up or down when you need. They provide UV protection and privacy but can also add an amazing style to your outdoor space.
Just take a look around stores or online shops and you will see hundreds of choices of outdoor blinds. Many manufacturers and supplier combine “shades” and “blinds” together in name of outdoor blinds product. Said simply; blinds consist of many horizontal or vertical slats and shades are made from one big or many pieces of fabric. If you go by that description it’s generally accepted that shades are better than blinds for improving privacy and controlling light but blinds have their own benefits.
But in my and others opinion, dividing outdoor blinds and shades into 2 separate categories doesn’t help much for shopping and deciding what you want. Since the descriptions of products almost always include both types anyways.
That why in this post, i’ll concentrate on both types and help you decide what material best for you and your situation. To find out what’s the best choice we’ll go over a few characteristics of the material of outdoor blinds or shades which will impact most to this product such as privacy protection, UV protection, style, durability…
Read on to understand why the material is really important for choosing outdoor blinds. These below information should make it easier for you to find out the suitable outdoor blinds for you.
What’s The Best Blind Material For Your Purpose?
Having knowledge on what makes the best outdoor blinds for your space will help you avoid wasting money, time and effort. The best outdoor blinds are not only the best quality products you have but also are the most suitable products based on your requirement and the material choice is the one of the most important.
Outdoor blinds are commonly made from the following materials;
All these different materials have different characteristics that make the better or worse for your specific needs. So let’s judge these materials by the following characteristics to see what works for you;
- UV protection
Let’s look at these characteristics in depth and which materials are the best and worst option.
When shopping for blinds you might notice they are often labeled to be used in a specific location like; balcony, porch, etc. You don’t need to use exact type of outdoor blinds for each place. Focus on the main functions like; how much of the sun light in that area you want to block, how to keep your place private from curious eyes or how to not destroy the decoration style of your exterior.
1 of 05 UV and Privacy Protection
First of all, the most imporant things people want their shades to do are UV and privacy protection. In the product description of outdoor blinds, UV protection is always mentioned. Most of products claim that they can protect you from 80% to 100% of UV by providing shade regardless what material it’s made from.
Privacy protection and UV protection are actually two sides of the same coin. If you have more UV protection, there’s more privacy since blocking sunlight also block UV rays.
UV combined UVA, UVB and UVC. The atmosphere absorbed UVC, about 95% of UVB and 5% of UVA. You can’t see UV light as they has shorten wavelength than visible light. UVA can cause the premature aging of the skin and UVB can cause burning skin, they are 2 types of UV light are proven as their long-term effects can lead to skin cancer. The sun’s rays are strongest between 10 AM to 4 PM so make sure using outdoor blinds to protect you while spending time outside during this period.
The main source of UV rays is from the sunlight. So blocking UV rays means blocking sunlight as well. And it also means blocking people from seeing you from outside the outdoor blinds. Depending the openness or opacity level of material, you will choose how much light and UV you can let it, how much you can see through the outdoor blinds.
The openness level varies from 1% to 14%, the lower percentage openness the less light, UV and visibility. The opacity level varies from black out, to room darkening (opaque), to light filtering (semi opaque), to semi sheer, to open or sheer (light sheer).
Wood and aluminum are the best material for blacking out all light, UV and visibility. But please take note that if you cover your outdoor space completely by this type of material or close outdoor blinds all the time, it means no air flow and fresh breeze to enjoy. Aluminum will also get quite hot to the touch.
If you want something that let’s more light and air through than wood or aluminum you can go for a woven fabric. Some of these fabrics are coated for durability and extra UV protection.
With woven materials you can choose the level of opacity or openness you want. Some common products are knitted breathable fabric made from polypropylene, vinyl fabric or polyester fabric. These materials let a decent amount of air through.
A small tip for you; to check the openness or opacity level of outdoor blinds, do not just look at photos of products from the manufacturer, check photos in reviews for real experience.
2 of 05 Durability
Outdoor blinds are placed outdoor.. yeah really.. And since outdoor spaces are exposed to the elements, their performance as well as their durability will be influenced by the weather conditions.
Wood, bamboo, reed or natural fabric (cotton, linen) is not the best material for durability under rain, sunshine and snow. To extend the outdoor blinds made from there material like wood, bamboo or reed, it’s better to choose the high quality products and using protective wood oil to maintain the color and the lignin of wood.
Polyethylene and polyester are the best durable material for outdoor blinds because they are strong, stable, don’t wear easily, resist UV light and weather, and don’t need special care like wood.
3 of 05 Rain
Outdoor blinds are always mounted vertically. While not all the materials will be waterproof, they don’t have to be. As long as the material catches the water and keeps it out of your seating area, it’s OK. The water will just drip down to the bottom where it will drain away. (if your drainage situation is good at least).
So for rain protection the material choice doesn’t matter too much. Of course the durability in the rain is very different for every material as you can read above. Polyester and Polyethylene will last the longest in rain. Wood and bamboo can last a reasonable amount of time if regularly maintained.
4 of 05 Eco- friendly material
Polyethylene and polyester are form of plastic so they might not the preffered eco-friendly material for some people. But luckily, more and more companies pay attention to environment by using renewable and recycled material like polyethylene and polyester to make eco-friendly outdoor blinds.
Materials such as wood usually is harvested from forest, it can increase harm to the environment although this really depends on the sourcing. Bamboo is a better choice if you really like a material that is similar to wood. Because bamboo can be grown, cut, harvested then grown again quickly like grass, it doesn’t cause deforestation.
5 of 05 Style
There are 2 factors that will influence the best material of outdoor blinds for your desired decor: exterior design and weather condition.
If you like a vintage style, wooden or natural fabric outdoor blinds is the best choice to upgrade the whole look of the outdoor space. If you prefer modern style, polyethylene and polyester fabric are good options. To bring a tropical feeling breeze to your outdoor space, reed or bamboo are the best choices, they will increase the natural atmosphere and remind you of your last tropical holiday.
Some style tips:
Minimalist outdoor blinds are ideal choice for most outdoor space designs. Minimalist in colors and patterns of material. So avoid flashy colors and busy lines.
Neutral colors are the safe options for you to match with any exterior color. Common neutral colors are black, white, grey, brown and beige. These colors generally match well with everything. Material with patterns will be difficult to mix. Sometimes, the pattern on outdoor blinds will make your house exterior look like a frightful jumble.
You can’t always pick the perfect looking blinds if the material doesn’t match up with the weather conditions in your area.
In the summer, roller up outdoor blinds which are made from natural fabric, reed or bamboo are the best to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. These materials make air flow smoothly, let air and filtered light in naturally. In the summer there shouldn’t be too much adverse weather to really degrade them. But it’s best to protect these blinds in the winter since you’ll probably not use them anyways.
For rainy or snowy season, clear vinyl outdoor blinds or shades are a good choice for your outdoor living space because it will keep you stay cozy in a cold and wet climate. In the winter you usually don’t have to worry about UV much so something transparent is OK.
|Wood/Bamboo||Great||Good||Good||Good||Good (depending on sourcing)||Classic, tropical|
|Natural fibers||Good||OK||OK||Good||Good||Modern, Luxury|
|Polyester/Polyethylene||Great||Good||Great||Great||Could be better||Modern|
How To Choose The Right Blinds For You
Before you go shopping for outdoor blinds can meet your taste, please take a look on some tips to avoid common mistakes and save your budget:
- Check the weather conditions where you live to choose the right material or combine different types of outdoor blinds material to be adaptable for changing weather. For example, you can have an outdoor blinds made from clear and blackout vinyl can protect your outdoor living space safe from UV, snow and rain.
- Estimate the right size outdoor blinds. It is very important to get to correct measurement number of the width and the length of blinds you will need. I guess you don’t want to bring home a small blinds which can’t cover the lenght you want.
- Mix and match the outdoor blinds nicely with your outdoor living space design. Outdoor blinds is one of product can improve the overall looking of your balcony, patio, porch, veranda or deck if you choose the right color. Natural fabrics will have wide variety of colors and patterns. The other types material of outdoor blinds are usually woodtone, beige, brown, grey, white… and those are not difficult to combine with your outdoor living space color.
- Choose the operation system. A roller style blind is cheap and easy to replace them if there is a broken part or you want new outdoor blinds. Electric or motorized operation is another option but it’s a lot more expensive than roller. These also require a bit more effort during installation.
- Follow the installation process. Poor installation will affect to the performance of outdoor blinds and you also can’t use blinds smoothly and safely.
- Switch. The weather changes every season. Blinds for the summer aren’t great for use in the winter and vice versa. If you have blinds that are easily removable, consider getting two sets. On for winter and one for summer. This way both types will last much longer and you’ve got the best option for each season.
- Save your budget: To save your budget from having to replace suitable outdoor blinds for every season, you should think about combining 2 types of outdoor blinds with different materials. Adding a layer of clear vinyl for the winter on top of your wooden blinds doesn’t have to be difficult and is cheaper than two sets. Some waterproof covers area available. Also, check out second hand shops. They might have some blinds that fit your needs.
- Choose a safe product for children. If you have kids, you probably don’t want them to get hurt. Using eco friendly products without dangerous chemicals is a good start. Also, be mindful of blinds/mechanisms that could get fingers stuck in them.
Kids are curious and they would love to explore everything at everywhere in your house. Read more information to protect your kids from decoration things around your house such as lights here or doors here.
- Keep outdoors blinds from blowing with the wind. Swinging outdoor blinds is not only irritating but can also destroy them. There are some ways you can avoid this issue: choose a heavy material, weigh the blinds down at the bottom, secure blinds to the wall, balcony, fences… For vertical blinds, adding chains to connect vanes together then you can secure them to other things.
- Choose a washable material to be able to clean dust, mold and other debris from your outdoor blinds. It not only helps your outdoor blinds look nice and fresh again but also keep you away from harmful bacteria and mold spores.