Solar Screens vs. Window Film

Solar Screens vs Window FilmSolar heat gain through windows accounts for up to 1/3 of the cooling costs in your home and office according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Both window film and solar screens are effective solutions to issues like heat, glare, fading… but we prefer window film – why?


1. The first difference you’ll notice between the two is the general aesthetic of window film is far superior. Solar screens, especially in areas that have intense sunlight will begin to fade after just three years. After ten years they will more than likely need to be replaced. The exterior of your home will look dull and dingy with faded, matte mesh covering all of your shiny glass. Window film will never fade and is virtually undetectable once applied to your glass. With a lifetime guarantee of no fading, your home’s windows will continue to sparkle for years to come.


2. Windows serve a number of functions in the home, but simply being able to see out of them is important. Whether it’s enjoying a scenic view or just to check on your children playing outside, most homeowners need or at the very least want to be able to look out their window. Solar screens have about an 80% to 90% light blocking rate. This essentially means you only have 10% to 20% visibility with solar screens. Window film blocks 99% of ultraviolet rays and allows 100% visibility – this actually enhances your view through reducing glare.


3. Cleaning windows is a difficult, time consuming chore… but adding solar screens make it even worse! Solar screens are mounted and secured to your home’s exterior, so to successfully clean an exterior window, solar screens must be taken down, and then re-installed afterwards. Most window cleaners will charge as much as 50% more to clean windows with solar screens for this reason. Window film’s unique ability to cling seamlessly to the interior of glass makes it a non-factor to the window cleaner. Even while cleaning the interior, no special treatment is needed while cleaning a piece of glass with film on it.


4. Because of the added cost and/or hassle to remove solar screens every time a window is cleaned… some homeowners opt to just not clean the exterior of their windows. This can be disastrous for the glass. Each time it rains, water will blast through the screens, bringing dirt, debris and pests with it, caking a thick film onto the glass. Build-up of these pollutants can cause serious damage to not only the glass, but also the surrounding frame. Glass or full window replacement is extremely expensive, and totally avoidable with regular cleanings.


5. Solar screens will help keep the sun from heating up your home, but what most people don’t know is that window film can actually help keep cool air in as well. Window film is designed to insulate the glass. While your window film is deflecting heat from entering the home, it’s working double time to insulate the glass, keeping cool air in and your HVAC system from wearing out.


Don’t forget to check with your local energy provider – oftentimes rebates are available for homeowners who take steps to increase home efficiency… and window film is one of the most cost effective ways to do so!

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3 thoughts on “Solar Screens vs. Window Film”

  1. I hate cleaning windows because it is really time-consuming and it is hard for me because I am short. So, I like that you talked about how putting a film on the window will make them easier to clean. That would a great feature for my home.

  2. But will solar screens not work better in cooling? The film still allows UV rays to hit the glass and heat up the glass itself, the glass will be hot to the touch thus acting like a heater to heat up your home even though it is blocking light from coming into the house. A solar screen will prevent much of the UV from hitting the glass in the fist place thus less window heating.

  3. Thank you for pointing out that home window films can provide protection from UV rays while still keeping visibility. We’ve been experiencing a small design problem with our resort house in that all the windows are positioned in places that exposes the house to a lot of harmful sunlight, especially when it gets really hot. I don’t want to sacrifice the nice view we worked so hard to secure, so I’ll take your advice and find any window film contractors that we can talk to so they can help us install some.

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