Two Great Ways To Shade: Exterior Window Shutters Vs. Solar Shades

When we think about controlling the level of sunlight in a room, the action of pulling a curtain or twisting a wand most likely comes to mind. But as experts in the field, we’re here to highlight the other side of window coverings: those that shade from the outside in.

Outside window treatments add form and function to the facade of your home. Two of the most prominent outdoor options are exterior window shutters and solar shades. Both shelter from the sun and rain, and block light, but each is distinctly different in design.

What Are Exterior Window Shutters?

These external window covers offer relief from the sun and shelter from the rain, while simultaneously accenting the architectural splendor of your home. They attach to the trim around the window casing and swing open courtesy of hinged brackets. When open, the shutters remain in place by a pivoting metal tieback, also called a “shutter dog,” a hook, or a catch. 

Are There Different Styles?

There are five types of exterior shutters: louvered, raised panel, flat panel, board & batten, and Bahama & Bermuda. As a sixth, Scandinavian shutters are rising in popularity.


These traditional shutters have angled horizontal slats that allow light and air to pass through, and are what most people probably think of when they picture “shutters”.

Raised Panel:

This style of shutters resembles the look of doors or kitchen cabinets. 

Board & Batten:

Featuring one to four boards held together by a cross panel (battens), either placed horizontally or at an angle, these shutters are favored for their Old World simplicity. 

Bahama & Bermuda: 

With a coastal-friendly design, these louvered shutters are fixed to the top of the window instead of the side.

Flat Panel: 

Also called shaker shutters, these have flat, solid panels, and are great for blocking out bad weather and bright lights.


These shutters are distinguished by cut-outs and bright colors, and when shut, they feature a solid, joined board-and-batten design.

However decorative they may be and whatever the value exterior window shutters may offer, they aren’t always equipped for energy efficiency and don’t offer varying light control and opacity options. On the other hand, solar shades can be installed in or outside the home and are available in various levels of opacity.

What Are Solar Shades?

But what if you want to create shade in spaces built without traditional window casings, like on an outdoor porch or partially covered patios? Opt for solar shades to cool down and block the rays just about anywhere with ease and elegance. 

Solar shades are very similar to roller shades, the only difference is the type of material they are made from. Solar shades are made with a PVC or HDPE mesh, while roller shades are typically constructed in vinyl or fabric. The perforations or holes allow you to see through a solar shade while also blocking light or sun. 

They reduce heat by blocking the amount of sunlight coming into any space, and can even be installed indoors and within traditional window casings for increased energy efficiency and utility cost reduction.

Why Would I Need Solar Shades?

Made to order in just about any variety of widths and lengths and so easy to hang, solar window coverings allow you to customize your outdoor living space without changing the design of your home. For an instant privacy fence, install multiple panels on your back deck. Roll the shades down during private family gatherings on the pool deck. 

Love spending the weekends relaxing on the back patio or porch? Install shades between your porch columns to extend your stay, night or day, and limit your sun exposure. And with optional remote motorization, you don’t have to get out of the pool or leave the lounge chair to adjust the height.

And finally, solar shades are like sunblock for your furniture. They’ll help prevent UV rays from fading your and outdoor cushion and couch covers.

Solar Shades & UV Protection Percentage

When shopping our selection of solar shades, you’ll notice some designs have different percentages of opacity. These solar shade percentages represent the openness factor, or how much UV rays and light are filtered through. The lower the percentage number, the greater solar shade opacity.

To block a significant amount of light and UV protection, choose 1 – 3% openness. 

For lighter control and protection, select 5% or more.

Solar Shades For Every Space

Whether you want something to accent your sun porch’s French doors, or are in need of an optional divider between your backyard and patio spaces, we have a solar shade for any home, for practically any budget.

Signature Class 

In sync with home décor trends, our Signature Class solar shades allow you to select from a range of light-diffusing effects, without emptying your pockets. Choose from easy see-through to 99 percent robust blockage.

Block 99% of the sun’s harmful rays with long-lasting waterproof shades available in seven transitional colors. Rust-proof components included.

For softly diffused light in your indoor or outdoor space, these waterproof shades offer a variety of colors and reduce glare and heat.

Our most popular Solar Shade will keep your space cool and shaded while blocking up to 95% of UV rays. Available matching cassette with fabric insert offered to extend your privacy.

With a 10% openness factor, these versatile shades reduce glare while providing an enhanced view of your outdoor living space, while still delivering the privacy your family needs.

Keep your yard in sight while reducing your UV exposure. These solar shades reveal the lighter side of window coverings.

Premium Class 

For a long-term investment and a classic design that transcends the trends, Premium Class solar shades are a great choice. Made of high-quality materials, this assortment features all-weather contemporary styles and specialized features to serve outdoor use.

Contemporary in style and all-weather durable in design, this shade is ideal for grand living spaces. The flame-retardant PVC shade is available in 5% or 8% openness. An optional tie-down system helps secure the covering’s position on breezy days.

Also available in 5% or 8% openness, this contemporary style, water-resistant shade is made to provide privacy and protection, night or day. Its premium rechargeable motor design allows you to operate up to five coverings from a single remote.

Have we piqued your interest and inspired you to see potential in your patio? Indulge your creative side and explore how a little shade can go a long way to transforming your outdoor living space today.

Discover Solar Shades Now >>

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