In this post, I am going to discuss the topics can you see through solar screens and looking through solar screens. What outward visibility for solar screens is like. What it looks like seeing through solar shades at night. These are all topics that come up from conversations I have had with my customers. Topics that are on the top of people’s minds when looking to have solar screens installed.
Can you see through solar screens?
Looking from the inside out, you can see through our 80% and 90%, PVC-coated, evenly woven solar screens very well. Looking from the outside-in you cannot see through our PVC-coated fabric all that well during the day.
Take a look at the following pictures. You will see that the 90% solar screen fabric is considerably denser. For the 80% solar screen fabric you can see past the fabric to about a foot into the home. Past that, it’s hard for your eyes to focus. Now, if it’s dark outside and the lights are turned on inside, you can see inside. You can see right past the fabric to see inside. You will see that this is addressed towards the bottom of this post where I discuss evening privacy.
Can you see through solar screens looking in from the outside?
Addressing the can you see through solar screens question, looking from the outside-in take a look at the following picture. This picture shows to 80% solar screens and three 90% solar screens.
Solar screens give you great daytime privacy. I constantly hear from people that tell me how they are pleasantly surprised at the privacy. If you read through some of my solar screen reviews, you will see where people have written into me talking about this.
Can you see through solar screens looking out from the inside?
Looking out, can you see through solar screens? People are consistently pleased with my answer to this question. As I hear all the time from customers asking, -can you see through solar screens? Will my vision be impaired? I have a great backyard, will I continue to be able to enjoy/see it? I like to look outside, will I be able to with the solar screens?
When I put sample solar screens up for people to show them how well they can see through our 80% and 90% solar screens, people are astonished. Additionally, when I install the solar screens on to people’s windows, people are elated. I hear all the time from surprised customers telling me how well they can see through the solar screens. This is a common reaction that I get from people that have never had the solar screens before.
The following picture shows a 90% solar screen on the left window. And, no solar screens for the 2 windows to the right.
Comparing Twitchell Textilene and Phifer’s Suntex fabrics
Our PVC-coated fabric, Twitchell Textilene, and Phifer’s Suntex have an even weave pattern to them that allows for great outward visibility. The two models, both of them, Textilene and Suntex are identical as far as I can tell. With one exception, Textilene has better tie knots than Suntex. But that’s an assembly/manufacturing issue, nothing for a homeowner to think about. Except, I will say that sloppy screen assemblers will roll solar screens with those tie knots. Phifer’s Suntex tie knots are unsightly, they are big and obvious if they are part of the screen assembly. We use to use the Phifer Suntex fabric and while I think it is a great fabric, I will say I had to deal with these tie knots quite frequently.
What’s it like looking through solar screens?
I tell people that looking through solar screens made out of our 80% fabric is great. The 80% fabric lends outstanding visibility. Looking through the 80% fabric is not too terribly different than looking through your existing bug screens. Sure, 80% fabric is a little bit darker, but with the even weave lends great visibility.
Looking through solar screens that are made from our 80% fabric.
Looking through solar screens when made out of this kind of Textilene 80% or 90% fabric is great. This picture here above shows a difference between not having a solar screen and having the 80% solar screens. Look how well you can see through the 80% solar screen fabric.
Looking through solar screens that are made from our 90% fabric.
This picture here above shows the 90% solar screen fabric. You see there to the left of that door. That upper and bottom window does not have a 90% solar screen on it. However, all the rest of the windows above and to the right of the door do have 90% solar screens.
When you have west-facing windows, you should use the 90% fabric. Use the 90% Fabric and don’t give a second thought to visibility for solar screens as a question. Visit this section on my website. Where I discuss the differences between the 80% and 90% Solar Screen Fabrics.
What outward visibility for solar screens is like.
The following picture is a great illustration to show you what solar screen outward visibility is like. For the window on the left, that is a 90% solar screen. For the window on the right, that is an 80% solar screen. The outward visibility for solar screens here is great. You can see through both solar screen fabrics well.
This is representing outward visibility for solar screens using the beige fabric. The beige fabric is actually harder to see through than the black or chocolate fabric. The reason being light is reflected off of the beige Fabric and your eyes see that reflection. When there’s black or chocolate fabric there is no reflection and your eyes see right through the fabric.
For optimal outward visibility for solar screens, we recommend using the black or chocolate fabric. The beige, stucco, or gray fabric all being lighter in color, show light reflections.
Considering window tint or window film vs solar screens, well don’t. The two are far apart as far as effectiveness. Solar screens as a shading device provide shade from the outside, therefore the two are incomparable products. Shading from the outside keeps the glass from getting hot and provides internal shade. For effectiveness, the two are not in the same ballpark.
What it looks like seeing through solar shades at night.
You can see through solar shades at night. You can see through all solar shade fabrics. Even the densest, darkest, 99% shade fabric out there you can see through at night. Seeing through solar shades at night is a given, and we have proven it with the following pictures.
For a Government commercial roller shade project that we did one time, we were asked for a 100% privacy fabric. It was quite sad as the purchaser was being consistently told that you cannot see through a 99% fabric. The companies that we were bidding against assured the purchaser that the 99% fabric would lend evening privacy. To prove my point to the government purchaser, I made the following solar shade samples for him to see. The government purchaser was astounded. We had to ultimately use a vinyl fabric for the project.
You can see through the darker solar shade fabric more than you can through the lighter gray fabric. Nevertheless, you can see through both colors of fabric.
If you are looking for total privacy for your windows or patio by means of patio roller shades, the solar shade fabric is not your answer.
Thinking about solar shades instead of blinds for your new home?
So if you have a new home. And for that new home was wondering if you could replace the need for blinds with solar shades. And you were asking yourself about seeing through solar Shades at night. The answer is yes you can see through them, and for privacy, you will still need blinds. Blinds that is for the windows that you would need evening privacy for.
Update December 2018: We will be bringing on board a new line of blackout shades that have zero visibility inward or outward. These new blackout shades offer complete privacy for the windows they are shading. With these new blackout shades, no one can see in at night. These blackout shades are for interior window use only, not for exterior.