Although there are similarities between the two, solar screens and window films are different products. If you’re deciding between installing window film or a solar screen, you’re likely after the same goal for either one – to protect the interior of your home or building from harmful UV rays that can damage furniture, carpet, and flooring.
The good news is, both products can also help reduce heat, lower your utility bills, and protect interiors from fading. But, which one is better? The answer depends on your space and your application. To help you make the right choice, we take a closer look at the differences between window film and solar screens below.
Window film is retrofitted and applied directly onto glass surfaces. It’s typically made of polyester or Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) and blocks 99.9% of UV light rays. One of the advantages of window film is that there are features that solar screens don’t offer, including:
- Etched or frosted for extra privacy
- Security film that prevents windows from shattering
- An intelligent transitional film that darkens depending on the amount of light coming through
Unless they’re etched or frosted, window films are completely transparent. They become a part of the window and won’t compromise visibility, allowing homeowners or the occupants of a building to enjoy the view. The great thing about window films is that they allow natural light to come through while filtering harmful UV rays for added safety.
Solar screens mount to the interior or exterior of a home or building, typically as roller shades that can be wound up at the tops of windows. They are made of tightly-woven fabric and come in different styles and designs to match the aesthetics of your space. The general rule of thumb for solar screens is that the tighter the fabric is woven, the better sun protection they offer but with the least amount of visibility. The looser the weave, the better the visibility through the window, but the less it blocks the sun.
Solar screens deflect the sunlight, reducing the amount of heat that enters in the summer and escapes in the winter. For this reason, they provide excellent energy efficiency and can lower your AC and heating bill. They are also a popular option for passenger side windows on cars, especially with young children and on patios to keep the bright sunlight out or for more privacy.
When it comes to choosing between window film vs solar screens, one of the biggest deciding factors is how it changes the look and feel of your home. Most homeowners opt for the transparency of window film because it allows natural light in while offering the same advantages as solar screens. They reduce glare, protect the interior against sun damage, and lower energy costs.
If you’re looking for an inexpensive solution, solar screens may be the right product for you. However, take into account the longevity and reliability of window films. While they may be slightly more expensive at first, they typically last longer than solar screens and are easier to clean and maintain. When window film is professionally installed, it will last for decades while solar screens can deteriorate quicker over time.