What You Should Know About Outdoor Shades
Bigger, Bolder, Brighter Podcast – EP#4
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How do outdoor shades work?
Outdoor shades are a roller shade type of product similar to the roller shades you would put inside your home. Even tho they look alike, they still vary greatly in material and duration to handle all types of weather without deteriorating. Outdoor shades fill two very different segments depending on where you live. SunCoast Blinds has two locations- one in Southwest Florida and another location in Northeast Indiana. So what is the difference in the rolls depending on the climate?
Outdoor Shades in Southwest Florida
In Florida we experience hurricanes, so when people hear outdoor shades here, they automatically think of hurricane shades. That is not what we offer at SunCoast Blinds. What we do offer is a shade that will provide solar, wind, rain, and insect control. So, if you have an outdoor space that you can’t live in, be at, or look out because the sun’s kicking you in the face or the rain comes in making it an unmanageable space. You can drop down some of our exterior roller shades and create an entirely new living canopy for yourself.
An example of this is if you have a condo or single-family home where you can’t use your patio during the sun hours due to extreme heat and sun blasting in your face. Neither can you enjoy your outdoor space at dusk, cause that’s when all the mosquitos come out to eat you alive. We want you to be able to enjoy your morning coffee outside or your afternoon cocktail as the sun sets down and you get to watch the glorious sunset over the Gulf of Mexico. This is where our exterior shades come in. Giving you the ability to reuse that space and still be in an outdoor environment.
Sometimes we talk about closing a space in with glass or hurricane shutters. Anything can close you in, but that also takes away the sense of being outdoors and sometimes the view. Which is the reason why we love living in Florida. We consider it the Superman of window fashions.
What separates our shades from big box store shades?
My experience with your Lowe’s, Home Depot, and Costco type of outdoor shading systems, is that it weeds out a lot of our customers on a price point basis. A couple of years ago they released a product down here called Coolaroo. It’s a free-hanging shade that you install yourself. It’s rated for outdoors and will probably cost you $200. In my opinion, that’s also as long as you can expect it to last. But it is sold and labeled as an outdoor product.
The problem with it is, it sets an expectation with the end retail client that says “I can buy an outdoor product from Costco for $200. How much worse can it be to buy one from SunCoast Blinds?”. So they give me a call, we weed out all the information and I tell them it’s $3000. They’re shocked. But it is not the same thing. We are apples and oranges.
I’m not saying people have to spend that amount of money through us. But our product has benefits that you cannot physically get from other products. Plus, we’re going to give you longevity, durability, custom installation, and service if anything ever happens to your shades. It just makes more sense to buy right and buy it once. A lot of the clients we have in Southwest Florida are seasonal, and you don’t want to spend your time down here repairing, maintaining, or purchasing a new shade every single year.
When you call SunCoast Blinds, we have to get out there. We’re going to figure out your solution to the problem that you give us. And that’s it. You’re done. You’re thought, you’re done working, you’re done making phone calls, you’re done picking up tools. If you have a problem you call us and we take care of it.
85 mph shades
Our shades will take up to 85 mph winds. So outside of the unforeseen and unfortunate hurricanes that we may have, this is a constant protection. So what does that mean? It means that you can enjoy your morning coffee in Ave Maria, and you can view your sunsets in Bonita Bay while you’re playing cards. Whatever it may be, we’ve got the solution to an extended living area. I don’t want our clients to worry about their shades. I want them to worry about golfing, the beach, tennis, or whatever it might be.
Fabric options for exterior shades
In Florida, we usually have a screen cage over our outdoor areas. In today’s market, there’s a variety of screen options for screen cages as no-seam screens or UV screens and most of them don’t reach a density higher than 20%. A density of 20% means that it has an 80% openness, which gives a great view-through but not the greatest protection.
Now when we talk about the openness fabric of our exterior shades, we’re reversed. Our fabric is 95% dense and only allows a 5% openness. So there won’t be any bugs coming through the shades because we’re completely on the other side of that density spectrum, whilst still allowing a nice amount of view through.
So you can get your view-through and we can take care of the bug situation so you can enjoy your environment. Now, the drawback of a 5% openness is that it doesn’t allow the same airflow. You will still allow the fresh air to come through but you won’t notice a massive breeze.
Translating this into rain coming in, and it’s one of the benefits of the shades. Even with heavy rain outside, the shade will block the water from coming further in than 18 inches of surface area.
Outdoor shades for commercial spaces
In the commercial space, there’s a little bit more creativity that we can get involved in. We can do clear vinyl windows for example. A lot of people have seen restaurants outside where they’ve got clear vinyl where the rain comes down and you can look out of it. This is completely closed in compared to the screen shades we’ve been talking about. But in a commercial space, this can be beneficial to keep your outdoor seating available throughout all types of weather.
Also in the commercial space, we can color coordinate fabrics. For example, if you’ve got a business logo that’s red and orange, you can do red and orange borders around the clear vinyl windows to tie your brand to your design. Of course, you can still use the screen shades in commercial settings as well to protect from insects as we spoke of previously.
What’s the best color for outdoor shades?
Be at the environment that we’re in here in Southwest Florida, the HOA (Home Owner Association) is going to dictate a lot. So when you go down the wormhole of exploring your outdoor shades color options, you’re going to want to make sure what your HOA does or does not allow. Because here we’re going to be altering the exterior look of the building. A lot of HOAs have rules and regulations in their bylaws on what you can have, and they don’t always make sense.
Unlike your interior shades which I’ve talked about in episode three, there’s one school of thought where you can coordinate your shade with your decor. And another school of thought where we’re going to coordinate it with your desirability for view-through.
Exterior shades are best done as dark as humanly possible, aka black. Black is going to feel like an extension of your existing screen cage and your neighbors aren’t going to know they’re down. They’re going to do their job and give you the maximum view-through with all the protections that you want.
Certainly, we do our fair share of lighter shades within the tans and gray color wheels. But your darker colors are going to be your best bet. There is still a certain amount of HOAs here in southwest Florida that only allows white or off-white to the outside.
How do the HOA rules impact your shade options?
It is crucial to find out what your HOA allows you to put up on your outside space. I find it almost to the point of criminally dangerous when I’m not the first person in somebody’s house, and they’ll be parroting back an idea that a couple of my competitors of an odd color would be ill-advised to the outside space. One of my first comments is “What about your HOA?”. People get really surprised. They think they can do whatever they want because it’s their home. But that is simply not the case in our gated communities.
As a professional, I won’t continue the process until they’ve made sure that the HOA will approve it. This decision is not to my benefit, cause they making the decision could just end up with me selling two shades instead of one. But I’d rather do it one time and have a happy client. And if I can save someone that money and hassle, it will most likely be a guaranteed client going forward.
Outdoor shades warranties
Our shades come with a 10-year warranty on the system and a 5-year warranty on the motorization.
There are several vendors that I do business with that sell outdoor shades that are not outdoor-rated. As an example, say I sold someone a shade system and installed it outside. Everybody did what they were supposed to do, and now it’s rusted away. But the manufacturer doesn’t provide a warranty that covers the outside use, even tho it is sold as an outdoor shade. This is all done to save the clients money and provide a cheaper option. This is simply not something we’re going to do. I don’t want you to find yourself in that situation. But this is also reflected in our price point and everything we’re going to do that sets us apart.
In the exterior space, you want to go for the long haul. Time goes by fast and before you blink it’s been 5 years since you purchased your shade. You want to make sure that the company you use will stick around. Everybody can say what they’re going to do tomorrow, but not everybody can tell you what work they did 10 years ago and be proud of it. This is where SunCoast Blinds comes in. We haven’t been charging for service calls, we haven’t been nickel and dimming people for warranty work for a generation. And I plan on doing the same thing going forward.
Should I buy outdoor shades?
Extend your living space
The number one question I ask when someone is interested in outdoor shades is if this would allow them to reuse a space they currently aren’t able to use. If their answer is yes, then a shade is probably for them. If I can give you a shade, that can give you the ability to use that space at times you currently can’t. That’s when an outdoor shade is for you. Best of all, they’re going to do that beautifully.
One of our bigger driving points for outdoor shades is privacy from neighbors. A lot of us live side by side with our neighbors, exposing the sides of our lanais to each other, allowing you to look right in. It’s not always so comfortable, and especially at night you might not want to share what you’re watching on TV or your jacuzzi time with your neighbor. Then it’s easy to just roll down your shade.
- Reduce glare – Reduce glare from your eyeballs when you’re in your outdoor space so you can look into the sunset.
- Protect yourself from bugs – You will know a significant difference.
- Use your outdoor space on rainy days.
- Keep your outdoor space cleaner.
- Climate control a smaller room – If you want to have your patio doors wide open and your outdoor shades down, there’s enough airflow from your interior space to your exterior space to make that a nice cool space. You’re not going to have the heat loss or gain through our shades like you would with pretty much every other product.
- More benefits with outdoor shades are here.
All our outdoor shades are going to be motorized. All our motors are outdoor-rated to the point that they can handle submersion. Unfortunately, we’ve got a fair number of shade systems that were submerged during the previous Hurricane Ian that are still perfectly fine, proving that they stand the test of Mother Nature.
The beauty of motorization is that you move large shade systems with just a push of a button. Allowing anyone to use our shades.
How to buy outdoor shades in Bonita Springs
SunCoast Blinds is a full-service window treatment store located a half mile west of US-41 in Bonita Springs, FL. Visit our studio Mon-Fri 9 am to 1 pm. Our address is 3634-A Bonita Beach Rd SW, Bonita Springs FL.
We have our outdoor shade systems on display so you can see it, touch it, and try it. So if you’ve got an outdoor space that you’re feeling is kind of useless and you don’t know how to solve that problem. That’s where I come into play. To give you an outdoor space that’s no longer useless.
We are also available for in-home consultations. Schedule your consultation here or call Ben at 239.495.6558.