Interior vs Exterior Solar Shades: Which One Is Best?

Interior and exterior solar shades are a popular addition for homeowners looking to control sunlight, reduce energy costs, and enhance privacy without obscuring the spectacular view outside. Both types offer unique benefits, impacting any space's comfort, energy efficiency, and aesthetics. Keep reading to learn the differences between interior and exterior solar shades as we highlight the benefits and considerations of each to help you decide which Texas Rolling Shutters & Screens product is best for your home.

What Are Solar Shades?

Solar shades are retractable coverings designed to block out sunlight and UV rays, helping to control an indoor or outdoor room's temperature and brightness. They are made from a mesh-like material, so you retain full visibility outside while reducing glare and protecting what’s behind the shade from sun damage. Solar shades come in various opacities, providing different levels of light control and privacy.

Texas Rolling Shutters & Screens is partnered with leading fabric manufacturer Mermet USA to provide two distinct styles of our solar solutions – Natte and Satine, so you get the perfect pattern and percentage of openness you want. You can also choose from various sizes and colors to match your exterior or interior design.

Interior Solar Shades

Interior solar shades are a type of window covering designed to reduce glare, control sunlight, and minimize heat gain inside a room, all while preserving the outside view. Made from a mesh-like, semi-transparent fabric, these shades effectively block out UV rays and sunlight, which helps protect furniture, flooring, and artwork from fading due to sun exposure.

Despite their filtering capabilities, they allow a considerable amount of natural light to enter, maintaining a bright and airy feel inside the room.

Interior solar shades come in various opacities, referred to as the "openness factor," which determines the level of visibility and sunlight control. A lower openness factor means less visibility and light transmission, offering more privacy and sun protection, while a higher openness factor allows for more light and visibility.

These shades can be a stylish and functional addition to any interior space, offering various benefits.


  1. Ease of Installation and Use: Interior solar shades are relatively easy to install and can be operated manually or motorized for added convenience.
  2. Aesthetic Versatility: Available in a wide range of colors, patterns, and textures, interior shades can be seamlessly integrated into any decor style.
  3. UV Protection: By blocking UV rays, they protect furniture and floors from sun damage while reducing glare on screens and improving indoor comfort.
  4. Glare Reduction: They are particularly useful in spaces with screens like televisions and computers. Every sun shade reduces glare, making it easier and more comfortable to relax or work with a screen.
  5. Energy Efficiency: Interior solar shades can reflect and absorb heat, reducing cooling costs in the summer. The additional barrier behind your home's insulation blocks more sun and heat from circulating within your home.
  6. Customization: Available in a range of colors, patterns, and textures, interior solar shades can be customized to fit the aesthetic of any room.

Interior solar shades are typically installed inside the window frame and can be operated manually with a chain or cord. They can also be motorized for added convenience and child safety with a handheld radio remote, radio wall switch, or mobile app connector. They are an excellent choice for those looking to blend functionality with style in their window treatments. You will notice a huge difference right away!


Although interior sun shades provide so many benefits, there are a couple of considerations to make before making a purchase.

  • Interior shades may not be as effective at blocking heat as exterior shades since they allow sunlight to enter through the window before being filtered. They still help control heat, but at a slightly lower percentage depending on the openness and protection of the material you select.
  • Condensation can build up on windows during winter, potentially affecting window frames and sills. However, standard cleaning and maintenance can prevent condensation from ruining the fabric or clogging up the rails with debris.

Exterior Solar Shades

Similar to interior solar shades, exterior solar shades are outdoor window coverings designed to block sunlight and reduce heat transmission before it enters the home through glass windows or the yard area. Made from durable, weather-resistant materials, exterior shades are an effective barrier against the sun's harmful UV rays. They help keep outdoor and indoor spaces cooler and more comfortable while also providing UV protection and reducing glare.

These retractable exterior sun shades are similar to standard screens but are easier to control. An externally mounted solar shade acts as an awning, creating coverage for hosting and relaxing. The exterior solar shade is perfect for large windows and outdoor areas such as patios, porches, and season rooms. By preventing the sun's heat from reaching the window glass, exterior solar shades can significantly reduce indoor temperatures and energy costs associated with cooling.

They are available in various opacities and colors, allowing homeowners to choose the level of sunlight and visibility they prefer.


  1. Superior Heat Control: Exterior solar shades block sunlight before it hits the window, reducing heat gain and glare reduction. They also keep outdoor rooms that receive a lot of sunshine cool and comfortable.
  2. Enhanced Privacy: While they allow for visibility from the inside out, exterior shades can make it more difficult for passers-by to see behind the shade from the outside.
  3. Improved Comfort: The insulation in your roof and walls blocks some of the sun's heat, but exterior solar shades reduce even more heat from circulating in the house. The additional barrier makes both indoor and outdoor living spaces more comfortable year-round.
  4. Preserved Views: Despite their protective features, these shades are designed to maintain the view from the inside out, allowing for enjoyment of the outdoor scenery without the harsh effects of direct sunlight.
  5. Durability: Designed to withstand harsh weather conditions, these shades are made from weather-resistant materials, ensuring longevity.
  6. Increased Energy Savings: By preventing heat from entering, exterior shades can significantly reduce air conditioning needs and energy costs.

Exterior solar shades can be manually operated or motorized with our convenient remote controls, radio wall switches, timers, or sun sensors, which allow for automatic adjustment.

Your choice of exterior shade fabric can impact its longevity and performance. However, our range of customization options guarantees a practical and aesthetically pleasing solution for managing sunlight and heat in your home.


  • Installation can be more complex and may require professional assistance. That's where our experts at Texas Rolling Shutters & Screens come in. We provide a comprehensive and seamless installation service so you get the desired shades inside.
  • Exterior shades may be subject to local zoning laws and homeowners association (HOA) regulations.
  • They require maintenance to keep them clean and functioning correctly, as they are exposed to weather conditions. Periodically using a vacuum extension to clean upholstery, soap, and warm water can help eliminate standard dirt and dust buildup.

Texas Rolling Shutters & Screens Can Help You Choose Between Interior and Exterior Solar Shades

The decision to install interior or exterior solar shades in your house depends on your needs for heat reduction, privacy, and aesthetics.

If heat control and energy efficiency on hot days are your top priorities, exterior solar shades might be the best choice. However, interior solar shades could be more suitable if you're more concerned with interior aesthetics and ease of use.

Both interior and exterior solar shades offer a range of benefits that can enhance the comfort and efficiency of your home. By understanding the advantages and considerations of each, you can choose what best suits your needs, preferences, and the specific conditions of your property. Contact us today for a free, at-home consultation!

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