What is the Difference Between Solar Shades and Blackout Shades?

September 2, 2023

The best window treatments are more than just one specific brand of cellular shades. The best options are ones that complete the goal you want to achieve, whether that's complete privacy, or minimizing harmful UV rays.

Imagine this: you're sitting in your cozy living room, enjoying the warm sunlight streaming inside through your windows.

Enhance this peaceful atmosphere with the right window treatments and coverings that not only add to your decor but also help keep your home cooler. But suddenly, you realize that the direct sunlight and harsh glare are causing damage, making it difficult to read your favorite book or watch TV without straining your eyes. It may be time to consider adding window treatments or window coverings.

You need a solution to control the amount of sunlight entering your space while still maintaining a pleasant view. Our window coverings, such as the North Solar Screen and Roller Shade, are the perfect products for this.

Both solar and blackout shades are popular choices for window coverings in homes, offering a wide range of materials, colors, and styles. These shades provide protection from the sun while adding style to your living space. Additionally, they often come with a warranty for peace of mind.

Whether you're looking for sleek, modern designs or classic patterns, there's a perfect option for every style and aesthetic in blackout shades for your home. These sun-blocking materials are ideal for controlling the amount of sunlight that enters your space.

So if you're searching for effective window coverings for your home in Austin, Texas (or anywhere else) that come with a warranty, let's dive in!

Key Differences: Solar Shades vs. Blackout Shades

What is the difference between solar and blackout shades? by Treaty Oak Shade Company

Solar shades and blackout shades are both popular window treatments that offer various benefits for your home. One major advantage of choosing these shades is that they often come with a warranty, giving you peace of mind knowing that your investment is protected.

However, they differ significantly in terms of functionality, light control options, and warranty. Understanding these key differences can help you choose the right shade for your needs, including considering the warranty.


The primary distinction between solar shades and blackout shades lies in their functionality and warranty. Solar shades are specifically designed to reduce glare and heat gain from the sun, making them ideal for areas with intense sunlight.

These shades are constructed using a specialized mesh fabric that filters out harmful UV rays while still allowing natural light to enter the room. By blocking a significant amount of solar radiation, solar shades help maintain a comfortable indoor temperature while protecting furniture and flooring from fading due to sun exposure.

On the other hand, blackout shades offer more versatility in terms of light control options. They come in a wide range of fabrics, including blackout or sheer materials, allowing you to customize the level of privacy and light filtration according to your preferences.

Blackout roller shades provide complete darkness when closed, making them perfect for bedrooms or media rooms where you want to eliminate external light sources entirely. On the other hand, sheer roller shades allow diffused natural light into the room while providing some level of privacy during the day.

Insulation Capabilities: Dark vs. Light Solar Shades

In Texas, understanding the difference between dark and light-colored options is essential. The color of the shade material plays a significant role in its insulation capabilities, affecting how much heat is absorbed or reflected by the shades.

Dark-colored solar shades are known for their superior insulation capabilities. These shades absorb more heat from sunlight, making them ideal for colder climates or rooms that require additional warmth. However, this may not be the most desirable option in Austin's scorching summers as it can lead to increased indoor temperatures.

On the other hand, light-colored solar shades are designed to reflect more sunlight rather than absorb it. This reflective property helps keep your room cooler during hot weather conditions in Austin. By preventing excessive heat from entering your space, these light solar shades contribute to a more comfortable and energy-efficient environment.

The choice between dark or light solar shade colors ultimately depends on your desired level of insulation and energy efficiency. Here are a few factors to consider when deciding which option is best for you:

  1. Climate: Consider the climate in Austin, TX, where temperatures can soar during summer. If you're looking to combat intense heat waves and keep your space cool without relying heavily on air conditioning systems, opt for light-colored solar shades that reflect sunlight effectively.
  2. Energy Efficiency: Dark solar shades may be suitable if you live in an area with colder winters or if you want to harness natural sunlight as a source of warmth during chilly days. They can help reduce heating costs by trapping heat inside your home.
  3. Aesthetic Preferences: Beyond their functional benefits, consider how different colors will complement your interior design scheme and personal style choices.
  4. Room Purpose: Think about the specific room where you plan to install solar shades. For example:
    • Bedrooms might benefit from darker solar shades that provide more privacy and block out excess sunlight for better sleep.
    • Living areas with large windows can benefit from light solar shades, allowing natural light to filter through while keeping the space cool.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Between Solar and Blackout Shades

There are several factors you should consider. Let's dive in!

Amount Of Natural Light

One of the primary considerations when choosing between solar and blackout shades is the amount of natural light you want in your space. Solar shades are designed to filter sunlight while still allowing a certain level of visibility. They are perfect for those who want to enjoy natural light without compromising their privacy or view.

On the other hand, blackout shades provide better privacy as they block out more light compared to most solar shade options. If you prefer a darker room or need enhanced privacy, blackout shades might be the way to go.

Privacy Needs

Privacy is an important factor to evaluate when deciding between these two types of window coverings. While solar shades offer varying levels of opacity depending on the fabric chosen, blackout shades generally provide better privacy due to their thicker materials and ability to completely block out light.

If you live in a busy neighborhood or have windows facing a street, blackout shades can ensure your personal space remains protected from prying eyes. However, if privacy is not a major concern for you, solar shades can be an excellent choice, as they allow natural light to enter while still maintaining some level of seclusion.

Climate Conditions and Aesthetic Preferences

Your specific climate conditions play a significant role in determining which type of shade is best suited for your needs. For instance, if you reside in Austin, Texas, where temperatures can soar during the summer, solar shades can help reduce heat gain by blocking harmful UV rays while allowing some natural light into your space.

Alternatively, roller shades with blackout fabrics can provide insulation benefits by keeping out both heat and cold air drafts during extreme weather conditions. This can help maintain a comfortable indoor temperature throughout the year.

Apart from climate considerations, your aesthetic preferences should also be taken into account. Solar shades come in various styles, colors, and opacities, allowing you to choose the perfect combination that complements your interior design. Blackout shades offer a wide range of fabric options as well, ensuring you find the ideal match for your space.

Privacy and Light Control Considerations

Privacy and light control are two important factors to consider.

Blackout shades are a popular choice for those seeking greater privacy. These shades are designed to completely block out outside views when fully closed. Whether you're living in Austin, Texas, or any other bustling city, blackout shades offer an excellent solution for maintaining your privacy.

On the other hand, solar shades have a different approach. These shades are designed to allow natural light into your space while limiting visibility from the outside during daylight hours. The openness factor of solar shade fabrics determines how much light can pass through them while providing some privacy.

However, it's important to note that solar shades may not be suitable for complete nighttime privacy. As darkness falls, the interior lights in your home become visible from the outside if you don't have additional window coverings. This means anyone passing by could see inside your home once the sun goes down.

If both privacy and light control are important factors for you, a solution combines the best of both worlds: blackout roller blinds with sheer or dual-fabric solar blinds. This combination allows you to enjoy natural light during the day while ensuring complete nighttime privacy.

Options To Consider

  • Install blackout roller blinds alongside sheer solar blinds on separate tracks. This allows you to adjust each set of blinds independently based on your desired level of privacy and light control.
  • Opt for dual-fabric solar blinds that feature a layer of blackout fabric behind a sheer or semi-opaque front fabric. With these blinds, you can easily switch between enjoying natural light and blocking out all sunlight as needed.
  • Utilize motorized blinds with smart home integration. This allows you to easily control the privacy and light levels, adjusting them according to your preferences throughout the day.

Aesthetics and Design Options

In Texas, the options can seem overwhelming. Solar shades and blackout shades are two popular choices that offer different benefits depending on your needs.

Design Possibilities

Both solar and blackout shades come in a wide range of colors, patterns, and textures, allowing you to find the perfect match for your interior decor. Whether you have a modern or traditional style, there is a shade option that will complement your existing furniture, flooring, and overall aesthetic.

Blackout shades offer even more design possibilities with various decorative trims, scalloped hems, or custom prints available. These additional features allow you to add a personalized touch to your window treatments. You can choose a fabric that matches the color scheme of your room or opt for a unique pattern that adds visual interest.

On the other hand, solar shades are known for their sleek and modern appearance. Their clean lines and minimalist design make them an excellent choice for contemporary spaces. The fabrics used in solar shades provide excellent UV protection while still allowing natural light to filter into the room. This combination makes them ideal for rooms where maintaining an unobstructed view while reducing glare is important.


In terms of variety, both solar and blackout shades offer an extensive selection of materials to choose from. Blackout shades come in fabrics such as linen blends, polyester blends, or vinyl-coated fiberglass. These materials offer different levels of privacy and light control, depending on your preferences.

Solar shades typically use specially engineered fabrics that block harmful UV rays but maintain outward visibility during daylight hours. These fabrics are often made from vinyl-coated fiberglass or polyester yarns woven tightly together to create a protective barrier against heat and sunlight.

When selecting window treatments based on aesthetics and design options alone, it ultimately comes down to your personal style and the ambiance you want to create in each room. Blackout shades provide more decorative choices, allowing you to match them seamlessly with your existing decor. On the other hand, solar shades offer a sleek and modern look that fits well with contemporary interior styles.

Durability And Maintenance Tips

Blackout shades and solar shades are both popular window treatments that offer various benefits. Roller shades generally have an advantage due to their simpler construction without the added components found in solar shades.

With blackout shades, you can expect a sturdy and long-lasting solution for your windows. The absence of complex mechanisms means there are fewer chances for malfunctions or damage. This makes blackout shades a reliable choice, especially if you live in a place with extreme weather conditions like Austin, Texas.

On the other hand, solar shades incorporate additional components such as motorized systems or battery-powered options. While these features enhance functionality and convenience, they may also introduce potential vulnerabilities. For instance, the battery life of motorized solar shades might require periodic maintenance or replacement to ensure continuous operation.

Routine Cleaning

To maintain the appearance of both solar and blackout shades, regular cleaning is essential. A soft cloth or vacuum cleaner can be used to remove dust and debris from the surface of the shades. Pay attention to any specific cleaning instructions provided by the manufacturer.

When cleaning these window treatments, avoiding harsh chemicals or abrasive materials that could cause damage is important. Stick to mild cleaners recommended by the manufacturer, or simply use water and gentle soap if suitable for your shade type.

Be Mindful Of How You Operate Window Treatments

In addition to routine cleaning, being mindful of how you handle and operate your window treatments can contribute to their longevity. Avoid pulling on the fabric forcefully or tugging at any attached cords excessively, as this can lead to fraying or breakage over time.

If you have motorized solar shades, make sure to follow any maintenance guidelines provided by the manufacturer regarding battery replacement or recharging intervals. Keeping up with these recommendations will help ensure optimal performance and prevent unexpected issues down the line.

Another factor that affects durability is how well you protect your window treatments from accidental damage during installation or while performing other household tasks. Take care when trimming nearby vegetation close to your windows or when moving furniture near the shades to avoid snags or tears.

Making An Informed Decision Between Solar And Blackout Shades

It's essential to consider your specific needs before making a decision. Factors such as light control, privacy, insulation, and aesthetic preferences play a significant role in determining which type of shade is best for you.

If you prioritize energy efficiency and glare reduction, solar shades may be the better option. These shades are designed to filter harmful UV rays while still allowing natural light into your space. By blocking out the sun's intense heat, solar shades help keep your home cool during hot Austin summers. They also reduce the strain on your air conditioning system, potentially lowering your energy bills.

On the other hand, if privacy and complete light blockage are crucial factors for you, blackout shades would be more suitable. Blackout shades provide excellent room-darkening capabilities by completely blocking out sunlight when fully closed. This makes them ideal for bedrooms or media rooms where you want to create a cozy atmosphere or enjoy movie nights without any glare.

Light Control Options

  • Solar shades allow filtered natural light into your space while reducing glare.
  • Blackout shades provide complete darkness when fully closed.

Privacy Considerations

  • Solar shades offer varying levels of daytime privacy depending on their openness factor.
  • Blackout shades provide optimal privacy by completely blocking outside views.

Insulation Benefits

  • Solar shades help regulate temperatures by reducing heat gain from sunlight.
  • Blackout shades offer some insulation properties but are not as effective as solar shades.

Aesthetic preferences also play a significant role in deciding between solar and blackout shades. Solar shade fabrics come in various colors and textures that can complement any interior design style. Whether you prefer a modern or traditional look, there is an option for you in Austin, Texas.

Blackout shade fabrics also offer versatility, with different patterns and materials available. From sleek solids to vibrant prints, blackout shades allow you to express your personal style while enhancing the overall aesthetics of your space.

Conclusion: What Is the Difference Between Solar and Blackout Shades?

Now that we've explored the key differences between solar shades and blackout shades, it's time to make an informed decision based on your specific needs. If you're looking for a balance between privacy, light control, and energy efficiency, solar shades might be the perfect fit for you.

They provide UV protection while still allowing some natural light to filter through, creating a bright and inviting atmosphere in your space. On the other hand, if you prioritize complete darkness and maximum privacy, blackout shades are the way to go. They block out all light and offer excellent insulation properties.

When choosing between solar and blackout shades, consider factors such as your desired level of privacy, light control preferences, aesthetic requirements, durability concerns, and maintenance capabilities. By carefully evaluating these aspects against your unique needs and style preferences, you'll be able to select the ideal window treatment solution for your home or office.

Contact Us & Discover How We Can Help You Today!

(512) 939-3446

15218 Nightingale Ln

Austin, TX 78734

Treaty Oak Shade Company build longterm relationships with our team members, clients and suppliers by working directly with builders, architects and interior designers to achieve the best outcome.

How To Contact Us

(512) 939-3446

15218 Nightingale Ln,

Austin, TX 78734

By Appointment Only

Monday - Friday 8 AM - 5 PM


Find Us On Google

Copyright © 2021 | Treaty Oak Shade Co. All Rights Reserved.