ROLLER SHADES - Material Selection

ROLLER SHADES - Material Selection

 


TYPES OF SHADE MATERIALS

Shade Materials come in various types or groupings and each type serves its own general purpose. The primary types or groups of materials are Translucent, Room Dimming (Light Filtering), Open Weaves (Sun Screens) and Black Out.

Translucent, Room Dimming & Light Filtering Roller Shade Materials: We group Translucent and Room Dimming Materials together because they are typically of the same construction. The one thing that really separates Translucent and Room Dimming Materials is the color of the fabric. Light colors will seem to illuminate like a shade on a lamp, allowing natural filtered light to enter the room. This happens because light colors reflect more light so when the sun hits the material it bounces around through the tiny threads of material and makes its way into the room. Conversely dark colors do not pass much light at all because dark colors absorb light. When the sun hits a dark material the material seemingly sucks up the light that hits it. The amount of illumination or light transfer through a lightly colored material translucent shade material is directly proportionate to the amount of direct sun light hitting it. The use of a light colored translucent material in a window that does not get direct sun light can actually provide good room dimming. So when looking at a material group termed as translucent keep in mind that the darker colors that might be available in that group are less translucent or not at all translucent.

These shade materials are made from a variety of materials like Polyester, Cotton, Linen, Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) etc. Their construction is typically a tight weave with very very small holes and are considered to be have zero openness even though in some materials you might see what appears to be tiny pin holes which are generally only visible in darker colors when sun light hits them. They are generally thinner than other material groups but not always. The specific function of a translucent material (Light Colors) is to allow natural light into the room without sacrificing much privacy and the function with darker materials materials is pure room dimming or darkening.

Open Weave and Sun Screen Roller Shade Materials: These shade materials are generally made of Polyester or Fiberglass covered with PVC. More and more eco friendly versions are becoming available like polyester, cotton, & linen blends as well as 100% Polyester and 100% Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET). Polyester or Fiberglass covered with PVC are typically considered the core type of materials and it is mostly based on definition. These open weaves generally only transmit light or visibility through the open weave and not through the fabric. We actually use a broader definition of an open weave and include what is considered a sheer material in this group which encompasses the other materials of construction. Sheer materials can sometimes be grouped with translucent but we do have a clear definition that separates these kinds of materials. Our definition of an open weave or sunscreen material is any material, regardless of color or material that allows some amount of visibility. Open weaves come in a variety of openness (1% to 20% open typically) and this is generally how they are sorted. Use also use a class of variably open weave materials and you will find the more fabric like opens weaves in this section due to there non-rated openness nature.

Black-Out Roller Shade Materials: These shade material provide 100% light blocking by definition, no pin holes and zero light passing through them. Black out shade materials are generally made from Fiberglass covered with PVC, 100% Polyester or blends and other materials an acrylic foam backing. It used to be that black out materials were very industrial looking but more and more decorative and fabric like materials are becoming available as black out materials.


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PRIVACY, VIEWABILITY, AND LIGHT BLOCKING

When picking a material your first decision really should be how much light do I want to come through, how much visibility do I want and what are my privacy concerns. Once, you have this nailed down you will find it easier to decide on a material.

Translucent, Room Dimming & Light Filtering Roller Shade Materials: These materials have the least amount of visibility while providing some light transmittance (darker colors have less light transmittance). Translucent materials do not provide 100% privacy though and this is because shadows can be cast on the shades from internal lights behind the subject. Darker materials are generally room dimming and not translucent which will provide very good privacy but little light transmittance.

Open Weave and Sun Screen Shade Materials: These materials are very versatile in getting you what you want and are designed for that purpose. They are available with a wide range of openness. The more open a material the more visibility and light transmittance you will have and conversely the less privacy you will have. The openness of a material is a measure of ratio of material space to holes and not how much visibility or light is passed though it. When considering visibility and light passage you must also take into consideration the thickness of a material as well was pattern of the weave with the thickness of the material being of more concern. Keep in mind that even 1% open materials provide some amount of visibility and if you have significant privacy concerns you will more than likely want to go with a thicker material 1% open material than a thinner one. A 1% open material can however provide enough privacy for most in a bedroom but we wouldn't recommend using anything more open than 1%. When picking a material for a combination of light blocking and visibility you need to consider the sun exposure. A 3% open provides fair visibility while provide decent light blocking. We find a 5% open material to be a good balance for most looking to balance visibility with light blocking. For those of you with a spectacular view, no privacy concerns and moderate exposures 10% and greater openness materials are the perfect choice.

Black-Out Roller Shade Materials: Not much to say here. No light transmittance and no privacy concerns with exception to gaps on the sides of the shades.

Comparative Privacy and Viewability of 1%, 3%, 5% and 10% Open Materials
Normal View Daytime inside looking out. Daytime outside looking in. Nighttime outside looking in.

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HOW ABOUT COLOR

If you have read some of the topics above you already know some about colors but there is more to it than meets the eye. Generally, the lighter the color the more light is reflected and the darker the color the more light is absorbed. Absorbed sun light is heat so darker materials will generate more heat and transfer it into the room. If you are trying to cut energy costs dark colors are not the way to go unless you get a material with a light colored material on the back. Materials with white backing are quite common and there are some materials with silver backings that have the best reflectance value. The color of a material will have somewhat varying effects on the the shade based on the type of material. 

Translucent, Room Dimming & Light Filtering Roller Shade Materials: Light colors here provide significant diffused light into the room while reflecting a lot of the light back out of the window. The darker the color the less light transmittance and really dark colors can get to near blackout with the exception of pin holes.

Open Weave and Sun Screen Shade Materials: Light colors here provide increased reflection of the sun's energy while not significantly effecting the amount of light entering the room. A lighter color will also provide more light into the room than a dark color because even though they reflect light in all directions not just back out the window. Dark colors reflect less (absorb more) of the sun's energy so they are not as energy efficient but darker colors do provide better visibility than light colors. Darker colors provide better visibility because there is less reflected light bouncing around in the roller shade material to obscure one's view. If you are trying to optimize for both visibility and efficiency yo can used blended weaves of white and dark colors, use a mid tone solid color or use a dark colored material that has either a white or silver backing.

Black-Out Roller Shade Materials: Light colors are more energy efficient than dark colors because they reflect more light. There are hover several material choices available having a dark color inside the room and white on the outside.

 

All of the above really has been a discussion of what happens the sun's energy entering a window but there are similar properties for the interior space. Light colors within a room will bounce around more interior lighting. For some this is a concern and for other not so much. It really depends on the environment. For instance in a home theater one typically wants darker colors to minimize reflected light within the room but in a sun room, kitchen, or study you might want a lighter color to help illuminate the room more evenly by reflecting the light.

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OUR MATERIAL SELECTIONS

Our primary materials are listed below for in tabular form with links to more product information. We can quote shades for material not listed here from other material manufacturers like: Phifer, Mermet and Vertilux. Note: We do focus on shades for interior use and we may not be able to provide shade fabrics dedicated for exterior use. We can also quote shade using customer supplied materials. The following table provides quick data and links to the material selections. The Table is sorted by type of material.

Material Openness Companion
Series *
Construction Thickness Weight
oz/yd2
Roll Widths Max.
Seamless
W x H *
Matte Vinyl Blackout   4 Ply - Vinyl Coated Fiberglass
Note: White Back
0.012" 14 72"       72" x 69"
Phifer
Sheerweave 7000
Blackout   Polyester w/ Acrylic Foam
Note: White Back
0.026" 12 94" 118"     118" x 115"
Phifer
Sheerweave 7400
Blackout 7450 Polyester w/ Acrylic Foam
Note: White Back
0.029" 12.53 118"       118" x115"
Phifer
Sheerweave 7500
Blackout
  Polyester w/Acrylic Coating
Note: White Back
0.013" 11.8 98" 118"     118" x 115"
Phifer
Sheerweave 7600
Blackout
7650 Polyester w/Acrylic Coating
Note: White Back
0.020" 11.8 118"       118" x 115"
Phife Sheerweave 7450 Translucent
Dimming
7400 Polyester 0.0118" 6.19 118"       118" x 115"
Phife Sheerweave 7650 Translucent
Dimming
7600 Polyester 0.014" 6.2 118"       118" x 115"
Phifer
Sheerweave 2500
1%

2360
2390
2410

PVC Coated Fiberglass 0.024" 16.1 63" 98" 126"   126" x 123"
Phifer
Sheerweave 2701
1% 2703
2705
2710
PVC Coated Fiberglass
Note: Mostly White Back
0.027" 14.6 63" 98" 126"   126" x 123"
Phifer
Sheerweave 4800
1%   PVC Coated Polyester 0.036" 18.5 63" 98"     98" x 95"
Phifer
Sheerweave 5000
1%, 3%, 5%
7%, 10%
  Varies Polyester, Vinyl, Acrylic, Olefin 0.032"
to
0.052"
12.5
to
16.1
74" 98"     98" x 95"
Phifer
Sheerweave 2410
3%

2360
2390
2500

PVC Coated Fiberglass 0.019" 13.9 63" 98" 126"   126" x 123"
Phifer
Sheerweave 2703
3% 2701
2705
2710
PVC Coated Fiberglass
Note: Mostly White Back
0.028" 14 63" 98" 126"   126" x 123"
Phifer
Sheerweave 4400
3% 4000
4100
PVC Coated Polyester 0.037" 20.7 63" 84" 98" 126" 126" x 123"
Phifer
Sheerweave 4600
3% 4500 PVC Coated Polyester 0.03" 17.4 63" 98"     98" x 95"
Phifer
Sheerweave 4650
3% 4550 PVC Coated Polyester
Note: Mostly White Back
0.026" 13.3 63" 98"     98" x 95"
Phifer
Sheerweave 5000
1%, 3%, 5%
7%, 10%
  Varies Polyester, Vinyl, Acrylic, Olefin 0.032"
to
0.052"
12.5
to
16.1
74" 98"     98" x 95"
Phifer
Sheerweave 8000

3%

  100 %Polyester 0.019" 6.34 118"       118" x 115"
Phifer
Sheerweave 2000
5% 2100 PVC Coated Fiberglass 0.019" 14.26 72" 96" 126"   126" x 123"
Phifer
Sheerweave 2390
5% 2360
2410
2500
PVC Coated Fiberglass 0.017" 11.9 63" 98" 126"   126" x 123"
Phifer
Sheerweave 2705
5%

2701
2703
2710

PVC Coated Fiberglass
Note: Mostly White Back
0.025" 11.8 63" 98" 126"   126" x 123"
Phifer
Sheerweave 4000
5% 4100
4400
PVC Coated Polyester 0.036" 19.2 63" 84" 98" 126" 126" x 123"
Phifer
Sheerweave 4500
5% 4600 PVC Coated Polyester 0.024" 14.4 63" 98"     98" x 95"
Phifer
Sheerweave 4550
5% 4650 PVC Coated Polyester
Note: Mostly White Back
0.025" 12.5 63" 98"     98" x 95"
Phifer
Sheerweave 5000
1%, 3%, 5%
7%, 10%
  Varies Polyester, Vinyl, Acrylic, Olefin 0.032"
to
0.052"
12.5
to
16.1
74" 98"     98" x 95"
Phifer
Sheerweave 2100
10% 2000 PVC Coated Fiberglass 0.02" 12.4 72" 96"     96" x 93"
Phifer
Sheerweave 2360
10% 2390
2410
2500
PVC Coated Fiberglass 0.017" 10.5 63" 98"     98" x 95"
Phifer
Sheerweave 2710
10% 2701
2703
2705
PVC Coated Fiberglass
Note: Mostly White Back
0.025" 10.4 63" 98"     98" x 95"
Phifer
Sheerweave 4100
10% 4000
4400
PVC Coated Polyester 0.035" 17.5 63" 84" 98"   98" x 95"
Phifer
Sheerweave 5000
1%, 3%, 5%
7%, 10%
  Varies Polyester, Vinyl, Acrylic, Olefin 0.032"
to
0.052"
12.5
to
16.1
74" 98"     98" x 95"
Phifer
Sheerweave 3000
14%   PVC Coated Fiberglass 0.028" 13.46 72" 96"     96" x 93"
                     

*Companion Series - These are materials that are color matched to each other and have the same thread patterns.

*Max Seamless - These are maximum sizes each shade can be made without a seam for the given material.

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