Various window treatments in residential homes are more than to show the view. It combines aesthetics and practicality purposes by incorporating curtains, drapes, blinds, shades, or windows film as a crucial part of the overall design scheme. More importantly, it provides a practical use of keeping rooms fresh and safe from the sun’s harmful’s ultraviolet rays.

The perfect window has layers of functionality and is flexible enough to suit a home’s inhabitants’ needs at different times of the day – whether it’s to bathe under the morning light or to cloak the room in complete darkness after hours. To that end, there are two ways you can protect your furniture, reduce energy costs, and help keep the light at bay: blackout curtains and window films.

While both have a similar purpose, each has different functions and provides its unique benefits. Choosing the right one for your taste and needs depends on your preference, but we’re here to make your choice easier by laying down the groundwork on the differences between blackout curtains and window films.

What are Blackout Curtains?

Blackout curtains are typically made from a tightly woven, multi-layered lining that has the capacity to block 99.9% of sunlight passing through your window. The dense and durable material makes it an excellent tool that can reduce thermal energy loss by up to 25%, adequately insulating the temperature and keeping your room warmer or cooler depending on your needs.

Many other brands include noise reduction features in their blackout curtains, which is especially beneficial for homeowners who want constant peace to enhance the quality of sleep. The drawback, however, is that visibility is severely restricted when the blackout curtains are fully closed as it is designed to block light completely. This makes navigating around the room, challenging without the help of artificial lightings such as lamps or nightlights.

What are Window Films?

Window film is made from polyester or PET films, which are applied to glass and glazed over to hold the material together even upon shattering. It can be used to sliding doors, glass panels, and all the windows of a building. It is also available in two options: with or without solar film. Both are 100-micron thick, but the one with the solar film can reduce 70% of heat, glare, and cut back 80% of the UV rays from the sun.

It is available in different types, each having it’s similar and distinct benefits, but all are made to resist scratches using a protective coating. In its differences, some window tints have transparent, multiple layers of PET to improve the window’s durability, while others are tinted with metals, dyes, or pigments to control the transmission of the Sun’s UV rays. Other than blocking heat and regulating temperature, it also prevents the degradation of furniture that is overexposed to sunlight.

Which is the Right Choice for Your Home?

The right choice largely depends on your purpose and what benefits you want to reap. For instance, blackout curtains are the perfect solution for homeowners who wish to block off the light during the night and day, and value getting consistent quality sleep. These curtains also come in multiple color schemes and decor style, making it ideal for those who want a functional and fashionable material.

To that end, homeowners who want to lower cooling costs for both day and night, protect furniture from overexposure to the sun’s UV rays, as well as to increase privacy without compromising your outside view may prefer window films.

Pros of Solar Shades:

  • Lowers Energy Cost: Solar shades prevent heat in the summertime and retain heat in the wintertime. These factors help to lower your energy costs. But solar shades are even more effective than window tinting at preventing heat because they keep the window glass cool in the summertime.
  • Promotes Skin Health: Solar shading is more effective than window tinting at preventing UV rays and excessive sunlight from damaging your skin.
  • Versatility: Unlike window tinting, solar shades can be used on virtually any type of window.
  • Stylistic Variety: Solar shades are available in a wide variety of designs, which gives you the freedom to choose a style that fits your home.
  • Glare Reduction: They reduce the glare in interior spaces, making it easier to view electronic screens. This reduction protects your vision from being harmed.
  • Intact Warranty: Unlike window tints, solar shades do not jeopardize your window’s manufacturer’s warranty.
  • Flexibility: While window tints are permanent, solar shades can be rolled up at any time during the day, or seasonally, throughout the year, providing a flexibility window tints cannot. So if you want to have a day with a clear view of your backyard, you can simply roll up the shades. The shades can even be motorized and controlled with a wall switch or a remote control.
  • Installation Convenience: They are fast and easy to install and do not negatively affect the resale value of your home.

Cons of Solar Shades:

  • Aesthetic Issues: Although solar shades don’t affect your view from the interior, from the exterior looking in, certain types can make the house look dark, almost as if it’s wearing sunglasses. This style isn’t for every homeowner.
  • Too Much Darkness: Solar shades can be too effective, meaning that you end up spending more money on interior lighting. For some people, this negative could also be a positive.
  • Vulnerability: Solar shades are subject to damage in stormy weather conditions, and may require repair from time to time.
  • Air Flow Inhibition: Some types of solar shades can be so thick they reduce air flow, which can be a problem for some homeowners who value windows as ventilators.

Window film is virtually maintenance free (doesn’t collect dust!) and is easily applied to the inside of your windows, as well as easily removed without damage. Additionally, the film also provides protection for the actual window.

Think of a phone screen protector; similarly, window film gives higher protection to the class from breaks or shatters. Sounds great, right?! But keep in mind, window film will not provide great privacy, which could be very important depending on your needs.

It also does not provide any decorative options other than the “bare window” look.

Coming back to your preference and goals for space will help you decipher between these two options. If you just can’t choose, remember, you can always use both! 

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