We get a lot of sunshine in North Texas. Depending on the orientation of the windows on our home and the configuration of the overhangs on your roof- you can get a lot of heat through the windows in Texas. Now if it is the second week of November and there is talk of an icy arctic blast coming next week- this energy coming in the windows will be a pleasant addition to a cold day in the Texas heating season.
BUT, more often in Texas, lots of sun in windows means you are in discomfort- particularly if you are reading about and thinking about window treatments.
If this solar heating is coming in- in the morning hours from the east or the late afternoon from the west during the cooling season or in the two “tween” seasons, this extra energy most likely makes you hot, makes you uncomfortable. We explore all the aspects of whether and how much the sun plays a role in your space here. Orientation of your windows is key. And the configuration of your space is critical.
What can we do to stop this unwanted interplay of the sun and our windows?
In fact our thoughts turn to what can we do about all this unwanted sun energy? Do we have to replace the windows? We that about that here,
but on this page we are going to discuss window treatments- different components we can use to manage the sun’s energy coming through your windows and make your space more pleasing and more comfortable.
related: Always be sure the information you are reading pertains to our North Texas climate. zone. You do not want to get your advice for windows from a Yankee living in the polar belt. It is easy to take for granted that everyone espousing on the Internet is right in the neighborhood. Not true. Make sure you are aware of our climate zone here in DFW metroplex. Make sure the great solutions you read about online are pertinent to North Texas. What works for windows here is not appropriate for living in the American ice belt.
There is a virtual cornucopia of options for window treatments on your home.
We will go through the broad range and throw out some ideas and then come back later and back fill better with pictures and discussion. The rreally fun part is finding the combination that fits your home and solves your problem.
The use of any of these treatments must carefully fit into esthetics and interplay of design and lighting on your home.
You can pick the attributes you want. You can determine the amount of natural light, the hue of the light by choosing the right window treatment. There are wonderful options that can be mixed together to save you energy and make our home look more beautiful, and make your home more enjoyable to experience.
We rely too much on the old standard louvered blinds and curtains to keep out the sun. What we are usually doing is inclosing the gloom and the sun energy gets in anyway. We need curtains at night to keep out the prying eyes but during the day the just enclose the gloom. Lets make sure we understand the attributes and the failings of the old standard blinds and drapes and curtains.
Window Films offer a wide range of features to meet your needs and serve your sensibilities. We just need to be sure and understand what they can do and what they cannot do for us. We look at window films here.
Awnings come in a variety of options and all of them happen outside where they are creating shade on the window. Plus awnings bring a variety of other options up to make a complex yet interesting tub of possibilities. The utility of awnings are limited only by the imagination and your sense of propriety. We have a separate page to celebrate the diversity of awnings.
Trellises and living things- plants and animals can create shade on a bank of east, west or south facing windows. This either creates or solves a whole range of esthetics issue. It puts gloves on your hands and your fingers in the dirt, and you get to pick flowers and eat vegetables. Imagine big tomato plants on a trellis and you keep them growing up vertically to shade your window… check out radical gardening ideas here. Caution, work zone ahead.
Inside window inserts provide sort of an inside storm window effect but different. There are specific virtues for having these types of window treatments and reasons why they might not be so perfect but it makes sense to look at them, in case, some other options finds traction in your brain. It is always nice to bring one solution to bear on more than one aggravation. We talk about interior wndow panes here.
Window Screens are an option.Maybe you like them. You have a variety of colors and degree of shading available. They are not that hard to deal with and they are easy to clean. If you like the look, and they can easily be matched to one facet of your home. We look at solar screens here.
We don’t always want the windows shaded. We might like full sun on a cloudy day during the right time of the year. Permanent fixes to windows- window replacement, window films are there for the long haul. You are not going to take down the solar screens on a sunny day. You are not going to take out the indoor panels on a lark. S But these systems reject solar radiation even when you might want it. Ah, but mounted and movable shading mechanisms let you decide when you need the window shaded. Do these sound like an option for you? Lets explore exterior mounted and movable shading mechanisms
What if your options were automated by the season, by the time of day, by your personal choice? how would that make you feel? Automation of shading options for shades and awning are available and just might be what makes you smile.
Carefully consider what you want to do.
You do need a comprehensive list of the challenges your windows are suffering and you need to address each of these and prioritize them in the overall process of making yourself happy, and comfortable.
Home Performance issues – you have heat gain issues and air leakage issues to assess and deal with. You might have hints of water entry issues into wall structures which also must be addressed as early as possible. We talk about water in walls here. We address air leak issues in the house here.
You also need a clear assessment of the solar gain on your home and it individual issues from all four sides of the house, and have a differentiated solution that best addresses each of these view points from that point of view.
You have esthetic issues that you are addressing while performance issues are important you are wanting something else- some flair, a whole new look, these involve a whole separate part of the brain and your selection of consultants.
You also need to understand decide on your level of participation in the window treatments. A new trellis wall or an espaliered fruit tree to shade a window means you are hands on throughout the year. Solar screens means you eventually need to clean them, maybe you want to take them off and store them. This is a level of commitment, beyond replacement windows that need some cleaning on occasion but otherwise serve you dutifully. So you get the drift here. You need to appraise your role as dictated by your choice.
Make sure you understand how some of these treatments will change the light patterns in your house. You need a good idea what happens on a cloudy day as well as full sun.
Have I created the right level of consternation yet?
Now I enjoy embroiling you into a mass of confusing choices because I am a busy body but you need to instigate such thoughts yourself, because the people coming to your home, are motivated by bring you to a decision not creating more confusion and uncertainty in your mind. Now they have the answers. You just have to know and ask the questions.
So feel free to add your thoughts below. Have you added window treatments before? What did you learn? What did you discover in the process? Your experience might help someone else make the right choice.