Roller Awning vs. Solar Shades – What’s Right for Your Home?

Phantom Screens Solar Shading Screen

Over the past several years, outdoor living spaces have become an essential part of every home. A place for spending time with loved ones, entertaining guests or just enjoying some extra time in the sun — with the correct shade system installed, this exterior space can become an extension of your home and a permanent fixture that will be used by the entire family year-round. 

With so many options available to homeowners on the market, it’s easy to become overwhelmed when it comes time to selecting the appropriate choice for creating shade around your own home based on your family’s personal needs. While a smaller space may only require an umbrella to provide enough shade, homeowners who are looking to cover a larger patio have an even wider array of choices to pick from, each coming with its own associated advantages. Read on to learn the key differences between two popular choices for outdoor spaces of any size, awnings and solar shades, and how you can pick the right one for your own home.


A simple fix, awnings can help to minimize the direct sun exposure on your deck or patio and will also protect your outdoor furniture from harsh UV rays, lengthening their overall lifespan as the colors will not be as quick to fade over time. This option will also allow you to enjoy the warmth of the summer without experiencing discomfort or overheating on even the sunniest of days. 

One of the most common styles of this variety of shade systems are roller awnings, which offer retractable options ranging in complexity from a simple hand crank to an electric system with remote-control operation. These coverings can range in size depending on the brand selected, however, Consumer Affairs has found that roller awnings are usually built to cover a maximum space of 40-feet wide and 15-feet long. Depending on maintenance and upkeep, such as regular cleaning as well as retracting the awning when it’s not in use or during storms and other extreme weather, homeowners can expect the system to last anywhere from 10-20 years.

Solar Shades

Made from a durable combination of extruded aluminum components and fiberglass or polyester mesh, exterior sun shades can be used to enclose any outdoor space and can be custom fit to create the ideal all-seasons bonus room in any home. Controlled by a remote control, a wall-mounted switch or even your very own smartphone, this innovative feature utilizes the latest technology to create the ultimate user-friendly experience. 

Although solar shades should be retracted during cold or wet weather conditions, maintenance over time is minimal, as they only require a cleaning about once or twice a season. Small dust particles or any dirt that clings to the mesh can easily be wiped off with a mixture of mild detergent and water. While these shades should be kept in their protective housing in the event of strong winds, sensors can actually automatically retract the system when these winds are detected, which helps to minimize any risk of the mesh screen being torn.

Phantom Screens Solar Shading Screen

What are the biggest differences between the two options? 

While both systems come with their own advantages, the technologically based features of solar shades make them a longer lasting and more advanced alternative to their traditional counterpart when it comes to doing more than just shading an outdoor space during the summer. Awnings can provide a straightforward shading solution that will protect your outdoor living space from harsh direct sunlight, but solar shades offer a myriad of additional benefits including keeping out pests, regulating the climate of your whole home, and increasing the overall privacy of your space.

One significant benefit of Phantom’s solar shades over roller awnings is that they are housed within a recessed space, meaning unlike a roller shade’s unsightly cassette valance, when not in use, solar shades are entirely out of sight. This feature allows homeowners to enjoy all of the benefits provided by solar shades without having to compromise any of the visual appeal of their outdoor living space and the exterior of their home. Additionally, homeowners have the option to match their screens to the pre-existing style of their house by selecting from a wide range of colors as well as customizable wood grain finishes.

The right choice for your home

If you’re a homeowner who is looking to make use of your home’s outdoor living space as much as possible throughout the year, solar shades serve as the best option, as they are seasonally versatile and incredibly user-friendly. Additionally, the minimal maintenance requirements and lifelong warranty provided by Phantom Screens’ solar shade options make it a long-lasting investment that you and your family will enjoy for years to come. If you’re interested in installing solar shades in your home or have any additional questions about the difference between them and roller awnings, contact us today to learn more.