The Window Covering Lady
The Window Covering Lady
talks window coverings and
various window treatments

Outdoor Bamboo Shades

One great way to keep your house cool in hot weather is to use outdoor bamboo shades. Keeping the sun from entering your home or office is more energy efficient than cooling the building once the UV energy warms the air and contents of the room.

Outdoor bamboo shades are not much different from the indoor variety of bamboo shades. Often, indoor bamboo shades are used as outdoor bamboo shades. But this substitution can cause some problems.

The durability and weather-resistance of the cords that knot the outdoor bamboo shades together is the most important thing. Regular cotton cords may rot in wet weather. Some types of synthetic fibers may deteriorate under harsh sunshine. It is usually best to choose outdoor bamboo shades that are certified as built for that environment, using weather-resistant cords and rust-proof components such as pulley clutches and returns.

Beyond the weatherproofing cautions, outdoor bamboo shades make a lot of sense. Bamboo is a very tough natural material that will not break down easily under outdoor use. Most outdoor bamboo shades are relatively heavy, so they resist gentle breezes and will not blow aside. The construction of outdoor bamboo shades, which allows air to pass between the bamboo struts, also helps cut wind resistance and prolong the life of the outdoor bamboo shades.

Outdoor bamboo shades are made in much the same way as indoor bamboo shades. Long slivers are split from a stalk of bamboo; these are often called match sticks and give rise to the alternative name match stick shades. The slivers are braided together using heavy cord or twine. The outdoor bamboo shades are made to rise and fall by stringing cords up between the match sticks to form a Roman shade type of closing mechanism, or be stringing the outdoor bamboo shades in a roll-up configuration. Typically, an outdoor bamboo shade will be hung from a wooden batten, and a clutch pulley mechanism will be on the left or right side.

Outdoor bamboo shades come in see-through and privacy styles. The see-through outdoor bamboo shades are loosely woven; they filter light but still allow breezes to blow through, and neighbors to see through. Privacy style outdoor bamboo shades are either more tightly woven to block light and viewing, or backed with a stout cloth such as canvas. Privacy style outdoor bamboo shades do not allow one to enjoy breezes blowing directly toward the shades, and their wind resistance may cause them to blow wildly out of alignment.

The bamboo used in outdoor bamboo shades comes in several varieties. Smooth, green bamboo is the most common, and it is called shizen bamboo. A more rustic, reddish-brown bamboo called musako is also popular. Some varieties of bamboo have mottled stalks, and they are often cut into thicker slivers for use in outdoor bamboo shades to show off this interesting texture.

Outdoor bamboo shades are often used on patios, porches, and balconies to cut the hard rays of morning or evening sun. Such applications often require an outdoor bamboo shade of six feet or more in width. The widest outdoor bamboo shades generally available are 96 inches wide ­ that’s eight feet!

Outdoor bamboo shades are tough, versatile, and beautiful ways to make your outdoor living space more pleasant.

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