The Homeowner’s Guide to Solar Screens (80 vs. 90 Material Type, Cost Guide)

Written By Kenneth Wilson  |  0 Comments

If you are tired of overworking your AC unit in the summer to keep the scorching heat from blasting right through the windows, you may want to explore a solar screen solution. This helps you reduce the heat transfer through your home's windows. (Related: What are Solar Screens? Here's What You Need to Know)

Solar screens are composed of a unique window screen mesh (often a polyester weave), and it is also sometimes made with the improved durability of a PVC coating. Usually, you'll find these screens installed outside of your windows to black them out.

If you're wondering how much it will cost you to install solar screens at home, we've rounded up the latest prices to keep you up to date. Ultimately, the total costs will depend on where you live, how much your local utility company charges, and the power you need for your home needs.

How Much do Solar Screens Cost?

A solar screen can cost you as little as $35 per screen. An average-sized 80% solar screen (measuring 36" x 60") costs about $60, including high-quality solar screen fabric and a heavy-duty frame. Total costs can vary depending on several factors, such as:

  • the location
  • the number of windows on your home
  • the quality of the materials
  • and the size of the windows

In some cases, the time of the year you're purchasing solar screens may also affect the price you're paying for.

Material Type: 80% vs. 90% Sunscreen

Several different varieties of solar screen fabrics are available today, with the two most popular ones being the 80% and the 90%. Homeowners who want more light, better airflow, and visibility can benefit more from the 80%. At the same time, those who wish to have better glare reduction and energy efficiency can go with the 90% model.

Ideally, put the 90% sunscreen model in areas where you are dealing with extensive heat and glare. You can place the 80% model on the other remaining windows. Doing so allows you to control rooms where you want more natural lighting and tone down the rooms that can be rather hot.

Expert Tip: Hotter upper-level windows must use the 90% model, while tree-shaded or awning living spaces can use the 80%.

Cost Factors in Installing Solar Screens

Here are some of the most common cost factors to consider as you think about a solar screen installation project for your home.

  • Location ─ The location of your property determines the total price you'll pay for a solar screen installation. Suppose you live in warm climate areas such as Arizona, Florida, or Texas; you'll find better pricing at around $55 to $120 per screen as these states have several solar screen contractors. But if you are located in cooler climate regions (upper Midwest, Northeast, and Pacific Northwest), you may pay more to purchase solar screens from a local contractor. Prices in this area can be somewhat competitive as there's a lack of competition.
  • Total number of windows ─ Naturally, the number of windows you will need to install solar screens will determine the price you'll pay for each screen. Those who only need to cover 1 or 2 windows may need to pay more per screen than when they need to install a whole-house solar screen. Many solar screen companies in the country may not do an in-house visit if you only request 1 or 2 screens, as they have a minimum order requirement (usually $420 or more). Those who want to install solar screens for every window in the home may pay $60 to $75 per screen. But if you only want to work on 1 to 2 windows, it may easily cost you up to $1,000 per screen or more.
  • Size of windows ─ One influential factor in determining your total solar screen project costs is the size of the windows. High-quality solar screen material doesn't come cheap. And the more you need of it, the more you need to pay. Solar screens for small windows (24″ x 24″) may cost you around $35 per screen. But more expansive windows measuring 60″ x 72″ may cost more than $90.
  • Material quality of the solar screen ─ The best solar screen fabric in the market today, including Phifer Suntex and Twitchell Textilene, will cost you a substantial amount. These products are proudly made in the USA and can withstand wear and tear. There are also several solar screen options at your local home improvement stores, but the quality of these products may be compromised. Therefore, they are likely to have subpar performance and may quickly fade and tear over time. This may result in a waste of your hard-earned money.
  • Time of year ─ The time in the year that you decide to buy solar screens may ultimately dictate the final price you need to pay. Homeowners who shop during the late spring or the middle of the summer may have to pay higher prices. This is usually peak season (busy times) for solar screen contractors, so incentives and discounts are rare. Meanwhile, waiting until the late fall and winter months allows you to score better deals with your local screen contractors. This is usually when the demand is lower, which translates to lower prices.
  • Gridwork ─ Gridwork is another factor that may determine the price of your solar screen installation. Remember that most solar screens do not have any other bars or separators on the screen interior. But several solar screens have a single crossbar which provides more structure to larger frames. It may also double as a nice aesthetic. If you want to add a grid pattern on the interior of the solar screens, expect to pay more. This might cost you up to 2x or 3x the cost of a standard solar screen.

How to Work with a Trusted Solar Screen Installer in Your Area

Once you're ready to install solar screens because of their many benefits, it's time to choose reliable solar system contractors in your area to ensure professional installation services. Before installation, you may be subjected to a thorough assessment– which is something you may want to keep in mind.

If you still do not have a reputable contractor to hire for your solar screen installation project, check with the local Better Business Bureau (BBB) to see if they're an established name in the industry. It would also be best to ask for word-of-mouth recommendations from your friends and loved ones.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much will solar screens save me on my electric bill?

No one can give you a precise and accurate figure since too many factors exist: How many windows does your house have? How is your house constructed? Is the home facing west? But, solar screens will certainly minimize summer cooling and winter heating costs. A two-story house facing east to west, for example, will receive a return on investment in two years, but a one-story home will take three.

Will solar screens block my view?

Solar screens will allow complete external visibility while reducing glare from the sun. Consider looking out the window while wearing tinted sunglasses. This is the general vision quality that our screens allow. It's similar to looking through a regular window screen but darker.

Will my solar screens pay for themselves?

Yes! Solar screens save so much money on energy that they usually pay for themselves within a few years. They also help air conditioners and furnaces last longer by lowering their workload. When appliances are only exposed to a 10-20% heat gain, they are more efficient. Reduced strain on your devices will save you money on repairs while lowering your energy use.

Do solar screens really work?

Yes, they are the most energy-efficient product for your windows on the market. They're installed on the outside of the window to create a thermal blanket that keeps the summer heat out and blocks the winter's cold.

About the Author

I can build it, and I can help you get the patio enclosure you want! I got my start in the Florida patio industry back in the 70s as a young general laborer looking for something to make a few bucks. At the time I never thought it would end up as my career. Over the years I grew beyond the laborer position, becoming a foreman, superintendent, and then into executive management for some of the largest patio contractors, and material vendors. Now into retirement and slightly bored, I offer consulting services to new and existing contractors, and publish this website to help the people who love their patio's and screen enclosures the most - YOU!

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