curtains on the porch - your experience

bbstxMay 9, 2014

The porch on our new house faces squarely west. We are in the South, so that means hot hot sun a great deal of the year. I do not want anything permanent, like an awning or Bermuda shutters, but I do want something to block the afternoon sun when we are on the porch.

Curtains seem to be an answer but I'm concerned about their upkeep. Do any of you have experience with outdoor curtains? If so, where did you get yours? What level of opacity did you choose? Do they wash easily? Do you get lots of bugs and spiders caught up in them?

Any other ideas for sun blockage?

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We got roller solar shades. Most of the window covering companies make them. You can get them in different opacity levels--I think we got 90%. They also have tie downs so that they don't blow around when it is windy. Our porch faces west and we only use them during the two hours that the sun is bothersome--otherwise they are rolled up and out of the way. A neighbor had curtains and it seemed to us that they were more difficult to keep clean and that they blew around in the wind--I assume there is some way to tie down curtains too, but the neighbor didn't have them.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 1:05PM
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I made some myself using Tommy Bahama indoor/outdoor polyester fabric. Our patio faces East, but it's super hot in the summer mornings. I'm amazed how effective the curtains have been in cutting down on the heat. I linked the type of fabric I used, but I think the color was called "coffee"

Mine hang from a rod, just like window curtains. No major bug issues and we do not spray any pesticides. I leave them up year-round, and spray them off w/the hose if they seem to need it.

The wind does blow them around, I tie them back when that's happening but, ideally, I should have weighted the hems. I've had them up about three years. Wish I'd done it a LONG time ago b/c it really made the patio feel like an outdoor room :-)

Edit -- just wanted to add that I live in CA, we get lots of 100+ days in summer.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tommy Bahama

This post was edited by melle_sacto on Fri, May 9, 14 at 13:33

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 1:26PM
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Annie Deighnaugh

Mother made her own outdoor curtains out of striped flat sheets...she got them for an extra long bed...being sheets, they are very washable. You can put them on cables and use clip rings or grommets.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 6:27PM
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I would use a drop cloth, cut larger than standard size curtain panels. In the area you want to hang, one on each end would look neater when they're pushed back and not in use. A drop cloth could be hosed down with a gentle spray so there wouldn't be a need to take them down. Use large teacup hooks to hang(fairly substantial). Make holes in the drop cloth, and use a 'Bedazzler" to attach little metal rings, similar to those on a shower curtain, but much smaller~I think you can find them at a craft store. Get the visual? ;)

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 6:43PM
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I use wide bamboo blinds, the kind with 1/2" bamboo slats, on the west-facing porch of my beach house in North Carolina. Here In the south, matchstick blinds with tiny slats would let too much sun through, I think, but the wider bamboo slats work great. I bought them at Lowes and they were not expensive, but they've held up for at least 10 years. If there's a lot of breeze we tie the bottom of the blinds to the porch railing to keep them from blowing around. I don't have any pictures of mine but google "bamboo outdoor blinds" and look at the images.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 7:42PM
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I used matchstick on my former screen porch but when I tried to use curtains (made of sheeting material) my neighbor's riding lawn mower threw dust all over them and ruined them because she was not vigilant to cut the grass, but also the dirt of which she had more than grass.

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 8:04PM
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Bought two sets of Olefin outdoor curtains (108 inches long) from Amazon -- worked so well last summer!

    Bookmark   May 9, 2014 at 8:15PM
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Thanks, y'all for all the feedback.

patty_cakes, I think I got the visual, but I'm a little unclear. I'm envisioning the curtains as stationary on the cup hooks. My porch is about 15 feet wide, so I don't think stationary curtains would give me the coverage I want. Nevertheless, I like the idea of drop cloths that can be hosed down!

ashef, I'm surprised your bamboo blinds lasted so long! I thought sun and rain would have done them in pretty quickly.

I had neighbors once who had a porch shade made of substantial teak slats. They ordered them online but were always cagey about where. I think they wanted their shade to be unique.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 10:00AM
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Coolaroo brand fabric from Australia or something similar will provide more protection from UV rays than any other kind of fabric. It can also be light filtering in a way that canvas drapes are not.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 10:07AM
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How about Sunbrella curtains? They can be washed in cold water, and air dried. And then folded and stored if/when not needed.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 1:42PM
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We used drop cloth as curtains before a screened porch and patio renovation. They worked pretty well when tied back, but when the wind blew...which is pretty much all the time where I live...the curtains would not stay put very well. Perhaps if I had made them with weights, that could have helped.

I have just finished cleaning my screened porch from all the pollen and will make a new thread of the before and after of our outside "sprucing-up." The project was finished late last summer, but I do not believe that I ever posted anything.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 3:02PM
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Another view.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 3:03PM
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From outside.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 3:04PM
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Very nice, nhb! Your porch is very inviting. I'm still trying to decide what I want to do.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 3:21PM
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Creating Shade on my Screened-in Porch

Here is a link that might be useful: Creating Shade on my Screened-in Porch

    Bookmark   June 8, 2014 at 3:24PM
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I bought used shears from Goodwill, sewed tabs at the top and hung them from cup hooks. They last a few years, I toss them and buy more used shears.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2014 at 8:02PM
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NHB, I want your porch, how pretty!!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 5:20AM
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Nice work!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 11:37AM
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Why thank you! My porch doesn't even look like that anymore. :) I have been trying to start a new thread about my new porch and pergola, but cannot get my photos off my iPad. I'll work on it tomorrow. Think I found a solution.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2014 at 9:03PM
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I don't have outdoor curtains but I wondered if curtains on your porch will be protected from rain? If not, I would not use sheets, dropcloths, etc. I like the suggestions for the sunbrella and the other outdoor fabric mentioned. I have slipcovers made from dropcloth, which I love, (in my sunroom), but it is really just a heavy cotton. If they get wet, that is going to be a heavy, wet drape that will take a while to dry. If you hose them, same thing. The dropcloths seem to have a coating until washed, then they get very soft and would absorb water. I think you would be better off with an outside fabric and do weight the hems.

Just my 2 cents worth! Good luck!


    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 4:34PM
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Interesting observations, Tina. Thanks for pointing it out.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2014 at 8:11PM
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