Need to shield back of house

texas_grrlMarch 2, 2008

The back of my new house faces south/west and I am concerned that my bedroom and bathroom will be blistery hot this summer.

Does anyone have any ideas for decreasing the sun exposure on those windows? I have 2 inch wood blinds on the windows. I am considering planting a tree in the backyard, but it will not be big enough for shade for many years.

Any ideas?

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Years ago I had short draperies made, for the casement windows in the bedroom of my former house, that had a solar shield lining in them. I did this because I worked nights and needed the bedroom to be real dark. They worked great,and one of the windows was on the east side where the morning sun would just pour in. It was a silvery type of material. I'll bet a drapery shop sells this material, or something like it, today. Especially since many people need to limit solar gain so their AC is more efficient.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 11:29AM
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Awnings are ... awesome ... in summer, in your area.

Maybe less so in winter, when you want the sun to enter to assist with the heating.

Ask any cat, which moves to bask in the sunlight on the floor, chair, etc. as the moving shaft hits those areas and warms them in different locations during the (winter) day.

The Japanese used to build flat structures sort of like pancakes or decks sticking out horizontally from the house wall, a few feet above the windows, far enough above and with sufficent outreach to allow the sun to enter the windows in winter when it was low in the sky, to warm the house, and to form a shadow over the windows in summer when the sun was higher in the sky and one did not want its stronger rays frying one in one's rooms.

Good wishes for finding just enough free hot air to meet your needs ... if you need some extra, we might be able to round up some around these forums to help you out.

Always delighted to be helpful, that's us!

ole joyful

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 2:39PM
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About this time last year (after the first hot summer in our new house) we had exterior UV-filtering solar screens made for the windows on our house (we only have east and west windows). It filters out 80% of the UV rays and did a very good job of reducing heat. We really didn't want awnings or something we had to readily replace, and this was a MUCH cheaper alternative.

The local company that made our windows also made new screens for them. We had half-screens and replaced them with whole-window screens. The screen is much thicker and darker than regular screen. You can see Low-UV screen at Lowe's - it comes in rolls. So if you are handy, you can replace your existing screens.

The link below will give you more information.


Here is a link that might be useful: Solar Window Screening

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 2:44PM
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Thanks for the ideas.

Grainlady, I will look at the solar screens.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 4:19PM
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My first thought was awnings also. Is it great minds or feeble minds that think alike? :)

I'd definitely get some trees planted. First of all I like trees. They reduce noise, help clean the air, are nice to look at, provide shade and help the wildlife. And more Think for long term too, especially if you're going to stay a while. Shade is a great energy saver! It can actually be money in the bank. In the meantime, while you wait for the trees to grow, bushes will help provide shade for you. Lilacs grow like weeds and will be up and shading you in no time. Other types of bushes too can help. Hey, grow a few rows of corn and by the time they're through for the season you'll have eaten off them, received shade and then when they're gone it'll be open to the sun for the winter! Depends on how far you want to go I guess! :)

Also I know people who put up some board on board fences to block some sun, and provide some privacy next to their patio, or even something like a trellis. Too many people only think about blocking the sun from inside. Kind of like trying to sop up the water leaking into the basement instead of diverting it away in the first place! By only putting up shades, you're still heating up the house itself since the sun it hitting the side of the house, heating it up. If you shade the house and keep the sun from warming the side of the building it will be even more effective in pursuit of your goal. When the sun hits the house it's warming it and covering a window is only a small part, albeit an important part. So I'd aim to shade it as your ultimate goal in combination with shades and the like.

We discussed in another thread the issue of shades as far as being able to see out. Some like being in a cubicle and not see out. Personally, I like to be able to see outside so that factors into it too.

I've never seen awnings that needed to be readily replaced! Metal is most common and they'll last a lifetime! There's also the folding type that can fold up in the winter and just flip out in the summer. Actually, they would be relatively easy to make with some tarp and PVC pipe or even wood.

An old girlfriend put up those bamboo type shades on the balcony at her apartment to block the afternoon sun from the sliding glass doors. It was very effective and shaded the balcony for sitting out there too. If you have large eaves this would work on non-windy days. I tried it on my house for a while before I got my trees growing and it helped.

Whether it's to keep heat out or in, seal off windows if they leak badly. A little caulk and foam go a long way at a very cheap price.

There's no one perfect cure and no plan that's right for everyone. Pick what you like. You've gotten some ideas. Let us know what you do and how it works out for you, or if you find some other ideas too!

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 6:37PM
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Plant some bolivian or mexican sunflower tree's. Super fast growers.

    Bookmark   March 2, 2008 at 7:10PM
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Thanks, everyone!

    Bookmark   March 3, 2008 at 8:57PM
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Would it be possible to erect several lattice-work screens and plant a quick growing vine on them? They would act much like trees in shading the house, and would not stop all the sunlight reaching your windows in the winter.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 3:58PM
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That's a possibility.

    Bookmark   March 4, 2008 at 10:22PM
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Poplar trees grow really fast and could provide shade while other trees are still small.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2008 at 1:36AM
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Also check how many roof vents and soffit vents you have. You want plenty of them and often times they'll build houses and stick only one up there and very few if any under the soffits.

    Bookmark   March 5, 2008 at 3:09AM
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I'd have to veto the suggestion to grow poplar trees - especially anywhere close to a building. I'd rather pay for window covering to shield the house than repair the foundation/basement after the roots on the poplar trees go wild. It's a VERY invasive root system and nearly impossible to control, especially as the trees get older. The roots tend to be shallow and can go above ground and will make mowing a chore. The roots send out suckers/trailers and you'll get poplar trees growing where you really didn't want any. If you do plant poplar trees, be sure to avoid Lombardy - they are quite invasive.


    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 4:38AM
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If you have eaves, get those bamboo or plastic roll-up shades to hang on the outside of the house. You can roll them up and down as you wish, and they really do cut the sun but let in light since they won't be right against the window.

If you are planting trees, choose with care.

    Bookmark   March 6, 2008 at 11:02AM
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Hi again, texas grrrl,

Speaking of the subject that you posted ... it's been my observation through quite a few years of living that one of the major themes of many persons' lives is ...

... shielding their backside!

Back to the subject at hand ...

have you asked around among friends and neighbours what projects they've adopted to keep the heat-generating sunlight from hitting the windows in summer?

Most awnings have an angle to the wall of something like 45 degrees, so they cut off light a great deal and I'd like more light entering the window, so I'd prefer one much closer to horizontal, even if I needed to have it extend a couple of feet farther out from the wall in order to block the sun ... but in the hot summer, the sun is close to overhead, so not a long distance out from the wall would be needed to block the rays from anything above the window sill.

I think that I'd prefer it to be anchored to the wall a couple or three feet above the top of the window, as well.

As I mentioned above, it seems to me that the Japanese idea of building a thin, flat structure about 4 - 6" deep, out from the wall horizontally, a couple or three feet above the window, far enough to block the sunlight from the whole of the window in summer but to allow it access to the full height of the window in winter makes a lot of sense.

Plus ... just think ... if you put a mesh/some chicken wire around it ... when the furbaby misbehaved ...

.. that'd be a great place to put the critter in exile for a while. Providing a small shade from the sun, of course.

In Texas, few of you need worry about much snow, but for people in more northern areas, they'd need to either brace the horizontal structure heavily, to allow for snow coming sliding off of the roof, or build a slope on it where the snow sliding off of the roof will strike, so that it will slide off, otherwise there'd be a risk of it tearing the structure from the wall ... for that snow is often heavy, and has momentum ... not a good idea to be walking under it as it falls to the ground.

Can you grow bamboo in your area? We had a bamboo grove outside the sliding doors/windows that formed the whole wall of our living room in the little 2-br. Japanese style house in Korea ... the Japanese ran Korea for 35 -40 years, remember? Ask any old Koreans: they remember!

Perhaps ask the local agricultural people whether bamboo would grow, and whether it'd be allowed ... and, if so, how to procure them, plant them and manage them. Local people dealing in oriental food/supplies might have some ideas about locating some.

They come out of the ground and go to 15 - 20 feet high within one summer (actually, a month or two). The stems have, as you know, many joints or nodes and there are no leaves until a leafy bushy top 12 - 15 - 20 feet above the ground.

I don't remember how far apart one would want them, but I think something like 5' - 6'. Probably two or three rows.

That would shade windows on the first floor ... and without cutting off one's view substantially.

They'd put up more shoots in a couple of years, after getting established, in spring ... and you'd need to learn how to cook them, for many people love bamboo shoots, as exotic food! Local orientals would pay well for them, should you not want them!

Good wishes for finding a solution that pleases you, over time.

ole joyful

    Bookmark   June 14, 2008 at 1:53AM
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texas grrl, if you are still searching -- is your bedroom on ground level. If so you could use patio or market umbrellas as a temporary measure, then they could be used later on your patio.

    Bookmark   June 15, 2008 at 1:27PM
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I'm so glad to see this thread. We have a house built in 1942. We added a master bedroom a few years ago. We have new storm windows on the old part of the house (which has the original pulley windows), and of course new windows and new storms in the new part. It was obvious as soon as we got the new storms that they provide great sound insulation. I'm wondering about heat insulation. We have Wooden shades on the bedroom windows. My husband leaves them open while we are at work. He says the storms provide all the summertime heat insulation we need. I disagree. I contend that every layer helps, even though there is not sun on that side of the house at midday and we have fairly heavy shade cover. I figure keeping those shades closed would help a bit, and would also keep people from looking in our windows thus contributing to security(we live in a boom construction area despite the economy and constantly have workmen and other people in the area). What do you all think?

    Bookmark   June 23, 2008 at 3:05PM
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