Keeping a Conservatory Cool with Shades

By Paul Zec, Founder of Parish Conservatories

Many conservatories or sun rooms are sold without roof blinds. Blinds are often sold as an aftermarket product and come in several different styles such as:

  • Pinoleum roman shades
  • Pleated fabric blinds
  • Roller fabric blinds (with or without cassettes) 
  • Roman fabric blinds

Make sure the fabrics you choose will hold up to the amount of sun they will be exposed to.  Years ago pinoleum blinds were put together with cotton fabric which fell apart after a few years in the sun. They are much improved today and can hold up for many years of service.  Pinoleum is normally the most expensive choice.  It generally knocks out about 65% of the light.  This exact percentage changes with the type of pinoleum and the color chosen. 

Fabric blinds can block out anywhere from 65% to 100% of the light. Be aware that if you choose a total blackout fabric that the room will feel much different than it would when the shades are down.  One of the most common and best fabrics to use is called Solar R.  This fabric has two sides: the side that faces up has a silver finish which reflects sun back out and the side that you will see from the inside looks to be one of several neutral colors. 

Blinds can make a huge difference in the comfort level of the room and are available mostly from specialty conservatory or sunroom blind dealers. Many strip mall or home center blind dealers cannot make the complicated shapes that are required by many conservatories.  If a room has relatively simple lines and a straight eave detail then they may be able to help you. 

Blinds can be manual or motorized. Motorization is expensive might add 50% to 100% of the cost of manual blinds.  Some designs such as Orangeries or skylights might require motorized blinds to keep any cords out of the middle of the room. 

Whatever your choice, conservatory blinds can help make your room more comfortable in warmer weather and keep your air conditioning bills down.