Outdoor Blind Guide

Outdoor blinds are a classy way to make your outdoor living spaces more comfortable. You can hang them from a covered patio, in a gazebo, or from another open outdoor structure to provide shade and protection from mild weather. The following guide can help you choose the right type of blinds.

Figure out your primary needs

For most people, the main use of outdoor blinds is to provide shade from direct sunlight. This means the blinds may only be used for part of the day, such as blocking the glare and heat of the setting sun on a west-facing patio. In this case, UV-resistant blinds are necessary. For others, it could be weather that is the issue, specifically dampness from fog or light rain, meaning a waterproof material is needed. If privacy is the issue, the only requirement is that the blinds are opaque.

Research your materials

There are many options when it comes to outdoor blinds. These include wood, reed, vinyl, and plastic. Vinyl is both UV-resistant and waterproof, making it an excellent choice for an all-purpose blind. Plastic is waterproof, but it may begin to degrade from excessive sun exposure.

Wood blinds have a classic vibe, but moisture can cause major damage. The same is true for the reed or bamboo roll-up styles. These can be used successfully under patio or other shade overhangs where they are rarely in direct contact with moisture.

Look into the costs

Hanging outdoor blinds rarely requires more than a couple of eye hooks or a bracket, so installation is low-cost and easy to DIY. Your main costs are in the blinds themselves. Vinyl and wooden options will likely be your costliest options, but they also offer the most longevity. While wood can last just as long as vinyl, it will need refinished since the paint or sealant will eventually begin to peel. Vinyl suffers no such problems, and you can even choose vinyl that mimics real wood. Reed or bamboo outdoor blinds are inexpensive, but they rarely last more than a couple of years before the reeds begin to fall apart due to moisture damage or the strings start to disintegrate from UV damage. These are a good choice if you have a large area that needs blinds and you are trying to keep costs down.

Don't forget maintenance

Vinyl and plastic outdoor blinds require the least maintenance. Simply hose them off with water if they appear dirty. Wood and reeds will require wiping down with a dampened cloth to remove dust. Wood blinds will also require annual application of a sealant or paint to protect the wood. Rolling up or pulling the blinds up when they aren't in use will further prolong their life, since it will protect them from sun and moisture. They must be pulled up during high winds to avoid damage. For more help, contact a blind company near you.