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St. Louisan’s have been blessed this year with another mild winter. It seems likely that we could go straight from mild to scorcher weather – as we did last year. Keep that in mind if you have plans to purchase custom windows treatments. The minimum turnaround time for window treatments is four weeks. Don’t wait until the unrelenting summer sun has faded your furnishings and elevated your utility bill to place an order. There are many ways to block the summer sun, but solar shades are increasingly a popular choice. They control sunlight and provide protection from ultraviolet light while still permitting a view of the outside. How much control and protection is determined by the openness factor in the weave of the PVC material. The openness for most products ranges from 3% to 14%. Outside visibility is greater with an openness factor of 14%. Solar screening is typically used to make a roller shade, but it can also be made into a roman shade for those who prefer that look. Solar screens can be made for windows about 90” wide without railroading the fabric (turn on its side). When railroaded, larger expanses can be covered but the length of the shade is limited. A variety of fabric patterns and colors are available for a custom look. Like other window shades, you can choose from a selection of operating systems and an assortment of head rail assemblies. These window shades are great options for kitchens, sunrooms, etc. They are NOT, however, the best option for private areas like bedrooms and bathrooms. At night, the interior lights do permit a view of the interior from outside the home. Remember - whatever your preference in window coverings - summer is just around the corner. Plan now to tame the summer sun’s effects on your home.