Sunair Awnings & Solar Screens produces both exterior and interior rolling shades. The SC2000, 2500, 3000, 4000, and 4500 & 4600 models are our exterior shading systems. The ISC6000 and ISC7000 are our interior mounted rolling shade systems. Both types of sunscreens can help reduce the amount of solar heat and UV rays that enter your home. However, they have some differences in terms of effectiveness, privacy, and durability. Here are some benefits of exterior rolling and retractable sunscreens compared to interior sunscreens for solar control:

The benefit of exterior solar screens is that the fabric blocks the sun before it enters the home through the glass. This means they can prevent more heat from entering your home than interior sunscreens. Exterior shades can reduce heat gain by up to 80%, while interior shades can reduce it by up to 40%.

Sunscreen fabrics are meant to block sun but also maintain a nice view as well depending on the openness factor of the fabric mesh. The more open the mesh fabric the less it will block the sun’s rays. Exterior rolling sunscreens can provide a bit more privacy during the day, as the fabric is on the outside and is more effective in preventing people from seeing inside your home from outside. Similarly, if it is dark outside and if lights are on inside the porch or room in the house, the ability to see in is amplified. A more closed mesh of 3% or below is much harder to see through and gives more sun protection and privacy. This problem is solved at night by mounting a light outside the screen that is focused on the screen fabric from above. Light reflecting on the exterior mesh fabric will inhibit people seeing inside the space at night. Interior rolling sunscreens may also allow some visibility from outside, especially if they are very open mesh fabrics.

Exterior sunscreens can also reduce glare more effectively than interior sunscreens, as they filter out more of the bright light that can cause eye strain and discomfort. Interior sunscreens may still allow some glare to pass through, depending on the openness factor of the fabric mesh, angle, and intensity of the sunlight.

Exterior sunscreens or retractable patio awnings are very durable and made of materials that can withstand harsh weather conditions, such as wind, rain, snow, and dust. Interior sunscreen fabrics typically last longer because the fabric is on the inside rather than exposed to the outside environmental factors. Exterior sunscreens therefore have some drawbacks compared to interior sunscreens. Exterior sunscreens may require more maintenance and cleaning than interior sunscreens, as they are exposed to dirt and debris from the outside environment, in addition to fading of the fabric due to sun exposure. Interior sunscreens are not exposed to weather in the same way but can be prone to damage by handling or bumping into by persons. Both types of screens can easily be cleaned and serviced.

Exterior sunscreens may be more expensive and difficult to install than interior sunscreens, as they may require special hardware and professional installation. Interior sunscreens can be easily mounted on the window frame or hung from a rod or a track. Sometimes it is not feasible to install an exterior screen due to building construction and very often an interior screen is the only option. Exterior sunscreens may also not be compatible with all types of windows, such as casement windows or sliding windows. Interior sunscreens can fit most window shapes and sizes and typically are installed right on the brick molding of the interior side of the window. Both exterior and interior screens can be manual or motorized with automatic sensors and smart tablet controls added. It is important to note that to exit a screen or porch door when exterior screens are installed, you must motorize the screen to retract the shade to avoid the inconvenience of having to go outside from another door to retract it up with the hand crank.

Screens that are utilized to enjoy your outdoor space or lanai free from sun’s glare and without pesky bugs must be mounted on the exterior and must be of higher quality and be of the zipper track type model. The zipper tracks retain the fabric in the tracks, eliminating cracks or openings between the fabric and the track keeping the bugs out. This is something interior chain driven roll down screens cannot do. Zipper Track model screens also hold up well in moderate winds.

You can also use both types of sunscreens together for maximum solar control and flexibility. For example, you can use exterior sunscreens during the day to block out most of the heat and light and use interior sunscreens at night to add insulation and privacy.


Contact Sunair® Awnings at 800-548-0408 or visit for retractable fabric roof pergola and free estimate!