Window Film Vs. Exterior Shade Systems – Which is Better?

by | Aug 8, 2023

The choice between window film and exterior shade systems depends on your budget, unique requirements and preferences. Both solutions for maintaining indoor comfort offer unique benefits, therefore, the better choice depends on what your priorities are. However, you do need to invest in either window film or exterior shade systems to reduce the high energy consumption, because Canada ranks fourth in the world on a per capita (per person) basis. Maybe it is because Canada is one of the coldest countries, so we require more energy to heat our indoor spaces. This is one of the reasons we racked up a high electricity consumption of 16698 kilowatt-hours (kWh) per person on average in 2020. Here is everything you need to know about window films and exterior shading systems to help you decide which one to use.

What are Window Films and Exterior Shade Systems?

A window film is a self-adhesive material applied to the interior of your window glass and is either tinted, reflective or decorative. On the other hand, exterior shade systems are structures added to the exterior of your windows, made from either wood or metal, and you need to close them to block the sun’s rays.   Some exterior shade systems include roller shades, solar screens or Venetian blinds.

Why Choose Window Film?

If you are very intentional about your home’s aesthetics, especially the outdoors, where you want seamless harmony between your walls and trim, the ideal choice is window films. But window films are not only good for aesthetics. They have other benefits compared to exterior shade systems like

  1. Cost-effective to install yet very durable depending on the quality. However, premium window films may be a bit expensive but not as costly as exterior shade systems since they are resistant to bubbling, peeling, and discoloration.
  2. Easy installation, mainly if you use experts like VanCity Window Films.
  3. Simple maintenance. You can clean the window film as usual if you avoid using abrasive washing materials or harsh chemicals to maintain its pristine condition.

Why Choose Exterior Shade Systems?

You need to have a professional install exterior shade systems on your windows if you want to:

  1. Reduce heat. Since you install exterior shade window systems outside, they act as a better physical barrier against direct sunlight especially when you close them. So during the summer, the exterior shade window systems provide a cooler indoor environment. 
  2. Save energy. By keeping the indoors cooler during summer, you lower cooling costs. Also, during winter, they trap the heat preventing it from escaping, thus saving on heating costs.
  3. Excellent UV protection. Compared to window films, exterior shade window systems are best for UV protection. When you close them, you completely block the sunlight from reaching your windows. In contrast, window films may provide UV protection but are less comprehensive than exterior shade window systems.
  4. Enhanced glare reduction. Exterior shade window systems reduce glare effectively as the shading concept creates a physical barrier between the windows and direct sunlight.

Summarised Comparison of Window Film and Exterior Shade Systems

Here is a table summarizing why you should choose either window film or an exterior window shade system.

Aspect Window Film Exterior Shade Systems
Heat Reduction and Energy Efficiency Moderate effectiveness Highly effective
UV Protection and Glare Reduction Some protection Very effective
Aesthetics Enhances aesthetics May alter aesthetics
Cost Cost-effective yet very durable depending on the quality More expensive yet generally durable
Installation & Maintenance Easy installation, simple maintenance Complex installation, periodic maintenance

Elevate Your Space with High-Quality Window Film Solutions

Remember, whether to use window films or exterior shading systems depends on your budget and preferences. Window film offers a better advantage over exterior shading systems since it doesn’t ruin your aesthetics. It is easier to install and maintain. And though window films may not be effective in reducing UV rays, heat, and glare compared to exterior shading systems, you can always add curtains to your space to improve the space’s aesthetics. However, you must obtain your window films from a reputable supplier, such as VanCity Window Films, because the durability of window film is dependent on its quality. Whether you are a homeowner or a business owner, our window film solutions will transform your space into a haven of comfort, aesthetics, and energy efficiency. Before installation, we will offer a personalized consultation so we can design window films that are appropriate for your specific needs and preferences. Then we will install the window films to ensure they fit perfectly to maximize use and durability. If you are not sure which type of window film to select, get in touch with us, and we will address any questions or concerns you may have.