19 December 2022

Get the lowdown on the coolest window coverings to beat the Canberra heat

| Katrina Condie
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The team at Regency Knights Window Fashions can help homeowners choose the best insulation options to meet their insulation requirements, personal style and budget. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

When it comes to window coverings, there are a few standout options that will keep your home cooler during Canberra’s stifling summers.

For 17 years, Martin Smith from Regency Knights Window Fashions has been helping Canberrans select the perfect curtains, blinds, awnings and shutters to suit their needs, and he’s got the lowdown on what’s hot right now.

He says, if you want to keep cool this summer, foam-filled external roller shutters are by far the best option.

“Irrespective of what sort of windows you have, if you put insulated roller shutters on the outside, they will block the heat from the sun before it gets through the glass,” Martin said.

“If you only put window coverings inside, the heat is already inside the home. When it comes to covering the outside of windows, it’s a case of prevention rather than cure.”

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He says shutters not only do a really good job at blocking heat, they also have the added benefits of blocking out light and reducing noise.

Roller shutters are comparable in price with other outdoor awnings, but they do a much better job at insulating a home.

While some homeowners might not like the look of roller shutters when they’re down, Martin says, when not in use, they’re “fairly unintrusive”.

“From the outside people might think their home looks a bit like a jail but they need to decide what’s more important to them – keeping cool in summer or how their home looks from the outside when the shutters are down for a few hours on a 38-degree day,” he said.

“For people that have enjoyed the benefits of shutters, it’s a no-brainer when it comes time for them to build a new home or move house.”

Two women looking at curtain fabric

With a huge range of styles and colours, properly fitted curtains can provide excellent insulation – even on a tight budget. Photo: Michelle Kroll.

Roller shutters can be operated by a traditional crank handle outside or can be hardwired into the home’s electrical system. There are also battery- and solar-powered motors available that can be connected to a switch inside the home.

Insulated roller shutters are available in a range of options, with some models offering protection against bushfires and storms. They are also ideal for keeping the cold out and warmth inside during winter.

When it comes to internal window coverings, Martin’s top three performers are honeycomb blinds, plantation shutters and curtains with pelmets.

Honeycomb blinds have cells that fill up with air and it’s the air pockets that provide excellent insulation. Martin says choosing a room-darkening, foil-lined option is the best and most effective choice for interior window coverings.

Plantation shutters are popular with homeowners seeking a Hamptons or tropical look, and they also offer excellent insulation against the summer sun on windows and glass doors.

Martin says, while timber is known as being a good natural insulator, the engineered Ultra20 shutters are two-thirds better than the traditional timber products.

His third choice is curtains. If fitted well, with wraparound sides and a pelmet at the top, Martin says curtains can be efficient insulators and also look good.

“Curtains have always been popular and there’s so much choice when it comes to fabric and styles,” he said.

“If people want to keep their homes cool using curtains, they must be properly measured and installed so there are no gaps at the top or sides.”

Of course sheer or layered curtains can be used to create a contemporary luxe feel, and in winter a home feels more cosy and warm with the addition of rich-coloured curtains.

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His three top interior window coverings are also the most expensive, however cheaper curtains are available and can still provide good insulation if fitted by a professional.

A mix of curtains, blinds and shutters, with stronger block-out options on the western side of the home, can make a huge difference during summer in Canberra. They also keep the heat in during winter.

Some homeowners may believe their double-glazed windows will be enough to keep them cool, however Martin says, while they’re great during winter, double-glazing does not stop solar heat from pouring through on those hot summer days.

Pop into the Regency Knights Window Fashions showroom at 60 Wollongong Street, Fyshwick to see the variety of interior and exterior blinds, shutters and curtains available and chat with the team about what will work best for your home. Their technical experts also offer free in-home consultations.


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