We’re all familiar with café blinds or bistro blinds. You’ll often see them hanging from a café’s roof or canopy, shielding customers from the sun, wind, and rain. With strong winds, such PVC blinds bang and clatter around. Nor do they provide a crisp, clear view through the plastic. What’s needed is a secure system of PVC panels to protect your outdoor space: enter outdoor weather screens.
Invented by Accolade Screens in 1999, outdoor weather screens are a unique system suitable for various outdoor spaces, such as outdoor decks, alfresco enclosures, pergolas, gazebos, or free starting outdoor areas. Whatever the environment, these weather screens have one thing in common: they’re sturdy.
Whether you’re after shelter from the rain, a little extra privacy, or a boost to your home’s curb appeal, consider outdoor weather screens. They’re suitable for businesses, homes, and any other property wanting to protect their outdoor space.
Except, with different structural dimensions, aesthetic tastes, budgets, and screen types, choosing the right one for your property is easier said than done. We’re exploring these key questions in this helpful buyer’s guide. Hence, you’ll know what your property needs and what to ask when purchasing outdoor screens.
What is an outdoor weather screen?
In a nutshell – an outdoor weather screen is a lightweight protecting barrier between a covered outdoor area and the garden or outdoors beyond. In contrast to café blinds, outdoor weather screens involve a series of PVC aluminium screens that can stack, slide, or hinge when opened or closed.
They’re simple yet highly effective.
Because of their design, they’re easy to fit into a wide variety of patios and outdoor areas. And the screen type can be customised to your criteria. For example, instead of solely transparent PVC panels, mesh panels can be used to increase airflow and protect against insects during the summer months.
Pros of outdoor weather screens
Sounds useful, right? They are. Outdoor weather screens have several significant benefits over traditional café blinds:
- Simple to install. There’s nothing complex about outdoor screens, and that’s the whole point. With a unique design, they can be fitted into all manner of outdoor environments for hours or days. It also means they’re simple to remove. As mentioned, where certain panel types are suitable for warmer months, you may select a different panel during the winter.
- Unique system. Where traditional blinds can be something of a hassle – mechanisms can break or become stuck – outdoor screens are held in place and glide open or closed with ease.
- Flexibility. Want to crack open the screens to let in a breeze? You can do without opening an entire blind. (Pretty handy when you want to step outside.) Depending on the weather, you can create an open or closed environment for your guests or customers. And you can react to rising insect numbers if needed.
Cons of outdoor weather screens
Nothing is perfect – and there are a few downsides to outdoor screens:
- More expensive. Because of their sturdier construction, outdoor weather screens are typically costlier than café blinds. However, the difference isn’t huge – and is often offset by the fact that blinds need to be fixed and replaced more frequently.
- Longer installation. Outdoor weather screens need longer to install. It’s not a considerable downside because outdoor screens are so much superior to their competition. They’re just that good!
What to consider when buying outdoor weather screens?
Whether you need an alfresco enclosure or a screen for your deck, there are a ton of considerations before you buy.
What’s the space?
You’ll often find outdoor weather screens on doors, porches, and windows. It’s classic for Australian and American homes. Outdoor weather screens take the concept further: it makes the wall a screen.
Where you’re installing these screens will change the material, system, and style you choose. For example, whether all the open gaps need a weather screen or all the screens need to be PVC or mesh.
It’ll also determine the overall installation size: the bigger the space, the more screens will need to be installed.
What’s the style?
We’ve designed our outdoor screens to be minimalistic, sleek, and modern, ideal for any home. We do, however, offer different coloured frames to suit your home’s style. Made from lightweight aluminium, it’s a stylish and innovative design ideal for any alfresco enclosure.
We’ve used them for patios, decking, sunrooms, alfresco enclosures, pergolas, and other outdoor areas. We can even retrofit the screens to meet the demands of your space.
Outdoor weather screens come in a wide range of configurations. We’ve developed several alternative opening systems because no two spaces are the same. These include:
- Multi-stacker sliding
- Hinged closing and opening
Speak to an expert screen fitter to determine what’s best for your space. For example, if you’re likely to come and go into the garden or outdoors often, hinged closing and opening screens might be better. Whereas, if you want the option to open up the space quickly, a multi-stacker sliding system could be optimal. Restaurants, meanwhile, might wish some screens to be fixed and others to be openable.
It’s all dependent on your needs.
Should you add PVC outdoor blinds?
Although our outdoor screens replace traditional PVC café blinds, you can install them together. There are a few examples of when this would be suitable:
- Increase privacy. Not all café blinds are translucent. Some can be full block or partial block, preventing people from looking into your property. It can be helpful to increase the privacy of your outdoor spaces.
- Reduce the sun. You’ll struggle to stop the sun with outdoor screens. They protect against the weather, bugs, and more. You’ll need sunblock blinds to maximise your shade and sun protection.
All our outdoor weather screens are designed to work alongside our PVC outdoor blinds. In conjunction, they provide the full range of protection and benefits from Accolade products – albeit at an increased cost.
Do you need a gable infill?
Outdoor screens are long and rectangular: they’re designed to act as a wall. But not all walls are 100% rectangular in shape; some have gables, creating a space between where the screen sits and the roof.
Considering this defeats the screen’s purpose, you’ll need to invest in a gable infill. We create gable infills for all shapes and sizes, so you’ve got complete protection. We’ll ensure your gable infill matches the style of the screen, using either twin wall polycarbonate or Perspex for the transparent section.
Some gables also look toward roof lines. In such cases, we advise a darker gable infill, e.g., opal or grey, to block any unsightly tiles.
What to ask an outdoor screen fitting company?
Hiring an outdoor screen fitting company will substantially change your property. For businesses, it opens up spaces for customers to sit; meanwhile, homeowners have new outdoor areas in which to relax or entertain guests.
Before you commit, however, always ask these questions:
- What’s the cost? You’ll want a quote for the services and a complete breakdown of what it involves. It’s important to understand the scale of the job and your options before proceeding.
- What’s the time length? Installing even a full alfresco enclosure should not take more than a few days. Of course, additions, like gable infills, will add to the installation time. Get a clear idea of when the company can start and how long they’ll be working in your home.
- What experience do they have? Trust is critical. You need to know the company has done this successfully before. Accolade, for example, has installed our screens in more than 15,000 Australian homes. We know they’re tested and functioning in all environments.
- Do they have references? You’ll want to speak to previous clients, read testimonials, or see the end-product of prior jobs. It’s not only to gauge a company’s competence; it’s also about understanding how the finished weather screen will look.
- What are your options? Your home setup will change what different screens are available to you. We’ll discuss how you can best accommodate screens in your home, the best opening system, and more.
Outdoor weather screens are an innovative and stylish answer to poor weather
The sun isn’t always shining; the rain isn’t always pouring. You need a system designed to adapt and change to the needs of the weather. That’s the logic behind our outdoor weather screens.
They’ll transform your outdoor areas into viable spaces no matter the weather. (And they’ll even protect against bugs in the winter months.)
Speak to our expert fitters to transform your home with our innovative alternative to PVC café blinds.