08 January 2010

December 2009 - Shade cloth

This month’s challenge: cooling the rooms on the south east side of the house, which get morning summer sun and heat up like an oven. We have no yard on this side, only the driveway through to the rear houses. Two years ago Tyson successfully installed a shade cloth across most of the rear courtyard, primarily to shade a glass sliding door and large kitchen window from western sun on summer afternoons, but also to make a more pleasant outdoor area. We couldn’t afford a big shade sail, and as renters are limited in what permanent fixtures we can install for anchoring such sails. Tyson’s method was to use shade cloth over timber battens, which fit inside the gutters and are wired to the gutter brackets, thus being entirely removable. This has proved very successful for the courtyard, so we went with a similar approach to shade the two windows on the south east wall, one of which has no eaves at all. The bottom edges are anchored with shock cord... and we did install two hooks into the brickwork (we’ll remove them when we go... don’t tell the landlord).

Initial cost: About $40 for timber battens, shade cloth, shade cloth nails and shock cord. 

Initial time: One hour.

Ongoing time or cost commitment: Possibly occasional need to clean away spiders webs from the inside.

Impact: The third bedroom has been transformed from a room where you really couldn’t spend time on a summer afternoon without the air conditioner running to a pleasant space that is temperature-manageable with only a fan. The bathroom is no longer a sauna! Additional unplanned benefits are that the glare from the neighbours fence is much reduced, and the angle of the shade cloth acts as a wind scoop to catch the south or southwesterly cool breezes and channel them in through the bedroom window.


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  2. Thanks for sharing this!! I live in Perth too and have been looking for simple shade ideas for our north facing bedroom walls, especially for our nursery! This is brilliant, especially with the occy strap and s hooks. I'm not very handy but my husband is worse, but I think I can give this a go. Thanks again! -Marz

  3. I'm not that handy either but I have managed to get up on the roof and fix one of the shades' gutter mounting and it wasn't too hard. Good luck with it - I hope this works for you.