April 26, 2023

It was a great idea: shade cloth

My office is in our sunroom. The Lord of the Manor built the addition for the sunroom back in 1995 or 1996 when he was still young(er) and mobile. It's my favorite room in the house and not just because he built it for me. It's got windows on three sides and is the next best thing to working in the woods. It's a front-row seat to observe the deer, squirrels, foxes, chipmunks, and the occasional raccoon, possum, skunk, groundhog, turkey, and even snake. One day it was even the neighbor's cows! 

The windows are wonderful and the space wouldn't be the same without them. The biggest drawback is that in the summer, even with central air, the room heats up between ten and four o'clock. In past summers, I had an umbrella on the porch that I opened and moved a little bit every hour to create shade. The problem with the umbrella was that even with a heavy base, it liked to fly away like it was looking for Mary Poppins! 

I put up a good set of black-out curtains last year and they helped, but I didn't like closing off one side of the room during the day. I like to look out over my domain. I decided to try shade cloth this summer, and I got it put up. I can already tell it's going to make a huge difference. And when it gets really hot, I will close the curtains to help with utility costs.

It's not a fancy setup. We got some 2x2 exterior grade lumber from Lowe's and made simple frames that we affixed to the porch railing with zip ties (cable straps to some). The 70% shade cloth was purchased from Amazon. I used simple hooks to attach one side of the shade cloth to the house (it has grommets), draped it over the frame, and used more zip ties to fasten it to the frame and the railing. 

The shade cloth creates enough shade to make sitting on the porch in the afternoons bearable. I can already tell it will help keep the sunroom a lot cooler. If it works for the entire season, I'll take some time over the winter and figure out if it needs improvements for next summer. The shade cloth will come down for the winter and be stored in the shed. 

Is it perfect? Not really, but it's functional. That's all that matters to me. 

The Lady of the Hideaway

Holly Tree Manor, The Hideaway, rural living, country lifestyle, shade cloth, keeping cool, cutting utility costs, home & garden, sunrooms, critical thinking solutions, home office, a writer's life, writing, romance novels, gardening

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