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Which Solar Screen is Best for Windy Conditions?

November 3, 2022

The solar screen attached to an outdoor living space is great at shielding you and your guests from the glaring sun, intense heat, and bothersome insects. But how well does it stand up against wind? Ultimately, it depends on the type of solar screen.

At SummerSpace®, we offer a variety of solar shade screens to suit a variety of applications. All of them are designed to withstand certain levels of natural stressors, including wind. But when it comes to which one withstands wind the best, there is a clear winner: the FlexShade® Zip Traditional screen system.

What makes a FlexShade Zip solar screen so strong?

While all SummerSpace awning and shade systems are designed to stand up to Mother Nature, the FlexShade Zip screen’s configuration gives it a unique advantage when the environment becomes a bit breezy. 

Its extruded aluminum side channels with a special zip retainer insert capture the edge of the screen fabric when it rolls down essentially zipping it into place. This is what gives the zip screen exceptional wind resistance. You would only feel a light breeze when enclosed by a zip screen should windy conditions come your way.

How much wind can a FlexShade Zip screen withstand?

Even with the protection from otherwise disruptive winds, you still may wonder at what point the screen will break free of its strongholds. You certainly don’t want your picnic guests to be eating their shish kebab with one hand while wrangling a fluttering screen with the other. 

Rest assured, if your home were in the midst of winds strong enough to dismantle a FlexShade Zip screen, you would have taken shelter in the bathtub or basement long before it happened. In other words, you don’t need to worry about wind.

To test the wind resistance of the SummerSpace FlexShade Zip screens, 11 units were placed in the Wall of Wind (WOW) facility at Florida International University. Out of all the units tested, the lowest speed logged for causing an equipment failure was 95 miles per hour. The highest speed logged was 150 miles per hour (WOW’s maximum speed). To put that into perspective, a Category 1 hurricane produces wind speeds between 74 and 95 miles per hour.

What else should I know about how the wind affects a solar screen?

Yes, a FlexShade Zip screen system can withstand hurricane-level winds. However, you should keep in mind that while the wind itself may not be an issue, the flying debris that often results from it can be. The screen may sustain damage if winds are strong enough to send large debris hurtling toward it. 

But remember, as winds that strong enter your area, you’re more likely to move the party inside anyway. That being the case, it’s best to retract the screen and, thereby, protect it from stormy conditions.

Also, note that not all installation environments are created equal. If the mounting surface is at all compromised, or if the unit itself has aged, you may need to keep a closer eye on how your zip screen behaves in the wind. If you notice any signs that the screen’s wind resistance is lessened, it may be time to tune up the equipment and/or the structure upon which it’s staged.

Where can I buy a wind-resistant solar screen?

If your patio picnics have involved a lot of levitating plates and snuffed-out candles lately, it’s time to invest in a FlexShade Zip Traditional screen system from SummerSpace. Not only will your new solar screen protect your outdoor gathering from the wind, it can also protect against sun glare, high temperatures, and bugs.

Get in touch with your local SummerSpace dealer today to get started on a secure space for windy weather. Be sure to ask about our other solar screen applications, including the FlexShade Non-Zip system and the FlexShade Tension Zip Pergola and Skylight shade system.

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