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Use roller shutters to keep your outdoor area cool this summer

Space is premium in residential areas, whether you have a tiny balcony apartment or a massive suburban yard. But it’s not just about how much room you have. Some clever urban dwellers have used mirrored French doors and glass balustrades to widen miniscule porches and create a realistic illusion of space. One such example is the popular loft converted on ‘Double Your House for Half the Money.’ On one well-loved episode, Charlie and Claire Hodgson wanted extra space a sunning spot for their toddler, Tommy.

The show built a glass Juliette balcony that is literally a safety glass door reinforced with stainless steel railings. The balcony barely extends beyond the wall, but the open glass lets in natural light and mimics a real balcony effect without additional floor space. It offers a lovely view into the neighborhood, and allows Tommy to enjoy the ‘open air’ and sunshine well within his parents comfort zone. From the outside, it looks like a glass door that doesn’t open and is secured with literal steel bars. But from the inside, it resembles a massive balcony.

Because the door opens inward, there’s lots of cool, fresh air on demand. The door is framed glass, and it opens to a waist-height glass balustrade that ensures Tommy won’t topple out. Point being there are lots of creative ways to work with what you have, especially during hot summer months. In our case, the issue isn’t so much a spacing one. You may have the same type of non-balcony the Hodgsons have, or you may have a neglected yard space. Both options may get musty and overheated during the summer, making them less than pleasant.

Glass vs metal

Again, like the Hodgson’s home, glass balustrades may be offered up as a good solution. They can be especially effective for bedroom balconies or poolside fences. But not everyone is into glass. Modern glass fencing eliminates most of the barriers to buying. They’re made using safety glass that’s often re-inforced with rust-proof metal frames. (Stainless steel is a popular choice). They’re configured to hold massive weight, so they’re unlikely to crack or shatter. There’s still the issue of privacy – glass has a way of making you feel … exposed.

That’s easily remedied as well. You can have the glass tinted, stained, or mirrored, on one side or both. You can even have decorative film laid over the glass, creating your own domestic mural. Common designs include waterscapes and playful silhouettes. But if you’re still not sold on glass, you could consider installing mini-view roller shutters in your outdoor space. They’re just like regular shutters, but the slats have size-able gaps.

The gaps aren’t large enough for pets or pests to slip through –and in some models, the gaps are filled with translucent slats that can be clear or tinted. In this sense, when the shutters are lowered, you still gets lots of natural light, and if you feel too hot, you can raise them completely and have an ‘open wall’. For poolside fencing, you can have the clear slats tinted to up your sense of privacy. But even when the shutters are down and transparent, it offers more discretion than a plain glass balustrade.

Lock and load

The shutter slats interlock for added stability, and they offer a sense of security, because the bottom latch locks itself shut, and you can add padlocks on the inside or outside. This type of shutter can protect indoor-outdoor spaces like garages, porches, or alfresco yards. They can also be a convenient way of adding an ‘extra room’ to your home by enclosing open yard space. You can install mini-view shutters on the sides of an awning or canopy to make (a new) room, literally. On the occasions you want the shutters open, they tuck into a pelmet.

The pelmet is surprisingly subtle, considering it encases an entire ‘wall’ that can stretch up to 10m. As for the slats themselves, the clear portions are made of polycarbonate while the opaque portions are aluminium. Nylon clips and continuous hinges make it easy to open and close shutters, by hand or electronically, with optional remote control. Mini-view shutters are a preferable option if lighting is an important feature for you, but if you’re more interested in night-time temperature control, regular shutters may be more suitable.

These shutters are triple-layered, with the exterior aluminium panels sandwiching insulation foam. On hot nights, you can raise them to ventilate the room and cool it down, lowering your air conditioning costs. But if you plan to have your shutters raised at night, you need some kind of screen or protective barrier, whether it’s a glass window or a French door. Both regular and mini-view shutters can be coated with protective paint to prevent UV damage.


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