What’s the better insulation solution - curtains or shutters?

Did you know that 40% of a home’s heat energy can be lost through uncovered windows? Most types of window treatments will result in energy savings and a better insulated, healthier home. One of the main questions people have for us when they are looking for new window treatments catering to New Zealand weather is whether shutters or curtains are better for insulation, so we’re going to break down the pros and cons of both for you.

Are curtains good for insulation?

The insulation efficiency of a curtain depends on the fabric type (closed or open weave), colour and weight. For keeping heat in at night, high quality curtains can reduce heat loss by around 40%, particularly if they are floor length and closer to the wall and window panes.

However, heavy curtains and drapes are less effective at keeping your home cool in the hotter months. This is mainly due to the fact that for curtains to keep heat out, they have to be fully closed, which means no light can enter your home either. For this reason, some of our customers choose to add a light gossamer curtain layer, to reflect a portion of heat energy away from the windows while still allowing some light to enter.

In winter, curtains and drapes definitely make a room look and feel cosier than shutters, particularly if you choose plush or heavy fabrics. Curtains are also generally cheaper than shutters.

Are shutters good for insulation?

The main case for shutters against curtains is that shutters offer varying degrees of insulation and light control. When fully closed, high quality shutters can reduce heat loss by over 50%. As shutters are custom built to fit your window, there are less gaps for heat to escape, which makes them very effective insulators.

White shutters in particular are also effective in keeping a home cool during summer! They reflect much of the sun's energy while the louvres also offer adjustable amounts of light and ventilation to enter the room. As shutters are fitted directly to the window frame, they are not moved by breezes and draughts in the way that curtains are.

While shutters do not have a cozy aesthetic, we find that many of our customers love the contemporary aesthetic of shutters. It is also worth noting that shutters generally come with a more substantial price tag than curtains.

Ultimately, shutters are better insulators against hot and cold weather than curtains. However, choosing to install shutters or curtains comes down to your budget, whether you are looking to cool your home or retain heat, how much variation in light and ventilation you are looking for and whether you prefer the aesthetic look and feel of curtains or shutters.

With so many factors to consider, we wouldn’t be surprised if you’d like to talk to some experts! Harrisons have been enhancing Kiwi homes for over 50 years, and we come directly to your home to assess and understand your window treatment needs.

Reach out to us to get a better idea of whether shutters or curtains are right for your home.

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