Incidence of melanomas and carcinomas of the skin continue to increase all over the world. Part of the reason is due to the increased proportion of elderly who are more susceptible to cancer in general. In addition, there seems to be anecdotal evidence that changing patterns of nutrition and diet contribute to increased incidence. What is not contested is that excessive exposure to the sun can drive the kinds of genetic damage thought to underlie cancer.
There are several ways to block skin-damaging UV. One way is to slather sunscreen or sunblock onto the skin. However, some people are uncomfortable with such a chemical solution and others experience physical irritation on exposure to such creams. To solve this problem, many turn to obvious solutions such as long sleeves, hats, but also home outdoor shades.
For the home, adding some sort of exterior shade generates three kinds of benefits. The addition of shades increases the resale value of real estate in a material way. Also, shades improve quality of life by increasing space for entertainment. Finally, exterior shades are beneficial from the health point of view for shielding against UV rays.
The diversity of possible outdoor shades means that there’s a choice for any price, labor or material requirement. Some shades are temporary, easy and cheap. Others are permanent, bulky and expensive. The trade-off naturally for cheap shades is durability and functionality. Expensive shades will tend to last longer, add more value to the home, and protect the home occupants or guests under a greater variety of conditions.
A typical type of temporary shade is the lightweight cabana for the pool. These are useful because they can shield the interior and increase privacy. Pool umbrellas on the other hand don’t provide much privacy but are great for communal shading at an exterior table. Awnings and canopies come in lightweight form also.
Awnings are the prototypical permanent outdoor shade, best known for gracing the entrances or windows of store fronts, but also found over windows of patios in the backyard. These have a broad spectrum of complexity: simple hand-crank awnings to motorized, retractables. Pergolas and arbors are also erected in backyards with a slight difference from awnings. They have open roofs so don’t block rain and only partially so for sun.
The lower bound on prices for outdoor shades is less than a hundred dollars, but the upper bound is really sky high. For example a gazebo system or even a motorized retractable awning with weather sensors can cost thousands or tens of thousands. In spite of the high prices, many would concur with the assessment that protecting loved ones from cancer-causing solar radiation is invaluable and can’t be priced.