Skin cancer has been on the continual rise in the Western world. The reason for this rise is not clear, but is thought due partially to increasing life spans, as well as reduced intake of anti-cancer nutrients such as vitamin D. However, what is clear is that UV radiation is one causative factor of DNA damage which in turn leads to genetic changes that lie at the heart of skin 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.
Installation of exterior and outdoor shading provides three benefits. One, outdoor shades add resale value to a house by increasing the effective usable area. Two, outdoor shades increase living space for household members to enjoy. Three, outdoor shades provide a health benefit by shielding against UV radiation.
There are quite a few kinds of products to consider, some being very easy to install and others requiring hours or several people. The cost will vary in proportion to the complexity. The simplest kinds of exterior shades are the lightweight temporary shades. They can be set up or put away quickly. The most complicated kinds require an army of craftsman to put up, involving usually some major structural work on the house.
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 side-post umbrellas on the other hand don’t provide much privacy but are great for communal shading at an exterior table. Patio umbrella accessories also help make the umbrella more functional. 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.