Ultimate Guide To Outdoor Bamboo Roll Up Shades And Bamboo Blinds

By Rika Susan - Updated March 2015

Bamboo has become a highly popular eco-friendly choice for use in DIY projects. One of the easiest ways to get a feel for bamboo, is to try your hand at installing outdoor bamboo roll up shades yourself!

Exterior bamboo shades can help you to create a warm, rustic atmosphere in your exterior entertainment areas without overstepping your budget. DIY projects using bamboo can also include awnings or canopies, pergolas, screens or fencing and can be surprisingly affordable.

DIY Projects Video Tutorial 1: 9 Benefits Of Outdoor Bamboo Shades

Make no mistake, most of us still love the look and feel of real hardwood, but need to find less expensive outdoor sun shades for patios This is where lower cost bamboo comes in!

Cheap outdoor bamboo roll up shades can give you the texture, appearance and tropical vibe of real wood blinds, but at a fraction of the cost!

What you will get from this article...

  • Why bamboo is an environmentally friendly choice
  • 9 Benefits of exterior bamboo shades
  • How to choose bamboo blinds
  • How to weather-proof your outdoor bamboo roll up shades
  • Video Tutorial 1: 9 Benefits of outdoor bamboo shades (under 3 minutes)
  • Video Tutorial 2: How to install bamboo blinds (1 minute)

Why Is Bamboo Eco-Friendly?

Do you care about the environment? Then you will love the fact that DIY projects using bamboo offer you an eco-friendly home remodeling option. More and more decorators are trying to make 'green' choices when recommending home decor and window treatments.

When you buy a bamboo blind, you can know that the plants used to create it, grow extremely fast. Bamboo can be harvested in as little as 3 to 5 years. Compare this to real wood coming from trees that have been growing for roughly 50 years! Doesn't this make bamboo a number one choice for you too? Also remember that these plants will grow again, making it a renewable resource.

9 Benefits Of Outdoor Bamboo Roll Up Shades For Your Porch, Patio Or Deck
9 Benefits of outdoor bamboo roll up shades or bamboo blinds
DIY projects using bamboo - Installing bamboo blinds
  • One of the prime benefits is the low cost. Bamboo blinds can be very cheap, compared to other options. Even if you prefer a more expensive window treatment, you can start out with bamboo while saving up for a more expensive awnings or canopy.
  • Many bamboo shades are specifically made for outdoor use. In some cases you won't even need to worry about applying a weather-proofing varnish, for instance.
  • They are excellent when it comes to light filtering and sun blocking. This characteristic can be further enhanced, by choosing outdoor bamboo roll up shades with a fabric backing. Here you can go for very light fabrics that still allow you to see out, or a blackout backing that will really block out light for total privacy.
  • If you buy a quality product, these window coverings can be very durable.
  • Maintenance is easy. They can simply be dusted when you dust your porch or patio, or you can wipe them with a damp cloth from time to time.
  • You can go the manual route if money is tight. But you can also choose a fully motorized blind that won't have you struggling with cords. If you have kids and want to keep safety in mind, make sure that you check out the motorized ranges.
  • Installation is normally quite simple and you won't need a whole bunch of expensive tools to get the job done.
  • Depending on the quality, your exterior bamboo shades could also help with energy efficiency. You may find that the blinds help to keep heat in during the winter months, while keeping your home cooler in summer.
  • Bamboo is great for creating a warm, earthy atmosphere on your patio or porch. It gives you the feel of real wood in your decor, without costing the earth. Colors can vary from a natural tan, to dark cocoa shades, reddish black or even green. Remember that lighter shades normally come into their own if your porch or patio furniture is on the dark side. If you have light-colored furniture, you may be better off opting for darker shades in your blinds.
Picture of a DIY bamboo pergola
Rustic outdoor living with a DIY bamboo pergola

What To Watch For When Buying Outdoor Bamboo Roll Up Shades

When choosing window shades for outdoor use, you need to keep your local weather conditions in mind. Make sure that the quality of the blinds is such that the installation will not be damaged by the elements in the stormy seasons of the year.

Some brands of outdoor bamboo roll up blinds will have to be removed during the winter months, while others can be left in place. Luckily taking them down is easy and they don't take up too much storage space. Some ranges can only be installed if the patio or porch is screened. Check this carefully with your supplier when buying your blinds.

Watch for the following in particular when making your buying decision...

  • Make sure you get a weather resistant header rail. This is often made of a treated tropical hardwood.
  • The pulley mechanism should also be able to withstand the elements. Usually a combination of nylon plastic and/or brass will be best.
  • You want really robust weatherproof pull cords. Again nylon may be a good choice.
  • In addition, the binding thread should also be of a material that can withstand outdoor conditions.
DIY Projects Video Tutorial 2: How To Install Bamboo Blinds (1 minute)

Weather-Proofing Your Outdoor Bamboo Roll Up Blinds

If you are buying sun shades for a screened porch or patio, they will enjoy some protection. However, some brands will require you to seal your blinds with a water sealant or a polyurethane varnish. This will improve the level of weather resistance, making your shades more robust and durable.

You will need to repeat this process regularly, usually every two to three years. A light sanding is usually required before resealing the shades. Initially you may be able to choose to have the weatherproof coating applied during the manufacturing of your blinds. Alternatively you may select to do it yourself at home.

Another type of treatment that is crucial when it comes to bamboo, is a fungicide treatment. This is necessary to reduce the occurrence of mildew, a common problem when using these blinds outside. As your outdoor blinds will be exposed to direct sunlight, you can also expect them to fade over time.


I hope this has given you a good overview of the benefits of installing bamboo blinds, as well as what to watch for when buying outdoor bamboo roll up shades.

Feel like trying one of the other DIY projects using bamboo? Be sure to check out these 12 bamboo flooring pros and cons, as well as my 15 installation tips.

Hope you have fun with DIY projects using bamboo!