Window Covering Tips

Sun Protection

Sunscreen roller shades are great for providing sun protection while still allowing you to see through the shade. Sunscreen is made from a fibreglass mesh weave with openness factors from 1% to 14%. This material is very durable, difficult to tear and easy to keep clean. It comes in various tones of white, brown & black.

The openness factor refers to the percentage of holes in the material for the size of the shade. For example a 10% openness factor gives you good see through but you still have 90% of the area covered with sunscreen providing you with protection from ultraviolet rays and sun glare. Ultraviolet rays and dust are the main factors causing fading/deterioration of fabrics. So you will be providing protection for your furnishings and reducing heat gain in the room from the sun. By the way the sunscreen has ultraviolet inhibitors so it won’t deteriorate.

An interesting feature of this material is that you can see through the material from inside the home during daylight but people on the street can’t see through the material due to the differences in lighting from inside to outside. However, in the evening as it gets darker people on the street will be able to see general images because it will be lighter inside the home. We also use this material to cover skylights which will be discussed under that topic.

Are Windows Really Square?

Window frames made in the factory are built in a jig and they are square. The problem starts when they are installed in the rough in window framing of the house. This framing is usually 2 X 4 or 2 X 6 and a good framer will select straight lumber and plum it with a level/square. Unfortunately, if the wood has too high a moisture content it may eventually twist or distort even though it was carefully framed. A careless framer just makes the problem worse.

Drywallers will simply screw the drywall to the wood frame so it becomes a case of garbage in, garbage out. Drywall mudding done carelessly will also cause problems in the corners where you may find an excess build up of mud effectively narrowing the window casing.

The solution is to have a finish carpenter do wood window casings but this can be expensive. It is quite common for window casings to have variances in width or length of 1/8″ to 1/4″. You can tell if you have a problem window by first measuring at various points of the window casing and on the diagonal. Then visually compare the distance from the edge of the factory window frame to the casing and quite often you will see that the width is inconsistent.

The most common problems are out of square, narrowing of the width at the top or bottom of the window and bowing of the sill. You need a perfect window frame to get a perfect fit of the blind and this is seldom the case so we have to make compromises in the fit to disguise these problems to the extent possible,

Skylights good or bad?

When the sun comes out you find out a skylight lets in lots of light but also lots of heat. So how do you keep the light and eliminate the heat? The answer is using the right skylight blind. A common solution is to use a cellular shade that slides open or closed on side rails. This does a good job of reducing the heat but you have to open the shade to get light.

We have developed a very affordable and easy solution with our spring tension rod sunscreen skylight blind. The sunscreen material has a degree of openness, usually 10%, that allows some light through but still blocks most of the heat. You can easily remove the blind during the winter months but most people don’t bother because the blind still lets enough light in.

Another solution is to put a shutter in the skylight opening provided you can reach the louvres with a pole for opening and closing them. The vinyl material also has ultraviolet inhibitors to prevent damage from the sun

Automated Blinds

We are seeing more demand for automated blinds which is being driven by more selection from manufacturers and significantly reduced costs. For example, you can automate roller shades, venetians, celluar shades and drapery panels. Multiple blinds can be controlled by one remote or wall switch so you can move several blinds together. Other options include a light sensor or timer to automatically raise or lower blinds.

Automated blinds do not require any electrical modifications if you choose battery operated blinds which are the most popular and affordable. The batteries are standard AA or AAA and last one to two years and are easily replaced. If you are renovating and want hard wired blinds you need to contact us in advance for advice on where to locate plugs to ensure a smooth installation.

Child Safety

This has become an important part of blind design as awareness of potential problems has increased and governments have introduced regulations. The focus has been on preventing small children from wrapping loose control cords around their necks which could cause strangulation. The solution has been to anchor control cords to the window frame and or add break away tassels which will separate if too much force is applied to cords joined together.

The break away tassels can be irritating because they do separate fairly easily if not pulled properly but this is a small price to pay for increased safety. If you have a child’s crib near a window we strongly recommend that you select a blind without control cords to avoid any potential problem. There are several blinds available with spring tension controls in the head rail.

Environmental Issues

Consumers are very concerned about the impact of products on the environment. Blind manufacturers are responding with green products designed to be environmentally friendly. There are an increasing number ot these products available and we can provide you with relevant information from our manufacturers.

An example is the Greenguard Environmental Institute that establishes standards and certification programs to reduce exposure to chemicals and to improve indoor air quality. These are among the most stringent air quality standards in the world. You can find more information at

What is a Faux Wood?

This an industry term to describe material made to look like wood that is used for 2″ Venetian style blinds. There are two basic types. One type uses a vinyl formulation that gives a consistent look throughout the slat and you can see this on the end cut of the slat.

The other type is a vinyl and wood particle mix that has a lighter weight but the end cut on the slat will show a rougher finish compared to the smooth side of the slat. The lighter weight allows this type of blind to span a larger area.

We have found both materials to be very durable and easy to keep clean. In fact the faux wood material is more durable than real wood blinds so the faux wood has become the blind of choice because it looks like wood and is less expensive but more durable.

Thank you for visiting our Window Treatments Blog for South Surrey, White Rock and Langley BC.

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