Roller Shades & Solar Shades
What are window blinds?
A window blind is a covering for a window, usually attached to the interior side of a window. It simply refers to some device to hide from sight (thus "blinding" the viewer) or to reduce sunlight. There are several kinds of blinds, including:
Slat blinds, which consist of many horizontal, flat slats, usually of metal or vinyl, connected with string in a way that they can be rotated to allow light to pass between the slats, rotated up to about 170 degrees to hide the light, or pulled up so that the entire window is clear. (So special version pulling up diagonally or even down — mostly motorised or with hand winder). The rotation of the blinds is achieved by rotating a connector attached to the strings or by pulling a cord; the raising and lowering of the blinds is achieved by pulling a different string. However, there also exists version with a winding mechanisms that combine both functions into one winding rod and can mostly alsobe used for motorisation. Such blinds include:
Venetian blinds, basic slatted blind made of metal or plastic; wooden slats are sometimes used but these are usually referred to as wood blinds or bamboo blinds. Venetian blinds were introduced around 1770, possibly in Venice, Italy. Slat width can be between 50-120mm, however most common are 50mm)
Miniblinds, Venetian blinds with very narrow slats (usually 19 or 24mm wide).
Vertical blinds, or track blinds, consisting of slats of stiffened fabric, plastic, or metal hanging by one end from a track; like the horizontal versions, the slats can be rotated 90 degrees to allow light to pass through or to fold up on one side of a door or window.
Solid blinds, which either roll up or fold up but cannot be opened in place to allow light through. These are also often referred to as window shades. Such blinds include:
Holland blinds, or roller shades, which are pull-down rolling window blinds.
Woven-wood blinds, which are slats of decorative wood, bamboo, or other natural material woven together with simple string, colored yarn, or other decorative material to make a nearly solid blind; these either roll up out of the way or fold up out of the way.
Pleated shades, which are pleated fabric shades that pull up to sit flat at the top of a window
Honeycomb shades, or cellular shades, which are similar to pleated shades except that there are two or more layers joined at the pleats to form compartments that trap air, providing insulation.
Roman shades, made of fabric or woven wood, that pull up by having each section of the shade fold behind a higher section.
All of the above can also be motorised.
Brief History of Blinds
It is interesting to note that the ancient Egyptians first used blinds in an effort to control the heat. Etchings on the walls of some Egyptian tombs show horizontal blinds constructed of reeds. The Egyptian slaves were depicted pouring water over these vertical reed blinds in an effort to cool the rooms of the Egyptians.
Brief History of Roller Shades
The most common window covering during the 19th century was the roller shade. It was inexpensive, could be made at home, blocked direct sunlight, offered privacy, and gave some protection from insects. There were basically three type of roller shades. One was generally made of fine linen and came in a variety of colors. Another alternative was the transparent shade made of artist's tracing cloth. And lastly the roller shade made of oilcloth, which was opaque.
An option available to horizontal blinds, cloth tapes can be used in place of
standard string ladders. These increase privacy and allow less light through
A string that you pull on to control the tilt.
A cord cleat is a small bracket which affixes to the wall near the headrail and
allows the cord to be hung up on it, preventing children and pets from
becoming entangled in dangling cord.
Extension Brackets are metal pieces that are used in installing blinds that need
to be extended out over the sill (usually over 1/2"). These are only needed for
The hardware on the very top of the blind where the tracks are
located. To a great extent, the headrail's quality determines the blind's durability.
Measure the height (top to bottom) inside the window opening at the left,
center and right. Then take the longest measurement.
Brackets used to hold the bottom rail of a blind or shade in place in its fully
lowered position. Primarily used for doors to keep the blind or shade from
An inside mount fits within the window frame. To measure on inside mounts
do not add any width to reduce the side light gaps. The inside mount
deductions are taken for operating clearance. Without these deductions your
blind/shade may not fit or operate correctly. For more information, go to our
Standard ladders are thin cords that are threaded through each slat. In some cases, you may be able to substitute a cloth tape for a ladder.
An inside mount fits within the window frame, an outside mount overlaps the
window opening. For more information, go to our Measuring Guide
This feature prevents any light from sneaking in through the slats as the cord
is not routed through them, but over them. This prevents light spots and
allows for total privacy.
one on one headrail
This is the default option for all blinds and shades, which means that the blind
or shade is the same width as the headrail. Size constraints may force some
products to be split as 2 or 3 on one headrail.
An outside mount overlaps the window opening. For more information, go to
our Measuring Guide
The cord is routed through the slats.
This feature reduces light leakage by eliminating the traditional rout hole through the center of the slat and replaces it with a notch on the side of each slat
through which the cording controlling the tilting and lifting of the blind runs.
The strips of wood, vinyl, aluminum, etc, that make up the blind.
The control, usually a cord or a wand, that tilts the slats of a blind open and closed.
or more blinds on one headrail
Provides the flexibility of raising one blind while keeping the other lowered on extra wide windows, such as patio doors. This option is usually only available
up to a total maximum width (the total length of the headrail), often around 96".
This covers the headrail from the outside and generally matches the color of
the blinds. Valances can be made of fabric, wood, aluminum, or vinyl. Cornices may be purchased separately. A cornice is wood molding that you mount on the wall around the window. Cornices can be used to add architectural detailing to your room and are available in a variety of painted and stained finishes.
A long plastic cylinder that you twist.
The horizontal measurement of your blind, taken to the nearest 1/8 of an inch. For measuring instructions, click here.