Shades Shutters & Blinds Product Information
Every thing you wanted to know about blinds, shades, and shutters but were afraid to ask. A beginner's guide for buying window blinds.
by Lawren Gourney
Ever shopped on line for blinds, shades, or shutters and were confused by all different products and prices? This page should help. We are currently working on Window Shades 101 and Plantation Shutters 101 to help with your plantation shutters or window shade decisions.
WINDOW BLINDS Grab & Go Blinds vs. Custom made Blinds Grab & Go blinds are simply a name given to pre-cut shades that you buy off self. They are made to common generic window sizes. Because all windows are not exactly same dimensions and grab & go blinds have to fit windows in certain size ranges, grab and go window coverings do not fit as well as a custom made blind or shade. The widths of a grab and go window blind must be shorter to accommodate as many windows as possible (this usually causes a light gap, or reveal, at sides of blind or shade). The blind's length also has to fit several different sizes and quite often must be shortened. Grab & go blinds are usually lowest priced blind or shade on market. The lower price is due to use of lighter weight cheaper materials, lower quality hardware, fewer sizes, colors and lack of a warranty. A grab & go blind has a product life expectancy of 2 to 6 years. Price makes these a good choice for certain applications like basements, garages and attics. These window coverings are available at most discount chain stores, large department stores, and home improvement centers.
Custom made blinds is made to measure. Each window is measured for it's width and height to nearest 1/8" and blind is built to fit opening. The light gap, reveal, on each side is about 1/4" and bottom rail (bottom of window shades) comes right to window sill. Custom blinds are made with better materials and hardware. The come from well known companies such as Hunter Douglas, Levolor, Graber and Bali. They are usually warranted for as long as you own home. The color choices range from several shades of white to most common stained wood tones. The material choices are PVC blinds, wood composite blinds, and real wood blinds. These custom made blinds can be purchased at most retailers and internet companies such as Shades Shutters Blinds. They are usually slightly more expensive than grab & go blinds.
Mini Blinds Mini blinds are made in several slat widths, 1/2", 1", 2". The slats of this blind are made from several different gauges (thickness) of aluminum. Some of Grab & go mini blinds use plastic slats to further lower their cost. The higher gauge better. Mini blinds were very popular in homes about 10 years ago and are still used extensively in commercial building. Color choices for mini blinds are unlimited. For affordable mini blinds. See Mini Blinds.
Venetian Blinds Venetian blinds is a large category in blinds. The original Venetian blinds were made with wide curved metal slats much like a mini slat. Over time slats have evolved to different materials, sizes and shapes. Venetian blind slats are made from plastics, woods, and combinations of plastics & wood. They are made in 1, 2, 2 1/2, & 3 inch slat widths. Venetian Blind's shapes can be curved, flat or elliptical. Most window covering manufacturers buy slats from same 3 or 4 companies that produce them. To confuse things further, window blind manufacturers have made their own names for same materials, same sizes, and same shapes (a 2 1/2 " composite blinds slat can have as may different names as there are companies using them). Hopefully this site can simplify this for you. We will attempt to break down this mess to 4 basic types, PVC blinds, Composite blinds, and wood blinds. See products. PVC Blinds or Faux Wood Blinds
Faux or PVC blinds are made of a solid or foamed poly vinyl chloride plastic. That's right, same stuff milk bottles are made of. PVC s is one of newer materials being used for blind slats. Slat widths are generally 2", 2 1/2", and sometimes 3". The blind slat's surface can be smooth or embossed with a wood grain. Color selection is limited most often to whites but there are a few wood tone colors available. PVC blinds are starting price point in this category. They are very durable, UV resistant, waterproof (as in when windows are left open and it rains or sprinklers come on), and easy to clean. The one main draw back to Faux Blinds is weight of slats. PVC slats are heavier than wood or composite slats and with large windows can make raising blind a little difficult.