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Blinds for Beginners

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Confused by all the different Blind and Shade products and prices?

Plantation Blinds or Wood and Faux Wood Blinds, Value Blinds or Mini Blinds, the options can seem endless. We can help make some sense of your window blind decisions. Window Blinds can have varying degrees of quality and it is important to understand the difference. It is also important to understand the different effects window blinds have on lighting and mood.

2” Wood Blinds and Faux Wood Blinds.

Express or Value Blinds vs. Custom Built Blinds – Express, Cut-Down, and Value Blinds are simply a name given to partially pre-constructed Window Coverings. They are made in 2” increments in width and are pulled from inventory, trimmed down on each side to fit your specific window. The length is also adjusted for your specific height. These are typically the same quality material used in Premium Blind or Custom Blind production, but the cost savings come from a lower cost of partial assembly. Since these are partially pre-constructed, you don’t get to choose the location for the tilt mechanism or raise and lower control. Typically, these are offered in a more limited color selection and come with tilt cord controls on the Left and Raise and lower cords on the right.

Beware the cheap imitations.

Some large discount stores offer standard-sized blinds for the most common size of windows. Not only are the materials generally inferior, but the fit of the blind rarely looks good in the room. For the same cost as a Value Blind, you can have a perfect fit, and you don’t even have to leave the house. Because all windows are not exactly the same dimensions and shelf stock blinds have to fit windows in certain size ranges, shelf window coverings do not fit as well as a custom-made blind or shade. The widths of a stock window blind must be shorter to accommodate as many windows as possible resulting in light gaps at the sides of the blind, shade, or shutter. The blind’s length also has to fit several different sizes and should be shortened so you don’t have a pile of slats sitting on the window sill.

Custom-made blinds are built from the ground up from your measurements. Each window is measured for its width and height to the nearest 1/8″ and the blind is built to fit the opening. The standard for most Blinds or Shades factories is to allow about 1/4″ on each side for proper operation, while the bottom rail (bottom blind piece) sits right on the window sill. Custom blinds are made with the best materials and hardware. The color choices range from many shades of white to 20+ stained wood tones. The material choices are Faux “PVC” blinds, Basswood blinds, other Asian Hard Wood blinds, and even some composite products.

Types of Window Blinds to Consider

Mini Blinds:

Most Mini blinds come in several slat widths, 1/2″, 1″, 2″. The slats are made from several different gauges (thickness) of aluminum. Some of the mini blinds use plastic slats to further lower their cost. The higher the gauge the thicker the slat and the better the quality. Mini blinds were very popular in homes about 10 years ago and are still used extensively in commercial buildings. Color choices for mini blinds are unlimited.

Venetian Blinds

Venetian blinds are just another way of saying Horizontal slat Blinds and encompass almost all the products in the market which meet the criteria of a Blind. We categorize blinds into 4 basic types, PVC blinds, Composite blinds, Roman Blinds/Shades, and wood blinds.

Faux Wood “PVC” Blinds

Faux or PVC blinds are made of solid or foamed polyvinyl chloride plastic. PVC blinds have really become popular over the past 15 years. 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. The color selection used to only include whites but there are several manufacturers making wood tone colors available. Faux Wood Blinds are very durable, UV resistant, waterproof (so they don’t flake, peel, or yellow), and easy to clean. That durability makes them an excellent choice for kids’ rooms. The one main drawback to Faux Blinds is the weight of the slats. PVC slats are heavier than wood or composite slats. So large windows can be a little difficult to raise.

PVC blinds have many names but typically start with one of two sources. Familiar names include Woodmates, Doverwood, Envirowood, Wood Like, Wood Look, Wood Plus, Infusion, Faux Wood, PVC Blinds, and more.

Composite Blinds

Composite blinds are made from a combination of wood by-products, glues, and plastics. Composite slats are a newer material being used for the window covering. Slat widths are generally 2″, 2 1/2″, and sometimes 3″ and come in flat or elliptical shapes. The blind slat’s surface is a smooth poly-coating or a solid composite material. Like PVC, the color selection is limited most often to whites but there are a few wood tone and stain colors available. Composite blinds are priced in the low mid-range. They are very durable, UV resistant, water-resistant, less likely to warp than wood, and easy to clean. The one main drawback to composite blinds is the weight of the slats. Composite blind slats are lighter than PVC blinds but heavier than wood and therefore a good choice for large windows coverings.

Wood Blinds

Both value & premium wood blinds are made from real woods. The value wood blind slats are made from assorted Oriental hardwoods. The premium wood blind slats are made from American Basswood. Basswood is a unique cross-grained wood that has rich detail and resists warping. Slat widths are generally 1″,2″, 2 1/2″, and sometimes 3″. The blind slat’s surface is either painted or stained. There is a huge color selection with several different whites and the most popular hardwood stain colors. You can even add cloth tape ladders for a truly custom look. Need to match a cabinet or trim stain? Wood blinds are your best bet. Wood blinds are the most expensive blinds in this category. All wood slats can warp and may color fade over long periods of time. Wood blind slats are the lightest material and work well for large windows.

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