Adding blinds to your replacement windows is a great way to control glare, restore privacy, and change the feel of a room. Blinds of any material will help protect your home from solar radiation. Furniture, carpeting, and other interior finishes will fade more slowly when protected from UV rays by window coverings. Reducing glare helps tired eyes, especially now that Americans spend so many waking hours working (and playing) on LCD screens. (image: sunblinds from sunrise windows via www.bushneys.net)

sunrise windows with internal blinds

West and south facing rooms can be made much more usable with blinds while still preserving the soft natural light that makes your decorating choices look their best. Wooden and PVC blinds reduce solar heat gain in the summertime, which results in lower cooling costs.  Blinds of any material give you back the privacy you deserve. As our neighborhoods grow denser, adding blinds to your windows can give you a feeling of cozy privacy without robbing you of healthy natural light. These benefits explain why horizontal blinds are the most common window attachment, accounting for 62% of window installations (for replacement windows and new builds) in a study done by D&R International.  The same study also revealed that even though most people choose them, they don't use them. Most blinds remained fixed in one position. 

The purpose of blinds is to allow for light control and privacy, but only around 30% of households adjust any single window covering on a daily basis. 75%-84% of window coverings remain in the same position day to day. Why do so many people choose adjustable window treatments if they don't use them? We tried to think about why people don't utilize the function of blinds. Our main hypothesis is that the operating mechanisms on many blinds are bad. They break easily, the cords get tangled, they don't always move symmetrically, and they collect dust. For these reasons, people want to avoid them. The findings are unfortunate, because some blinds are great! The key word here is some. Our takeaway from this study is that people should put more consideration into selecting window treatments and shopping for blinds. Our post will help you think about things to consider when you are selecting blinds for your replacement windows.

Types of Blinds for Replacement Windows

Make sure to choose a material that appeals to you. If you love your blinds, you are more likely to use them. The three most common materials for blinds in America are natural wood from trees and grasses (bamboo), plastic/faux wood (PVC), and metal (most often an aluminum alloy). The operating mechanisms are equally important. These vary more by manufacturer than material, but in most cases, we don't recommend metal blinds. If the slates get kinked and the cord tangles, you won't use them. If you decide blinds are the best option for your replacement windows, try operating several different blinds and read reviews to make sure you choose a system that is hassle-free. Look for cordless systems or motorized blinds. If you've had it with blinds, shutters provide many of the same benefits for CT windows, and it is impossible to tangle them. 

Plastic Blinds

Plastic blinds, also known as vinyl, PVC, and faux-wood are becoming almost indistinguishable from real wood.

The Good: Plastic blinds are a great choice in bathrooms and kitchens where humidity and splashing water might damage natural wood blinds. Plastic blinds resist warping in humid conditions, and can be cleaned with common household cleaning products without fear of stripping or damaging their finish.

The Bad: Unfortunately, plastic blinds can be toxic to children if chewed, and have been known to sag when heated by fierce sunlight. They collect dust and can be difficult to clean.

If you decide on plastic, make sure you pick a system with sturdy slats. They will be easier to clean, and the weight makes them less likely to tangle than flimsier versions.

Internal Blinds

Most people are not familiar with internal blinds, but this is our #1 pick for blinds for a new home, or for CT replacement windows. Their function is the same, but the system is located between two panes of glass. Stop by our Meriden showroom to see what the system from Sunrise windows looks like and how it works.

sunrise windows sunblindsThe Good: Internal blinds provide all the benefits of plastic blinds without any of the inconveniences. They can't get dusty or dirty, and there is no cord! Sunblinds from Sunrise windows use magnetic operators for sliding and tilting the slats. Sunrise windows is one of the best brands for replacement windows in CT, and we think internal blinds are a genius invention. Sunrise windows offers the same system for patio doors (no ratting in the wind!)

The Bad: The only negative is that you need to really commit to the decision. Internal blinds are part of the window system. You can add other window treatments over the window system, but if you want to get rid of the blinds, you will probably need replacement windows.

Wooden blinds

Wooden Blinds are a great choice for ct windows in rooms where water and humidity are not an issue.

The Good: Wood is an eco-friendly, sustainable material and'depending on the finish used'will not release harmful chemicals into your home's air. Wood blinds provide a timeless, warm look that contrasts and complements common interior color schemes. The subtle, natural irregularities of wood impart an authentic, cozy ambience. Wood blinds are very light and resist kinking. Most wood blinds conduct very little heat, helping keep interior temperatures stable. Wood blinds do not re-radiate solar heat into a room to the extent that other materials do.

The bad: Wood collects dust, and it shows dust, especially darker stains. Wood is easily damaged by water. Wooden blinds can deform and breed mold in humid environments, like bathrooms.

Overall, wood is a great choice for most rooms. Choose slats with a smooth finish for easy cleaning, and make sure you are comfortable with the operating system.

Metal Blinds

Most people are familiar with the ubiquitous aluminum venetian blinds seen in offices and commercial buildings. Few homes have an aesthetic well suited to aluminum blinds, but the material has a few qualities that are very desirable.

The Good: Aluminum blinds reduce fire risk. Although thin aluminum will burn in a house fire, it is much less likely to catch or spread a fire. Aluminum blinds can be extremely economical. They resist warping better than other materials, and are often made of recycled material. A time-saving innovation is the application of special static-control coatings to aluminum that repel dust.

The Bad: One of the biggest drawbacks to aluminum blinds is that the material is inherently an excellent conductor. When extreme temperature differentials exist near a window, the blind can act as giant heat exchanger. Children and animals are sometimes tempted to brush aluminum blinds, an act which can create a novel sound. Unfortunately, the novelty of the sounds dies quickly for adults, and aluminum blinds are so thin that they may bend and kink when manipulated.

Shutters

Shutters are a great alternative to blinds. They are more durable and they are easy to operate. Maybe people leave blinds and shutters closed in the same position for privacy reasons. Our post on shutters explains how to tilt slats to ensure privacy and let a little light inside. The same logic applies to blinds. 

In addition to providing privacy and natural light, blinds and shutters increase the energy efficiency of ct replacement windows. The following guide has more tips on improving the energy efficiency of windows and doors. Please call Fiderio and Sons for a window estimate in CT.