Homeowners Corner: Unexpected challenges of various window treatments

If you’re in the market for new window coverings, all the options can be a little overwhelming. While it might be easy to choose a product based on overall design and function, there are some smaller details that only come to light after installation. As a consumer, it is important to understand the differing expectations certain products can have. Below, we have outlined some expectations that come with various window covering options that you may not have considered.

General Light Gaps: Inside mounted window coverings will always have small light gaps on the sides to allow the blind or shade to raise and lower. While your windows will be measured to insure the best custom fit, measurement and production tolerance can vary from 1/8 inch to 1/4 inch. This is industry standard.

Multiple Shades in 1 Window: When multiple shades are mounted on 1 headrail there will be a small gap between each shade that can affect light flow and privacy. This gap can be between 1/2 inch and 1 1/2 inches, depending on shade type and manufacturer.

Solar Shades: If there are mesh screens on the windows, they may interact with the mesh in solar shades with a very loose weave. This can create a visual moiré effect and can be distressing to some people.
Power Shades: Battery powered shades that are placed side by side will eventually raise and lower at different times due to the inconsistent source of battery power. Fully recharging the batteries will eliminate this issue.

Woven Wood Shades: Woven wood shades are made from natural material and are naturally more prone to fabric inconsistencies and stretching/movement due to humidity and temperature changes. This may not be readily apparent in samples that have not been repeatedly used.

Roman Shades: Initially, roman shades will require “dressing” to ensure the folds and creases are even when the shade is raised up. It will take time for the fabric to hold a “memory” of the folds. The outside view of the shades will show the liner, lift cords, and ring holes. Flat roman shades have visible stitching and pinholes of light where the rings on the liner are attached to the shade. This is more noticeable on plain or solid fabrics.

Panel Tracks: There is a small overlap of fabric where each panel meets, which will create a darker vertical color strip.

Wood Blinds: Wood blinds have visible holes down the front of the blinds where the string runs through to connect the slats. The wider the blinds, the more sets of strings and holes there will be.

Fabric: All fabric shades and draperies that are more than 40 inches wide may have vertical seams that can sometimes be visible. Fabric is typically ordered and cut on an as-needed basis which allows for truly custom drapes. Therefore, fabric products typically have a longer turnaround time because of potential flaws and backorders.

Drapes: Different fabrics can have different compositions which may affect the draping. Thick upholstery weight fabrics do not always drape well, and fabrics with a high polyester content are prone to flaring at the bottom. Room darkening liners add extra weight to any drape and may causing tenting at the bottom.

Shutters: Hang strips or frames will provide a more visually pleasing shutter installation. However, if a window has a tilt-in feature for glass cleaning, the shutter will interfere with the tilt in window. To avoid this issue, a direct mount should be used so the shutter can be removed with the hinge pin to allow for glass cleaning.

While some of these small issues may seem insurmountable, most of them will be barely noticeable within the large-scale design of a room. However, it is always a good idea to consult with a professional when tackling any window covering projects. A good consultant can not only provide example pictures, but they can also walk you through all the pros and cons of each type of product.