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Archive for the ‘General Info’ Category

Window shades and their opacity / transparency levels

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

It truly is a little confusing, and we do get frequently questions about it. What does is mean when we refer to a window shade as being opaque or semi-opaque? Then other shades are described as room darkening, light-filtering or blackout. So here is an overview of the different terms describing transparency and lighting levels. We are using two terminologies as they can be found

in the window covering industry:

 

 


Now, let me explain the terms, and what they mean in regards to shades, light, transparency and privacy:

 

  1. A Sheer shade will allow most light to enter your room while reducing glare. This type of shade will allow a soft view outside. There is little to no privacy with this window treatment.
  2. Semi-Sheer Shades help to diffuse incoming light and provide a screened view. With this type of shade you will only get moderate privacy.
  3. Light-filtering or semi-opaque shades will transmit filtered light with no view through. Light can enter the room, while maintaining privacy. This is our most popular category, as the living area can be lit up with incoming light, the atmosphere is friendly, but neighbors are “shut out”.
  4. Room-darkening shades are made of materials that filter more light, and considerably darken the room. However, they do NOT block ALL light. These materials do not allow a view through and provide complete privacy.
  5. Blackout or opaque shades virtually block ALL light. The type of shade doesn’t allow any light to filter through; essentially electric light has to be turned on to see inside a room when lowered. This type of shade gives also complete privacy.

 

Why the 2 different sets of wording (opaque vs. blackout)? The opaque and semi-opaque wording has simply been established within the Hunter Douglas product line. It is used in their highly popular Duette honeycomb line. The Duette product line really only offers four fabric categories, which does not include a room-darkening fabric, it only offers the blackout fabrics with the foiled technology which blocks all light.

Top 5 mistakes when ordering custom window blinds

Monday, July 13th, 2009

When ordering a custom made window blinds and shades, you want to use care and caution and prepare well to ensure a smooth and pleasant experience. Custom made products are made to your specifications and can therefore not be exchanged or returned. We thought it might be helpful to point out the top 5 “risk factors” or pitfalls that we have observed over the years when receiving orders for custom blinds and shades. Here we go, the do’s and don’ts:

 

  1. Please be precise! Precision PAYS when measuring for your windows. Always use a metal tape measure, not a wooden one or one you would use in the apparel industry. Please read our online measuring instructions. Also, we recommend double checking your measurements. It doesn’t hurt to check your measurements to avoid any surprises later on.
  2. Please don’t assume that the factory will add to your shade’s length when ordering for an outside mount (doors, outside the casing, on frames etc.) Blinds or shades will always be made to the exact length you are ordering. This means, you have to allow for your mounting surface and include it in the length you are providing. This allowance is depending on the product and the size of the headrail you are choosing and can be found in our “mounting requirements” section of each product page.
  3. Please do not take your own inside mount deduction. When mounting inside a window’s frame, the factory will take the necessary deduction in the product’s width to ensure proper clearance to operate the window covering properly. So, on inside mounts, the exact opening of the casing should be provided.
  4. It is important to check if you have enough mounting surface for the desired product. Some window shades will need more mounting depth (for inside mounts) than others. We have listed for each product, in the mounting requirements section of the product page, what the minimum mounting needs are. Please check before ordering!
  5. Please do not assume color. We, at Ace of Shades go through great lengths to provide digital images of fabric swatches and blind samples for your convenience; however, these should only be used as a reference point. Your computer’s calibration might be different as well as other factors that come into play. Where an exact color match or texture is desired, please verify and view an actual sample locally or through ordering to avoid any surprises upon receiving your new product.

 

Please don’t get too frightened ;-) We have very few orders where something does actually go wrong. But the above list might possibly prevent a future hick up. And always… when in doubt, please call us, an industry expert will certainly erase any questions you might have to ensure that your new window treatment will work and meet or exceed your needs.

Understanding Blinds & Shades Pricing

Sunday, July 5th, 2009

First up, let me explain that at Ace of Shades, even when talking about inexpensive, or price competitive products – you will always have a quality product, which is backed up by a Limited Lifetime warranty. You will find that we only carry top name brands and leading manufacturers in the window blind industry. However, with this in mind we would like to give an overall break down of where the different product categories stand in regards to pricing. In some rooms, you might want to go for a certain look, where budget will not be affecting your choice, and then again you might have that window in a utility room, garage, or spare bedroom where an inexpensive product will do the job.

 

On the low end of the price range are the aluminum mini blinds, faux wood blinds as well as some of the roller shades. Even though, also in these categories, some of the top of the line products can get a bit more expensive, you can generally find really well priced products in this area. The faux woods are a great alternative to the 2” wood blinds when trying to stick to budget. Also in our roller shades category, many fabrics can be found that are a great inexpensive way to dress up your windows.

 

In the middle of the “price chart” you will find Cellular Shades, Wood Blinds, Solar Shades as well as Pleated Shades, the most popular of them being the Cellular Shades category. Cellular Honeycomb shades are wonderful insulators and offered in a wide range of fabrics and cell sizes.  Wood blinds are sold in 2” or 2 ½” slat sizes and work well with pretty much any decor. Solar Shades work and function like Roller Shades or Roman Shade, but are made with a screen like material that helps to keep your rooms cooler while preserving a screened view out. They are also great for UV protection, helping to keep your furniture and decor safe from damage of direct sunlight.

 

In the higher end of the “price chart” are our Sheer Shades (Silhouette like shades), Woven Wood Shades as well as Roman Shades. Sheer Shades are a combination of a blind, shade and sheer in one, with great versatility and functionality. This elegant product works well in any living area or where a great taste and functionality is the goal. Our Woven Wood Shades are made from the finest woods, grasses or bamboos and take an extensive manufacturing process to create a natural look. Our Roman Shades are offered in elegant fabrics that are layered in panes of material that drape your window like no other shade.

 

Again, these are just the general guidelines and all categories have exception to the above named rules. Also current deals and sales can get this chart a bit blurry. Please always use our quick quote or customization page for exact pricing information or simply contact us, we’d be glad to guide you into right direction and price out any product you might be interested in.

New Arrival – upon popular demand: Hunter Douglas Applause Sunterra Blackout collection

Sunday, June 21st, 2009

We have just added the new cellular Applause fabric line “Sunterra blackout” to our website. Hunter Douglas added last year the new Sunterra light filtering collection to the Applause cellular shades offering which has now become its best selling product in this category. The Sunterra collection comes in the ¾” pleat size and sets itself apart through richer color tones. All 12 colors are earth or nature inspired. Prior to May 2009 the light filtering Sunterra fabric was priced the same as the Legends and Casuelle light filtering fabric line. Since then, Hunter Douglas has given even higher incentives to buy this product by pricing it 15% lower than the Legends and Casuelle fabrics J

Every year around May Hunter Douglas has their yearly pricing increase. But this year, due to the economy and the difficulties in the housing market, pricing has remained the same and some products have even enjoyed a pricing decrease. Sunterra was part of this pricing decrease.

 

Now, this popular product has been made available in blackout. The exact same beautiful, nature inspired colors have been created with foil technology as a lining on the inside of every cell, providing a blackout product that can be used in every bedroom or any room where complete light control is desired. Also the blackout Sunterra material is priced 15% lower than the Legends and Casuelle blackout material. It is available with all popular features like the top down / bottom up or cordless lifting system as well as motorized. Since the Hunter Douglas launch we have already had numerous sales before even having the product up online. Now, that we have received all necessary product supplies, we have added it and will start putting it on a 5% off sale starting Monday, June 22nd.

 

As always, for anybody wanting to see a sample of the new material or any color therein, please contact us, we are more than happy to arrange to have some mailed to you. Enjoy learning more about the new product, its colors and specifications here: Hunter Douglas Applause Sunterra Blackout Collection.

Hunter Douglas Product Updates May 2009….

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

As every year, the time has come… Hunter Douglas does product and pricing updates in May or June. This year, it was the 5th of May that the new changes have taken affect. In this blog we’d like to briefly outline them and give an overview.

 

First the GREAT news!!!

No price increases. J The norm is to see a product price increase of about 5% – some products a little less, some a little more. We suppose, due to the economy and the challenges that have come along with that for the housing market and the related industries, the “base” prices for all product categories have not been raised this year.

A few increases however, which are minor, were added to the surcharges like honeycomb cellular lift system surcharges etc.

 

A GREAT change to point out: There have been some price DECREASES!! Yes, you have heard right: The best selling (and new) Applause honeycomb fabric, Sunterra collection, has had a price decrease of 15%. We have on our blog an entire article on the Sunterra line, which stands out for its nature inspired earthy colors and the great even dye tones they come in. With that, a new Sunterra blackout collection has been launched, which will also be priced 15% lower than the Casuelle or Legends fabric line. You will find that new Sunterra line as soon as Hunter Douglas makes samples to us available.  

 

Another change to point out does not have to do with pricing. Hunter Douglas Duette lifting systems, continuous cord (EasyRise), cordless lift (LiteRise) and retractable cord (UltraGlide) now all offer the same headrail. Now we are talking consistency!! We will feature an entire article in the next few days, including pictures, illustrating that product change. They also made a number of changes to their existing fabrics and brought in some new ones. We will also post them as soon as they are available and post a blog along with it.

 

Another price DECREASE can be found in the Solar Shades line. The Hunter Douglas Designer Screen Roller Shades have all been lowered. Some just a bit, some considerably. Assuming that in the upcoming hot summer month they will enjoy such popularity as last year, this will be a great product to look at and save.

 

Wood blinds… on the Chalet wood blinds… another bargain. The Chancellor Valance, which used to have an additional charge, will be now free of charge. The 2 ½” Chalet Wood blinds, can now also be enjoyed with the LiteRise cordless lifting system. When this system is paired with a Wand Tilter – you have a blind free of cords, friendly enough for any household with children and pets.

 

There you go. This is the broad overview of our most popular products and their related changes. There are many more… but we don’t want to turn you into a window blind expert. We’ll leave that to us.  

Federal Tax Credit – Comfortex Honeycomb Shades with Energy Saving Sidetrack System

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

Comfortex Window Fashions has just announced their certification of the Comfortex ComforTrack insulating sidetrack system for the Federal Tax Credit under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

 

We all like saving money on taxes and energy bills. And now, the ComforTrack Plus Energy Saving Sidetrack Insulation System does exactly that. Homeowners qualify for a 30% tax credit up to a maximum of $1500.00 when they insulate their windows with the ComforTrack Plus Energy Saving Sidetrack System. With this system we are actually able to cut our energy and tax bill at the same time J

 

What exactly is this Sidetrack System? Comfortex cellular shades are great insulating products. However, on the right and left side to the shade there is this little gap. It’s a light gap, as well as an energy gap necessary to lower and raise your shade without it “brushing” up against the casing or frame. Well, this gap can be eliminated with the ComforTrack Plus system, which places a track on the right and left of your honeycomb shade, which will give you a barrier to drafts. They are available in white or brown and are UV stable removable sidetracks that attach to your window frame with magnets. They can be removed for cleaning when necessary.

ComforTrack Honeycomb shades with the ComforTrack Plus System provide a thermal performance rating up to 5 time better than single pane windows alone! For pricing and more information on the ComforTrack Plus System, please contact us or call, this feature is not yet available online.

 

Decorating with Light

Friday, April 10th, 2009

Any decorator or photographer can tell you, or even a real estate agent, what makes a room beautiful and makes it pleasing and desirable is a matter of light. And that is exactly what you can control and play with when choosing a window treatment for your home, designed to manage light.

 

A proper window covering can soften the bright light of noon. A light-filtering shade can welcome the early morning light while not sacrificing privacy. Entering ultraviolet rays can be screened to protect valuable fabrics, furniture and carpeting. When “playing” with light, one should consider the light source. Do you want to control an area that is flooded with daylight? Have absolute light control in a bedroom, where darkening might be required? While managing light, what is the degree of privacy, if any, needed for your specific living area? A proper window treatment can help to achieve any goal you might have when “decorating” with light.

 

Why is it so important to manage light? Because… light can lift you spirits. Light can reflect your mood or change it. It can energize, or calm. It can be soothing, glowing, subdue or dappled. Light can ease tension or create the mood you want when you want it. 

   

 

Bali is celebrating their 70th year Anniversary

Monday, April 6th, 2009

Wow, 70 years for Bali Blinds in the window covering industry and going stronger than ever! For 70 years Bali has been helping Do-It Yourselfers create window coverings that are perfect for their unique homes, matching their interior décor while filling every practical need.

 

Spring Window Fashions, the maker of the Bali-brand believes in the “best Experience” philosophy, a commitment to quality window treatments, and the very best customer service with no-hassle warranties to give every customer peace of mind. Today they have developed “green by Nature” business practices that include environmentally friendly material harvesting, high-recycling manufacturing facilities, energy-efficient window coverings and healthy-home window treatments that are tested for low volatile organic compound emission. Also recognized for innovation, Bali has just earned the 2009 Spring Product Innovation Award! So – congrats again Bali J

 

Regardless of what your practical or decorative needs might be, Bali is a great brand where easy solutions can be found. Offering free sample swatches to ensure that perfect color match, while offering great prices at a solid quality makes Bali a favorite in our online selection.

 

Celebrating along with Bali, we offer currently all products at a 10% discount and feature their great line in our featured items section.  

NEW!!! Comfortex Newports Woods Blinds

Friday, March 27th, 2009

What a variety in colors! Comfortex has come out with new Basswood blinds, combining the warmth of premium basswood with proven performance of their operating system. Newports 2” blinds come in 36 colors – yes, the paint and stain offering is extensive! Many whites and off whites to match any trim or paint color; and a wide selection of warm stained finishes ranging from natural to oak and maple to mahogany.

 

Newport Woods are offered in 3 different slat sizes. The most popular 2” slat provides a classic look for any window. The smaller 1 3/8” slat is a great option for French doors or smaller size windows and the larger 2 3/8” slat size provides better visibility to the outside and is perfect for large windows.

 

These Wood blinds are offered at a great price point. Also a great value is the routeless feature, which is offered free of charge at this time. Newports blinds are available with the traditional routing system or the hole-less version to give added privacy and a sleek clean look free of routeholes. Also free of charge are the optional rounded slats, giving a softer appearance to each blind versus the standard rectangular corners.

 

Other optional upgrades include decorative cotton tapes, the cordless lift system for added child safety or our motorized tilt. And as to be expected, every product comes with a Limited Lifetime warranty for peace of mind J Please look for it on our website, we have just added it – and a SALE is right around the corner!

 

Installation of Blinds above Wood Frame

Monday, March 16th, 2009

When installing outside mount window blinds always remember to mount your brackets into a wall stud. Wall studs are typically 16” inches apart and are easy to find with a stud finder or even tapping on your walls and listening for the “hollow” noise. Drilling only into the drywall doesn’t support the blinds enough to keep them functioning correctly. If you are unable to find your wall studs, I would recommend using wall anchors to prevent the screws from pulling out of the wall. Find out what your walls are made out of, example- metal, wood, or concrete. Outside mount window blinds should be at least six inches wider than the width of your window to block the light that will be coming in from the open sides.

           

When installing 2” faux wood, real wood blinds or other horizontal blinds, install the box brackets using the screws provided, or if you have metal or concrete walls you need the proper screws to hang your blinds. The top rail of the window blinds should fit snuggly into the bracket. Close the bracket, hang your valance and you are done.

           

Installing vertical blinds are also very easy. Your window blinds will include L brackets and screws. An L bracket should be mounted to the rail at least ever 48“ for stability. Mount your L brackets into the wall using the proper screws and simply snap the railing into the bracket. You will hear a click and you will know that you have installed your blinds properly. Snap in the vertical vanes and you are finished.

           

Cellular Shades and pleated shades also come with l-shaped brackets, included in your order. The outer supports should be mounted no more than two inches from the ends of the rail and no more than 48” apart. If the width of your window is wider than 48”, you will have extra hardware included with your shades to support the middle of the rail.

 

Many times in order to clear your wood frame you will need extension brackets, to extend your shade far enough out from the wall to clear such trim. This hardware can be requested at the time of ordering and is free of charge J. Please remember, all detailed installation instruction come with your order, and most can also be found in our “How to Install” section our website.

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