Archive for the ‘General Info’ Category
Monday, November 16th, 2009
In the window covering industry, the terms blind and shades are used and actually often used incorrectly. Most people are not even aware that there is a difference between the two of them. So, what are the differences and which one is right for you and your window covering needs?
Window Blinds actually offer a dual functionality. They are usually made of slats or vanes, which can be made of PVC, wood, composite materials or even fabrics. Blinds are often horizontal products, like the wood blinds, faux wood blinds, mini blinds but can also be Verticals, most common ones being fabric or PVC verticals often used for patio doors. One function on blinds is to lower and raise (for horizontal blinds) or draw to the side(s) (for vertical blinds). This means the entire product is pulled up or to the side to provide an unobstructed view to the outside. The lowering or raising is usually done with a pull cord. In today’s window covering market there is also the cordless lift system, providing a child safety advantage, eliminating dangling cords that can be a hazard. The second function on a window blind is the tilting function. This allows for the blind to be open and closed when in the lowered position. The slats or vanes stay in its place, but are rotated for an open view out, slanted at an angle or closed for complete privacy. Tilting is usually done with a wand, a cord tilt or on vertical blinds with a chain. The very upscale product can even be tilted with a “click of a button” using a motorized tilt for your convenience. Most blinds provide excellent light control.
Window Shades are products that are usually made of a “fabric” or material that can be lowered or raised, using different hardware systems. Most popular shades are cellular shades, pleated shades, roller shades or the very decorative roman shades. The woven wood shades also belong into the shade category, consisting of natural products like bamboos, woods or reeds which can be paired with a privacy lining. Yet again, the product will be lowered or raised. Most shades use a standard or continuous cord. Upscale products use retractable cords to avoid pooling of long cords on the floor, or can be paired with a handle, even a motorized lift for a cordless shade. Cordless is always a great option when thinking of child and pet safety. In today’s market most of these products also offer a top down / bottom up version, for added functionality. Window shades come in all different kind of opacity levels, from sheer to semi-sheer for a screened view out, to light-filtering or room darkening, giving privacy and blocking light where needed.
So, which one is right for you, window blinds – or shades?
At the end of the day it’s always about your taste, what you like and what your needs in regards to insulation, UV protection, light control and privacy are. When trying to find the right window treatment, you should always ask yourself:
- How much light control am I looking for?
- Is privacy and issue?
- What is my decorating style? (Contemporary, casual or traditional? Does that translate into a soft treatment / clean lines etc?)
- Do I want to use color or stick to neutrals and whites?
After looking at these questions, you should be able to narrow your options down. Then, just go with your gut. If a product stirs you up and you get excited about “seeing it in your home”, go with it. Your new blind or shade will certainly transform your room and give it character, your character Lastly… Enjoy!
Friday, October 2nd, 2009
It is October. Our kids are back in school and a new season is beginning. This is also an important time for recognition.
Unfortunately every year accidents involving window coverings and their operational cords contribute to serious accidents and even deaths in the US. Just in August of 2009 millions of window shades and blinds were recalled following child strangulation deaths and injuries. The companies involved in the recall are Vertical Land Inc., Lutron Shading Solutions, Lewis Hyman Inc., IKEA, Victoria Classics, and Pottery Barn Kids/Williams-Sonoma, Inc.
Today we want to urge parents and caregivers to “play safe, live safe” and install only cordless window coverings in young children’s bedrooms and sleeping areas. We encourage everyone that has children or pets to follow these important cord safety rules:
- Replace window blinds, corded shades and draperies manufactured prior to 2001 with today’s safer products.
- Move all cribs, beds, furniture and toys away from windows and window cords, preferable to another wall.
- Keep all window pull cords and inner lift cords out of the reach of children. Make sure tasseled pull cords are short and continuous-loop cords are permanently anchored to the follow or wall. Make sure cord stops are properly installed and adjusted to limit movement of the inner lift cords.
- Lock cords into position whenever horizontal blinds and shades are lowered, including when they come to rest on a windowsill.
In today’s market there is a great variety of cordless shades available. Here is a list of products that can be ordered with cordless lift systems:
- Cellular Shades (hugely popular); a little (often clear) handle allows you to lower and raise your shades
- Pleated Shades
- Roller Shades
- Solar Shades (depending on brand available with cordless lift)
- Wood Blinds (available depending on brand) – when paired with a Wand (vs. Cord Tilt) eliminates all cords
- Faux Wood Blinds (available depending on brand) – when paired with a Wand (vs. Cord Tilt) eliminates all cords
Also, another added benefit when ordering products with cordless lifts, is a great streamed lined, clutter-free look Other options for added child safety would be all products with a continuous cord, keeping the cord “fastened” with a cord tensioner and at a constant length.
Let’s make sure we keep our loved ones safe. Ace of Shades would be glad to help you find the right product ensuring your house is safe regarding your window covering needs.
Tuesday, September 15th, 2009
The new Chalet Woods Wood Blinds collection is more beautiful than ever. Hunter Doulas Chalet Wood Blinds are offered and designed for consumers who want Hunter Douglas quality at an affordable price point. The expanded versatile color selection is amazing, ranging from painted to stained, antique specialty finishes to distressed finishes with special markings. The line has been enhanced with added functionality on the 2 ½” slat, now available in a cordless lift option, for your convenience.
Chalet Woods are offered in two slat sizes, the 2” standard and more common size or the 2 ½” slat size for a bold look and increased view through. An extensive color palette of painted, stained and specialty finishes including distressed, antique and enhance grain are available in the 2” or 2 ½” slat sizes. The LiteRise cordless system is an enhanced safety operating system that eliminates pull cords which has been available in the 2” slat only in the past. It is now also available in the 2 ½” slat size as well. With this system blinds are raised and lowered by moving the bottom rail with the touch of a finger. Select the optional wand tilt control to eliminate tilt cord for a truly cordless wood blind.
Design options are the standard traditional routed blinds or the optional de-Light Feature which eliminates any routeholes for a clean stream-lined look. Any light gaps or privacy wholes are now eliminated. Another option is decorative tapes which run vertically across the blind and give a finishing accent to match or contrast your décor. Each Chalet Woods Wood blind is finished off with a decorative Wood Valance. The choices are a 3” standard valance, which is available on all standard colors or the 3 ¼” Chancellor Valance which can be added at no additional charge and comes standard on the some of the specialty finishes.
The new Hunter Douglas Wood blinds collection has been GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certified and GREENGUARD Children and Schools Certified. Every product comes with a Hunter Douglas Lifetime Guarantee.
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:
- 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.
- Semi-Sheer Shades help to diffuse incoming light and provide a screened view. With this type of shade you will only get moderate privacy.
- 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”.
- 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.
- 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.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.