Blinds are usually window coverings that have a horizontal slat. On the other hand, a shade is usually continuous material from top to bottom of the window. Horizontal blinds are typically wood, metal or faux wood slats that can lift to clear the window or can be tilted to control heat, light and any glare. Tilting is also where you get privacy, of course.
Are all blinds the same no matter what brand you buy? No, there’s a big difference and you do get what you pay for.
Let me explain:
In aluminum slat blinds the most common size is 1″ vane. There are also 1/2″ and 2″ slats. The thickness of the slat is very important and is known as the gauge of the slat. What you will mostly see are 6 gauge slats. And this is why you often see bent slats. A cat can bend a 6 gauge slat and the blind is now ruined. The 6 gauge slat is too thin.
Shades Of The Future® will only specify 8 gauge slats, which are 30% thicker and much more durable.
Have you ever heard of spring tempered and heat treated metal slats for blinds? This is standard for Hunter Douglas and that special heat treating makes the slats spring back instead of bending.
The Hunter Douglas aluminum Decor® and Lightlines® blinds offer unexpected extras like DustShield™ finish to inhibit dust build-up, and concealed mountings.
What about coverage of the slats? What’s that? It is the amount of overlap from slat to slat. The higher quality (and price) of the metal blind, the more overlap and number of slats per vertical inch you will have. That means more privacy and light control.
Are there any other important factors in metal blinds? Yes! These can be heavy blinds, especially in wider widths. The bottom rail carries a lot of weight and it needs to be distributed to all the vertical string ladders that lift the blinds. So the bottom rail needs to be strong and straight, not bowed. Most metal blind bottom rails are just a C shaped curtain rod with a slat dropped on top for a dust cover. How strong is that? Not!
The Hunter Douglas bottom rail is a lock-seamed “beam” that is very strong, straight and durable. So Hunter Douglas can make very wide metal blinds that will last. We recently installed some metal blinds that are 10 feet wide and very tall.
At the top you will find the stylish beveled headrail and valance all-in-one. It houses the lift and tilt mechanism and is deep and strong. It’s color matched to the slat color, with no loose vane slats or valance clips to get lost or broken. Some mini blinds don’t even come with a valance, just a bare headrail.
Wood versus Faux Wood:
Again, you get what you pay for and not all wood or faux wood blinds are the same from vendor to vendor. For quality and durability Shades Of The Future specifies Hunter Douglas.
Wood blinds…Hunter Douglas sorts out the poor quality material, which ensures a quality blind to you. Look for multi-step superior finishes for durability and beauty. Choose handcrafted hardwood blinds. That’s all we offer!
Faux Wood blinds…Hunter Douglas’ Everwood Distinctions™ 2″ blinds provide a natural, wood-like appearance, featuring TruGrain® finishes for vibrant, rich, realistic grain patterns and natural effects themes.
The slat material consists of a polymer composite blend (like Trek® wood decking), that contains proprietary materials, but no wood or vinyl. Other brands have faux blinds that are inherently weak horizontally and warp in heat. To prevent this you will see the supporting cloth ladders spaced very close together, which is unsightly. Shades Of The Future doesn’t sell blinds like that and that’s why we only specify the Distinctions™ line of faux blinds.
The standard headrail system on Hunter Douglas 2″ (or wider) blinds is their proprietary EPIC® operating system. The EPIC® system ensures years of trouble-free use.
Horizontal Wood and Faux Wood Blinds
Hunter Douglas Products:
Our primary vendor for wood blinds is Hunter Douglas. They have a very expansive wood blind offering at attractive prices. Their line is called Parkland™ wood blinds. (Formerly Country Woods).
Shades Of The Future® has searched the marketplace for wood blinds that offer the best price/value. Our recommendation is Hunter Douglas for wood blinds.
Reliable, consistent quality is the prime reason for this recommendation.
Slat sizes include 1 3/8″, 2″ and 2 1/2″ slats. There is even a 3 1/2″ wooden vertical product called Crosswinds.
2 1/2″ slats come flat, or beveled in the Reflections® collection.
Hunter Douglas now offers TopShield II™ finishing process to further protect Parkland real wood blinds. This includes further resistance to: fading, moisture, scratches and chemicals.
Wood Blind Key Benefits:
- Real wood product, natural appearance
- 1 3/8″ slats are perfect for doors
- LiteRise® cordless lift system available for 2″ and 2 1/2″ slat blinds
- Free upgrade option to de-Light (no route holes)
- Cloth tape option
- Lighter weight than vinyl products
- Fewer vertical ladders to interrupt your view than other window covering products
- Up to 8′ as a single width
- Moderately priced, US made
- High quality operating system
- Many choices of paint and stain finished
- Stained finishes are beautiful
Everwood® Faux wood blinds (Our best selling horizontal slat blind):
For a man-made alternative to wood blinds we recommend Hunter Douglas’ premium faux wood blind: Everwood. Our research and experience with this product shows that Everwood will perform in harsh, high humidity environments and where moisture may be splashed on the slats.
The extruded slat is a polymer composite blind that contains proprietary materials, but no wood or vinyl. Everwood’s horizontal stability far outshines the competition and doesn’t require closely spaced vertical ladder cords for support.
Everwood is now available in 11 white and off-white finishes with 11 TruGrain® stains. The de-Light™ feature is NOW available on 2″ and 2 1/2″ Everwood as a NO Charge option. The Everwood line is also available in a 2 1/2″ beveled edge slat.
The standard valance is now 3 1/4″ Grandover. Wide array of cloth tape upgrades are available.
The Everwood collection now includes TruGrain™, Hunter Douglas’ faux wood grain slat. Before TruGrain™, if you wanted a slat that looked like real wood, you only had real wood to choose. Now TruGrain™ slats are available and they look just like real, stained wood. Hunter Douglas has developed a process that applies a grain print to the slat that is indistinguishable from the real thing. The TruGrain® stains are fantasic and will fool anyone. It looks just like wood, but water won’t harm them.
The TruGrain® line has been expanded and now offers slats that look like grass weaves, textured wood and leather. A truely unique line exclusive to Hunter Douglas.
Hunter Douglas now offers battery operated, remote control tilt on virtually ALL of their horizontal blind products.