Because of their relatively low value, blinds are typically not high on the priority list of buying decisions. The following real-life example highlights some of the consequences of putting price as the top priority when purchasing blinds for your project.
Two weeks ago, Waverley were called to large student accommodation building in London by the client who is experiencing problems with blinds that they had installed when the building was opened in December 2016.
The blinds are a dual roller blind system – two blinds at each window – one with blackout fabric for maximum light exclusion, and the other with a screen fabric for glare control. Both blinds are concealed behind an aluminium fascia.
Waverley had quoted for the work at construction stage and had submitted a sample – a DRAPER dual blind system, with purpose built double brackets and fascia.
The client and contractor opted for a marginally cheaper product and awarded the project to another window blind manufacturer.
The following pictures show the problems they are having:
Snagging operating chains
The ‘dual’ system installed comprises of two individual blinds fixed to a metal plate. Both blinds are fixed directly in-line with each other making it impossible for the operating chain of the upper blind to hang straight. A screw and washer attempt to guide the operating chain around the lower blind. This makes the upper blind difficult to operate. Students therefore are using excessive force, and damages occur.
Contrast this with the DRAPER dual blind brackets. Two mechanisms slightly off-set from each other, allow the operating chains of both blinds to hang directly beneath. The ball bearing winder mechanism makes operation smooth and light.
Rusty chain and visible facia fixings
Cheap metal bead chain doesn’t look shiny for long. Rust marks on the fabric look unsightly.
Because a home-made fascia/bracket system has been used the only way to fix the fascia is through the front with screws. Screw caps have been used but these are cracking making the blinds look untidy.
The DRAPER system has a purpose built clip on fascia. This means the bracket is designed so that the fascia simply clicks into place – no visible fixings. The fascia is actually L-shaped so that the front underside edge is covered giving a neater appearance.
Waverley only use stainless steel chain, it is stronger and never rusts.
Bowed bottom hem bar and wrinkled fabric
In the heat of summer, the plastic bottom bar has bowed. This looks untidy and causes ripples in the fabric which are very visible.
The DRAPER blind has an aluminium bottom hem bar which is sealed inside the fabric. As well as being unaffected by heat build-up, it is heavier than plastic, making the fabric hang better.
14 months since the building was handed over to the client and the contractor’s 12 month defect period and the manufacturer’s 12 month warranty has expired.
The client now has to decide whether to continue forking-out money for on-going repairs to a blind system which cannot ever work properly or to cut their losses and replace them with a system that is fit for purpose. On a building with 336 windows, that’s a big decision to make.
The purpose of this blog is not to down-cry other blind companies, but to highlight the importance of understanding the finer details of window blind design and the effect they have on a buildings aesthetics and functionality. Just a bit more money invested 14 months ago and the client could have benefited from a purpose-built blind and the reassurance of a 25 year warranty.