Whether you want to protect against the sun’s heat, cut out glare, or keep your air conditioning bills down, internal and external blinds are becoming more vital than ever. And much of the impact of that blind depends on the choice of fabric the buyers or specifiers make.
So how do you go about picking the best fabric for your needs?
That all depends on your priorities. In this blog, we pick our way through some of the key decisions specifiers make when choosing fabrics and recommend a few options to consider.
Protection against solar gain
If the number one priority is to protect users from solar gain, look for a blind that reflects more of the sun’s energy away from the building. Recent developments in metallised blinds have created a range of excellent options, with Verosol’s SilverScreen an excellent option to consider.
Depending on the colour you choose, this material will reflect up to 82% of solar energy away from the building. The fabric combines fibreglass and PVC which is coated on the outside with aluminium. The metallic element reflects heat which a normal fabric would absorb or let through into the room.
SilverScreen offers long life and a uniform external appearance no matter what colours are chosen for the fabric interior. It also provides excellent protection against glare with a T value of just 3%.
While PVC blinds such as SilverScreen are fully recyclable these days, some specifiers prefer to avoid the material where possible.
Verosol EnviroScreen is a polyester alternative, which also features a metallised backing to reflect 74% of the sun’s energy. This means slightly more is absorbed by the fabric – the small compromise specifiers make with non-PVC blinds. Glare is kept to a minimum with only 2-4% of the light entering the room once the blind is down.
EnviroScreen is one of the few blind fabrics so far to have received Cradle-to-Cradle accreditation.
However, many fabrics have alternative sustainability certifications, such as OEKO-TEX or GreenGuard. Again, the final choice depends on precisely what you are looking for.
If you are an architect and want to improve your knowledge of what sustainable blinds can do for the buildings you design, we offer a 45-minute, RIBA-accredited CPD session on this topic. You can also read more about the best sustainable blind fabrics here.
Some rooms like bedrooms, presentation suites and cinemas may require total blackout. The difference between a blackout fabric and something that lets a little light through can be immense. ShadeTech’s DeltaBlock®30 is totally opaque – no light gets through. For a polyester alternative, you could consider Thetablock®60 which features a white reflective backing adding uniformity to the exterior view.
Sometimes your blind fabric needs to solve an issue of sound rather than light.
Acoustic fabrics are designed to absorb noise from inside or outside the building, while also restricting solar gain and glare. We recommend several specialist fabrics from Silent Glass and Création Baumann.
Sound absorption is measured as an alpha (α) coefficient. 0 means no sound is absorbed while 1 means all the sound is absorbed. Silent R from Création Baumann is highly effective, with an alpha value of 0.7, and its double-faced weave offers different looks depending on the effect required.
Ease of maintenance
Architects and specifiers sometimes miss one element which can be a high priority for users – how easy is it to clean and maintain this blind?
Most blind fabrics can be cleaned with a gentle wipe of a damp cloth, but that’s not so simple if the blind is large. Dirt lodges in open weave fabrics.
If ease of maintenance is important, you might want to consider a material such as AlphaShade®20 by ShadeTech. Its unusual manufacturing process creates a smooth finish that is extremely stable and resistant to dirt.
Finally, it may come down to looks. In high end residential properties, aesthetics are as important as performance.
Infusion ASC is a pleated blind which looks beautiful, gives a traditional feel and still performs well. It has an advanced solar coating on the reverse, which makes it very suitable for south-facing rooms and conservatories. It also comes in 35 colours to complement any interior design scheme.
The simple truth is that there is a high performance fabric for every occasion. Contact the experts at us to find out more.