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A view of the Recessed External Venetian Blinds from the outside

What are the different types of external blinds?

By: Oli Birch Category: External Blinds

When discussing the future of architectural design, significant thought must be given to the specification of external blinds.

Unlike many European countries, the use of external blinds in the UK is still relatively low. However, the introduction of new legislation, alongside the growing importance of sustainable design, suggest this could shift significantly in the coming years.

Earlier this year, we looked at the environmental benefits of specifying external blinds. In this blog, we explore the different types of external blinds available:

  • External roller blinds
  • External roller shutters
  • External venetian blinds
  • Other external systems

External roller blinds

External roller blinds provide an incredibly neat finish to any façade. They give architects complete design freedom due to the plethora of fabrics and finishes to choose from; though consultation with an expert is recommended regarding fabrics that comply with fire regulations.

Furthermore, it’s worth noting that fabric widths tend to be restricted to 3m. Therefore, a different external blind system may be required for larger windows. However, if consulted early in the design process, an external shading specialist may be able to work around this, as fabrics can often be welded to suit larger windows.

Able to be recessed or surface mounted, external roller blinds are an excellent option for buildings where privacy and light control will be required. Furthermore, full dimout is possible when the system is specified with side channels built into the glazing modules.

Zip Guided External Roller Blinds on the rear windows of a large house.

The external roller is arguably the least durable of the external shading options, however. Strong winds can damage the system by passing between the fabric and the glazing and pushing the fabric out like a sail.

Therefore, it’s essential to pair an external roller blind with an automated control system that retracts the blinds when the wind reaches a certain speed.


External roller shutters

Unlike the external roller blind, external roller shutters are incredibly robust and are the heaviest duty external blind system.

Similar to the shutters found on closed shopfronts, they’re ideal for projects with an emphasis on privacy and noise control. However, they do not offer any flexibility with regards to light control as a full dimout is the only option.

The external roller shutter is available in up to a 3m width and 3.5m drop and is self-cleaning, which eases maintenance. The slats are coated in an easy-clean protection that dissolves dirt particles and washes away with rainwater.

The Surface Mounted Roller Shutter on the window of a white house

Though they are the most durable external blind system, we still strongly advise pairing with an automated control system to prevent damage in inclement weather.


External venetian blinds

External venetian blinds operate in the same way as their internal counterpart and can be easily integrated into any façade on any project.

With a range of variable configurations of individual components, external venetian blinds are arguably the most versatile external blind product. They provide excellent all-round effectiveness with regards to balancing light control and privacy. However, they cannot provide a full dimout so alternate systems would need to be considered if complete privacy is required.

External venetian blinds can be made up to a 5m wide and 5m in drop, providing architects with an excellent option for projects with large area of glazing.

Close up image of Cord Guided External Venetian Blinds

Furthermore, asymmetrical systems can be manufactured to suit certain shaped windows, offering additional versatility.

The slats on external venetians allow wind to pass through easily, which enhances durability. But similar to the previous options, pairing with an automated system would be the ideal choice to prevent damage in bad weather.


Other external systems

Though the external blind systems above tend to be the three most popular products specified, but they’re not the only options to choose from.

From blinds for horizontal and sloped facades, to belt driven, trapezoidal or tensioned systems, there are a host of other external blinds available to suit each individual project.


For more information about these products, or to discuss specifying an external blind for you project, contact us and our team will happily assist.

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