by Judith Persit
Windows come in all shapes and sizes, and particularly these days with modern architectural designs looking at opening up buildings, maximizing light and heat, and creating views over wide vistas, windows are being developed ever wider and ever higher, and more numerous, both in the home and in the workplace. Vertical blinds also have to adapt, with their design and shape developing to match the increasing demands of the designers of the huge windows, both in size and in tensile strength.
The challenges facing the manufacturers of vertical blinds today is that not only must the blind be tall enough, or wide enough, to cope with covering windows of all sizes and shapes, but the vertical blinds must work in exactly the same efficient manner as those which cover normal, standard sized windows. It is for this reason that, increasingly, vertical blinds made from fabrics are gaining popularity, because of the flexibility in terms of maximum size possible, and in general strength. Windows that are very tall require vertical blinds that hang straight, cover the window completely at both sides, and reduce light pollution around the edges to a minimum. It is also necessary to consider the weight of the vertical blinds “ since a very heavy material hanging down a tall window will exert considerably more vertical pull on the mechanism and on the material at the top of the blind than on shorter, more standard sized windows.
Fabric is a valuable material since is has an inherent flexibility caused by the cross weaving of the threads. When fabric is used to manufacture vertical blinds, they are provided with a flexibility which will allow the material to hang and give if the height is unusually long.
With plastic based materials, this natural tendency to give is not always available, and as such, can cause the material to begin to deform and buckle, tearing at the top of the sheet and causing permanent damage. The buckling which can occur will result in considerable light pollution round the edges of the blind, and will cause the vertical blinds to appear old before their time. The fabric blinds, however, will give and flex naturally, reducing the pressure on the material at the top and causing the fabric to regain its shape and last longer.
On the other hand, PVC based vertical blinds will be generally lighter in weight, and cause less of the natural pull than fabric blinds will do. This is not necessarily an advantage though, since the weight of the fabric vertical blinds causes the material to hang more snugly in the frame, and fit more exactly to the size of the pane. This can even extend to the times when the window may be ajar, or even fully open, and a breeze may enter the room. A lightweight PVC blind will blow and move in the wind, causing significant light pollution which may be unbearable if the workplace uses computer monitors which are required to be placed in an environment where light pollution is not an issue. Fabric based vertical blinds will hang much more steadily in a breeze, and continue to filter the light and serve their purpose because of the extra weight.
Fabric vertical blinds can be manufactured to extremely tall specifications, and also to very wide ones. The material can be manufactured to the exact measurements required, and sewn or even threaded to size. Many plastic based products either come in standard sizes or are limited to near standard sizes. For particularly tall or unusually wide window settings, when looking for vertical blinds, it is highly recommended that, if you are looking for quality and a lifetime of lasting beauty, you choose woven fabric as the material of choice. Fabric based vertical blinds also are ideal for those unusual windows such as sliding doors or windows which open using catches. It is important in these cases that the catches or handles be easily accessible.
In some cases, fabric based vertical blinds can be designed with motorized units which allow even easier use, avoiding any stretching or pulling which may be awkward or simply frequent. In the home, the most frequent need for fabric based vertical blinds, which are unusual in height, width or even shape is in conservatories, where both the roof and the walls may need covering. In these instances, remote controlled motorized units are nearly always used.