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The greatest cover-up in the blinds industry

Geoffrey Shalet says that ‘Naked blinds’ will become a thing of the past

The headline is not far from reality. If you have not joined in the revolution, then you are missing out – big time. Profit increase is now well within reach of all blinds traders in the form of fascias, or, if you are as old as me, they are called pelmets

I’m not in the business of promoting any manufacturer, but I cannot resist giving credit to Eclipse’s Senses fascia system; it has added more than 33% to my turnover, whilst adding very little to my time and effort in sales. How can you not show any customer deciding on one of the suitable blinds, the selection of fascias and end caps? They are easy to display in an inexpensive case with a couple of layers of foam, and some very neat labels to indicate colours of the fascias and the end caps. (A purpose-built case from Eclipse would be even better.)

A clever feature is that the end caps can be adjusted so that the fascia fills the recess exactly. No cutting, no gaps; a perfect fit in no time.

I’m not too happy about removing recess face fitted Senses fascias using a flat screwdriver, as recommended by Eclipse; I do fear that a cracked bracket will result. A small slice of a uPVC vertical louvre will do the job without the risk. Senses blinds can be fitted inside or outside the recess, and I have fitted many fascias to existing blind installations. Madam will be delighted with the look. Sir will be very happy at not having to replace the entire blind. And I have made an extra sale. Win win win. And as a bonus, it helps to reduce the light entering the room when a blackout blind is specified. Of course, you need to point out that the bottom bar end caps will not be present.

I did have a problem with Senses which you should keep in mind. When ordering I gave the cloth width so that it fell neatly between the tiles covering just the bottom 200mm of the recess of a kitchen window. The blind was made with the correct width cloth but no one realised that bottom rail end caps protrude. It of course resulted in a return to manufacturer and a subsequent return visit to the customer; an expense we all hate. I must point out though, this was the fault of the company manufacturing the blind and not Eclipse’s. If you have come across any other potential problem, please email me for the benefit of all our readers.

Sense needs a flexible fascia join for bay windows, and we need the bottom rail end caps to be fitted flush with the cloth or protrude only a couple of mm. We could also use a neat ‘return’. This would finish off a fascia fitted outside the window and be particularly good for the ends of a bay window that face the room. Mr Robert Ward, can you make these requests happen?

The same time-saving procedure can be used with wood venetians. Ask for ‘returns’, cut the plastic corners down leaving a straight edge, and add them to the ends of the fascia. They can extend the fascia to a perfect fit by simply sliding them in and out to fill the recess. The photo shows one which achieves a very useful 0-10mm adjustment. It will not be long before the sun rises earlier and earlier, to open and enliven the day. And of course it’s when requests for blackout blinds peak. Will a manufacturer please put his mind to offering the trade a spring controlled roller blind that – sits in a cassette on the sill, pulls upwards within side channels, and stops anywhere. The side channels, the roller cassette and the brackets should be white uPVC, and the bottom (now top) bar of the blind needs to have a simple twist action to hold it in position, similar to that of the bottom bar of an Intu roller blind. The cassette at the bottom, the top bar with a white brush along its top and the side channels will surely make it true blackout. And, it will also satisfy another requirement, the level of privacy will be adjustable, as the blind can be pulled up just enough to obscure the people in the room, and then pulled all the way up for the night. I’m sure you have been asked for this several times.

Having requested a solution to the blackout problem, I am reminded of a customer who told me that she insisted on raising her children without them needing almost total darkness. “They must get used to early morning daylight, it happens”, she said. “They’ll grow up thanking me.”

A customer asked me for Roman blinds to be fitted above the windows and to rest on the sills. A further requirement was that when open, the blinds must not cover the top of the window by more than about 40mm – her dark rooms need maximum daylight.

Sounds easy enough, until you try to calculate the drop needed. We know the drop of the window recess, but how much do we add to allow us to fit the blind above the window with a 40mm overhang? That needs to be the drop of the gathered up blind less 40mm. To establish the drop when the blind is gathered up we need to know the drop of the blind’s top panel, and the number of subsequent panels, and the drop taken up by each folded panel. And that final calculation needs to be made for each window.

If only there was an app to work it out on site, then we would know if there was room above the window to achieve what the customer wants. After writing the short computer programme required, my wife reminded me that I only needed to Google ‘roman blind calculator’ to find that someone has provided exactly what we need – infuriating.

 

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