Blinds come in a number of different types and materials. Fabric blinds are available as both simple roller blinds and more elaborately draped roman blinds. Wooden, bamboo, vinyl, plastic and metal blinds are also available, with slats that are either horizontal (often called Venetian blinds) or vertical. The slats can usually be turned in order to change the width of the gap between them and let in more or less light. This means that blinds made up of slats can be left down during the day to ensure privacy while still allowing in the sunlight. Fabric blinds, unless they are made of very thin material, must be rolled up in order to let in the light.
Choice of the right type of blinds depends mainly on personal taste and budget. It is also sensible to consider how much light will pass through the blinds and how they are raised and lowered. Cordless blinds can be safer for homes with small children, for example.
Measuring For Blinds
It is essential to measure both the width and height of the window before buying blinds in order to ensure they will fit correctly. These measurements should be taken to the store in order to pick the right size blinds.
Blinds can be bought ready-made, in a set range of sizes, or made to measure. Custom made blinds will be more expensive, but they will be certain to fit in the window. They can be a good choice for an unusual property or for oddly sized windows.
It is sometimes possible to cut ready-made blinds into size. Material blinds cannot usually be made narrower, although they can be trimmed and then hemmed in order to make them shorter. It is even possible to make blinds if you have the sewing ability. Slatted blinds can sometimes be trimmed at the edges to make them narrower, as long as the material can be cut neatly. Bamboo blinds, for example, can often be cut easily. It is essential that the cords and equipment for raising and lowering the blinds are not cut when making blinds narrower. Most slatted blinds can be shortened. The cords holding the slats together can be cut and the unwanted slats removed. The bottomrail, which is attached at the bottom of the blind, can then be reattached by threading the newly cut ends of the cords through it and knotting it into place.
Blinds can be mounted either outside the window or inside it. The positioning of the blind must be taken into account when measuring the window. The correct measurements will be those of the place to which the blind will be attached.
Where To Mount Blinds
An outside mounted blind is attached to the wall or window trim outside the window recess. The brackets are placed on the trim or on the wall about three inches to either side of the window. If they are being attached to the wall, the brackets must be placed above the window. The entire window, frame and windowsill will be concealed behind the blind. The blinds can be longer than the window recess in order to achieve a balanced look to match the additional height of the blind above the window.
An inside mounted blind is attached to the wall or the window frame inside the window recess, against the glass itself. The brackets are attached either to the top of the frame or recess wall, or to the sides. There must be sufficient depth in the window for the brackets and blind to be fitted. Since most windows are slightly uneven, three measurements should be taken of the height and width. The shortest measurement for the width and the longest measurement for the depth should be used to ensure the best fit.
An inside mounted blind will be narrower and shorter than an outside mounted blind. An inside mounted blind fits within the window recess, while an outside mounted blind cover it. The length of an inside mounted blind is determined by the drop to the windowsill or lower frame, against which it will rest when open.
Installing The Blinds: Equipment
In order to install new window blinds you will probably need:
drill with drill bits
wall fixings or anchors
stepladder (unless you can reach the top of the window)
Installing The Blinds: Process
Before you begin to install your new blinds, you will need to remove any existing blinds and fill in the holes that are left behind. You can use spackling or joint compound to do this. If the new blinds fit into the existing brackets, you can just use those rather than installing new ones, so it is worth checking before you take the old ones out. Even if you need to install new brackets, you may find that you can use the holes from the old ones rather than having to drill new ones, although your blinds will usually be more secure if you make new holes.
You will need to install brackets at either end of the window to hold up the blind. If it is a very long blind then you may also need to install a center bracket at the top of the window to support it in the middle. This will be installed in the same way as the end brackets.
Brackets can be installed either outside the window casing, so that the blind covers the entire window area, or inside the window casing so that the actual glass window is covered but the windowsill is still accessible.
Center the headrail of the blind within the window or above it, depending on where you have chosen to install it. Mark the correct position with a pencil and use a spirit level to check it will be straight.
Hold the brackets in the correct position and mark the positions of the screw holes with a pencil. Most brackets can be mounted in multiple positions, using different screw holes so you may not need to use all of the holes.
Drill holes for the screws. Drilling into the window frame or trim will be easier than drilling into the wall. If you are drilling into the wall, make sure the holes are at least 2 inches away from the edge of the plaster or brickwork.
Insert wall anchors or fixings if you are drilling into the wall rather than the window frame. These small plastic tubes are pushed into the holes. The screw is then inserted into the tube.
Holding the bracket in place, insert a screw through it into a drilled hole. Screw it securely into place using the screwdriver. Repeat for all of the screws on both brackets.
Check that the brackets are correctly placed using a spirit level.
Insert the blind into the brackets, one end at a time. Close the bracket clips to keep the headrail securely in place.
How to Install Blinds Video, by Lowe’s
Additional Installation Tasks
Mount returns may need to be fitted onto an outside mounted blind.
Some blinds have bottomrail end caps that need to be fitted.
If the valance is not integrated into the headrail, the valance clips must be attached to the headrail place before the blind is hung up. The valance can then be snapped into place.
If the blind is being mounted to the wall outside the window, extension brackets may need to be connected between the wall and the blind brackets in order to ensure that the blind does not catch on the window trim.
If the blinds are controlled using cords, the safety stops need to be correctly positioned. They should be approximately 1 to 2 inches from the headrail when the blind is fully unfurled. They can be adjusted if they are in the wrong place. When the blind in completely open, loosen, but do not completely untie, the knots holding the safety stops in place. Push the safety stop and knot into the correct position and tighten the knot.
A cleat or hook can be added to the wall or window frame and used to tie up the cord so that it does not dangle. This will keep it safely out of the way of young children.
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