Ace Blind & Shade

(Photo: Woven Wood Averté shade on decorative pole)

For the individual who knows what he/she wants, a lot of money can be saved in the purchase of quality window coverings. While measuring and installing your own window coverings is far from rocket science, it is not for the lazy shopper either.

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Windows in a room can all look the same size but can vary an inch or more in width and/or height. They can also be out of square even though they look perfectly square to the naked eye. If one is going to buy and install his own window coverings, he must take the time to measure each window.


Measuring instructions are on our site and are very easy to follow. Take the time to determine if your windows are square: measure from the top right inside corner of your window diagonally down to the bottom left inside corner and write the measurement on a piece of paper. Now, measure from the top left inside corner of your window diagonally down to the bottom right inside corner of your window and write the measurement beside the one previously written. If they are the same, your windows are square; if they are not the same, your windows are out of square.


If you have out-of-square windows, inside-mount window coverings will emphasize that flaw depending on how much out-of-square your windows are. You may need to select outside-mount window coverings.


Once you have measured all of your windows, the fun begins and you get to decide what product you want on them.


Product Selection

 Your selection includes:

Wood or Fauxwood Blinds and Arches

Woven Woods

Solar Screens & Laminates

Cellular Shades

Soft Fabrics

In the following, we briefly discuss some considerations for you to review as you make your decision about what to put on your windows. The product may vary from room to room.


Do you buy wood or fauxwood blinds?  One of the benefits of wood and fauxwood blinds is the clean, stream-lined look that blends well with both contemporary and traditional furnishings.  They are relatively easy to clean with a duster and a damp cloth.  Wood blinds generally come in more colors and stains than fauxwood blinds.  They do not weigh as much as fauxwood blinds and so have fewer strings/cords running through the slats. For example, a 36" wide wood blind will likely have a cord on the right side and a cord on the left side running through the slats.  Whereas, a fauxwood blind will likely have an additional cord running through the center of the blind.  This is because the weight of the fauxwood blind requires additional support. 


Fauxwood is made of PVC and there is no qualitative difference between one company's PVC and another's. The difference in quality will lie in the finish and in the headrail construction which will be evident in the price. Some finishes are so well done that the naked eye cannot distinguish the fauxwood from real wood when looking at stain finishes. Since white shades are painted finishes, wood and fauxwood blind slats will all look alike if the sides of the wood slats are also painted. Some wood blind manufacturers leave the sides unfinished so the buyer can see that he is buying wood. Good wood blinds are made of basswood. It is a stable wood that doesn't warp easily and that stains evenly.


The headrail construction is important and it affects the price.  Many inexpensive blinds have plastic headrails. These do not last long because the blinds are exposed to sunlight and plastic eventually becomes brittle. A well-made quality wood or fauxwood blind will have a metal headrail (usually steel).

Fauxwood blinds wear better in bathrooms and kitchens where there is a lot of moisture because wood absorbs moisture and swells and contracts as moisture levels change. Both wood and fauxwood do a good job shielding much of the sun's heat from entering your room.


Another decision you will need to make is whether or not to get wands or cords to tilt your blinds. Cords last longer. Wands have a small plastic piece that hooks into the tilter in the headrail which is famous for getting brittle and breaking over time.


Some blinds are pre-strung in the country of origin then shipped to the United States to be customized. When ordered, the local manufacturer "customizes" the widths and sometimes the lengths according to the customer's window sizes. These pre-strung blinds are frequently called cut-down blinds because they are cut-down to fit the customer's windows. These blinds are much cheaper than blinds that are completely assembled in the United States; however, they are generally available in fewer sizes and colors than blinds completely assembled in the U.S.


(Photo: Fabric Top Treatment Style V7 with Valance Ties Paired With Woven Wood Roman Shade)

Woven Woods also known as bamboo shades or matchstick shades are very popular because they can fit beautifully with both formal and casual furnishings.  These fabrics are woven from a variety of materials:  rope, strips of bamboo, suede, reeds and grasses.  Light filters through the weave making lovely dappled patterns in the room.


Be aware that some loosely woven patterns can stretch over time. This can be prevented by lining the shades or having the edges bound with decorative edge binding in twill, gimp or fabrics. Naturally, if the shades are lined, the feature of lovely patterns of light filtering in your room will be lost. You will have translucent light with privacy lining or you will block out all light with blackout lining.


Woven woods are used to make Roman Shades, sliding panels, side panels, Averté drapes and top treatments.


(Photo: Crown Pleat Draperies on Decorative Hardware with Rod Pocket Sheers)

Solar shades are made with fibers coated with fiberglass or other reflective material.  Be sure to check for Greenguard® certification.  This certifies that the products and materials have low chemical emissions improving air quality.  These shades reflect UV rays preventing them from entering the room.  They are available in various filtering strengths: 100% (blackout), 97%, 95%, 90%, etc.  By reflecting these rays, heat coming into the home is reduced and the harmful rays cannot ruin your furniture or floors.  The shades come in a few decorative weaves, but for the most part are basket weave patterns and available in a variety of colors and shades.


Solar shade fabrics are generally made in roller shades. They can also be made in Roman shades and sliding panels.

Laminates and Other Specialized Fabrics These fabrics are generally made in roller shades, Roman shades, sliding panels and valances or top treatments. Some of them are blackout materials but most are merely light filtering. Patterns are made to resemble woven woods, linen, lace and silk. There are infinite patterns and colors to choose from.

Cellular Shades are also called honeycomb shades due to their resemblance to a honeycomb when the cells are viewed from the side.  They come in single and double-cell patterns.  They are popular with people who want a low profile window treatment that allows the greatest exposure of glass and view enjoyment.  Many have flush-mount stacking as little as 2-3/8". 


         They are a soft look in the window.  The fabrics are sheer (except for blackout) and allow translucent light to enter the room.   The blackout cell shade fabrics have been fused to another fabric or material to completely block sunlight from entering the room.


These shades are available with top-down, bottom-up options, cordless and continuous loop control options.  They come in a variety of colors.


(Photo: Fabric Hobbled Roman Shades with Fabric Edge Banding)

Soft Fabrics offer innumerable choices in colors and patterns.   These can be made into drapes, side panels, Roman shades, sliding panels, top treatments and pillows.  Drapes can be made with a variety of header styles:  pinch pleats, crown bleats, inverted pleats, goblet pleats, rod pockets, flat style, flowing style, ripple fold, traditional tab top, gathered tab top and grommet style.  Some of the styles are more formal décor and others better suited for casual décor. 


Do not use a fabric that is primarily white to make a Roman shade in the classic, relaxed or London style fold. Those shades hang fairly flat in the window and white fabrics can look like sheets have been hung in the window. If white fabric is needed or desired, then consider the Knife Pleat or Ribbed Pleat Roman fold shades, or add an edge trim of fabric banding, tassels, etc. to eliminate the hung sheet look.


Fabrics do an excellent job of preventing heat or cold from entering a room.  However, they do require cleaning periodically.


Now that the products have been summarized, check out the selection of patterns and styles


 Reading On-Line Price Grids

The price grids have measurements across the top for window widths and they have measurements down the left side for window heights. Your price will be in the grid equal to or greater than your measurement. For example, if your window is 36-1/8" wide and 61" high, your price will not be the one in the 36" width column because your window exceeds 36" by 1/8". You must move to the next column. The same is true with the height row. If the height row is 60", you must go to the price in the height row greater than 60". Your 36-1/8" x 61" shade will cost you $96.00. Please see the illustration below: