Living with integral blinds

Our earlier article on deciding whether to have integral blinds in a bifolding door focused on the practical considerations for bifolding doors and blinds in the home.

In Part 2, we examine the day-to-day aspects of integral blinds, reliability, repair and other considerations.

Are integral blinds reliable?

integral blinds in origin doors.
Integral blinds in bifolding doors when correctly used should give years of trouble free use.

Integral blinds are indeed highly reliable and designed to work in your bifolding doors for the long term. As with any mechanical or electric product, quality is everything and price often reflects the quality.

There are many brands of integral blind in the UK, frequently rebranded and often with no apparent clue to whose they are. Some systems are European, others from the Middle East and others from China or America.

In our professional experience, bifolding door installers will generally choose the integral blind that has proven itself as the most reliable, even if it is more expensive. No window company wants to be called back to the customer for service calls to problematic or faulty integral blinds. There is little that can be done to an integral blind as it is sealed in the glass unit and cannot be accessed to repair.

It is in your bifolding door providers’ best interests to supply an integral blind they know from experience is the best they can buy and one they can ‘fit and forget’, and one the homeowner will be happy with.

We recently wrote about Morley Glass when they repaired a 10-year-old integral blind and providing excellent levels of after-care service to one of their customers.

What happens if the glass with an integral blind breaks?

In the event that your bifolding door glass is broken, the entire unit needs to be re-manufactured. It is feasible that the existing integral blind can be re-used in the new glass unit assuming it is not damaged in any way.

What happens if the blinds are faulty or need repair?

folding doors with integral blinds.
It is important to remember that blinds are part of the glass not a separate item.

Most integral blinds will come with a five year warranty, typical of the glass industry as a whole. Some door installers may choose to offer the same ten-year warranty they provide with the door or window but this is rare.

Some high quality doors such as Origin bifolds come with a 20-year warranty. An aïr 800 bifolding door has a 25-year manufacturer warranty. However, these doors if they have integral blinds will be guaranteed on the doors only and not the blind itself in most cases. Check with your installer what warranty is offered on the blinds in relation to the bifolding door they are fitted into.

Beyond the warranty, any repairs will be down to tracing the original manufacturer of the blinds or finding a reputable door and window maintenance company to see if older integral blinds still have parts available. If you have purchased a property with integral blinds already provided to bifolding doors this will be hard to find out.

The most important thing to remember with integral blinds is that they are part of the double glazed unit and not separate from it. Some American systems on the market enable the inner pane of glass to be hinged inwards to access the blind. These systems are not available in the UK and do not create a hermetically sealed and energy efficient unit.

In most cases a faulty integral blind will need new glass as well.

Will the colours match?

Most integral blinds are powder coated to match the most popular colours of bifolding doors. Some people choose a contrasting colour to create a border effect in the glass.

While the powder coating sector uses RAL, Syntha Pulvin, BS, NCS and other colour references to coat aluminium, RAL colours are most popular codes used. It is worth bearing in mind that the people who powder coat the integral blind components will not be the same as those who paint the door profiles. A 100% colour match cannot therefore be guaranteed for technical and production reasons.

Check with your provider how exact the colours will be to ensure a close or identical colour match or ask to see samples.

Size limitations with blinds

It is important to know that integral blinds cannot be made at any size and are subjected to size limitations. If you are designing a Schuco door at 3 metres high or with folding panels at 1200mm or 1250mm wide, check that your chosen integral blind can be made at the required glass sizes. You may find it can’t be.

If you require any further information about integral blinds for bifolding doors, please contact us.