There are many ways to obtain a little privacy or control the amount of daylight entering a room. Curtains, manual or automatic blinds positioned in front of the inner pane of glass are very popular options. But recently integral blinds have become very popular. We explain some of the uses.
What are integral blinds?
Integral Blinds are positioned between the two pieces of toughened or laminated glass fitted to doors or to double glazed units fitted in windows. Also known as Integrated Blinds, blinds-in-glass, interstitial blinds or sealed unit blinds, they are arguably the most expensive option when it comes to blinds for bifolding doors but also one of the most popular.
There are several ways of operating these kinds of blinds the most common being:
- Cord Controlled
- Magnet Controlled
- Sensor controlled enabling them to open and close as the surrounding light changes
- Infra Red, Radio Frequency and blinds as part of an automated home system are also available.
Where can integral or integrated blinds be used?
Although integral blinds for bifolding and patio doors are possibly the most popular uses. They are also available for screens, fixed or opening windows, partition systems as well as single or French Doors. They are ideal for homes or commercial properties, shop fronts and many other uses. They are also available as fire rated or acoustic products.
Integral blinds obviously offer advantages over the traditional blinds whether Venetian, pleated, roller blinds or other forms. With the blinds placed between the inner and outer panes of glass they do away with the commonly known problems with other forms of blinds such as dust, general cleaning or tampering. Additionally we are all aware of how blinds can swing and rattle when windows are open. Children can also damage or mark external blinds and of course any externally fitted blind will take up window space both at the head, reveals and window cills. Therefore these new types of integral blinds do offer advantages.
What should you be aware of with integrated blinds?
The range of manufacturers and suppliers of integrated glass blinds are wide ranging with a large range of products available. If you are looking at these types of blinds they are available in all kinds of double glazed units including toughened glass, laminated glass, acoustic glass, bacterial control glass as well as high-performance glass offering low U Values that assist the Energy Rating of windows and doors.
Regardless of whether you choose a corded, magnetic or automatic blinds here are our top 5 tips of what to be aware of with integral blinds.
1. The blind and the double glazed unit are one item.
In the event of a fault with your integral blinds it is quite likely the entire double glazed unit housing the blind will need to be replaced. This is because all double glazed units today are hermetically sealed under factory controlled conditions therefore if the blind develops a fault, you cannot take apart the sealed unit to repair the blind and then reassemble. Both glass with it’s integral blind will need replacement.
2. The guarantee on your blinds and your doors may not be same.
It is important to remember that these types of blinds are manufactured by specialist companies and not by standard sealed unit manufacturers. Each company will give their own warranty on their products. If your doors and windows are guaranteed for 10 years (typical of the home improvement industry), your blinds may only be guaranteed for five years or less by the company that manufactured them. Therefore if you are purchasing doors or windows with integral blinds make sure your installer clarifies what warranty comes with your blinds that is different from your aluminium, PVCu or timber doors.
3. Careful operation is needed with integral blinds.
We have all experienced the cords on manual blinds tangling or the blinds themselves twisting through improper use. Care should be exercised when operating manual blinds whether by a cord, wand or magnet and ensuring these are not forced and that the slats are not twisted or warped. Remember these are hidden within the glass and cannot be accessed if they twist or fail.
You should never attempt to repair these types of blinds yourselves as not only will you invalidate your warranty but they are manufactured by experienced companies in specialist factories.
4. You will lose some visible glass area
As all integral blinds are manufactured around their own frame, this will be visible in your glass. You will therefore lose some visible glass area around the perimeter of your double glazed units if you choose integrated blinds with the aluminium powder coated housing around the blinds clearly visible. There is nothing you can do about this as obviously these blinds need their own frame but different frame sizes are available. Do your research as to what are the slimmest available if this is important to you.
5. Beware of colour matching.
The powder coating process of aluminium doors and windows will also apply to the aluminium frame housing the blinds. It is very important to remember that there are several manufacturers of polyester powder and many different powder coaters in the UK. Your bifolding doors and windows may be painted by one company and very likely your blinds by another. There is a risk that the colours of your aluminium doors and blinds may not be an exact match and this cannot be avoided. Our article on the powder coating process and what to consider explains more.
6. Quality is everything.
It is our recommendation that you do not compromise on quality when it comes to integrated glass blinds. It is very important to choose a supplier that is experienced, knowledgable and can give you the right information. Many people are often surprised at the cost of these products and may opt to shop around for the cheapest glass blind of it’s type. You very much get what you pay for with integral glass blinds and quality, materials used and how these products are made is very important.
Integral blinds in doors and windows are a real solution to how you can cover large glazed doors, windows or screens with unobtrusive blinds hidden within the two panes of glass. Do your research on the many different types available and how the different ways they are operated will work best for your doors and your home.
7. Where can you buy integrated blinds?
Morley Glass are one long established specialist manufacturer of integrated blinds, integral blinds and other specialised glass products. As the UK’s largest manufacturer, their products are successfully used in residential and commercial properties.
With stringent quality control procedures, sophisticated manufacturing facilities and the use of high-quality components, Morley Glass offer some of the best products available today, having long guarantees and provided by one of the leading names in the specialist field of blinds in double glazed units. Contact us if you are interested in finding out more.