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Uniqueness of Dual Roller Shades – Get Perfect Light Control and Privacy

Summer holidays and the end of a school term brings back to me the beautiful memories of fun and gay abandon with siblings, friends, and the rest of the family. Nobody watched the clock, except for my Dad, who would have to go to work. Mum too used to be so happy. Her face was always beaming, planning out our favorite menus. Late brunches, long cycle rides, picnics, summer clubs and a lot of ice-cream! One important chore was a must. All of us had to get together and clean up the loft. Invariably our projector, a gift to us for one Christmas, would come out of storage. By rotating the disc of slides, we would lose ourselves in an old fairy-tales world. Our bedroom would become a makeshift cinema house. Pulling down the shades and throwing some additional sheets on to the windows was all we needed. Such a thrill! I talk to my kids about it today, and it sounds obsolete to them. Today is the day of multiplex cinemas, the X-box, and a click on a remote control can turn our family room into show time. What a far cry from the shades we operated with springs!




Window roller shades have come a long way from the first shades that appeared on windows as early as the 19th century in Holland. They were mounted on window frames with string loops and hooks. They had to be rolled up by hand and fastened at the top. Their artistic appeal evolved with time. In 1858, a factory in New York started producing spring rollers that have evolved into the present day roller shades and the snazzy dual roller shades of today! A roller shade is primarily made up of a single panel of fabric, whether of a natural fiber or man-made, rolled on a rod, mostly aluminum, and fixed to the top of a window frame. Using a cord system, the shade is raised and lowered. Raising a shade allows for a lot of sunlight and fresh air. Lowering it cuts off the light to a large extent and the harmful UV rays too. Besides offering us complete privacy, there is absolutely no choice left to us for an outside view. What if you would like to cut off the glare of that sunlight, especially on a hot summer day, and still enjoy an unobstructed and clear outside view? Neither a blind or a Roman shade nor will a drape help. The most appropriate choice will be a dual roller shade.
A Dual Roller Shade system combines two types of window coverings in one compact package. The outer layer is the light filtering shade made of high UV resistant material designed to cut out the incoming light and provide partial privacy while allowing you a view of the outside. The inner layer a light blocking shade that completely cuts off the light, eliminating it when darkness is required in a room. It can be used in the day or at night for a complete blackout effect, and for complete privacy.
Each of these shades is rolled onto separate rods and are mounted in a common box called the cassette or fascia. A dual roller shade with a fascia has a complete finished look as the fabric wrapped around the fascia matches the roller shade fabric. A roller shade without fascia is preferable for windows that use an additional window treatment.
The cassette box is fixed to the top of the window employing brackets. The brackets are designed to be installed easily, minimizing the light gap between the shade and any recess.
A double bracket is used for dual roller shades. The concept of a dual roller shade lies in the double bracket. The benefit of a double bracket is that it allows either of the rollers to be accommodated in either the front or back configuration. Each bracket pair contains a bracket for the motor end of the shade and a bracket for the idler end of the shade motor. Dual brackets can be ordered with the motor end specified either on the left or right side of the shade. Although dual brackets speed up installation by predefining the offset required between two roller shades, they cannot be adjusted after mounting. If adjustments are required, the use of two single architectural brackets is useful.




ROLLER TUBE: the fabric of the roller shade rolls around it and is never exposed even when the shade is fully lowered.
END PLUG: also called the rotator, it fits into the end of the roller tube opposite the clutch and allows the tube to rotate freely. The rotation pin on the plug fits into the installation bracket.
CLUTCH: When the cord is pulled the clutch rotates the roller tube, raising or lowering the shade.
BEADED CORD: A continuous loop that is used to raise and the lower the shade.
BEADED CORD CONNECTOR: The connector attaches the two ends of a beaded cord. Each connector serves as a stop for the upper and lower travel limits.
CORD TENSIONER: For enhanced child and pet safety, and to ensure that the chains are not a choking hazard, a tensioning device is provided. It locks the chain so that it cannot be unthreaded. It does not have to be tight, just taut enough to form a loop. It is screwed to an architrave, then screwed to the tensioner. Without a tensioner, loose chains must be secured so that they do not form a loop of 220mm or larger, or 1600mm above the floor level and cannot be undone by a child.
CASSETTE MOUNTING BRACKETS: are used to mount shades from the top (ceiling mount) or from the back (wall mount).
CASSETTE SYSTEM: is a headrail made up of one single piece, quick and easy to mount in either a wall mount or ceiling mount position. It conceals the fabric roll and the lifting system. It can be covered with matching fabric to give it a finished look. It is also called a fascia. It can be square, curved or a double fascia to accommodate both the motorized and manual options.





END CAP: covers the end bracket for a clean, coordinated look.
BOTTOM ROD OR RAIL: add weight to the fabric.



Dual Roller Shades are easy to operate, with different operating systems to choose from. They can be spring assisted, operated by a chain drive, fully motorized: in the latter option, and one can even link a number of shades together so that a number of shades can be opened or closed at the same time.
Dual Roller Shades utilize a wide selection of tubular motors that are mounted and hidden from view inside the roller tube. It is compact, powerful and can operate shades of any width. Tubular motors were invented in 1959 and have become the standard motorized operating systems for window treatments, awnings, rolling shutters, and projection screens throughout the world. They are electrically powered or battery operated. Motorized lifting systems allow you to easily raise and lower window shadings.
Motorized shades are convenient to use as they are operated with the buttons of a remote control. Each mode is controlled by pushing an appropriate button for either day or night or manual adjustment. It is an enormous convenience as the user can operate all the shades from one location. Some systems can also be configured to open and close at scheduled times in the day that helps with energy savings.
Operating shades manually is possible via an external cord. By pulling the cord up or down, you can adjust the shades to the appropriate level of light control and privacy. It is a less expensive option due to the absence of electric motors and controllers. However, it is not advisable to use as it is against child safety.
Timer controls and the sun sensors options teamed with motorization are for those who like to protect their furnishings and floors while they are away at work or on holiday. This helps to conserve energy by reducing air conditioning and heating requirements.
When the number of shades to be controlled is many, Dual Link Couplers link individual roller shades together, allowing one pair of motors to control multiple shades.
A multi-link system allows two or more rollers to be joined together.




Most window coverings are room darkening and not truly blackout because the edge of the window creates a halo effect or a light gap. For a real blackout effect, and to cover the gaps to eliminate the halo effect from windows, using a layered window treatment that combines drapes with either roller shades, cellular shades or blinds are recommended.


The light gap for different window treatments should be considered while installing them. The light gap for dual roller shades and motorized shades of the Graber range with an inside mount is an 11/16” per side. For optimal light and glare control, outside mounts or secondary soft window treatments should be considered.
Side channels are also recommended against light gaps. They are aluminum felt lined channels fixed on the side and bottom of a window opening into which a dual roller shade fits. It creates a fixed track for the edges of the shade that creates a seamless seal for the shade on a window, blocking the light. It is suitable for bedrooms or nurseries or to create a movie theater effect in a media room.




While installing a dual roller shade, another important consideration is whether to use an inside mount or an outside mount of the shade.
An inside mount is suitable for a more finished look especially for windows with attractive moldings. It is advantageous as the fabric of the roller shade rolls back closer to the window glass and blocks out the most amount of light and affords more privacy and insulation.
Outside mounted dual roller shades are mounted on the wall or the molding outside the window casing and cover an area that is wider than the window itself. Outside mounting requires at least 2” of flat space above the window casing for proper installation of the brackets of the dual roller shade and approximately 2” of overlap on each side to ensure light control and privacy.




To make dual roller shades more efficient, the roller shade which is closer to the window pane is mounted as a reverse roller so that the fabric of the roller is as close to the glass of the window pane, and works more efficiently in cutting off the light and the glare of the sun. The roller shade in the front hangs as a standard roller shade.





  • The advantage of a dual roller shade is that it can be adjusted to different levels that cater to our needs of natural lighting, light blocking or room darkening and privacy.
  • It has a light filtering shade that allows light to filter in gently and provides privacy, giving the room a very comfortable ambiance. It does not cut out the outside view, and images and shapes can be seen, but not very distinctly. If a deep fabric color is chosen for light filtering it provides moderate light while light colors provide lower light control.
  • The room darkening shade blocks out the sunlight completely and darkens the room. It cuts off the glare and facilitates the use of computers and video screens, reduces heat gain and blocks off the effect of the harmful UV rays. When lowered they, cut off our view of the outside ultimately offering complete privacy. At night, they are suitable for cutting of light entering into your bedrooms from street lamps, a busy neighborhood or traffic, creating a comfortable and peaceful atmosphere for a sound sleep.
  • With the wide variety of fabrics now available, dual shades can be custom made according to requirements of light filtering and light blockage. A combination of a sheer solar shade and a room darkening shade will serve a dual purpose. Sheer solar shades protect the room’s furnishings and rugs from harmful UV rays while softening the natural light. Room Darkening or Blackout roller shades can block out the sun by just flipping a switch or raising and lowering the desired shades manually. This speaks to the flexibility of dual roller shades that can match your moods, your activities, or even the time of the day.
  • They are energy efficient. They control the amount of sunlight and heat entering into our homes in summer. This indirectly lowers the summer temperature inside our homes, maintaining a comfortable warmth. Air conditioners and other cooling gadgets bear a lesser load, cutting down on energy consumption. Dual roller shades have been strongly recommended for greater energy efficiency in our homes. The reflective side should always face the warmest side or outward side during the cooling season, and inward during the heating season.




Combine the sheer, light-filtering, room-darkening or blackout fabrics of your choice. Raise or lower each shade independently depending on the time of day or need for privacy. Add a Roller Shade fabric to complement the room décor.

  • Features the same Continuous-loop and Motorized Lift operation as our Roller and Solar Shades
  • Select fabrics available in Sliding Panels and Vertical collections for whole-décor coordination





  • Use the back shade or shade closest to the window for light regulation (recommended: solar screen fabrics, sheers and blackout fabrics)
  • For the front shade, select Roller fabrics to match the room décor and maintain privacy
  • Outside mount is recommended for maximum light control
  • Select scallops and trims for a finishing touch (Roller fabrics only)
  • All Dual shades can be Continuous-loop lift or low-voltage Motorized Lift
  • Color-coordinated bead chains and stainless bead chains are available. Colors include: Black, Brown, Gray, Vanilla, White
  • Bead chain colors are selectable for front and back shade
  • Dual Shades can be configured with the 71 ⁄2″ (19.1 cm) Noble and Regal Wood Cornices for all configurations
  • 51 ⁄2″ (14 cm) Noble and Regal Wood Cornices are available only when Dual Shade has no cassette with inside mount and Cornices are outside mount
  • Curved, Classic and Symphony Valances are not available
  • Cordless and Smart Pull lift systems are not available
  • Square-corner Valance and fascia are not available
  • Hold-down brackets are not recommended for dual shades
  • For motorized shades, the multi-channel remote control is recommended

Shade Configuration without Cassette Valance

  • Front shade (closest to room) is always a reverse roll, providing a consistent, even look to the shade
  • The back Dual Shade (shade closest to the window) can be a standard roll or reverse roll
  • The front and back shade beaded chain can be positioned either left or right pull



Shade Configuration with Cassette Valance

  • Because two shades must fit into a single cassette valance, the Dual Shade requires the large cassette valance; small and medium cassette valances are not available
  • The fabric for the Fabric-wrapped Cassette Valance is selectable, either front or back shade fabric
  • Front and back shades are standard roll
  • The front and back shade beaded chain can be positioned either left or right pull




  • Dual roller shades are not highly rated as good insulators. The layer of dead air that is trapped in between the shades is not sufficient to keep the rooms warm in the cold winter months. They are not very popular in places that have severe winters and offer modest energy benefits.


  • The price factor and budget constraints is another limitation too.





On a final note, Zebra Sheer Shades, though misinterpreted as Dual Sheer Shades, are not Dual Roller Shades. They are made from a continuous fabric that has alternating horizontal stripes of sheer voile and light blocking fabric bands, giving us many options for light control. Unlike Dual Roller shades that have two separate roller tubes with different controls, one for a light filtering fabric and one for a room darkening fabric, Zebra Sheer Shades has a single continuous piece of fabric that is heat seamed to roll over a single headrail in dual layers. The arrangement of the semi-opaque and sheer stripes alternate each other to ensure a light filtering effect or a light blocking effect. They are controlled by a powerful continuous cord loop mechanism that allows ease of use. They appear to be dual shades. Just an Illusion!



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