Window Treatment Considerations
When choosing window treatment solutions for your windows there are several considerations to weigh. How much light do you want to stream into your house? Do you want added layers of insulation for the windows? How much privacy do you need for your house? Are you ok with silhouettes being visible from the outside or do you need complete privacy from prying eyes of the outsiders? Etc, etc. These are some of the very valid questions that you need to ask yourself before you invest in window treatments. Another important consideration is the need for complete darkness for your rooms. There are room darkening shades that provide significant control over light and rooms get fairly darkened but some amount of light streams through. If you are looking at complete darkness even during the morning hours when sunlight is at its peak, then your rooms need blackout shades or blinds.
The Need for Blackout Blinds
For healthy living along with a balanced diet and exercise, your body needs deep, uninterrupted sleep for 8-10 hours in a day. A soothing calm ambiance sans sound and light creates the perfect environment where body and mind can be at rest. While at night you need not worry too much about how to obstruct light since it is already dark outside, it is the morning hours that pose a challenge. There are many people out there who have to work through the night like doctors, nurses, factory employees, emergency service providers, etc. They need to catch up on their sleep during the day hours when there is lot of light outside. It is difficult for the body to get sound sleep which such an abundance of light in the room. Blackout shades and blinds are the best as they help to cut out life completely and create an ideal ambiance for you. Blackout shades are also perfect for media rooms where light can reflect on television and hence hamper your entertainment experience.
While blackout blinds and shades offer 100% protection against light, sometimes there are small gaps left on the side of the blinds which let light in. The window covering world refers to these gaps as “light gaps.” These gaps are extremely common and they occur because no matter how well customized shades and blinds are they are not always able to make a snug fit along the sides of the window. These gaps are encouraged because otherwise while lowering or raising them it will cause them to scrape along the window frame.
Side Channels, Tracks or Light Blockers
Some windows are fitted with vinyl borders that overlap sufficiently with the shades or blinds and cover the light gaps. But most windows, however, allow beams of light to seep through which are enough to interfere with and ruin your sleep. These light gaps are most problematic on blackout shades or blinds which are installed to get complete darkness but the gaps play spoilsport. However, where there are problems there are also solutions. There are “tracks” that are used to cover these gaps and also allow shades to slide up and down with ease. Till now these tracks were available only for expensive customized shade but not they are becoming increasingly compatible with other window treatments as well.
These tracks or side channels are referred to as “light blockers.” These are L-shaped pieces of plastics that are fitted either behind or in front of the window treatments to help block or seal part of the windows that are uncovered. They are available in a range of lengths and they can be customized with ease and trimmed to make a perfect fit for your windows. Pick up a pair of sturdy scissors and cut them out as per the size requirements. The side channels or light blockers come with a sticky backing. You just need to peel the back strip and stick them to the side of your window. For maximum coverage, you need to stick the light blockers as close to the window treatments like shades and blinds as possible. Before peeling off the sticky back strip it is recommended that you experiment with the placement to help find the best coverage. If you want the channels to be concealed from view place them behind the shades.
Importance of Light Blockers
These side channels provide a comprehensive and opaque barrier to lights that seep through the edges of the windows and offer complete darkness even when daylight is at the peak. It is perfect for your bedrooms, home theatres, presentation or media rooms where total darkness is desirable and even a streak of light can cause irritation.
Side channels apart from their functional value also look stylish and give window treatments a sleek, minimalist and seamless look.
So if you have installed blackout blinds to your windows are worried about the beam of light appearing from all the sides worry no more. Remember that these gaps are common and are not the result of poor customization. Secondly, you can easily close these gaps by adding side channels and you can trim them to fit your window size.