Killing two birds with one Vue
If you were to be asked the question “What are windows?” you would be right to retort indignantly “Nothing but openings in a wall”. You would be accurate to a certain extent, though there is more to a window than being just an opening in a wall. The openings in a wall become a window when a frame is fitted to the opening and panels are fixed to the frames. Windows bring the outside into our homes.
There are two main types of windows:
• Fixed windows to provide light and view.
• Movable windows to provide light, view, and ventilation and can be hinged to swing inwards or outdoors or double hung to slide up and down or move from side to side.
Windows are integral to every type of building, but the purpose of this article is to focus on homes. Houses are made in different styles: Colonial, Bay and Gable, Bungalow, Cottage, Victorian and many more. The style and shape of doors and windows have a great influence on the overall look of a house, and defines its unique style.
Once the architect and builder deliver the home to the house owner, there is very little that he / she can do about it but provide it with an appropriate window treatment. The word ‘appropriate ‘in this context comprises the interplay of various factors that need to be balanced.
1. The color of window dressings
The first level of impact that a window treatment has emanates from the color of the treatment. Windows, being the central feature of any room, attract the spontaneous focus of anyone that enters. The effect of color on mood is a crucial branch of science and psychology. Color is often associated with people’s emotions. Studies show that they influence a person’s mental and physical states too. The effect of color is immediate – if it is conducive, it generates comfort, and if it is adverse it causes discomfort.
2. Light Control in window treatment
The effect of color is instantaneous, after which it slips into the background, considering that if the homeowners find that the colors clash or war against each other, they will get it changed as early as possible. The next level of impact is exerted by light. To take an example, Wichita gets approximately 2922 hours of sunshine every year. Sunshine is a free natural resource provided entirely by the sun. For Seattle a perfect window treatment would be one that is able to make optimum use of this natural resource by hindering the harmful effects of UV radiation during peak summer in July when 14 to 16 hours of sunshine is available every day. The reverse should be possible during winter, when at its peak, only 6-8 hours of sunlight is available. The window treatment should bring in the light and heat provided by the sun and reduce our dependence on artificial heat and light both of which are expensive and detrimental to the environment. A good window treatment solution can reduce annual utility bills by 10-15%.
3. View and window treatment
The view once again a free resource bestowed upon us by nature either through luck or by the grace of God, whichever way you may look at it. Whichever part of Wichita, Kansas you are from, you will most probably be blessed with a grand view from some window in your home, if not all. A view, like color, has an effect on mood- when pleasant it creates a euphoria-like state; when unpleasant it can disturb the mood. Poets and novelists have used the surroundings to convey the mood of the setting. A good window treatment should have the characteristics and control mechanism to alter the view at will.
4. Airflow, thermal insulation and window treatment
Yet another free resource available to us is air. Air is one of the most dynamic resource that we have. It is never still, always on the move. When it is warm in July in Seattle, a window treatment that that takes advantage of the 7.5 kmph wind speed will keep the home cool and the indoor air circulating healthily without having to activate the air conditioner. In winter when the cold Arctic drafts blow right through the day a window treatment that blocks the cold air and retains the heated internal air is vital for comfort. Here once again we have the opportunity to live with healthy fresh air while reducing our dependence on utility services and reducing our bills.
5. Privacy, Sound control, and window treatment
Privacy is an essential requirement. The need for privacy and sound blocking can be spontaneous and immediate. A window treatment that can cater to this basic necessity effortlessly is a desirable feature in a perfect window treatment solution.
To a large extent window treatments, types are designed and suit particular window types – and there numerous window types within the basic fixed and moving categories mentioned above. A sample list is as follows:
Double hung, Horizontal sliding, In-swing and Out- swing casements, Bay, Bow, Awning, Jalousie, Skylight, Corner, Sliding glass, Arched, French windows … and the list goes on.
Once we have a basic understanding of windows, window types and the function of windows, we would be in a better position to examine window treatment types. Styles, fabric, colors, and trends keep changing. Science and technology are an integral part of the window treatment industry. As new material and manufacturing techniques emerge, the industry is able to incorporate and introduce innovations and features that fill earlier lacunae in providing the functions that are expected off window treatments and add value to users. However, the basic window treatment types have remained unchanged. Window treatments can be broadly classified into two categories:
• Hard window treatments that do not make use of curtains and drapes.
• Soft window treatments that are made up of different types of curtains, drapes, and soft adornments.
Hard window treatments generally use hardware to be attached to the window frame and allows manipulation for functionality. Conventional hard window treatment types include:
Shades which include Roller shades, Roman shades, Bamboo and Wooden Shades, Woven shades. Shades typically form a continuous panel and can be rolled or fan folded.
Blinds which include Venetian Blinds, Horizontal Blinds, Horizontal and Vertical blinds, Roller blinds, Wooden and Faux wood blinds.
Typical soft window treatment types include:
Curtains and Draperies which include Glass curtains, Sash curtains, Drawn curtains, Cape Cod Curtains, Draperies and Double draw draperies.
The above list is by no means exhaustive but contains terms that one is constantly bombarded with when in the window treatment mode. Each of the above types has their advantages and disadvantages when we consider the functions that we expect window dressings to perform. The most important fact to keep in mind is that there are very few homes that can treat every window with a single treatment type. The personality and requirement of every window and opening are wholly dependent upon its placement and location. The requirement of large windows differs from small ones, those in the living room are expected to perform differently from those in the bedrooms, the kitchen or the patio.
Window treatment products are fabricated from different kinds of material, natural, man-made or a combination of the two. When a homeowner gets serious about the window treatment project he / she will seek information about the product that interests him / her. It is then that the supplier makes the specifications available. To the layman, specifications amount to a labyrinth of technical terms and jargon. Take for example the Perfect- Vue Shade range or called as Day-night shades announced from the Graber stable of window treatment products.
The word Vue comes from French and literally means “view, sight, aspect, appearance”. This should give us some idea of what we can expect from Perfect-Vue shades.
The product appears amazing because it is a combination of two types of shades that work in tandem from the top, middle and bottom rails. The two types of shades that go into a Perfect-Vue shades are:
Pleated shades that use a single, continuous layer of fabric – the advantage of pleats on the shade is that they fold easily to give a blind type of effect and when drawn can provide comprehensive light control unlike in blinds that use slats that create gaps.
Cellular shades – also called honeycomb shades that block or filter light in residential and commercial settings. They are widely accepted as being an effective way to save energy. They are constructed into panels of single or double hexagonal cells, which holds trapped air that acts as a barrier to the window surface and can conserve heat or cold inside a room.
The combination of Pleated Shades and Cellular shades in the Perfect-Vue gives the manufacturer several advantages to play with in terms of functionality of the product –
• Light controls features of light filtering pleated fabric with room darkening or blackout feature of cellular fabrics.
• The superior thermal control function of cellular shades ensures a space with Perfect-Vue shades is thermally efficient right through the year especially in winter when internal heat needs to be retained and in summer when the heat and UV radiation is kept out.
• The pleated shades will be useful right through the salubrious seasons.
• The three rail assembly; top, bottom, and middle; provides the rigidity and sturdiness required to provide perfect insulation and with the back ladder support ensures that the pleats do not sag.
• Available with multiple shades on a single head rail.
• Width can range from 18” to 72” single shade and 144” double shade. Height can range from 12” to 96”. From these specs, it is evident that Perfect-Vue shades can be used to treat window sizes from small to very large.
• Easy to install and maintain.
• Standard cord control with child safety features, cordless and automated control options make Perfect-Vue shades entirely child and pet safe.
• Entry level prices are reasonable costing approximately $ 160 for a 36 x 24” panel. Since two different types are used the cost balances off when compared to other options.
When we compare Perfect-Vue shades with Sun Up Sun Down shades we find that they are similar in many ways such as –
• Three rail assembly.
• Dual panel operation
• Similar control mechanisms.
However, there are differences –
• Both top and bottom panels are cellular. Will not have the versatility that the cellular / pleated combination offers with respect to light filtering.
• 3⁄4″ (1 .9 cm) Single Cell cannot be combined with 3⁄8″ (1 .0 cm) Single Cell or Double Cell
• The Cocoon Double Cell has limitations when combined with other fabrics because of size limitation for the Cocoon Double Cell
• Maximum size is 48” in Cocoon double cell that may not be adequate for larger windows.
• More expensive since it comprises entirely of cellular shades.
This brings us to wondering where Perfect-Vue stands in comparison to Dual Roller shades where two independent fabric types are used to take advantage of the individual characteristics of each and tackle the a full spectrum of requirements.
• Dual Roller shades combine two continuous panels that work top to down
• Each can be independently raised or lowered.
The disadvantages vis a vis Perfect-Vue shades is
• Light Gaps: On, there is an 11⁄16″ light gap per side on the Continuous-loop, the dual shade and the motorized inside mounts. On Smart Pull inside mounts, there is approximately 1″ (2 .5 cm) of a light gap on the pull cord side and just over ½” (1 .3 cm) on the opposite side. For 100% light control, secondary soft window treatment may have to be introduced.
• The roll direction cannot be reversed after manufacture.
• Privacy Level: Moderate
• The price will go up if the light gap has to be plugged.