Why Light Blockage is Essential
In hospitality guestrooms, the need for the complete blackout is a primary concern for owners. A room that has streams of light flowing into the room will never go down well with any guest. Most of them place high priority on complete blackout in their rooms so that they can rest their mind and body adequately and make their stay an enjoyable and restful one. Hotel owners take this challenge very seriously and leave no stones unturned to ensure a pleasant and memorable stay of their guests. At the domestic level too, none of us like light pouring in and flooding rooms from early morning when you are looking to catch up on a long deep sleep. If you are using draperies then this concern can be addressed by using blackout drapery with returns to the wall. However, in many hotel guestrooms and you as well, may choose to use roller shades for their chic, smart and no-nonsense appearance.
Roller Shades: Inside or Outside Mount
Roller shades can be both inside and outside mount. Outside mount shades help to seal light off as they offer better coverage. But most designers show an inclination for inside mounts because of their streamlined and minimalist appearance. They are aesthetically more pleasing and aesthetics is everything in the hospitality industry. As a homeowner, if your windows have sufficient depth you may be encouraged to opt for inside mount roller shades. To fit inside the window frame the roller shades are made smaller than the actual window size which may cause small cracks to appear along the side of the roller shades. Thin beams of light may find their way inside. The amount of light entering isn’t too significant and wouldn’t be an issue in public spaces where total blackout is not a primary concern. But this light leakage could pose a problem in hotel rooms and in houses. This makes Side and Sill Channel a must purchase.
What are Side and Sill Channels?
These are pieces of differently shaped metals that are attached to the side and along the sill of the windows. They help to hold the roller shade fabric and cover the space that is created between the window edge and the roller shade edge. Installed directly into the sheetrock they assist in blocking out light completely.
Types of Channels
There are different types of Side and Sill Channels for roller shades. Let us take a look at them.
U Channel is used as a Side Channel for Roller shades and allows the latter to move through this channel. You can attach the U Channel directly into the window edges or even install them outside. The Roller shades are then inserted within the ‘U’ shaped channel which helps to seal off the edge entirely. It is important for the shades to be lined up accurately with the channel. If this does not happen then problems arise. If you have fabric wrapped hem bars then U Channels will not work as they are too thick for the channel. You could get your U Channel customized to function as a Sill Channel.
Another Channel that is popularly used is L Channel and is a Sill Channel. The ‘L’ shaped Channel causes the roller shade to come and rest behind the channel. The light coming through the crack is now effectively sealed off between the hem bar of the roller shade and the window sill. However, as these Channels allow the roller shade fabric to slant backward and away from the channel, there is some chance of light leakage which does not exist with U Channels.
Things to Remember
• U Channels are more light-proof as compare to L Channels and a must if you are looking to install your bedrooms or hotel guestrooms with Roller Shades.
• If you have an external and fabric wrapped hem bar, the bulkiness of this hem bar helps to keep light out along the sills. In such cases, you could do with only L Channels (and in most cases, U channels are not compatible).
• There are many Roller Shades that come with dual fabrics. There is a blackout roller fabric and a sheer zebra fabric. If you are installing U Channels for Dual Roller Shades it is recommended to place the blackout shade behind the sheer shade. This will allow the channels to be fitted close to the windows and this will not interfere with closing and opening of either of the shades.
• If you have a dual window shade where the sheer shade is located behind the blackout shade it is preferable not to use any Side Channels. The Side Channels will interfere with the operation of sheer shades. If you have to you could use only an L Channel.
• If you are not interested in installing Side and Sill Channels for your roller shades the only option is to layer them with blackout drapery. With the roller shades fitted inside the blackout, drapery will extend across the length and breadth of the windows helping to seal off the edges.
U Channels are an effective and simple way of blocking the light along the edges of the windows and making your blinds light-proof. So if you want Roller Shades for your rooms, think no more and go ahead with them. The U Channels will take of the rest.