Motorized Window Shades – Somfy Vs Lutron – QED and Sonnesse on

Somfy and Lutron both offer tubular motors for raising and lowering interior motorized window shades. Lutron sells the motor and shade together while Somfy sells just the motor which can be combined with any window shade. Both companies also sell controls (wall switches, remotes and interfaces) that are used to operate their respective motors.

In the late 90′s, Lutron introduced the QED (Quiet Electronic Drive) which it paired with its own brand of shades (roller shades mostly). The product made big waves for being practically noiseless. This was a classic example of redefining the parameters of competition in an industry. Beforethe advent of Lutron’s quiet motors, consumers did not even know that motor noise level was or would become a factor in their motorized shade purchase decisions. Only in the last couple of years has Somfy caught up to the QED’s noiselessness. Today, there is still a difference, but it is slight and most consumers do not consider it a deciding factor.

Somfy manufactures two different types of ‘quiet’ motors used in motorized window shades; an AC powered version (ST50) and a more recently introduced DC powered version (ST30). Lutron’s QED Motors are all low voltage, DC Motors. The difference between AC and DC power is that the former is high voltage while the latter is low voltage. AC Power is the same as the power received from plugging a cord into a standard wall outlet. Low voltage is powered by that same outlet but the cord has a transformer (think of a cell phone cord or a computer power cord with their boxes on the plug on in the middle of a cord – that is a transformer) and reducing or ‘knocking down’ the high voltage power received from the outlet to low voltage power. A main reason that DC power is important is that fewer building code issues arise and no electrician is required for wiring low voltage powered motorized window shades. Absent an electrician, wiring costs and job complexity are both considerably reduced.

The QED is available in three different sizes called the QED64, QED100 and QED225. The number gives a rough gauge of the square footage of fabric that the motor is designed to lift. For example, the QED64 can lift a shade up to 8 feet x 8 feet, the QED100 can lift a shade up to 10 feet x 10 feet and the QED225 can lift a shade up to 15′ x 15′ – this size motor is only very rarely required for residential applications. These are approximations only, in the field, these motors are known to actually lift more than these numeric values imply. The size of the motor affects its diameter which determines the diameter of the tube that the motor uses. Lutron’s QED64 uses a 1 5/8″ tube, the 100 uses a 2 ½” tube and the larger 225 uses a 3 1/2″ tube. Tube diameter is important mostly for determining how wide motorized shades can be without bending (deflection). A bent tube means that fabric will not roll up properly. The fabric will sag causing creases- this is not acceptable. Therefore motor size is as much about shade width as it is about lifting capacity.

Somfy’s quiet motors, known as the Sonnesse line, also use different tube sizes. The ST30 uses a 1 1/2″ tube, the ST50 can use either a 2″ or 2 1/2″ tube*. The lifting capacity of the ST50 falls somewhere between the 100 and 225. For very large applications, Somfy has larger motors, but to date, they are not in the Sonnesse (quiet) product line. It is very rare that a motor larger than an ST50 is needed for interior applications. This is true even if multiple shades are driven by a single motor.

Both the QED and Sonnesse motors have proven to be reliable and both come with 5 year warranties.

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Vertical Blinds For Sliding Glass Doors on

Vertical blinds are superior to other window treatments for sliding glass doors in may ways. For starters, vertical blinds are usually much less expensive than other options. They do not take as long to make, and the material to make them is cheaper than both plantation shutters and cellular shades. The only part of a vertical blind that takes any time to manufacture is the track or head rail. The slats normally come already punched (each slat has a hole punched in the top to attach to the head rail mechanism) and just have to get cut to length. The track, valance, and slats for a vertical blind can be built in less than an hour. A bypass door system on the other hand can take may hours to finish. This extra labor is added to your cost at time of purchase.

The material to build a vertical blind is also cheaper. The vertical consists of an aluminum head rail and pvc louvers (they can also be fashioned from cloth) where as plantation shutters use pre fabricated wood, vinyl, or composite material. A cellular shade is made from a special paper like fabric which is also more expensive than vertical material. The biggest factor in determining the cost of a window treatment is the material and verticals are the clear winner in this case.

The biggest advantage verticals have over their competition is durability replacement cost. A lot of us have young children or pets at home that often get into our windows or sliders. A cellular shade will not last a day with a dog that jumps on the windows anytime there is a knock at the door. A vertical blind however is made from sturdier material and will withstand a pet jumping on them. If your pet decides to take a bite out of slats, they can be easily replaced by the consumer. If your dog were to chew some louvers of your plantation shutter, the whole door will typically have to go back to the factory to get repaired. Keep in mind, warranties on your window treatments do not cover pet damage. When paying to have the treatment fixed, you will be paying the original square footage base price plus labor.

Another often overlooked advantage of vertical blinds is the ability to change out the louvers. If you decide to paint your room, change the decor, or just feel like changing with the seasons, the louvers of a vertical blind can easily be taken out and new ones put in. This is something the homeowner can do themselves and should not require any installation fees from your retailer. Simply measure one of your louvers, or take one down and bring it with you, and tell the salesperson how many of them you need to have made. What other window treatment gives you this flexibility?

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Cellular Shades – Keep The Warmth In This Winter With A Cellular Window Shade on

Cellular shades are a great option for the consumer in decorating any room in their home with their crisp clean style and versatility. Not only does a cellular window shade provide beauty for a room with the vast array of fabrics available but excellent control of the light in your home. You are able to achieve the exact amount of privacy and light control that you desire from sheer to blackout or somewhere in the middle.

Saving energy is an important consideration these days and cellular window shades are considered to be one of the best. They help to keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The honeycomb structure of cellular shades traps air in the middle acting as an insulator between the indoor and outdoor air. This saves energy in heating and cooling your home which then saves you money.

Cellular shades are available in single, double or triple cell construction the more cells the better energy efficiency but also an increase in price. They come in two cell sizes 3/8″ and ¾” as it is up to you as to which you prefer. The larger size holds more static air so are more energy efficient. The honeycomb structure of cellular window shades also provides excellent noise reduction giving you peace and quiet from outside disturbances.

Blackout cellular shades are a great choice for bedrooms, nurseries, media rooms or computer rooms where at times it is desired to block out the light completely. For people trying to sleep during the day or getting children their afternoon nap blackout cellular shades are an excellent solution. Be careful of cheap cellular blackout shades as they might not have the foil material that lines the cellular fabric that ensures that no light gets through.

The benefit that makes cellular window shades so popular is the variety of options that allows you to control light also when totally raised very little of your view is obstructed.
Cellular shades can be motorized for those hard to reach windows at a relatively inexpensive price. The cordless option is great for childrens rooms for added safety. For large windows the continuous cord loop option makes lifting large shades a breeze.

Unlike other blinds cellular shades have bottom-up/top-down option that allows you to lower the top to let in light and be able to still maintain your lower privacy. This option allows you great versatility in adjusting your light and privacy. Along with this option you can get Duette Duolite which is the equivalent of two shades in one an opaque one on bottom and a sheer one on top giving the best of two worlds.

One of the last benefits but most important that make cellular window shades so popular is that they are so easy to maintain. They are color-fast and flame retardant. An occasional vacuuming keeps them looking great. They collect minimal dust leaving you time for more important things.

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Locating Discount Window Blinds Doesn’t Have To Be Difficult on

Discount window blinds is something that a lot of people all over the world are searching for, but not everyone has the knowledge needed to locate them. Finding these blinds doesn’t have to be hard, you just need to know the steps to take to make it easier for you.

The following are the essential steps that need to be taken so you can easily locate the blinds you need for a price that is discounted.

One: Use the internet – The internet is your best tool for locating the blinds that are offered at a discount price. This will allow you to look at more than one company and more than one type of blinds.

If you take time, you can even find companies that offer discounts on their blinds every day. Other companies will only offer discounts once in a while, so watch for those also.

Plus, the internet gives you a way to ensure that the company you want to purchase blinds from is trustworthy and reliable. This way you don’t end up purchasing blinds that you never receive or that arrive in bad condition.

Two: Ask if they offer a discount – There are many companies that will offer a discount, but they don’t always advertise it. You have to ask them to find out for sure. It never hurts to ask and if it can save you money, then it will be well worth it.

Three: Talk to others online – You can easily talk to other people or read reviews on different blinds or companies. Many times when people find prices that are good for everyone, they will write a review and put this information in there.

Four: Free consultation or estimate – There are many companies that offer free estimates for their blinds. There are also some that offer a free consultation.

You want to take advantage of either one of these, no matter what the company offers. This will allow you to talk to an expert about the blinds you want. It will also give you a good chance to ask about discounts.

Five: Ask friends, family and acquaintances – Take time to ask your friends and family, along with your acquaintances if they know where to get discount blinds. There are many people that purchase blinds for their home.

Asking others about it is a good way for you to find the discount prices. It is also a good way to use because you will be getting a referral from someone you trust or at least know.

Now that you know how to find discount window blinds, you just need to get started. The sooner you start your search, the sooner you will be able to add the perfect blinds to your home that will add beauty that everyone, including you can enjoy. Just remember to use these steps to find the discount blinds because it is much easier than it seems to be to find them.

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Blackout Honeycomb Shades – Discover Different Types of Honeycomb Shades on Blinds on

There are basically five types of blackout honeycomb shades which you can find on the market. They may be other varieties but there are the best ones I am aware of. They are namely optilight blackout, grand blackout, petite cell, grand blackout, Christopher Lowell and Christopher Lowell raw silk honeycomb shades. They have slight difference among them and one identical characteristic as well. The slight difference is the color and shape.

Let us go into details on the varieties of blackout honeycomb window shades. i have talked about them below.

1. Optilight
It is a mixture of pleat sheer (for a fully unobstructed view) and honeycomb for every season’s energy efficiency. The fabric of its pleat sheer gives uv protection for furnishing.

2. Grand blackout
It has a superb line which will give your room full room darkening. Places like greenhouse, bedroom and media house will benefit a lot from this window shade. The cell used for the production of this window treatment is delineated using two fabric levels and squeezed around the thin and white blackout.

3. Christopher Lowell raw silk blackout cellular shade
It is the best pick for bedrooms, nurseries and media rooms where you require total light check. It has varieties of colors in custom size which is up to 120 inches wide and 120 inches high.

If you ask me to choose the best black shade, I think I would select the optilight blackout honeycomb shade. You should know that it is the most expensive of all the blackout shades but it comes with the most elegant beautiful design.

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