Even if you put a lot of effort into selecting your windows, you might overlook an important related aspect: how the windows will be covered. Not everyone realizes that window coverings comprise an entire industry, with a wide variety of styles from which to choose. To help you navigate this extensive field, we’ve asked five Diamond Certified Expert Contributors to weigh in with their window covering tips.
Know what to look for. There’s a lot to consider when choosing a window covering product. In addition to attributes like color and design, Ben Chastain of Creative Window Fashions, Inc. says it’s crucial to think of practical aspects like view, privacy and light control. If privacy is a top concern for you, a product like routeless blinds may be a good choice; likewise, if you want maximum light control, you might consider cellular shades or blackout curtains.
Even after you’ve chosen your product, there still may be particular details to address. Take drapes, which Amanda Lafferty of National Blinds & Flooring Inc. says are no simple affair. “When choosing drapes, you have to consider a lot more than just the color of the fabric. If you’re going purely for aesthetics, a linen or sheer fabric will do, but some people prefer materials like velvet or wool, which offer better light-filtering qualities.” Another consideration is how you’re going to line your fabric. In addition to standard linings, there are specialty linings available such as blackout lining and interlining, the latter of which provides superior sound dampening and insulation.
Learn some basic maintenance how-tos. You might think that after your new window coverings are installed, you’ll never have to think about them again, but that’s not exactly true. Like any home fixture, window coverings need to be maintained and sometimes repaired. Fortunately, most maintenance and even some repairs can be performed without the need for professional assistance.
One easy DIY repair is replacing a broken curtain rod carrier. Peyman Sadigh of PKS Interiors explains how it’s done: “A curtain rod contains multiple carriers—small, plastic clips that hold the hooks upon which the curtains are hung. At the end of the rod, there’s an arm that keeps these carriers contained. If you need to replace one or more broken carriers, you can release this arm and slide the carriers out. After removing the broken ones, you can insert new replacement carriers. Once you’re finished, simply close the arm to lock in the carriers and your curtain rod is fixed.”
If your home has window shutters, you may find that you need to remove a shutter panel in order to do some painting, cleaning or repairs. As Bob Calderara of Discount Blinds and Shutters demonstrates, this involves a procedure that’s similar to removing a door. “Use a nail set to push the bottommost hinge pin upward through the hinge and pull the nail completely out,” he explains. “Repeat this step with the remaining hinges. After you’ve removed all the nails, the panel is free to pull out—just rotate it toward the hinge and it’ll come right off.”
Don’t forget exterior shade products. In addition to indoor window coverings like blinds, curtains and shutters, exterior coverings like awnings need to be maintained as well. Leila Jacobsen, owner of Awnco Retractables, says awning maintenance consists of routine cleanings to prevent dirt from getting embedded in the fabric. Apply a gentle cleaning solution (dish soap, vinegar solution, etc.) with a sponge or soft bristle brush. While cleaning, be careful not to disturb the stitch line, which can break if scrubbed too vigorously. Allow the cleaning solution to soak into the fabric for several minutes before rinsing. Finally, allow the awning to air dry before returning it to its frame.
For more information on window coverings and other topics, visit our Diamond Certified Expert Reports at experts.diamondcertified.org.