Find a window shade installation and repair company near you. Better Homes & Gardens Local Services connects you with companies that specialize in replacing or fixing window shades. Get started today to receive a free quote on your project!
Roller shades – one of the oldest kinds of shades – fit inside window casements, and operate with a simple spring and ratchet system. They provide varying degrees of protection from sunlight, from modest to complete blackout, and are adjustable to any height.
Roman shades are made with single, long piece of fabric. Their defining characteristic is horizontal folds as the shades are raised.
Pleated shades are made from one continuous piece of fabric, with the appearance of horizontal pleats.
Honeycomb shades resemble pleated shades, but the fabric is bonded together to create a honeycomb effect. The resulting cells trap air, which provides more insulation than any other kind of shade. Honeycomb shades increase a home’s energy efficiency.
Tie-up shades, also known as stagecoach shades, are typically made from a decorative piece of fabric that is lifted by hand and tied with attached ribbons or ties at the desired height. In some respects, tie-up shades look as much like curtains as they do shades.
Balloon shades are very similar to tie-up shades, except that cords run through rings on the back of the shade. When pulled, the fabric gathers into "poufs" that resemble balloons.
Solar shades help keep out harmful UV light to protect furnishings and keep the inside cooler. Typically made with a woven polyester fabric, solar shades come in varying degrees of transparency and solar protection.
Also, motorized shades – which come in a variety of styles and fabrics – are becoming increasingly popular with consumers.
"Can window shades help insulate a room?"
Yes, almost all window shades offer at least some insulating effect, which is provided in one of two ways: restricting warm and cold air energy loss through windows, and, blocking sunlight and UV rays from entering a room.
The shades offering the best insulation are: blackout roller shades, honeycomb/cellular shades, and, solar shades.
When buying shades for insulation and energy efficiency, look at the R-values, which measure thermal resistance. R-values range from 0.9 and 3.0. The higher the R-Value, the better the insulation.
Also, some shades can be automated to open and close at optimal times of the day, for increased energy efficiency.
"Can sunlight get through window shades?"
In most cases, yes, but to varying degrees. Ordered from the most light to least light allowed in, the main choices are: sheer shades, which let in the most amount of light, semi-sheer, semi-opaque, opaque, blackout shades, which let in the least amount of light.
Solar shades allow in varying amounts of sunlight.
"Can existing window shades be automated/motorized?"
If your shades are raised and lowered with loops made from beaded chains or cords, the answer is almost certainly yes. Existing shades (and if you're wondering, blinds) operated with free-hanging pull cords are also candidates for mechanization.
Existing shades and blinds that are not so easily mechanized include roller blinds, honeycombs shades, and pleated blinds.
Many contemporary "smart blind" devices are easy to install, and some even offer additional features such as voice and smartphone command, scheduled automation, and solar power capabilities.
For inside mounted shades – find the width: by measuring across the of inside the frame at the top, middle and bottom, and use the smallest measurement as your width, round down to the nearest 1/8th inch.
For inside mounted shades – find the height: by measuring vertically inside the frame from top to bottom in three different places – at the left, center and right – and round up to the nearest 1/8th inch, use the largest of the 3 measurements for your hei
For inside mounted shades – find the depth: by measuring the distance from the outside of the window frame to the sash.
For outside mounted shades – find the width: find the outermost points you want the shade to cover and measure the distance between the two points.
For outside mounted shades – find the height: By measuring to the nearest 1/8th inch from where top of shade will be, to the bottom of the window sill, or the point where you want the shade to end.
Additional tips for measuring windows: use a steel tape measure, record the actual window size inside of, and outside the frame (in case the manufacturer wants to know), when measuring for an outside mount, consider adding 1-3 inches to the sides and bottom of the window frame, to ensure adequate privacy and light filtering.
Some shade retailers will come to your home and measure the windows before you make a purchase, so make sure you are aware of any additional costs for this type of consultation.