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Large glass window coverings--advice needed.

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Joined: Apr 2 2003

Hi everyone,

I would appreciate some thoughts, opinions, and experience on the topic of window coverings for sloped roof Eichler homes.

Although I'd much rather leave the windows bare, this is no longer an option due to the heat gain/loss through the large panes of glass (I've already done what I can by going to double-pane glass.) Because of the east-west orientation, I get morning sun through the back diningroom/livingroom glass and afternoon sun through the front.

It seems that originally the glass would have been left bare or there would have been a rod mounted across the glass at the highest full expanse horizontal point (or possibly in line with the top of the sliding door).

The options I've identified are:
1) mount a permanent, minimalist drapery rod across the glass and hang light weight drapes which would pull/tie to the siede posts when not in use. (what kind/size of rod? what kind/size of drapes?)
2) mount a header across the glass for horizontal blinds, hopefully with a bottom up rise
3) mount a header across the glass for vertical blinds.

The slanted roof causes no end of problems as I seem to have to permanently leave the top triangle exposed or covered and handle the rectangular lower part separately. Also, although neighbors have used horizontal blinds, my siding grooves are vertical and I'd prefer to have the blind lines vertical for visual consistency--am I being too picky?

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Jake

P.S. I estimate each fo the 6 vertical/horizontal blind sections (2 walls x 3 sections) would cost between $600-700--that's $3600-4200 plus installation so I want to like what I end up with if I go for blinds.

PPS Window film is not an option as it would void the window warranty (thermofracture) and doesn't solve the heatloss problem.

I guesstimate the cost of cellular blinds with remote will run about

eichfan at rawbw dot com

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Joined: Mar 30 2003

Hi Jake,

I once saw vertical blinds in an Eichler in our neighborhood that I thought would be my choice if I wanted window coverings. Unfortunately, I can't remember when I saw it - open house, neighborhood holiday get-together...?

The blinds were mounted along the slanted part of the window so that they were flush with the ceiling. The blinds were made to fit the slanted windows perfectly when closed - floor to ceiling, even with the floor all the way across. When opened they were pulled toward the peak of the ceiling and the bottom of the blind had a nice draped angle to accomodate the different lengths of the individual slats. Does that make any sense to you? I thought it was a nice solution to the problem of going floor to ceiling with a sloped roof. I'm sure you could have something like this made, but I have no idea how much that would raise the total cost.

Good luck.

Tracy
Castro Valley

Tracy
Castro Valley

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Joined: Mar 25 2003

The original owners would likely have likely used some kind of tiki looking wood woven shade or something that appeared to be right out of your grandmother's house. I'd go more contemporary to deal with your heat loss/gain problem. Look at the duel honeycomb duettes from Hunter Douglas and go with the horizontal. Don't worry about the siding direction. Think of it this way: you're matching the beams.

That said, I just bought a new Eichler and could use some recommendations for blind installers.

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Joined: Apr 5 2003

Just as an idea: would it be any easier if you put the blind outside the house along the edge of the roof, rather than inside along the glass? This at least would help shield the back of the house from direct sunlight. You also might be able to keep the blind higher while still keeping inside in shade.

I could imagine some woven-wood thing that dropped a few feet (3-4?) might give you all the shade you need.

Just brainstorming,

Robert

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Joined: May 21 2004

An other thought: we did our entire home with roller honeycomb blind. They cut it to your dimensions and they operate on batteries so no cord required.
A little pricy but really helpful for heat loss/gain depending of the season.
Since we have it, we do not use our radiant heat in mid season as we did before.
You can check them out as companies like: hunter-douglas, smith&noble, etc

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Joined: Aug 28 2003

I had vertical blinds but hated them--they were very opaque when closed and when open even slightly heated the house up too much in summer. The lines created a very busy pattern which competed with the lines created by the wood planks on the ceiling. They were also noisy.
So we replaced them with translucent cloth panels (96 inches long) which hang from ceiling to floor. I really like the fact that you can still see the outside when they are closed and the light filtering through them is beautiful.
For the rods we used clear 1 inch acrylic tubes with small dowels in the ends to attach to the beams and walls. The fabric panels seem to float since you don't see the tubes because the material covers them up. This treatment goes well with the wood and glass of the house and helps keep it cooler in summer.
Of all the window covering choices we considered these were the least expensive.

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Joined: Apr 2 2003

Hi Leslie,

Hanging panels from lucite rods is something I've considered because I felt the rods would be almost invisible when the curtains were not in use.

Some questions I have are:
- Where did you find the lucite rods? (Also, did you drill the holes yourself to attach the dowels or did the rods come that way?)
- Did you use a sun-resistant material or are you just planning to replace them when the sun causes the fabric to disintegrate.
- Do you use them in the winter at all? If so, have you had any issues with condensation or are they so light they don't block the airflow at all?

Thanks in advance for the info.

Jake

eichfan at rawbw dot com

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Joined: Aug 28 2003

Jake,
In response to your questions,
We measured the window width from wall to beam and bought off the self hollow acrylic tubes at Tap plastics which we cut to size ourselves. My husband cut the dowels to fit within the ends of the lucite tubes and then attached them to beams and ceilings. Because the widths of some of the windows were wider than the acrylic available we used clear polycarbonite tubes (which looks the same) for the extra wide windows. Those were more expensive.
If I had it to do over I would buy fabric that is sun proof but I don't know where to buy it. Do you?
These panels were pretty inexpensive and they are already a light color so fading is not really an issue. One of the minor problems we have had is that a few of them sag in the middle and we think that is because the dowel is not fitting snugly enough within the ends. It appears that they are not being held tightly enough to the wall/beam so we plan on trouble shooting these by creating a better fitting dowel. The fabric itself is too light to cause sagging.
We installed them in February and we have not had problems with condensation as far as I know.

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Joined: Mar 20 2003

Hi Jake,

We put in the duel honeycomb blinds in last year and it was the best decision we ever made. I never thought I would like those since bare glass was always my first choice. I was wrong. They practically disappear when they are up and when they are down at night they look great (my .2 cents) with a Eichler, very clean minimal look. Also from outside they have almost a paper lantern look which I really like.

Say hi to your other half.....

Dana

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Joined: Aug 28 2003

Dana
Were these custom made to fit your windows or a stock size? Which company did you buy them from? We have paper shades on three small bedroom windows that are wearing out and these sound like good replacements.
You can e-mail me at: leslie@fitchdesign.com

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Joined: Apr 2 2003

I, also, will be interested in hearing Dana's experience with this.

So far, I've visited JCPenney (never shop there but they advertised a 60+% discount so thought it worth investigating). With the discount, their prices are about on par with Home Depot, which I also visited, because others in the past have indicated it as the most price competitive. I also have references to two galleries which I would also check prices with prior to finalizing any order.

Measurement and Installation
----------------------------------
JC Penney doesn't measure or install but will hook you up with a person who does--you pay that person directly. For a standard set of windows, it's about $40 for measuring all windows. Installation varies but seems reasonable (less than $25 a window). Special issues (arches, angles) have surcharges attached which the chap is happy to explain ahead of time. He's scheduled to visit me for measurements Monday. The measurements are yours and you can take them where you want (doesn't have to be JC Penney). I'm not sure I'll actually get the blinds, or if so, from JC Penney but I thought it a cheap investment to enable more accurate price comparisons.

Home Depot has a measurement and installation services which are included in the price of the blinds. I think you pay a $50 non-refundable deposit which is then credited against your order . (So $50 if you just get the measuring done, I guess.)

Both companies seem to want to write ballpark prices down for you--Home Depot for sure has a policy of not providing copies of their price grid. However, you can get some sense from online retailers such as:

http://www.blindsexpress.com

Costs
-------
Prices vary by manufacturer, style, and size.

I was only interested in Hunter Douglas since that's the one I most often hear people using. Their vertiglide line seems to run about $750 for a bedroom sliding door (84w x 80h).

Their Duette 3/4" doublecellwas somewhere in the $650 range for a 89w x 96h window (plus $160+ if you want the battery-powered remote. I think the remote is normally a $500 option at JC Penney but with the 60+% discount comes is little nearer the $160 at Home Depot).

Can others who have purchased blinds comment on the above? I estimate it would be a $4000-4500investment for the front and back walls of my living room (2 windows plus a sliding door on each).

Jake

eichfan at rawbw dot com

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Joined: Mar 31 2003

Let me pitch in on cellular shades; when we first considered window coverings we were sure we wouldn't get cellular, after seeing so many cheap knockoffs. But after considering virtually every option, we chose Hunter Douglas Duette cellular shades, and I couldn't love them more. The advantages:
1) Virtually disappear when open
2) clean, sharp look when down -- many people will say it's reminiscent of a noguchi paper lantern
3) excellent range of colors and finishes -- we chose (a now discontinued color) that's silvery gray-green, and looks great with our original stained ceiling
4) the Powerise remote control option is perfect -- no cords to mess up the look, or to strangle my kids -- and I find I keep them up more becauuse it's so easy to raise/lower them
5) vastly improved insulation. My bedroom is now comfortable even on the coldest winter nights.

Originally, folks would have used drapes, and I still would have considered them except that they are even more expensive than the cellular shades, and one jam covered hand from my 5 year old would have ruined everything.

Good luck on your decision.

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Joined: Mar 25 2003

Any thoughts on whether the horizontal duettes should be inside or outside mounted?

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Joined: Mar 31 2003

Hi There,

If by horizontal you mean the kind that opens up and down with horizontal pleats, absolutely it should be in the window frame. The only small challenge that I had was where I installed horizontal cellular shades across an entire wall of windows that included floor to ceiling windows and sliding glass doors. In order for the blinds to all be a the same height, I screwed a 1"x3" board to the ceiling over the sliding doors so that it matched the frame where the windows were. It looks great.

John Dark

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Joined: Mar 22 2003

Hi Jake:

What is the latest news with respect to your window coverings? Any decision yet?

Did you see Loni's remote-control operated duette style shades? They are lovely. She used a local shop that I referred her to - they also did our vertical blinds. Let me know if you would like the contact information.

Cathye

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