When we are going to make a change of shutters, a change of windows with blinds, or when we decide to buy a home, we always have the question of whether what we are buying is a quality product or not. These are doubts that are sometimes shared by professionals themselves. How to distinguish it?
In the case of shutters, to achieve a durable product that does not give problems, and that performs its function properly, there are many factors that influence. This is helpful in this regard since it includes explanations and gives guide values of what is considered normal and what would be considered a defect for blind cloths.
1. Smoothness on the rise and fall
The shutters must go up and down smoothly, without the slats being embedded one inside the other, and without rubbing against elements on the way up or down. This sometimes occurs due to installation problems, sometimes because the blind configuration chosen was not suitable for the opening (due to excessive dimensions or other problems), or due to design or manufacturing problems.
2. When the shutters are closed, no light must enter between the slats
Faint diffuse light could enter between the slats by reflection, but this should be minimal. In the case of PVC slats, they should not be translucent.
The entry of light reflected by the area of the guides is normal, but we must not forget that the shutters are in turn made up of various items and their joint configuration helps to minimize these effects.
3. Uniformity in color
Within the same shutters cloth, there should be no appreciable color differences. Greater deviations are allowed in dark colors than in light colors.
For metallic colors (bronze, natural, stainless, etc.) the measurement with a colorimeter can help but it has to be corroborated by visual inspection. Visual inspection is performed for Wood colors, as it is more effective.
The color variations between the guide, the slats, the finish, and the box are acceptable since in general, they are different manufacturing processes for each of the components. The slats are usually made of the profiled aluminum strip and the guides and the finish are made of extruded aluminum, while the box is usually made of extruded PVC. In the case of the drawer, there are also variations in tone between the end faces and the drawer profiles as they are made of different materials.
4. Sufficient paint thickness on aluminum
In profiled aluminum slats, the minimum must be 25 total microns (all layers of paint) to protect the exterior, and 60 microns in powder-coated lacquers (slats, finishes and extrusion guides), with Qualicoat quality. These data are provided by the manufacturer.
5. Invaluable defects at a distance
As the quality guide indicates, surface defects such as dots, lines, areas with different colors, etc. may appear on the surface of the profiles. Anyone that is not clearly visible and distinguishable by an observer at a minimum distance of 3 meters from the blind panel is not considered a superficial defect. Obviously, the smaller the defects, the higher the quality.
5. Slats and guides with quality material and with sufficient thickness
The slats can be made of profiled aluminum filled with polyurethane (the most common), extruded aluminum (generally used for large widths and self-locking blinds) and PVC.
In general, all slat options may or may not be suitable depending on the installation and use conditions. In general, extruded aluminum shutters are higher-end products than profiled aluminum, and these in turn are higher than PVC.
The shutters guides must have sufficient thickness, ribs, and reinforcements since the pressure on the blind cloth end up having an effect on them. If the guides can be bent easily by hand or do not maintain right angles they are not of quality.
6. Extruded aluminum end blade
In the lower part of the cloth, the terminal strip (also called the finish ) must be made of extruded aluminum, to have sufficient resistance, and it must incorporate a rubber or mat to absorb possible imperfections in the support part. The PVC finish is a solution for economical blinds, but the extruded aluminum solution should prevail.
7. Drawers with great thermal and acoustic insulation, and great tightness
Quality PVC shutters boxes must have thermal transmittance less than 1.1W / m2K. Better the lower it is. They must be airtight class 3 or 4 (better if it is 4) to be considered of superior quality.
The best acoustic performance is given with a motorized drive, so this is the solution to be prioritized in the choice.
If they incorporate extra acoustic insulation sheets, the drawers will be of higher quality, and the greater the number of slats the blind has, the more acoustic insulation it will be able to provide when it is collected.
8. There should not be an excessive gap between the guide and the blind cloth
This could generate ripples in the blind and could facilitate the removal of the cloth in the event of external actions, such as a strong wind.
9. When the blind rolls up, it must do so without “hooks” or risk of dislodging
Sometimes when the blind rolls up an irregular spiral are formed in which the slats roll with difficulty, making “jumps” or “hooks”. This should not happen.
Curved slats behave better in this regard because, in addition to occupying a smaller winding diameter, they are better adapted when making a winding spiral, which facilitates the sliding of the cloth. Flat slats roll worse.
10. The blind has a motorized drive
Motorized shutters have better acoustic insulation, greater tightness, and is more comfortable to use. Tape drives are adequate, but given the level of quality required by current regulations, we must think about choosing motorized blinds.
Last but not least, it is key when it comes to buying a product to know that there is a large and solvent company behind it, focused on giving the best service to its customers.