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Rolling Down Windows – The Roller Shades in Canada

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Mechanism of spring loaded blinds

A spring roller shade consists a hollow tube that consists of a spring inside. When tension of the shade is increased when the roller shade is pulled down. If you stop pulling down the roller shade, a ratchet and pin hold the tension on the spring on one of the ends of the roller shade. The other end acts as a free turning pin mounting into the bracket. The tube will be typically made up of aluminum.

The Cleverly Crafted Roller Shades

It’s interesting to browse through the changes that have enabled the roller shade to become an indispensable part of our lives today. The single, humble piece of canvas that was hung on a rustic wooden rod for protection from the sun and the polluted air in ancient Rome evolved into window coverings that also offered privacy from prying eyes. As the European Society grew affluent, and glass windows became part of the common man’s domain, people looked for ways to liven up the canvas or whichever fabric and even paper that replaced it.
In a bid to make a buck to buy the necessities of their trade, artists like Pierre-Auguste Renoir painted on roller shades to accentuate window decor for affluent homes long before he became famous for his works of art. Biblical scenes or romantic renderings were seemingly popular back in the day, giving way to pouncing or stenciled art on the borders of the shade to abstract renderings that reflected the owners’ angst, and even wealth!

The Roller Window Shades were mounted on windows with hooks or stems that supported the rod the shade was suspended by. And though they were raised for ventilation, a view, or room brightening by folding it over itself and clipping on the sides with wooden clothes pegs, looped rope cords were later used to roll the shades up, which necessitated the use of hem bars that were pushed into a narrow pocket at the hem.
Later still, the cords were wound over little-grooved wheels that functioned as rollers that aided in smoothening the lift operations to an extent. Incorporated by the local artisans, this rolling mechanism is still found in parts of Asia, used as the lift devices for grass and bamboo ‘chiks’ or matchstick roller blinds, the primary purpose of which is to shade balconies, and are used in rural areas as external shades as barriers against the windy monsoon rains.

In Glasgow, in the 1700’s, the Scotch Holland Roller blinds were made of Dutch Linen after it was bleached and dyed. They shades were suspended by a wooden batten on top, and a wooden bar was sewn into the bottom of the fabric for a proper fall. A cord attached to the top rod allowed it to be raised, and a crude cord cleat to wind the cord around, stopped the shade at the desired position.

Today, the trusty roller shades have become an endlessly versatile window treatment that complements any variety of interior décor style, providing not only visually clean aesthetics but a number of practical applications as well. The crude roller mechanism has given way to the spring loaded headrail that ensures smooth functioning of the shades, whether made of cloth or blended fabrics; roller shades provide continuity to a decorative theme, adding to the architectural design by allowing natural light control that uplifts a room.


The Roller Mechanism

The Spring Roller Window Shade

In the United States of America, this indispensable mechanism was invented and patented by the Hartshorn family, in the 1800’s. The new and improved ratchet and gravity pawl gave the design a much-needed boost that allowed the Hartshorn Company to stay on top of their game for decades to come. The Spring Roller System allowed the shade to roll up and down smoothly, and the innovative addition of a clutch proved to be incessantly convenient, as it allowed the shade to be stopped at any point over a window and is widely used all over the world to this day.

Meanwhile, in England, the ‘Tidmarsh Patent Action Spring Roller’ for roller shades was patented by the British company, Tidmarsh, also in the 1880s, and is still used in historically authentic roller blinds used in historical buildings.


Enter RollEase!

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1980 saw the advent of the premium clutch-based window covering roller mechanism launched by RollEase, who today, is easily the world’s largest and most comprehensive designer and manufacturer of this system. Headquartered in Connecticut, USA, the patented, award winning lift system is said to be used 3:1 times over their competitors’ and offers the finest, smoothest manual lift system possible. Large Window Shading Enterprises the world over, including Hunter Douglas and Springs Window fashions, enable their window coverings with this innovative and constantly evolving manual clutch system.
Once window measurements are done away with and the tube size is decided upon for the headrail, RollEase provides a Shade Fabrication calculator that will present you with a list of clutches that will work ranked by the pull force. This scientific calculation assures smooth operations for your shades, with helpful reminders, notes, and warnings that minimizes the possibility of making mistakes while choosing the appropriate clutch system based on the width and height (which implies a certain weight along with the hem bar) of your shade.


Mechanism of spring loaded blinds


The R-Series Clutch Operated

Pioneering with the R-Series clutches, featuring the proprietary spring mechanism that creates ease of pull for smooth, uninterrupted lifting of window coverings, RollEase is synonymous with dependability and strength. The R-Series is incorporated with a multi-spring design that allows for ease in the pull that makes the shade feel weightless, with end-plug brackets that lock the shade in place to prevent slippage, housed in a fiberglass-reinforced resin PBT, and is backed by a limited lifetime warranty. They can be used with 3, 4, and 5-inch fascia systems with contract pockets for multidimensional looks, and blackout channels that minimize the halo effect in the inside mount operations. They are ideal for commercial applications that are large and heavy.


The Skyline Clutch Operated

Form follows function in this improved system that integrates seamlessly smooth operations with an aesthetic design that can be used for both residential and commercial operations. It features the Velvetrol internal spring technology that makes for flexibility in installation and the smoothest feel while shades are lifted or lowered. It can be incorporated for the standard and dual headrails with the link system allowing usage with multiple projections. The hooked clutches makes for easy and universal performance, and is compatible with a variety of fascia systems, cassettes, contract pockets of various sizes, and blackout channels.
The Galaxy and Spring Assist
Galaxy-Roller-Window-Shades - ZebraBlinds.caGalaxy
The Galaxy clutch offers a low pull force through internal gears, its diameter 30% smaller than the standard that allows it to fit into small spaces for neat, sleek looks.

Spring-Assist-Roller-Window-Shades - ZebraBlinds.caSpring Assist
The Spring Assist produces a comfortable 6 lb pull force regardless of the weight of the shade, the force with which the shades go up equalling the force with which they come down, its direct drive design allowing faster movement.
The Galaxy and Spring Assist clutch mechanism enabled corded shades would be a great economical alternative to largely automated window shades powered by batteries that would drain out frequently, raising costs of operation while adding to e-waste.


The Pin End Spring Assist

Pin-End-Spring-Assist-Roller-Window-Shades - ZebraBlinds.caPin End Spring Assist


The Pin End Spring Assist offers a 4 lb boost that doesn’t increase with the size of the shade, so it is usually the preferred clutch for smaller shades, giving more of a boost as the shade initially starts to lift than when it reaches the top, and is easily installed.

The RollEase clutches are enabled with a variety of controls like cord loops; metal chains loops and spools, connectors and stop balls; and plastic chains and spools, connectors and stop balls for ease of use and for a variety of aesthetic requirements; tension devices and safety devices and tags reinforce the fact that components are built in compliance with norms stipulated by the ANSI/WCMA all ensure that children and pets are completely safe within the bounds of a home-
SafetyHold 3 is a patented tension device that can be used on both cords and beaded chains
SafetyShrouds are provided to curtail access to cords and to prevent the formation pf dangerous loops
Safety Tags and Warning Labels educate users on the use of corded window covering products


The Cordless alternative

A spring loaded clutch system is also provided as an alternative to the corded system for those who don’t want to risk corded systems in homes with pets and children running afoot. This powerful system effects lift of a shade with a tap on the hem bar, and can be stopped at any desired point, and be brought down with a tug on the hem bar. A user-friendly system that works well on windows within reach.


The Fabric

From the canvas that was initially used, to the Dutch linen that was so well improved upon by the Scots, to the flax polyester and vinyl blends of today, the roller shade fabric can be made of practically any fabric that is thin enough to roll into its headrail (made of sturdy spring-loaded aluminum tubes) to disappear from view to offer a whole unobstructed view of the outside. Printed, plain, woven, or non-woven, roller shades offer a stylistic simplicity that can be coordinated with curtains for that extra dimension of depth to a room, and can be customized to fit virtually all window types. The fabrics are available in densities that offer various levels of opaqueness that include sheer light filtering, room darkening, and blackout. Today, shades are also crafted to be white or solar reflective to the street side for uniformity to the exterior, no matter the difference in the material or composition of the room facing side. This ensures that heat is deflected away from the windows while allowing visible light in for daylighting.


The Phifer Advantage

Rising to the demands of protecting against the insect menace after the Second World War, J. Reese Phifer established Phifer Incorporated in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, to become the world’s largest manufacturer of aluminum and fiberglass insect screening products. Using the company’s weaving expertise, Phifer broadened and expanded to include a wide variety of innovative woven fabrics. Phifer’s interior and exterior sun control fabrics offer heat reduction at window areas for both commercial and residential applications. With their commitment to customers extending to protect the endangered environment, Phifer offers a broad range of fabrics to –
reduce solar heat gain; to preserve interior surfaces and materials
to improve the indoor air quality of home and work environments
to protect natural resources by conserving energy
With their GreenGuard Certified interior sun control fabrics and our 100 percent recyclable fabrics, Phifer continues to thrive as an environmentally responsible company.


The SheerWeave Fabric

These fabrics have been engineered to provide seamless solutions to manage natural light to enhance the function of any room by comprehensively reducing solar gain and annihilating the sun’s UV rays to protect against fading, making them the ideal choice for any demanding environment, be it for energy savings, light management, ease of maintenance, or decorative appeal. SheerWeave fabrics are GreenGuard certified to meet the most exacting standards for low emissivity of the harmful volatile organic compounds (VOC’s). They’re also infused with the Microban technology that repels the growth of molds, mildew, and stain and odor causing bacteria. Also, the fabrics are lead-free and flame retardant, making them completely safe for any variety of residential and commercial window shading.


Graber’s LightWeaves

Graber, in collaboration with Phifer, has introduced the LightWeaves range of solar shades Canada, to provide its customers with fabulous energy savings and unmatched exclusivity in window décor, both indoor and outdoor. The LightWeaves fabric efficiency is determined by is properties of openness and color –
The Openness Factor is based upon the tightness of the weave of the yarn used. The tighter the weave, the lesser the light allowed through, and consequently, the lesser the heat gain.
The Color determines the amount of heat that is deflected by the fabric – the darker the color, the more the light is absorbed, and consequently, the more the heat. But this makes for an entirely unobstructed view of the outdoors while offering privacy during the day. This also offers darker interiors, nullifying the heat absorbed to a great extent and does away with the glare to provide excellent visual comfort indoors. Conversely, the lighter the color of the fabric, the more the heat is deflected, and the more the visible light allowed through, making for bright interiors, though often causing glare that can interrupt one’s concentration. Interiors are definitely cooler with lighter colors, offering great interior thermal comfort but allowing only a muted view of the exteriors while offering little privacy during the day.


Phifer has come up with high-performance fabrics to deal with the downsides of the fundamental properties of color and weave –

• The vinyl coated rib weave offers better daytime privacy
• The Performance+ fabrics have a metallized low-E coating that significantly reduces the glare, enhances the view, and nullifies heat absorption, no matter the color of the fabric.
• The 2500+ fabric provides excellent acoustical values – for music rooms, conference rooms, bedrooms, etc.
• The SheerWeave 7000 fabric is 100%polyester and is vinyl free which conveniently provides 100% light blockage due to its acrylic foam backing, providing that night time privacy and insulation as well, otherwise not guaranteed by solar fabrics.
The above are just a few that demonstrate the uniqueness of the Phifer Solar Fabric, and in combination with the smooth and modern roller mechanisms in Canada, offer some of the finest window treatments on the contemporary window shades market.


The Advantage of Exterior Window Shades Canada

Of all the shading techniques available, exterior window shading has proven to be the most efficient in deflecting solar heat gain as the sun’s rays are reflected or absorbed before they can reach the surface of a window. Technological advancements made by Springs Window Fashions in conjunction with RollEase and Somfy, has made installation and operation endlessly facile. They can be enabled with wind sensors so that shades retract into the head rails automatically, protecting the shades in inclement weather. In addition, an anti-microorganism growth coating, the Microban protection, ensures that the shades aren’t stained and malodourous due to wet weather.


The Dual Roller Shades

The combination of solar shades and roller shades for versatility of purpose allows light control, privacy, aesthetics and energy savings all rolled into one, integrating two fabrics from the solar and/or the roller shade collection, both of which can be independently lowered and raised, facilitated by dual headrails, and can be turned according to seasonal variations. In summer, the solar shade can be deployed over the window during the day to deflect solar gain and effect energy savings by allowing you to turn down the air conditioner to a minimum or if all. At night, deploy the roller blinds for privacy, and a fabric of a non-porous nature will help maintain the comfortable indoor temperature. You can turn the system around in winter so that the reflective surface or the lighter street side face of the solar shade faces inward to maximize daylight, effecting precious energy savings. Alternatively, you could go for a decorative fancy with the solar SheerWeave 7000 White in combination with the Monaco Enchant, a sheer roller fabric to blend into white interior elements such as window casings, upholstery, carpets, lampshades, etc.


Trims and Scallops

You have the option to choose various trims like Valances and Fascias that are color coordinated or sporting wooden trims to add verve to window styling, though headrails need absolutely no covers, in my opinion, but you might want to color coordinate the clutch control mechanism in this case. Large cassettes to smartly offset your dual roller shades Canada might well be the order of the day. Classic, Colonial, and Cathedral scallops are stylized features that elevate the beauty of your windows. Bronzed or anodized hem bars that are fabric wrapped add that extra dimension that you may be looking for to pick out similar elements in a room.


Mounting Roller Shades Canada

These shades may be inside mounted (within window frame mouldings or casings) or outside mounted (over or beyond the limits of the window frame or mouldings), depending on your needs. Inside mounts work well for large windows for sleek sophistication, while outside mounts work for small windows, giving them a much-needed illusion of size. According to studies conducted on thermal efficiency of window treatments, it is said that shades fitted an inch away from a window’s glazing offer the best insulation possible, but this often results in the halo effect due to light seeping around the edges of the shades due to deductions taken for smooth shade operation. This issue can be dealt with by affixing an additional matched edge around the window moulding or frame, or, blackout side rails can be affixed. Alternatively, the outside mount can be used, in which case there should be a minimum of an inch and a half of overlap on either side to ensure light control and privacy in roller shades, and three inches on either side for solar shades.


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Motorized Window Shades

In addition to the regular cord, continuous cord-loop, and cordless controls, roller shades can be enabled with motors that can be operated by RF-enabled remote and wall switches that ensure that you needn’t get off a chair to raise or lower your shades, or even be in the same room to do so. The motor can be enabled with timers and sensors that will allow the shade to be programmed to come down when the sun reaches its zenith or go up when the sun is mild, or it can be programmed according to your sleep-wake cycle. Either way, it’s a convenience that is fast becoming indispensable, what with the demands of the 21st century! It also throws a smokescreen for when owners aren’t around as shades can be programmed to operate on schedule, accentuating the security of a home. Somfy partners with window shading enterprises to provide seamless solutions in automated Roller Shading Canada for operable/non-operable windows and doors.

The Negative Connotation

The only downside to the roller shade in Canada is that insulation against harsh winters is not its forte, though dark fabrics could work to absorb the heat of the winter sun during the day, and the insulated blackout fabric could be used at night – dual shades. But the issue of insulation could be addressed effectively if windows and doors are properly sealed against air leakage and seepage –
Weather Stripping Windows is a simple, cost effective way to save money on energy costs while effecting internal thermal comfort. DIY procedures are even better if you have the time and inclination to do so. The weather stripping you choose must seal air leaks effectively while allowing for free movement of doors and operable windows.
Felt and open-cell foam are inexpensive options for sealing, but are susceptible to swings in climactic conditions, and tend to be ineffective air sealers over a period of time. They are easy to apply, so they tend to be invaluable quick fixes for low traffic areas.
Tape and caulk are also economical options and can be quite effective, though tape is sometimes visible and may not be aesthetically appealing.
Self-stick plastic or rolled and reinforced plastic (vinyl) or metal such as aluminum and bronze are among the more effective sealers though they tend to cost more and are more cumbersome to install.

Here are a few basic guidelines according to the Department of Energy:

Weatherstripping should be applied to clean, dry surfaces in temperatures above 20°F (-7° C).
Measure the area to be weather stripped twice before making a cut.
Apply weather stripping snugly against both surfaces. The material should compress when the window or door is shut.
When weather stripping doors:
Choose the appropriate door sweeps and thresholds for the bottom of the doors.
Weatherstrip the entire door jamb.
Apply one continuous strip along each side.
Make sure the weatherstripping meets tightly at the corners.
Use a thickness that causes the weather stripping to press tightly between the door and the door jamb when the door closes without making it difficult to shut.


Trouble Shooting Roller Shades

Telescoping Problems

When the shade rolls up, it is drifting to one side and is fraying the edge of my fabric –
. Make sure brackets haven’t come loose. Shade must be mounted absolutely level.
. Unroll shade all the way until you can see the exposed roller tube. Put a piece of masking tape on the side opposite from the telescoping end, for a cordless roller shade or chain operated.

Spring Tension Problems

My spring operated roller shade won’t go up all the way.
You need to increase the tension on the internal spring. With the shade mounted in the window, pull it down half way and then remove it from the brackets. Roll up the shade by hand. Be careful to roll it up evenly. Remount the shade and test the tension.
My spring operated roller shade goes up too quickly and has too much spring tension.
You need to release some of the tension on the spring. Remove the rolled up shade from the brackets. Unroll it several turns by hand. Remount in the brackets, and test the tension.
My spring operated roller shade won’t go up at all.
You need to increase the tension on the internal spring. With the shade mounted in the window, pull it down half way and then remove it from the brackets. Roll up the shade by hand. Be careful to roll it up evenly. Remount the shade and test the tension. If there is still no tension on the roller shade you have a broken spring mechanism and it is time to replace the shade.

Clutch and Chain Problems

When I pull on the chain to raise the blinds up and down, the shade won’t move or is hard to move.
. The clutch may be broken. Replace the clutch.
. Some of the plastic beads on the chain are broken off. Replace the chain.
The chain on my roller shade is broken or damaged.
Replace the chain.

Child Safety Issues

I am afraid that my child or pet will become tangled in the lift cords on my blinds.
All components of the roller shades made by Springs Window Fashions, Crown and Norman are manufactured to the standards prescribed by the WCSC in consideration with the safety and concern of customers, but feel free to visit the Window Coverings Safety Council to receive the latest recommendations.
NOTE: Please remember that your shades are protected by the limited lifetime warranty offered by manufacturers. Before attempting any repair on your shades, please consult your window shading retail consultant for the replacement of defective or broken parts.

Cleaning and Maintaining Roller Shades

Keep your shades looking fresh and crisp by feather dusting them often.
If for some reason they’ve been neglected and seem heavily impacted with dust, use a vacuum cleaner to do the job, using the fabric brush attached to avoid damaging the shades.
For more stubborn dirt or stains, spot cleaning with a warm mild soapy solution and a clean muslin or cotton cloth or sponge should do the trick. If the shades looks cleaner in one spot that the rest, wipe the shade down using the same technique. Blot or wipe down gently and allow to dry completely before rolling them up.
Again, please consult the manufacturer before attempting any deep cleaning, as shades can be irrevocably damaged if not managed with care. Seek professional cleaning help from manufacturers in the event that stains don’t come off.
WARNING: Window Shade manufacturers do not recommend the use of strong detergents for cleaning purposes. Do not immerse your shade in water, and do not attempt ultrasonic cleaning.

Call Zebrablinds toll-free for a free consultation before you decide on the shades appropriate for different rooms. Avail free samples to test accuracy of color, purpose and feel the fabric before you want to leave with it, and avail the most awesome discounts possible. Break a leg!


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2 thoughts on “Rolling Down Windows – The Roller Shades in Canada

    1. If the blinds are supplied by us, we supply all parts free of cost as long our warranty is covered. Some blinds and shades have the lifetime warranty as long as the original buyer owns the blinds.

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