Tom Shafer

Convenience vs cost: blinds in your door or window's glass

May 21, 2014

How many times have you gone to open the blinds on your windows or doors and had them fall, jam, or just plain not open? Were they attached to the window and the screws came loose? Perhaps the anchors pulled out of the wall? Despite what you may think, these are not the necessary evils of having some privacy. There's actually a great solution.

Many door and window companies now offer blinds between the two panes on insulated glass. The glass in doors and windows is almost universally insulated now. Insulated glass has two panes sealed together with a material (like steel, foam, etc.) separating the panes. This air space has pretty much always been a void, unless you count the inert gasses put there to increase insulating values.

Now it's possible for aluminum blinds and shades to be inserted between the panes in that airspace. The blinds are controlled by magnets. They open and close, of course, but they even tilt to visible and opaque.

These doors are available in several designs, including sliding patio doors, French doors, and entrance doors.

Many companies now offer this feature. Pella offers both shades and blinds - the shades have cloth between the slats of the blinds to make the blinds seem opaque and come in 20 decorator colors, and Atrium has a product with blinds in 5 and 6 foot widths, just to name a couple.

You can expect to pay about two and a half times more for a door with blinds between the glass than for a door without them. However, they do not require cleaning, they do not fall out of their holding fixtures, and they are permanent.

So what do you do if they break? The blinds are controlled by magnets - ne magnet is inside the glass sealed unit and the other is outside the glass on a track. Occasionally the magnets disconnect, so the outside magnet is sliding in the track without contacting the other. The fix is easy, though. Slowly slide the magnet up and down until it reaches the inside magnet; you should be able to feel it connect.

Blinds inside the glass on doors are a convenient improvement in door design. They are easy to operate and are permanent. Whether the extra cost is worth it is up to you!

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