As home automation becomes a regular part of our vocabulary, the window covering industry is trying to catch up and be a part of the growing trend. Motorized blinds and shades have been available for years, though they have typically been used in large commercial projects, bringing motors into the home is definitely a growing trend. As homeowners are evaluating their options, we are often asked about the motorization option. Today I would like to discuss the products they can be used on and the pro’s and con’s of a motorized shade.
Blinds can be motorized for tilt only. The slats of a wood or faux wood blind are too heavy for the small motors to lift and lower. For that function, traditional strings are still the only option. Motorizing the tilt of a blind allows for the opening and closing from high distances or recessed windows that are not easily reached. The motor in blind is operated by 8 AA batteries and can be expected to need fresh batteries every 1-2 years. The motor in a blind is warrantied for 5 years though it is rare to see a motor that has failed. Wood and Faux Wood blinds are available for tilt motorization.
Honeycomb shades are motorized for lift and lower only. Since the honeycomb shade is an opaque material, there is no rotation of the shade to an open or closed view point. Motorized honeycomb shades can only operate from the bottom up, moving like a traditional shade; lifting from the bottom and compacting at the top. Motorized honeycomb shades are often used in tall living room windows were heat protection and view need to exist in the same space. Motorized honeycomb shades are operated by 8AA batteries and can require new batteries every year or so, depending on frequency of use. The motor in a blind is warrantied for 5 years though it is rare to see a motor that has failed. Only certain honeycomb materials are available for motorization.
Roller shades are the most commonly motorized category we have. There seems something about the sleek/sophisticated appearance of a roller shade that just begs for the addition of the motorization package. Roller shades are available for lift and lower motorization only as there are no “open and close” elements of a roller shade. Motorized roller shades are used in just about any area of a home/office and are not limited to high windows. A great place for a motorized roller shade is in a media room. Motorized roller shades are operated by 8AA batteries and can require new batteries every year or so, depending on frequency of use. Motorized roller shades can also be hard wired into the existing power of a house or run on an A/C plug-in. The motor in a roller shade is warrantied for 5 years though it is rare to see a motor that has failed. All roller shade materials are available for motorization though there are size limitations.
Motorized blinds, shades and roller shades operate on a radio frequency control. The beauty of a radio frequency control is that you do not have to point the remote right at the shade for it “catch” the signal and react to the remote. Most remotes have up to 5 channels, allowing your separate motorized shades/blinds by channel and having a high level of control on which shades operate at what time.
In all, motorization is a cool toy and sometimes a necessary addition. The cost to add a motor on a blind or shade is a little stiff ($275-350) so you better make sure you really want it. If you have the budget for the motorization package, it works really well and is certainly a neat feature to add to a blind, honeycomb shade, or roller shade.
Give us a call for a free estimate if you would like to see how motorization can be an option in your home or office.