20 February, 2024

Roller shutters or blinds (and Venetian blinds too) – what to choose?

Window covers

The use of window covers is becoming increasingly common. We value their usefulness and praise their aesthetics, and prices seem to be more reasonable with every passing year. The question remains, what to choose – roller shutters and blinds, the two most popular options, seem to have it all, so which one is better to go for?

Table of Contents

Window covers

Window covers are a wealth of interesting possibilities that combine the pleasant and aesthetic with the useful. Their primary function is always to protect interior users from excessive heat and light, but that's not all they have to offer.

Protection from the sun

Why do we want to protect ourselves from the sun at all? This question answers itself during hot summers. It's hard to withstand an overheated room. We sweat, and we feel tired. We can cool it down, but that comes with a real cost. Therefore, it's much better to prevent the problem by shading the windows.

Too much light in a room also makes it a challenge to work and rest, especially in the era of LCD screens. It's not good when the displayed image has to compete with strong sunlight. It is also not easy to go for it when we fancy a short nap. Lowering the window cover helps.

Aesthetics, privacy and much more

Window covers have many more functions. For example, lots of people install shutters just to enjoy their view. The functionality is a minor issue.

Others, on the other hand, don't like the idea of someone looking inside the house through the window. In many locations, this is a significant problem, by no means a matter of oversensitivity.

Another issue is safety, put in two ways. The first is critical and is related to the anti-burglary properties of the covers. The second, slightly less meaningful, deals with the protection of windows from small objects carried by the wind, such as twigs. ZIP screen blinds are also excellent as mosquito nets.

What do we have to choose from?

Each presentation of the rich world of window covers is only a glimpse. It's impossible to provide a comprehensive overview in a blog format. Here, we will focus on things that, for the average customer representing almost every investor in Europe or America, will prove to be the best for practically every investment.

Let us clarify the ground concepts

There are, in practice, three types of window covers to choose from. These are:

Shutters are like small lids for windows. They are the oldest type of covers. Today, they are mainly used for decorative purposes, but they can also be equipped with many extras, such as movable lamellas or decorative glass panes, which increase their functionality. This type of cover is the least frequently chosen, so we will focus on the other two in the text.

External roller shutters, also known as façade shutters, consist mainly of rolled-up armours (curtains). They are most often made of aluminium or PVC. Venetian blinds are very similar, but lamellas forming their armours are not connected and can rotate. Internal blinds obscure the world with fabrics. Similar materials are also used in external screen blinds.

Each product of this type has its box to which the armour or fabric is rolled into. Guide rails on the sides are usually necessary elements.

Venetian blinds, internal and external ones, are similar to roller blinds. The difference lies in the curtain they form. It consists of rotating lamellas, which significantly change the functionality of the covers.

Indoor or outdoor?

Each of the basic types is divided into various models and versions. The crucial factor is whether we are dealing with interior or exterior covers. Options mounted externally are usually more expensive but offer greater functionality. Internal options can be cheaper, sometimes very affordable, but their capabilities are reduced. On the other hand, they often become a defining element of interior decor.

The main difference lies in how robust the covers are and where the sun rays are stopped. It doesn't matter much whether we are discussing shutters, blinds or roller shutters. However, the range is so extensive that the above description should be treated as general principles, with many exceptions.

What are blinds and roller shutters? What are Venetian blinds?

Everyone has at least a vague idea of what we mean by roller shutters, blinds, and Venetian blinds. However, it is worth systematising knowledge to make informed choices among the available options.

Roller shutters and blinds

Modern roller shutters offer surprisingly wide choices. Their construction is always basically the same, comprising a box, an unfolding cover, and guides if needed (they usually are). The same goes for blinds.

Roller shutter types are distinguished based on placement and armour/curtain build.

Internal roller blinds

Certainly, the most familiar are internal roller blinds, which are made of fabric. The fabric serves as the cover, which can be more or less transparent, come in various colours, and be straight or pleated. There are numerous options because such proposals are relatively inexpensive, easy to install (invasively or non-invasively) and serve as a visually pleasing element of interior design.

External screen blinds

When transferred outside, internal blinds become external fabric roller blinds, often called screen blinds. They vary but show significant similarities. They are more robust, and some can withstand even the impact of heavier objects. If they have a ZIP system, they can also act as mosquito nets. This lightweight cover works for oversized windows. A wide range of materials provides excellent decorative possibilities. It also transfers into the options for shading the interior: symbolic to blackout.

External roller shutters

When installing a roller shutter outside, it is typically equipped with joined lamellas made of PVC or aluminium. They form an effective barrier against light, heat, unwanted glances and, to a lesser and widely varying extent, also against cold, noise and intruders.

The wide range of roller shutters of this type is related to different expectations of their functionality and the place where they will be installed. If we want the cover to genuinely protect us against burglars, we need to choose an anti-burglar roller shutter with stronger armour, which is also protected against being forced open. A typical product is more of a symbolic obstacle; if someone with malicious intent prepares to overcome it, they can do so easily.

A more pressing issue for the typical customer is the placement of the box. It can always be done on plaster, with an adaptive box. It is more difficult to hide the box in the wall, as this requires masonry work. It is best to install it directly above the window, which is done during the construction phase of the house or window replacement.

Venetian blinds

Venetian blinds can be used in almost identical ways to roller shutters. However, internal solutions are significantly less effective than external ones, which has led Eko-Okna to focus exclusively on façade solutions.

In the most general terms, choosing Venetian blinds instead of roller shutters means that the armour will look different. It won't be a single rolling element but parallel lamellas connected by links. Additional functionalities are achieved thanks to their ability to rotate around their axis. Roller shutters descend, completely blocking out a portion of the sky. The lamellas can be set at various angles, allowing for the scattering and reflecting of light in different ways. Light is directed towards the ceiling or floor, enabling unconventional interior lighting.

An armour made of separate lamellas is also lighter than the classical version, allowing this type of window covering to be used on bigger windows and even sliding doors. However, the latter use is not very common yet.

Roller shutters, blinds or Venetian blinds?

Which to choose, then? What should you choose – roller shutters and blinds as the more popular option? Or Venetian blinds, which are quickly gaining popularity and offer interesting functionality? Let us try to systematise our knowledge in the context of actual needs.

Shading and privacy

Solid external roller shutters are our best choice when we aim to darken and cut the interior off the surroundings. Lowering it guarantees pitch-black darkness.

Other proposals can also prove highly effective. A fabric roller blind suffices, provided it uses the proper cloth. This especially applies to ZIP screen blinds with blackout materials. Meanwhile, façade Venetian blinds offer various possibilities depending on the shape of the lamellas.

Z-shaped lamellas offer blackout. They fit together well, ensuring that sunlight is not visible from the inside, and looking from the outside, no one can see us, not even through a small gap. This cannot be achieved with typical C-shaped lamellas. Regardless of their shape, we should remember that their arrangement can diffuse light, reducing its amount in the interior without creating light and shadow zones. Lamellas positioned at a slight angle also allow us to observe our surroundings while remaining invisible to others, provided that the observer and the observed are at different heights.

Excess heat elimination

External roller shutters equipped with a robust shutter, which effectively blocks out all heat, are decisively the most efficient way of eliminating excess heat. External Venetian blinds also do very well. Although they don’t block as effectively even in the open position, if the angle is properly set, the light rests on them and disperses most of its heat outside.

Every type of window covering is designed precisely to reduce the problem of interior overheating, so whatever we choose, it will benefit us. The exception to this may be roller blinds placed inside the window, which can reflect some of the warmth but may only do so already inside the building.

Anti-burglary security

For many people, a key element in choosing window covers is the security they can provide. It's essential here to distinguish between protection against burglars and protection against weather conditions, UV radiation, or the effects of impact from objects carried by the wind.

Only specialised anti-burglary roller shutters with RC2 or RC3 class certification offer actual protection. They are massive, heavy, and durable, and they guarantee that breaking through them will take some time, even for a prepared intruder.

Other covers provide symbolic protection because the appearance of any additional barrier discourages intruders. If an intruder were to attack, we couldn't rely on their effective halting.

All products installed outside the building provide additional protection for the window because they will bear the brunt of the wind and rain, but this will not be anti-burglary protection. They also have their maximum durability, exceeding which leads to damage.

Installation difficulty

We’re dealing with two factors here, i.e. the interference with the wall and the overall effort required to install the particular solution.

The easiest option, of course, is to use the internal roller blinds. There are even entirely non-invasive options that will not interfere with the joinery in any way. Everything else will require more effort.

External solutions require the installation of a box, which is quite an undertaking if we intend to be flush-mounted. Adaptive roller shutters have been created to avoid just that. Their box goes onto the wall, and we need no plasterwork.

Aesthetics and everyday use

Regarding the appearance and ease of use of window covers, we can argue that we will always be satisfied no matter the choice.

Depending on the variant, we can paint the elements of our covers in any colour, choose any fabric type, or even conceal parts of the product under plaster.

The convenience of using Venetian blinds, roller shutters and roller blinds is equal. Differences will mainly depend on where they are installed.

Manual operation is perfectly comfortable for internal roller blinds. We can provide external covers with electric motors, which don't even need to be connected to the electric grid as they can operate with solar batteries. They can also work autonomously thanks to weather stations and smart home systems. As a last resort, manual operation always remains.

All choices are good or better

If we want to protect ourselves from the sun, we can do it in a good or even better way. There are no wrong answers here. We have the most options while building a house or doing a capital renovation. In such cases, we can hide the boxes in walls with ease.

If we don't think about it in advance, nothing bad happens. Simple and inexpensive interior solutions are always at our fingertips. We will be happy with them. The window size doesn't even matter because we have options for the smallest and largest ones.

Have fun choosing the perfect solution for your home or office. For those who are undecided and busy, we recommend All-in-One product packages, which are functionally and aesthetically matched sets of doors, windows, garage doors, and window covers.


See also

Eko-Okna S.A.
Kornice, ul. Spacerowa 4
47-480 Pietrowice Wielkie
NIP: 6391813241, KRS: 0000586067

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