testing a roman shade cord for compliance

Retro-fit your blinds?

I know this is a really dry, really boring topic for most people. But… If you are at all interested in interior decor, and in particular Roman Blinds, you need to know what this is all about.

As I said in the last column, corded window coverings are on their way out. As in illegal to make, install or re-sell in your home. So that’s why you should be aware of the alternatives available to you. And don’t forget that I can retrofit your existing blinds, too.

Every blind manufacturer now makes cordless blinds and shades and offer them as alternatives, with a minimal upcharge.  Many no longer make corded shades at all. The house brand at Home Depot, for example, is all cordless and the company I represent for blinds and shades no longer sells corded shades.

But what if you want to make, or have made, Roman blinds for your windows? That’s where I come in as both a fabricator and explainer. I have the technology to make Roman Shades which operate without lift cords. And they are pretty slick. The hardware adds to the price of a shade,  but that upcharge is considerably less than what these components were even a year ago. 

The main thing to remember is that any cords may not be allowed to form a continuous loop greater than 16 inches in circumference. ( A babies head circumference.) Or be longer than 40% of the shade length.

The first one is by Safe-T-Shade.  It’s a nifty idea which encases the continuous lift cord inside a clear plastic wand. The shade cords are attached to the shade with a cord lock which prevents the cords from being pulled away from the shade and creating a loop larger than 16 inches in circumference.

Lifting the shade involves pulling a lever down the side of the clear rod. The encased lift cord rotates around the clutch and the pulling motion is repeated, moving the lift cord around the clutch further. I have a shade in my kitchen made with this system and it takes me about four  ‘pulls’ to raise or lower the shade. It’s a good system, it works very well, but I wouldn’t recommend it for someone with limited arm mobility.

The second system I use is the Easy Spring Plus system, which causes the cords attached to the back of the shade to roll onto a spring-loaded roller. It operates exactly the same as a spring-loaded roller shade. One tug and it rolls up. One tug and it rolls down. It also allows us to stop the raising or lowering any time, or to pre-set the raising location. And best of all, both of these systems can be motorized, which is particularly great for limited mobility people, or for hard-to-reach windows. 

Here is a great YouTube video with Elki Horn, a Method Share from the Workroom Channel which shows this system in several applications. It’s targeted to people who make Roman Shades, but it’s good info for any designer or decorator. Pro or not.

There are a few others available, too, but these two are the most widely used and recommended by me and my peers in this industry.

Call me if you’d like to talk about retro-fitting the blinds you have.


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