When trying to determine how long roller shades have been existence, we realize that they have been around for many years as we study the history of humankind. Some roller shades have been found to have been in service for over fifty years and still operational attesting to the durability of the product. Yet many of them were discarded due to heavy wear and tear, specially the fabric, after many years of exposure to the harmful sun rays. This wear and tear was also noticeable in the controls and components but not quite as evident as in the fabric. At any rate, roller shades continue to be a highly popular products for residential and business settings alike.
As expected, most problems occur in the moving parts which control the operation of most roller shades. These components are an integral part of the roller shade and allow the raising and lowering of the shade. Whenever these controls cease to function, the ease of replacement of such by the consumer quickly restores their functionality. The old, simple spring loaded mechanisms are no longer used in the fabrication of custom made, high quality roller shades and this is the reason for the prolonged longevity of said product. Simply stated, if you desire a roller shade that will provide you with years of service and convenience, it is better to invest in a clutch operated roller shade that will allow functionality over cheaper spring loaded shades and also guarantee a proper fit in the window. The abundance of fabrics to compliment any decor is also a very important factor and advantage of custom made roller shades.
A frequently asked question by consumers is the possibility of upgrading their existing roller shades to accommodate these new controls in an effort to use the existing fabric and components. Factually speaking, these state of the art controls found in today's custom made roller shades require specific roller tubes, mounting brackets and bottom rails in order to operate properly and deliver the features and benefits old systems are not able to deliver. Because of labor costs regarding complete disassembly of the old shade, tube replacement, dismounting and installation of new brackets required by the operational mechanisms, it is more cost effective to completely replace the old roller shade and enjoy many years of trouble free operation and the decorative look of a new fabric.
Due to the exposure of the roller shade to sunlight and UV rays over time, a common problem leading to the replacement of most rollers shades is the state of the fabric material originally used in the fabrication. These older fabrics can warp, rip or fade over time, especially when referring to vinyl coated materials, known as blackout fabrics, which were highly popular at one time. These blackout materials oftentimes were more susceptible to faster wear as compared to the high tech vinyl materials available today, specially those vynils which incorporate woven polyester and other modern threads. Because of the large surface area which a roller shade covers, the fabric selected is of utmost importance in the final aesthetics of the roller shade, not only in looks but also in quality. Keeping in mind that the fabric material used in roller shades can not be repaired in any way, only replaced, careful attention should be paid to the fabric selection when ordering the product. As previously mentioned, the highest quality fabric materials are only available in custom made roller shades which only use fabric materials specially manufactured and designed for the use in window treatments.
The proper fabrication and installation of the roller shade will not only provide years of trouble free operation and pleasing appearance but will also prevent harmful damage to the surrounding area of the window. As an example, the rubbing of the hem bar (bottom rail) in a roller shade can scratch the window glass and metal components, damage walls and sills and distort its look in relation to the room where they are installed. Proper installation is critical to the correct operation of the roller shade. If not installed level, the roller shade fabric will telescope thus rubbing on the sides and limiting the operation of the shade. In other words, a quality, customer made roller shade when properly installed is of utmost and critical importance in order to enjoy all the benefits roller shades can provide and have provided consumers over decades.
In summary, in the long run it is advisable that full consideration be given to the replacement of old roller shades with the new state of the art components and fabrics over repairing existing roller shades. New controls, highly technical fabric materials, custom fabrication and proper installation will provide the end user with many, many years of trouble free operation and enjoyment.