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Integral blinds for windows

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If you’re looking for a double or triple-glazed window that mixes style with functionality, then a window with an integral blind fitted between its glass panes offers you a sleek, stylish and low-maintenance option that suits many homes.

While these types of windows have a starting price of around £1,200, which is quite a bit higher than their standard, externally blinded counterparts, their benefits in terms of safety, privacy, light management and energy efficiency make a compelling case for the investment. With a range of operational choices, including manual and operated, windows with built-in blinds blend convenience with contemporary elegance, which, under the right circumstances, makes them a smart choice for modern living spaces. 

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What are integral blinds?

An integral blind is fitted between the glass panes of a double or triple-glazed window during the manufacturing process. As the blind fits the exact dimensions of the frame, there are no unsightly gaps or light leakage around the edges. Its operating components are also securely sealed within the window frame to give it a streamlined, contemporary appearance. 

Despite being out of reach, the tilting, lifting and lowering movements of an integral blind are easy to operate with a simple sliding switch, handy remote control or automated hub. Having the internal operating system controlled in this manner, rather than with an easy-to-tangle external cord, also helps extend the blind’s lifespan by protecting it from damage caused by uneven raising and lowering.

Choosing windows with built-in blinds also eliminates the need for any additional window treatment you might normally add for privacy or security but still gives you complete control over the amount of natural light coming into your room. And, as the blinds are also conveniently sealed within a hygienic, dust and dirt-free environment, you won’t need to clean them.

When it comes to the actual appearance of integrated blinds, there are fewer colour options available than if you were to choose an externally fitted blind, as they’re designed to endure for the window’s lifetime. Colourful options are available, but blinds inside windows tend to be available in plain, neutral colours that can blend into any interior design scheme. 

The style of blind, however, is limited to a Venetian or pleated style. A Venetian integral blind is typically made from thin, horizontal hanging strips of wood or aluminium that can be simultaneously tilted once fully or partially opened. Pleated integral blinds are made by folding stiffened polyester fabric into a slim horizontal concertina that can be opened and closed according to your needs. 

How do they work?

With three typical operating systems to choose from, it’s easy to control your integral blind. You just need to decide how physically involved you want to be.

Manual operation

The days of the old-fashioned looped pulley cords have long gone, and many blinds are now controlled by a much simpler magnetic slider bar attached to the side of your window frame. You control the lowering, tilting or raising of your blind by sliding the bar from the top to the bottom of your window and vice versa. While this is a much safer and neater option than a cord, you need to be physically mobile and tall enough to stretch the full height of your window frame. You also need to have unobstructed access to your window. 

Remote control 

If you’d still like to feel in physical control of your blind but would prefer to push a button from your armchair or place furniture beneath your window, the remote-control option may be better for you.

Automated system

Technology can take integral blind control one step further, and a fully automated system is available for people who like to set things up and leave them alone. This type of system controls the movement of your blinds with, for example, a smartphone app that allows you to raise and lower your blinds at scheduled times of the day or when pre-set temperature or light levels are reached.

Motorised, eco-friendly solar-powered operating systems are also available, and they use sunlight to charge an externally fitted solar panel linked to a lithium-ion battery. This battery is also connected to a radio-controlled remote that allows you to operate your blind. When it’s not very sunny out, the battery can also be charged using a micro-USB connector. 

Which window and door styles can have integrated blinds?

The most important factor when determining which type of door or window is suitable for integral blinds is the depth of the space between the double-glazed panes of glass. The most popular style of window available with integrated blinds is the casement window, and our research suggests that the minimum size of window frame suitable for integral blinds is 450mm x 300mm. Offered in a range of finishes, including wood and unplasticized polyvinyl chloride (more commonly known as uPVC), this type of window typically has two equally sized yet independently opening sections that move outwards like a door. An awning pane (hinged at the top) option is also available.

When it comes to doors, integral blinds are particularly well suited to bifold and French doors, as their self-contained design means there’s nothing to obstruct the opening and closing of your doors. 

How much do windows with blinds inside cost?

Tthe following average prices for the supply and installation of a double-glazed door with an integral blind were in place:

  • One-meter single door – £1,000-£2,000
  • Two-panel sliding door (1.8 meters) – £3,000-£5,000
  • Three-panel, bifold door – £3,500-£6,000
  • Four-panel, bifold door – £4,500-£7,000

Window prices tend to be cheaper than doors, but as the height, depth and even shape of windows vary from house to house, no “average” prices are available. Our research suggests you can expect to pay anything upwards of £1,200 for a window with an internally fitted blind to be supplied and installed, but we’re unable to say what the size of that window would be. 

It’s also worth noting that your individual requirements, the materials you choose, the supplier you use and even your location will determine the cost of your particular project, so ask for a detailed quotation, not an estimate, before you start any work. 

What are the benefits of blinds inside windows?

Choosing double- or triple-glazed windows with built-in blinds has many advantages. Let’s start with the safety aspect. With cordless operation and all blind components safely out of reach, integral window blinds pose less risk to their users and curious children than standard pull-cord blinds when correctly installed. 

Because of their unfussy streamlined design, windows with integrated blinds have a modern yet timeless appearance that makes them particularly well suited to contemporary-styled homes, rental properties and rooms that frequently need shade from direct sunlight, such as rear extensions, conservatories and orangeries. 

Having remotely operated blinds concealed within your window frame also allows you to place furniture beneath your window and fully utilise wall space that would otherwise be needed to draw back your curtains. They also allow you to decorate your windowsills as you wish, as you don’t have to worry about your blinds flapping in the wind and making your treasured mementoes fall off. They’re great for when space is at a premium.

The combination of drawn integrated blinds and double glazing can also help make your home more energy efficient and, therefore, cheaper to run, as the harmless inert gas trapped between the glass layers helps keep heat inside your home in the winter and prevent the entry of heat in the summer. 

When combined with an integral black-out blind, this window design is a great choice for bedrooms. As each internal blind is perfectly sized and fitted to the exact measurements of its window frame, you won’t have to worry about early morning sunlight creeping around the edges of your blinds to disturb your sleep – unless, of course, you choose to automate the opening of your blind a little earlier than your alarm to help you wake naturally.

They’re also a good choice for bathrooms and kitchens, as the sealed window unit protects the integral blind from damage that would otherwise occur in this type of room because of a lack of airflow, moisture in the air or the presence of heat. As the blinds are concealed behind glass, they’re also hygienic, which means you’ll never have to clean mouldy bathroom blinds or greasy kitchen slats again.

Can integral blinds be fitted to existing windows?

While there are many DIY versions of integral blinds available, professional window fitters would advise against trying to fit a DIY blind to your existing double or triple-glazed windows, as by removing a pane of glass, you lose the harmless inert gas trapped inside that gives your double-glazed window its insulating properties. If you do decide to go down this route, there are several factors you need to consider, such as the age and condition of your window. If your window doesn’t close properly, feels cold and drafty around the edges or has condensation problems, your money may be better spent on a new window with a pre-fitted integral blind, as the DIY option is unlikely to give you the results you require. 

Installing a blind within your existing double-glazed window won’t prevent condensation, as it forms when there’s moisture in the air and a distinct temperature difference between the inside and outside of a window. New double-glazed windows have a lower chance of condensation, however, as the dense inert gas trapped between the sealed layers of glass helps insulate the space and lower the temperature difference. 

If your existing window is in good condition, it may be possible to retain your frame and have your current double or triple-glazed unit professionally exchanged with a new one that already has an integral blind. Before you make any changes, however, it’s always worth seeking professional advice. 

How long do integral blinds last?

Integral blinds are designed to last the lifespan of the double or triple-glazed window they’re placed in. A premium quality, expertly fitted double or triple-glazed window should have a lifetime of 25-30 years. 

There are, of course, times when an integral blind stops working, and on these occasions, repairs are likely to be costly, as a specialised technician will be required to disassemble your window to access it. In some cases, you may need to replace the entire sealed unit, so it’s worth checking that your new, professionally fitted window is supplied with a guarantee that covers the blind and its operating system.

Is it worth buying integral blinds?

Double or triple-glazed windows with built-in blinds are usually more costly than their standard counterparts fitted with external blinds, so are they worth the investment?

The answer depends on your personal circumstances. If you’re building your dream house or renovating to give yourself a low-maintenance, energy-efficient, contemporary-styled home with views uninterrupted by bulky curtains, they’re worth considering. 

Likewise, if you need to replace your current windows and are planning to let your property or have privacy issues, a lack of space or a south-facing room that frequently overheats, they’re worth comparing against standard options. But if you have plans to move in the foreseeable future, windows with integrated blinds may not be worth the expense. 

With eleven years of freelance experience, Rachael is a member Procopywriters and Women in Journalism. She has extensive experience in interiors and architecture design, with a City & Guild Level 2 Certificate in Interior Design. Rachael has written for brands such as Shutup Shutters, Willow and Bert Interiors and So Magazines.