January 17, 2022

Your in-depth guide to integral blinds for windows and doors

If you are considering the shading and privacy options for your windows and doors, integrated blinds could be the perfect solution. But how much do you know about this relatively new type of blinds and where do you start when it comes to choosing and buying them? This article by Uni-Blinds® provides the ideal starting point. We’ll explain the basics of integrated blinds, the different types available, the options for operating mechanisms and the benefits versus standard blinds, shutters and curtains.

Firstly, what are integrated blinds or screen line blinds?

Integrated blinds – also referred to as integral blinds, ‘blinds in glass’ or ‘between glass blinds’ – are blinds that are fitted inside the cavity of the double or triple glazed unit of a window or door.

They were developed in the early 1990s by Italian company Pellini, which continues to be regarded as the global leader in integral blinds through their range of ScreenLine systems. There are, of course, numerous other types of integrated blinds available nowadays, but they do vary significantly in quality.

ScreenLine systems represent premium European-engineered quality which is important when you want your blinds to stand the test of time. This is why every Uni-Blinds® integrated blind unit is built using ScreenLine – lasting quality you can depend on.

Integrated blinds are designed to be permanently encapsulated within the sealed glass unit which means it will never require any cleaning or maintenance of the internal components. On the external face of the glass and window or door frame all you will see is the operating mechanism, which will vary according to the type of blinds you choose.

What types of blinds can you have with integrated blinds?

With the Uni-Blinds® range you can choose from Venetian or pleated integrated blinds, all of which incorporate ScreenLine® blind systems from Pellini.

The Venetian option is available to fit standard sized double and triple glazing as well as slimmer sealed units with a cavity of 16mm. This is the size of glass unit that many older windows and doors are fitted with, which makes it an ideal solution if you are looking to upgrade what you currently have.

Integrated pleated blinds are also available in a blackout version. This is ideal for rooms where you want total darkness on demand, thanks to a design which eliminates light ‘bleed’ around the edges of the window and along the vertical cords. 

How do you operate integrated blinds?

Uni-Blinds® integral blinds use the advanced screen line (ScreenLine) systems to offer five different operating systems. The one you choose will depend on your requirements – do you, for example, want to integrate the blinds in your smart home system, or do you prefer the simplicity of a manual blind?

The five options are:

  1. Corded integrated blind (C System)

With the corded system, an elegantly designed cord and winder is mounted on the external face of the glass, and it works just like a traditional Venetian, pleated or roller blind. Pull one of the cords and the blind raises up, pull the other cord and it can be lowered. A slight pull on the cord allows the slats on the Venetian integral blind to be tilted.

2. Cordless slider integral blind (SV System)

This is a manually operated sliding Venetian blind featuring a single, cleverly designed magnetic slider to control the whole operation. This is positioned on a narrow slide guide on the edge of the sealed unit along which the cordless slider is moved to enable the blind to be raised, lowered and tilted with ease – all completely cord free.

3. Integral blind with a magnetic slider (S System)

For pleated integrated blinds, this system allows for the blind to be moved by a magnetic device positioned centrally on the outer surface of the internal pane of glass, sliding across the glass surface. The movement works by the external magnet interfacing with a similar internal magnet located in the movable headrail to absorb possible glass deflections.

4. Solar powered integrated blind (W Smart)

This solar powered between glass blind combines technology with simplicity. It is a battery operated, motorised integral blind for a Venetian integral blind that is raised, tilted or lowered using a small control device attached to the window or by remote control. It’s eco-friendly too, using standard, long-life rechargeable batteries which are charged by energy from the sun through a cleverly designed externally mounted solar panel.

5. Motorised integral blind (MB System)

With motorised integral blinds, a quiet brushless motor raises, lowers and tilts the integral Venetian blinds at the push of a wall-mounted button or using a remote control. It is perfect for smart homes as it integrates with all the main home automation systems including Loxone, allowing for simultaneous and synchronised operation of up to 12 blinds.

How are integrated blinds fitted?

Any competent window and door installer will be able to fit integrated blind units with relative ease. With retrofitting, the beading that holds the sealed units in place is detached which allows the sealed units to be removed.

New double glazed units – or triple glazed – complete with the integral blinds inside the glass are then placed in the frame for the beading to be re-fitted.  The operating mechanism is then fitted to the inside-facing glass and frame of the window as necessary.

The motorised integral blind system (MB System) will require a little more work by the installer, but this is made as simple as possible thanks to a control unit supplied with the blind. This is relatively easy to connect to the property’s mains electricity supply.

For integration into a home automation system, simply refer to the operating instructions to set-up the blinds alongside other devices.

Do integrated blinds need to be cleaned or maintained?

One of the best things about integrated blinds is that once they are sealed within a double or triple glazed unit, there is no way they can gather dust, become marked or attract dirt. This means that the blinds stay in pristine condition for years.

All five of the operating devices/mechanisms are designed for a long, hassle-free service life, manufactured from durable materials and components which means they are built to last. In the unlikely event of any maintenance being required, the externally mounted elements such as cord winders and sliders can be replaced without impacting on the blinds inside the glass.

Slider controls, remote control units and other operating devices that we need to touch to operate the blinds will simply need an occasional wipe over as part of your general cleaning routine.

So, the upshot is that integrated blinds need pretty much zero cleaning or maintenance!

Where can integrated blinds be used?

Integral blinds are suitable for doors and windows throughout the home, from standard casement windows and bi-fold doors to vertically sliding sashes and composite doors.

They are renowned for being particularly well suited to bi-fold doors and French doors. This is because the integrated blinds are self-contained within each door leaf which means they move with it – nothing to get in the way of the concertina style opening and closing of bi-folds.

What size windows are suitable for integrated blinds?

Unless you have particularly large or small glazing, or windows that are exceptionally narrow, you should be able to fit Uni-Blinds® integral blinds in any window or door. Most straightforward windows and doors will allow for the integral blinds to be installed with ease, but a Uni-Blinds® installer will be able to confirm the suitability of your dimensions.

What colours and finishes can I have with integrated blinds?

Like standard blinds, shutters, curtains and window dressings, between glass blinds are available in an excellent range of colours. Uni-Blinds® Venetian integrated blinds come in 10 colours including an exclusive anthracite grey for a stunning contemporary look.

With pleated integral blinds, the options are slightly wider – 12 colours are available in the Uni-Blinds® range of vanity pleated blinds from neutral tones though to bolder blues, red and yellow.

For pleated blackout integral blinds, there is a choice of eight colours on the interior face. Whilst you can certainly have a black pleated blackout, you don’t have to – this innovative integrated blind is also available in various shades right down to white.

How much do integral blinds cost?

Every integrated blind installation is made to order so just like when ordering any bespoke blinds, the cost will depend on:

  • the size of the window
  • the type of operating mechanism
  • the type of blind (Venetian, pleated or pleated blackout)
  • the colour or finish
  • the window or door frames that the blinds are being fitted into

This makes it difficult to get an estimate without knowing more about the proposed location for installation. However, remember that once installed, double glazing with integral blinds will not require any upgrades for many years – so your upfront investment will payback extremely well over time.

Find out more

Hopefully this article has answered some of the basic questions you would have when choosing integrated blinds for your home. However, there may well be much more that you would like to know before you decide whether integral blinds are right for you.

Talk to any Uni-Blinds® installer to get more guidance or take a look at the options in more detail at www.morleyglass.co.uk.