External Fabric Blinds are one of the simplest systems for providing shading and heat reduction. The roller system is compact in terms of installation space and the motors fit inside the roller tube so no additional space is required outside of the roller or roller cassette.
The new generation of fabrics are very durable and hang very evenly even over very large spans. Different levels of sun filtering are available with different degrees of fabric “Openness” and Colour. Darker fabrics will absorb more light and reduce glare. They may also absorb more heat however as they will generally be installed outside then this not such a big issues compared to internal blinds. Lighter fabrics will allow more reflected light through the fabric which is preferable for installations where it is important to reduce heat but maintain high light levels.
There are two main ways to install vertical blinds with an aluminium cassette surround or without. For installations without cassette it is recommended that some type of integrated cover or recessed pocket is provided within the design. Providing cover will protect the fabric from premature breakdown and prevent the appearance of faded bands across the fabric. Additional the blinds motors are generally IP44 waterproofing rated which is slightly higher than splash proof so prolonged exposure can cause electrical problems.
External blinds are installed with a weighted bottom bar and are surprisingly stable in the wind. Blinds can move in the wind and rarely make much noise in the wind either. They are generally installed with a connected wind sensor which will retract the blinds in the event of high winds. They can also be connected with timers or sun sensors to provide a level of automation to keep buildings cool during the high sun periods of the day.
There are now blinds which will span very wide distances however blinds under 4m widths and 4m drops will mean normal costs and less challenges with wind. The larger the blinds the more susceptible to wind meaning the blinds might have to retract more often and reduce functionality. There are some additional options which will assist with wind if the installation is particularly exposed. External blinds will be guided up and down by either stainless steel tensioned guide cables or by aluminium guides. With few moving parts external blinds have good longevity over time.