French Doors with Built In Blinds
Written by Todd Fratzel.
French Doors – Built In Blinds
French Doors with built in blinds between the glass panels are great. Typically French Doors don’t provide much privacy because of all the glass. If you wanted privacy with a French Door in the past you would have to install some type of blind or a curtain attached to the door. You no longer have to settle for that option because you can now buy most all French Doors with the blinds built in.
When I designed our new home my wife was concerned about having French Doors in our breakfast nook. She was worried about privacy and shading from the afternoon sun. She has never been a huge fan of mini-blinds because she hates cleaning them. When I told her I could order the French Doors with the mini-blind built into the insulated glass she was very interested in trying the product.
I’m happy to say we’ve been very pleased with this feature. The blinds have two controls on the door, one to raise and lower the blinds and another to control the tilt of the blind blades. The great benefit of these blinds is they never need to be cleaned because they are contained within the sealed void between the pains of glass. The cost was similar to buying a set of mini-blinds so in my opinion you’d be crazy not to order a door with this feature. If you want full light from the window just open up the blinds all the way and you don’t even know they are there.
How Mini Blinds Between Glass Work
Built-in mini blinds between the glass on windows and doors is pretty easy to manufacturer when you see a typical section. The photo to the right is a section through a Pella window that offers the blinds between the glass. As you can see in the photo, the window has a traditional insulated double pane on the exterior of the window followed by a larger space for the built-in blinds. Lastly there is another piece of glass the encloses the blind system. Fixing those blinds if they malfunction really depends on the system the window or door manufacturer uses and whether it’s a sealed unit or not.
Common Problems with Built In Blinds
Built in blinds are far less susceptible to damage compared to the old fashion standard window blinds. However, when they do break it can be really hard to fix them. There are a couple common problems with built in blinds including:
- Control Handle Disconnects – On many of the new models now available the control handles on the outside of the glass are connected to the internal controls with powerful magnets. This allows the controls to be used without compromising the energy efficiency of the glass. What typically happens is if you try to move the blinds up and down inside the glass while the blinds are in the “closed” position there is too much tension on the system and the magnet lets go. The control handle will likely slide down to the bottom. This can be fixed by moving the handle up to the position when it let go. Next be sure to “open” the blinds before moving them up or down.
- Control Cable Breaks – In some situations the internal cables can break. If that happens you’ll have to get a new glass insert. Most all of these built in blinds are sold in sealed glass panels that cannot be repaired. Contact your vendor and see what options are available. The good news is replacing the glass panel is typically quite easy after removing a few screws and trim pieces.
Blinds Between Glass Manufactures
I know several door manufacturers now offering blinds between the glass on French Doors. Check out the following manufacturers (we have Therma Tru doors in our new home).
- Jeld-Wen Windows and Doors – Jeld-Wen Blinds Between Glass
- Pella Windows and Doors – Pella Designer Series
- Therma Tru Doors – Therma Tru Internal Blinds
I highly recommend this type of product if you’re planning on buying a new French Door.
If you’re looking for information on how to repair doors with built in blinds then please read:
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