Motorization / Automation – What you need to know.

Blinds offer you a convenience, that no other window covering can (in most cases). They provide you with a minimalist look and feel, leaving the other decor in the room to be the focal point, or to make a statement. They are easy to maintain, easy to operate and give you lots of options when it comes to light control. All these benefits can be further enhanced with automation.

So what do you need to know about Automation / Motorized Blinds. 

The popular type of Blinds to automate are roller blinds, they are the most common, so the motors are “Cheaper” and are available in more brands and variety due to their easy to manufacture configuration. Other blinds include Venetians, Panel Blinds and Curtain Track Motors.

Venetian blind automation comes in two options, one being the up and down function and 2nd being both the tilt and up and down feature. The dual function automation comes with a heavier price tag, understandably, with more features. Panel Blinds in general come with a large price tag, so automating them, pushes the price up even more. These blinds just slide open and closed so the motors are similarly priced to the automated curtain tracks.

So what should you look out for…

There are lots of Motor Brands on the market and most being the cheaper Chinese imports. So are they good, are they bad? My opinion is that you get what you pay for… Always ask the agent for all the options available to them as they will be limited to the brands and specs their “Chosen” manufacturer / supplier has to offer. Most have their own in house brands but also offer the “Somfy” Range. Somfy is the most reputable brand on the market and 99% of the time will not fail. They are an international brand and have been manufacturing motors for decades. Its our first suggestion when a client mentions automation and only suggest other options if budget is a major issue.

Always enquire about the cheaper brands, ask how often they have come backs, their life expectancy, if spares are readily available, etc.

Some of the issues we have encountered with some of the cheaper brands over the years are:

  • Remote configuration changes, a client orders a few blinds, it comes with 1 type of remote then the next batch comes with an entirely different remote ( No uniformity throughout the home)
  • Batteries for the remote – Some cheaper brands supply remotes with hard to find battery replacements
  • Battery motors – cant find a replacement charger, or had to get.
  • Electric motors – Due to loadshedding, unset them selves and can pull themselves off the wall if left unattended.
  • Electric motors can be sensitive to load shedding and can blow.

Motorized Blinds do offer greater convenience especially when there are a large number of blinds in one room. They can be set to all be operated together, so one touch of a button and they open or close. They can also be set to a timer as well as an app on your phone to be opened and closed at set times in the day.

Home Automation systems

These products can also be integrated into a home automation system and controlled by voice activation. This option is great as it can be operated from anywhere in the world and also eliminates the need for remotes. If you have lots of blinds throughout the house means you would have lots of remotes, which everyone with Kids would know, that remotes have a way of going missing or played with… Another down side is it can actually get abit confusing if you have to many. Which remote is for which area and to find the right blind on the right channel, can be a hack.

Motorized Blinds are awesome and give a very modern look and feel to a new home, but its in your best interest to find out all the details before purchasing these accessories.  For more info and an honest opinion on your window coverings, give us a call on 031 109 4767