Shade Terminology

Let's Call a Shade a Shade


There's no doubt about it: when it comes to understanding shades, most people are left in the dark. We're here to help. Here you’ll find some terms commonly used in the shading industry. We hope these allow you to have a good starting point in understanding our world and shed some light on the concept of shading light.

If you'd like to connect with us, our experts will be more than happy to explain these concepts and more intricate ones in greater detail and answer any questions you may have.

Anatomy of a Shade


Bracket

Bracket

Brackets connect a shade to the ceiling or wall.

Headrail

Headrail

The topmost part of the automated shade where the electronic drive unit or batteries are located. Easily opens to allow for battery replacement without having to take down the shade.

Hem Bar

Hem Bar

How the bottom of a roller shade is finished. The sealed pocket hem bar is heat welded at the top and the sides to provide a refined unobtrusive appearance. 3/16” is standard hem bar. 7/16” is for heavy shades. Hem bars can now be customized with luxe metal in different finishes and styles.

Maximum Usable Width

Maximum Usable Width

Each roll of fabric has a maximum width based on the size of the loom on which the fabric is constructed. In some cases, railroading a fabric can provide a solution for wide shades.

Shade Mounting + Trim Options


Inside Mount

Inside Mount

This type of mounting exists within the frame of your window, so that the entire window frame is visible. Inside mounting is best for minimalist-style homes because it gives a cleaner, more built-in look. Inside mounts also assist with creating layered window treatments. This type of mounting also showcases the architectural details of your window frames.

Outside Mount

Outside Mount

This mounting style places your shade above the window, not in line with it, so that when the shade is drawn, the entire window is covered, including the frame. Outside mount window treatments make your windows look bigger and bring a more dramatic feel into your space.

Dual Mount

Dual Mount

Dual mount shade systems have two roller shades within a single housing. The most typical combination of shades to be dual mounted is a blackout and a solar or privacy shade, which allows you to seamlessly switch between room-darkening and ambient light.

Coupled System

Coupled System

Up to six shade panels can be coupled (subject to limitations based on fabric selection and panel dimensions), powered by a single electronic drive unit, which increases efficiency and creates visual uniformity when raising and lowering shades. There must be a minimum of 1.5” light gap between panels. The coupled system maintains precise bottom bar alignment, and coupling is available in all mounting styles.

Regular Roll

Regular Roll

Allows the shade to sit closest to the window, with the roll exposed and the material falling off the back. This arrangement puts the roll and the brackets on display when the shade is drawn. The material will sit close to the glass instead of protruding out into the room. When light blockage is a priority, the regular roll will allow less light to seep in around the sides of the window than a reverse roll. With a regular roll, the shade fabric can rest as close as 0.75" from the back of the bracket.

Reverse Roll

Reverse Roll

The reverse roll allows the shade to fall forward off the roll, keeping the roll concealed when the shade is drawn. This creates a gap between the shade and the window. When adding treatments to doors with handles or to windows with cranks, this gap lets the shade close over these types of objects. For the most sleek and minimal look, the reverse roll conceals the working of the shade and provides additional clearance, and conceals the white backing of a dual-sided fabric. For light blocking and narrow casements, the regular roll is recommended. In a reverse roll, the shade fabric will sit two and five-eighths of an inch (2-5/8") from the back of the bracket.

Side Channel

Side Channel

A frame around the shade that prevents light leakage around the edges. Best when used with blackout shades for optimal room-darkening, as well as giving a clean, polished look to your windows. Without a side channel, there will be a light gap of 1/2"-7/8" or greater, depending on the application, on either side of the shade.

Fascia

Fascia

A decorative wooden or metal strip that’s mounted at the top of a window to hide hardware. It can also snap into a bracket system.

Pockets

Shade Pockets

Shade Pockets are a pre-engineered extruded aluminum pocket that creates the transition between the interior of a building's perimeter and the ceiling plane. These shade pockets can integrate Lutron motorized and manual shades and have the ability to tie in to acoustical or drywall systems without any visible fasteners. Instead of being inside or outside mounted, this type of mounting is called a Pocket Mount.

Weave + Opacity


Openness factor describes the ratio of open space to fabric material. Simply stated, it measures how tightly fabrics are woven – the tighter the weave, the less daylight filters through. There are typically three types of fabrics classified by openness factor – Solar/Sheer, Privacy/Translucent, or Blackout/Opaque fabrics.

The main opacity percentages are 1%, 3%, 5%, and 10%. The percentage represents the openness of the fabric weave and the amount of light that is able to filter through.

Solar or Sheer

  • Solar or sheer fabrics have high transparency, with an openness factor of 1% or higher. Common openness factors for sheer shades are 1%, 3%, 5%, and 10% (10% lets in the most light while 1% lets in the least light). These fabrics allow more daylight to enter a space for a better view outside. Sheer fabrics allow the most light into your room while softly focusing the view. If the view outside is your priority, consider a solar shade. Keep in mind that as well as you can see outside is how well others can see in, especially at night.

Privacy or Translucent

Also referred to as dim-out, privacy or translucent fabrics have an openness factor between 0% and 1%. These fabrics let in a limited amount of daylight. A view outside will have very little detail – you will only see shapes and shadows. Semi-opaque fabrics bring in just enough sun to light up a space but they will block your view and prevent others from seeing inside, for the most part.

Blackout or Opaque

With a 0% openness factor, blackout or opaque shades create the highest level of darkness by blocking almost all incoming light. However, although it is the industry term, we hesitate to use the term "blackout," because as you can see in the reference image to the right, light leakage will always occur unless you use side channels, fascia, and other methods of light-blocking. Blackout shades afford the most privacy as they cannot be seen through.

Features + Terms


Dual-Sided Fabric

Dual-sided fabrics have a white backing. When dual-sided fabrics are selected, every room in the home can have a signature look on the inside and still maintain a uniform appearance on the outside. The white backing also helps reflect the sun’s rays, reducing HVAC costs and saving energy.

Railroadable

An option for applications requiring shades wider than the maximum usable width. Railroading rotates the fabric 90 degrees from its typical orientation. If the fabric has a distinct pattern, please note that this pattern will also be rotated 90 degrees, thereby altering the final appearance of the shade. Railroading is best done with a symmetrical weave fabric.

Seaming

Some fabrics can be seamed/welded together in order to increase the size of a railroaded shade beyond its fabric roll width. This technique is used to achieve long, wide shades. If a fabric has a distinct pattern, aligning the pattern during seaming may alter the final appearance of the shade.

Walls Open

An installation term that refers to a renovation project being a gut renovation or new construction.

Walls Closed

An installation term that refers to a renovation project being a retrofitting or redecorating.

Methods of Shade Operation


Wired

Built-in automation that allows ease of use and can be manipulated through a variety of devices, such as a smartphone or wireless handheld/wall-mounted control. Uses a quiet electronic drive unit which operates roller shades at a near-silent level. Cord-free design makes this solution safe for homes with young children or pets.

Battery

Shades use 6-8 store-bought D-cell batteries, depending on shade size, located in headrail. Batteries last 4-6 years. Adjust shades with a wire-free handheld or wall-mounted control from anywhere in the room. Shades operate nearly silently to prevent disruption in any space. Cord-free design makes this solution safe for homes with young children or pets.

Manual

Cord-based functionality. Provides hands-on control. Shade raising and lowering can be controlled by pull-chain or cords. Most cost-effective option. Does not use electricity. Not suitable for homes with young children.

Need Further Information?


Looking for a type of shade not mentioned here? Check out our Shading Types page for more options.

If you have any questions or need help with choosing the shade that is right for you, please don't hesitate to contact us.

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