Problems with Windows with Built-In Blinds

Problems with Windows with Built-In Blinds

There are many decisions homeowners must make when replacing their windows. Window treatments is often a topic of conversation. Customers wonder what type of window treatments will work with their new windows or in their new interior design. Some customers think of this in advance and consider purchasing windows with built-in blinds. Built-in blinds have lots of benefits but they aren’t perfect either. Read on to learn more about the problems with windows with built-in blinds.

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What are Built-In Blinds?

While most homeowners might have more experience with window blinds that are more traditional, built-in blinds address some of the issues commonly experienced with regular blinds.

Common Problems with Regular Blinds

  • Challenging to balance (you know this if you frequently have lopsided blinds)
  • Easily damaged (broken or bent slats; broken strings; tangled pull cords)
  • Blinds won’t tilt completely

Built-in blinds are also known as blinds-between-the-glass and integral or integrated blinds. The blinds on these windows sit in between two panes of glass↗. These blinds are a part of the window unit instead of something separate that is attached to the exterior frame or pocket. The blinds can be operated manually by a magnetic slider that runs along the side of the frame; some are designed to operate by remote control. 

If you've ever lived in a home with standard window blinds or tried to operate some in a friend’s home you may have run into the problems we mentioned above. Even though standard blinds offer easy access, they can be difficult to manage.

No one likes annoyance of pulling on different cords to make the blinds even or the time it takes to dust between each and every slat in the blinds. And if you've ever seen something (or someone!) get tangled up in the blinds, it can be frustrating (maybe a little funny but actually kind of dangerous, especially for children and pets). These specialty windows relieve some of the annoyances and dangers of standard blinds by encasing them within the glass unit. They take out the guess work of lifting, lowering, and tilting the blinds, they don’t require cleaning, and they’re less likely to become damaged from accidents or use.

Issues with Built-In Blinds

While there is a case for why windows with built-in blinds are an easy choice there are some drawbacks to these windows that every homeowner should be aware of.

Remember, windows with built-in blinds aren’t standard in any home. These are considered specialty products by most retailers so they are typically more expensive than your standard window blinds. Standard external window blinds can be reasonably priced and do-it-yourself, built-in blinds tend to cost more, and their installation requires an installment of an entire window↗. And though they are less susceptible to damage, that also means that if they happen to become damaged, that repair can be more complicated or expensive.

Common Problems with Built-In Blinds

  • The blinds can still get dusty, depending on the window system it may be impossible to clean them
  • The magnetic operator can come loose from the internal magnets and they have to be re-engaged to work
  • Blinds that aren’t used frequently can get stuck in place and become difficult to operate
  • Some blinds can get lopsided! (Though maybe not as lopsided as regular blinds) 

Troubleshooting Built-In Blind Problems

While you can't troubleshoot every single problem with built-in blinds, there are solutions to some of the problems that built-in blinds can cause.

What should I do when my built-in blinds are dusty?

When your window blinds are dusty you can usually just wipe them down with a cloth or if they’re extra grimy wipe them down with some vinegar but it’s not so easy when you have built-in blinds. Unless your built-in blinds are accessible (most aren’t), you won’t be able to open the glass and wipe them down.  

What should I do when the operator on my window won’t lift the built-in blinds?

If the operator on your blinds is moving but not lifting or lowering the blinds it’s likely become disengaged. Lifting or lowering the blinds too quickly is the main reason why the operator becomes disengaged. Fortunately, re-engaging the magnetic operator is fairly simple. Move the operator up along the track until you hear a click then continue lifting it until you hear a second click. That second click tells you the magnets are now re-engaged.

What should I do when my blinds are stuck?

If your blinds are stuck or difficult to operate, they may just need to be “exercised”. Blinds that are left in one position for a long time can start to get stuck and need some exercise to loosen up and start working well again. Just lift and lower the blinds a few times to get them nice and relaxed.

How do I fix lopsided blinds when they’re between the glass?

This problem is actually easier to fix than it is with exterior blinds. Occasionally, blinds between the glass can become unleveled at the bottom. When this happens lift the blinds all the way to the top and then lower them all the way to the bottom, this typically does the trick (without having to figure out which cord to pull or loosen).

Are built-in blinds right for you?

Even though built-in blinds can provide a very convenient solution for homeowners who often struggle with regular blinds they aren’t completely immune from problems. Consider other window treatment options before you decide on windows with built-in blinds. If you’re sure they’re right for you then get ready to explore your options. Some window vendors who offer built-in blinds only offer them in white, while others like Andersen, ProVia, and Pella offer multiple colors and also offer shades.


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