Window treatments are instrumental in adding to the functionality of our windows and enhancing their effectiveness. The right window treatments can complement and enhance your design. You can install a window treatment internally, externally, or both.
Windows are essential for our needs for ventilation, natural sunlight, privacy, and the addition of style to the external façade and the internal spaces of your home.
In an ideal world, we would have every window in every home perfectly placed. We could admire the view, control the internal temperature, and let in an ideal amount of light. But because many of us are not in this enviable position, the next best thing is working well with what you have.
Window treatments are a great way to improve how thermally comfortable your home is and for controlling the light levels. A specific window treatment can minimise heat build-up during the hottest months, and heat loss in the coldest months. The greatest gain from shading is with single-glazed windows, especially if they are facing west.
Discover 6 highly effective window treatment alternatives and why they have advantages for your home.
External Window Treatment
External window treatments provide a practical solution for the protection of windows from the elements. A well-chosen window treatment reduces the amount of heat entering the house. Therefore, it improves the thermal comfort of the house and creates a relaxing, comfortable home.
- Sunhoods and Louvres
- External Venetian Blinds
- Energy Efficient Glazing
1. Sunhoods and Louvres
Louvres have adjustable blades that you can open and close for flexibility of shading in response to weather, light conditions, and privacy. You have the option of selecting a retractable system or a fixed one.
Sunhoods, on the other hand, are custom made and fitted above the windows to provide shading from direct sunlight and weather protection. These are fixed, made of solid panels or battens above the windows. At times, the panels are also brought down one side or both sides of the window.
You can also utilise sunhoods and louvres over doors and patios. These offer more protection and enhance the design of the exterior of your home.
- Protects against the elements: Particularly reducing the direct sunlight from entering the home through the window in the hottest months to reduce heat build-up. It can also open and permit light through in the colder months.
- Saves energy: Maintaining an ambient temperature with window shading will help to reduce your electricity bills. Sunhoods and louvres minimise heat build-up during summer. Consequently, you need not depend on your air conditioner to maintain a comfortable temperature inside your home.
- Ensures privacy: Louvres on your windows also shelter your rooms from passers-by seeing into your home, ensuring privacy for your family.
- Easily controlled: Flexible shades can be altered to offer different shading through the position and angle. You can control louvres with the click of a button.
2. External Venetian Blinds
These blinds have aluminium or timber slats that rotate to regulate the incoming natural UV light. They provide glare control and limit heat build-up inside, whilst preserving the view out.
You can choose control options, mechanical or manual. There is a range of controllers where you can control multiple blinds with a single remote control.
External Venetian blinds have the flexibility to cover asymmetrical windows that otherwise have limited external shading options.
- Greater screening capacity of windows: To the full extent, you can close your external Venetian blinds to create a block-out effect of your window.
- Blades are adjustable: To protect your home from excessive sunlight or heat, adjust the angle of the blades of your external Venetian blinds according to your needs. You can select any angle, depending on the amount of light you wish to let in or your desire to look at the view.
- Energy efficiency: Control of the heat and light entering the home will therefore reduce your electricity consumption and your carbon footprint.
- Wind stability: The profiles of the slats are designed to prevent vibration in the wind. These slats are held in Stainless steel u-shaped channels on either side of the window to further offer stability from the wind. The bottom rail is typically rigid.
- Automation: Some Venetian blinds even have the option of climate monitoring and automation. These automatically move and adapt, to maintain optimum light, wind, and temperature throughout the year. When you come home at any time of the day or night, you will find that the optimum temperature of your home has been maintained.
- Protects against driving rain: Reduces the impact of the rain hitting the glass of the windows.
3. Energy-Efficient Glazing
Energy-efficient glazing comes in a variety of options all with the same intention – improving the thermal comfort of the house with a subsequent reduction of the need for mechanical heating and cooling.
- Double or triple glazed is ideal in colder or hotter climates. Double glazed windows use two separate pieces of glass which are separated by a central air gap, usually filled with Argon gas. The layer of Argon acts as an insulating barrier and reduces how easily cold temperatures permeate the window.
- Low-emissivity glass – single or double-glazed. Low-e Glass has a microscopic, metal coating sprayed on the inside of the glass. This coating reduces the transmission of light, heat or cold through the glass. This barrier increases the energy efficiency of the windows.
- Window films – Applied to glass. Great when you want to preserve the view. They help block against solar heat gain and protect against glare and ultraviolet exposure.
- Tinted glass – The tint is on the outside of the glass and reflects the light reducing heat in the house.
- Insulates your home: A comfortable home is a source of delight to its residents as well as visitors. Energy-efficient glazing helps to balance the temperature inside your home. This reduces your dependence on your heater or air conditioner.
- Decreased power bills: With a pleasant ambient temperature most of the year, you can limit your reliance on mechanical heating and cooling only to days with extreme temperatures.
- Offers privacy: Tinted glass boosts your privacy as the people outside are not able to view inside your home.
Internal Window Treatment
Internal window treatments have several benefits: light control and privacy. They make your home more comfortable and may reduce your energy costs.
Plantation shutters, blinds and curtains offer a decorative quality to the internal spaces of your home. These provide you with the chance to add your own style that reflects the individual rooms and their theme.
Internal window treatments offer another option compared to external window treatments, depending on your selections.
- Plantation shutters
1. Plantation shutters
Plantation shutters are durable, and custom made to fit your windows. They offer adjustable light, heat, and privacy control.
For wet areas, like bathrooms, water-resistant aluminium shutters are useful.
- Range of materials: Shutters are available in timber and aluminium. The blades are held in a frame that slots into the window recess or on the outside of the architrave.
- Variety of hinging options: – fixed, hinged, sliding or bi-fold.
- Ensures privacy: They have a high level of privacy from many angles.
- Aesthetically pleasing: They add a contemporary style to the home.
When selecting the style of blind consider accessibility to open and close the blind and to be able to reach the cord or for manual operation. The style of furniture or the type of window you have may lead you to a particular blind style.
The blinds typically fit inside of the window reveal, or on the outside of the architrave.
- Venetian blinds – Come with adjustable slats in aluminium, timber, and PVC for wet areas
- Roman blinds – Mostly made with fabric offering a wide range of colour and texture choices. These are drawn up and down in a series of evenly stacked folds.
- Vertical blinds – Good on large sliding windows in translucent or blackout fabric. You can match the door and window vertical blinds.
- Roller blinds – Are raised or lowered from a roller bar fitted at the top of the window. Good on sliding windows. The addition of a pelmet and side tracks improves thermal efficiency.
- Cellular Blinds – Cell-shaped pleated blinds that fold up like an accordion. It traps air that provides insulation.
- Blackout – The fabric is opaque, so they are excellent for bedrooms or a home theatre.
- Thermal performance: Cellular blinds offer better thermal performance.
- Control light and privacy: Venetian, roller and Roman blinds control the sunlight and glare. They are most effective for privacy and room darkening.
- Range of materials: Blinds come in a range of materials aluminium, timber, PVC, and fabric.
- Fully openable: You can fully open the blinds depending on the amount of light you wish to let in or your desire to look at the view.
- Energy efficiency: A cost-effective way to control the heat and light entering the home and therefore reduce your electricity consumption.
Curtains are fabric interior coverings that are sized to fit the window, while drapes just kiss the floor. It is best to be consistent and select one length for a single room. When choosing colours and textures, go with materials that harmonize with the other pieces in the room, and patterns that tend to be on a smaller scale.
- Varied thermal performance: A curtain’s ability to reduce heat loss and heat gain depends on several factors, including fabric type (closed or open weave), colour and how closely they are hung to the glazing. Curtains have a subsequent wide variety of thermal protection. Heavy curtains are best for thermal performance and sheer curtains contribute the least.
- Improve effectiveness: The addition of an enclosed pelmet at the top, using integrated bulkheads or dropping the curtain straight from the cornice. Ensure that your curtain touches the wall on either side and just touches the floor or comes past the windowsill. These features will prevent a draft from cooling the home in winter.
- High level of style options: Curtains are available in a wide variety of styles and fabrics. They have a great ability to work with the internal space’s décor. This is especially relevant when matching other fabrics and colours in the room.
- Ensures privacy: Curtains on your windows offer privacy from the outside world. Sheer curtains can provide some privacy whilst still letting light into the house.
- Affordability: Curtains have a range of affordability, from DIY off the shelf or home-sewn varieties to custom-designed and manufactured. Their affordability is governed by your selection of style, fabric, and manufacturing.
- Layering – Perhaps you want the drama of curtains but all the benefits of blinds. By layering your blinds with curtains, you can get the best of both worlds!
Option to omit any window treatment
If the public is unable to see into your home, you may elect not to have any window treatment. This is a major consideration when you have a beautiful outlook.
Choosing a window treatment idea can be rewarding
My general advice on choosing a window treatment is that less is more.
Investing in energy-efficient window coverings is a cost-effective way to reduce your reliance on mechanical heating and cooling. Naturally controlling your environment will result in a healthier comfortable home for you to enjoy the whole year. You may even improve the marketability of your home when you sell it.
Any internal window treatment is in the domain of the homeowner. As a homeowner, you have the option of engaging an interior designer, making the selections yourself, or going DIY. Your careful choices of window treatments will give you a home that reflects your own style. There is the added advantage of providing thermal control, natural sunlight, and privacy to your home.
External window treatments contribute positively to receiving a BASIX certificate, which forms part of the submission for a DA or CDC.
At Martin Kolarik Home Design we take external window treatments into consideration as part of our design of major renovations and extensions.