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External roller blinds for windows and doors

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Has anyone installed continental-style external roller blinds inside the casing of a new window frame? If so, do you have any tips about the depth of the window and door casing to house the blind cassette?

 

I've found a French firm that supplies roller blinds in the UK.

 

 

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I'll be interested in the answer to this, as I have two windows that I'd like to retrofit something like these to.

 

Doesn't the French supplier have tech drawings they can give you?

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I too would be interested as none of the Uk suppliers I found could retrofit without electric supply for blinds and that was impossible for me without dismantling half the house cladding.

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I know there are UK suppliers of external roller blinds. Can try to find a list when I'm back in the office but off the top of my head, a company called Shy are a big UK manufacturer and have dealers across the country.

 

I've fitted them. It's pretty simple. Aluminium casing holding the motor / wireless controller and blind material just needs to be either face fixed or top fixed to something.

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@Nick I had quotes from several UK suppliers but all needed electric motors and it is just too difficult to get power to them for me. I could not find a supplier who could do manual blinds or remote rechargeable bluetooth etc where a power supply was not needed direct to the blind

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1 minute ago, lizzie said:

@Nick I had quotes from several UK suppliers but all needed electric motors and it is just too difficult to get power to them for me. I could not find a supplier who could do manual blinds or remote rechargeable bluetooth etc where a power supply was not needed direct to the blind

 

I wouldn't get your hopes up of finding one. Sadly, there's really no reason for a supplier to develop a system like this. The cost and bulk of the batteries would make it very impractical even if there was enough demand to justify designing it.

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From my holidays in Spain as a kid I remember these blinds as typically 'not super helpful' when it comes to heat. Many holiday apartments had them (and no AC) and the place would still be blisteringly hot. I'm sure they help somewhat, but perhaps not a massive amount because they collect super-hot air that can't go anywhere? 

 

Would sunshade awnings -  https://www.primrose-awnings.co.uk/- be an option? This is what I have in mind for my sun-facing windows..

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SolarSmart blinds are available in Australia - they have an integral solar panel and a dc motor and battery system. 

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8 minutes ago, PeterW said:

SolarSmart blinds are available in Australia - they have an integral solar panel and a dc motor and battery system. 

Interesting... googled them and although they're a bit clunky looking compared to european roller blinds I'm familiar with, they're not too bad.

 

They've got a separate solar panel which keeps the battery capacity requirements down. In a country without aussie-level sunshine, I'd think they would struggle.

 

At some point, it has to be easier to bite the bullet and run some wiring. I'm sure you can at least get powered blinds with a separate transformer so the only wires you need to run through the facade are low voltage dc ones that would just need a tiny hole....

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4 minutes ago, Nick said:

Interesting... googled them and although they're a bit clunky looking compared to european roller blinds I'm familiar with, they're not too bad.

 

They've got a separate solar panel which keeps the battery capacity requirements down. In a country without aussie-level sunshine, I'd think they would struggle.

 

At some point, it has to be easier to bite the bullet and run some wiring. I'm sure you can at least get powered blinds with a separate transformer so the only wires you need to run through the facade are low voltage dc ones that would just need a tiny hole....

Think I’m moving to Oz! Like it there so no hardship LOL.  Ref the wiring we had lengthy discussions with several blind suppliers and my electrician and carpenter.  It would be possible to do only two windows  without major upheaval (out of 7 on the same view side) and the benefit of doing two would be limited and it would look odd with just those done and the others left.

 

I have looked at awnings too,  again for me limited value and definitely spoiling the exterior as it would be a mish mash due to shape of my building plus I have a very windy location and the winds come up quickly so would need to be vigilant. I had auto wind sensors on my awnings in France but again have the power issue here so they would have to be manual.

 

Will keep searching and hoping on blinds and meantime keeping everything crossed that the film I had put on last autumn will help, only time will tell on that.

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Posted (edited)

It's easier to have them planned in from the offset. 

The boxes generally come in two options that the motor and the venetian blinds/shutters sit in and varying heights dependant on the window height.

 

If retro fitting, you only really have one option, which is front facing of the box. This is simply due to the fact you cannot conceal the box. If planned in from the offset, you can detail the box to be completely hidden. With some models you can retro fit them but you need to have the relevant depth from the window to the external wall to house it. Your likely going to lose 150mm/200mm + at the top of the window/glazing, due to the box.

Edited by craig

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We specced external blinds (Roma) with our Gaulhofer windows and had MBC leave a pocket in the frame for the cassette. They came factory-fitted to the windows and sat flush to the external wall when fitted - just as Craig says.

 

We have them on every east window and they are very effective at reducing solar gain, there's one adjacent ground floor south facing window that I wish we had covered also  - I still ponder on how we could do that :)

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11 hours ago, lizzie said:

@Nick I had quotes from several UK suppliers but all needed electric motors and it is just too difficult to get power to them for me. I could not find a supplier who could do manual blinds or remote rechargeable bluetooth etc where a power supply was not needed direct to the blind

 

Lizzie if you don’t mind the manually operated aspect would external shutters be of any use?

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@Siochair I have a very modern house and sadly shutters would not look right. Thanks for the suggestion thiugh.

 

Its like a lot of issues I have now, I did ask questions at the time and was assured all was ok....I doubted but deferred to the so called experts!

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4 hours ago, Bitpipe said:

We specced external blinds (Roma) with our Gaulhofer windows and had MBC leave a pocket in the frame for the cassette. They came factory-fitted to the windows and sat flush to the external wall when fitted - just as Craig says.

 

We have them on every east window and they are very effective at reducing solar gain, there's one adjacent ground floor south facing window that I wish we had covered also  - I still ponder on how we could do that :)

 

I’m sure we can find a solution 😉

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I stayed in a house in Portugal, when doing my seaplane/amphibian rating, that had white metal (aluminium, I think) roller shutters built in to the external lintels of all the windows.  They just slid up into slots at the top and were barely visible when fully retracted.  I was really impressed with the way they kept the heat out during the day.  I could lower them all first thing in the morning before heading out to the airfield and the house would stay cool, even without the AC being on.  I really wanted to fit something similar, or, perhaps, wooden shutters, to our build but the planners weren't happy with the idea at all.

 

I've seen some external fabric roller blinds that look as if they may be a smaller and neater solution, and one that I might be able to hide away somehow in the cladding above the windows, perhaps.  I'm not sure just how durable a fabric blind will be outdoors, though.  The other challenge will be getting power to them, but I may be able to run the SELV supply needed up behind the cladding, perhaps.

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This is external venetians (roller shutter exactly the same) on a project we did, completely hidden box and in a conservation area. 

 

Planning was rejected on several occasions.

 

Options exist for them from a few suppliers.

 

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58876268-38FA-42B7-AE6E-70265423B0C2.png

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13 minutes ago, JSHarris said:

I stayed in a house in Portugal, when doing my seaplane/amphibian rating, that had white metal (aluminium, I think) roller shutters built in to the external lintels of all the windows.  They just slid up into slots at the top and were barely visible when fully retracted.  I was really impressed with the way they kept the heat out during the day.  I could lower them all first thing in the morning before heading out to the airfield and the house would stay cool, even without the AC being on.  I really wanted to fit something similar, or, perhaps, wooden shutters, to our build but the planners weren't happy with the idea at all.

 

I've seen some external fabric roller blinds that look as if they may be a smaller and neater solution, and one that I might be able to hide away somehow in the cladding above the windows, perhaps.  I'm not sure just how durable a fabric blind will be outdoors, though.  The other challenge will be getting power to them, but I may be able to run the SELV supply needed up behind the cladding, perhaps.

 

The fabric versions tend to be very strong synthetic fabrics which are really more like a heavy vinyl sheet. They normally have small perforations in them so some air can be allowed through without affecting privacy, and they're tensioned either by steel guide ropes or aluminium side-rails.

 

I'd have no concerns about strength for a typical window/door. they can be be made at ridiculous sizes (4m x 3m for a single blind). The only issue I've seen is that the less-plasticy fabrics on offer can be hard to clean if they get hit with wet mud or something similar that can get right into the weave of the fabric.

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1 hour ago, craig said:

This is external venetians (roller shutter exactly the same) on a project we did, completely hidden box and in a conservation area. 

 

Planning was rejected on several occasions.

 

Options exist for them from a few suppliers.

 

772EA3F6-4C6C-417F-B354-9D3F99BC0A94.thumb.png.e7024e2a40e41ac60962f212a7a4822e.png772EA3F6-4C6C-417F-B354-9D3F99BC0A94.thumb.png.e7024e2a40e41ac60962f212a7a4822e.png

 

 

58876268-38FA-42B7-AE6E-70265423B0C2.png

Are those electric or manual?

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Electric, one cable coming out requiring a 3 gang switch.

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1 hour ago, lizzie said:

Are those electric or manual?

 

Do you have any vertical sections through your windows?

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I've been looking around this afternoon to see how big/small some of the external blinds can be (we don't have much depth to play with).  This cross section of the thinnest roller type external blind I could find seems pretty typical (not been able to find any sections of Venetian type external blinds yet, though):

 

image.thumb.png.07d2608f285a70344914ede095df6c6e.png

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, craig said:

This is external venetians (roller shutter exactly the same) on a project we did, completely hidden box and in a conservation area. 

 

Planning was rejected on several occasions.

 

Options exist for them from a few suppliers.

 

[snip photos]

 

Hi @craig 

 

These do look great.

 

Do you have cross section drawings (similar to JSHarris posted above) for how the blind recess is detailed into the wall/window opening of the Roma/Gaulhofer venetian blinds? The two things I'd like to research are: how set-back do the windows need to be in their reveals for these to be effectively hidden in the lintel, and how much impact will they have on that part of the wall's thermal insulation. Our 4 WSW facing windows are in a new-build wall so should have the flexibility in placement to facility these, but we have one SSE facing window that is in existing wall (due to be externally insulated) so bit more constrained on making it work.

 

As I mentioned on the phone the other day, we're also in a conservation area, and our architect was sufficiently concerned that this was the one thing we omitted form our planning app. Now that that looks like it will be accepted, and we're much further down the line on selecting windows (🙏🙏😊) I really want to see about at the very least designing in the facility to add these later.

 

Cheers

 

 

Edited by joth

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8 minutes ago, joth said:

Do you have cross section drawings (similar to JSHarris posted above) for how the blind recess is detailed into the wall/window opening of the Roma/Gaulhofer venetian blinds?

 

Ours aren't Gaulhofer, but the detail is probably similar. This is what we have where the house has brick slips on render board over a timber frame with cellulose insulation, and external venetian blinds:

 

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23 hours ago, jack said:

I'll be interested in the answer to this, as I have two windows that I'd like to retrofit something like these to.

 

Doesn't the French supplier have tech drawings they can give you?

 

23 hours ago, jack said:

I'll be interested in the answer to this, as I have two windows that I'd like to retrofit something like these to.

 

There are two types of fittings, one is built in and one which can be retrofitted but I am not sure if these would be suitable for most UK windows as continental windows have larger inside and outside sill

 

We had the ancient wooden version built-in. They were very heavy and had a manual pulley cord.  The cord outlasted the house, which was demolished a couple of years ago. The electric version of the blinds are more problematic as the blind can get stuck inside the cassette.  A big tug on the manual blind solves the problem.

 

See https://avosdim.com/uk/roller-shutters.html

AvosDim.jpg

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