Motorized Curtains and Electric Drapes – meaningful Considerations

How will the motorized curtain be mounted? Will it be inside mount, ceiling mount or outside mount? Inside or ceiling mount method that the top of the motorized curtain will be mounted to something horizontal (a ceiling or a pocket or a door/window frame) outside mount method that it will simply be mounted to a wall with room above the motorized curtain. The more challenging is the inside mount, since there is no room for error. Here, proper measuring and deductions are especially important to ensure that the end product fits perfectly inside the opening. A perfect fit is a matter of taste and should be carefully reviewed with the client. Some prefer the fabric to literally skim the floor, others like a more standard ¼’ gap between the floor and the bottom of the lowest part of the drape. Inside and ceiling mount applications, when they are performed in non-square window openings can look rough since the curtain is a straight square and the opening may not be. So, the 1/4″ deduction from the lowest point may be a complete inch or more from the highest point. There is no real way to solve for this except to know in improvement and manage expectations. Measuring the opening at multiple points for height will show any height discrepancies.

What style will the motorized curtain be? There are two main styles obtainable for motorized curtains / electric drapes; Pinch pleat; which is, like it sounds pinches of fabric every few inches and Ripplefold, which is a method of having the fabric without pleats but gently zig sagging in an S-shape. Both of these are design considerations. The standard pinch pleat, (aka French pleat) is the more shared. Also, pinch pleat stacks tighter/smaller than Ripplefold, typically. (see below for stacking definition)

Where will the shades open and close to, also called ‘stacking’. First consideration is which side of the track will the motor be on, this is informed by how the motorized curtains should open; left, right or center open. This brings up Clients are frequently surprised to learn that curtains, when fully open (ie letting light in), frequently do not clear the glass of the window on each side., unless there is room on one or both sides of the opening. This is called ‘stacking off the glass’. The stack of the fabric is typically 25 – 33% of its width when the curtains are open. This method that if the window width is 12 feet, that the drapery, if it is a center open, will stack approximately 4 ft total or 2 feet per side. This can block sliding door openings in addition as views! To have sufficient room to stack off the glass would require wall space on one or both sides totaling 4 feet.

How heavy are the fiber? fiber can get quiet heavy with larger curtains, especially if a blackout lining is additional. Fabric weight and window size may make manual operation impractical without dividing the opening into several smaller sections which will leave stacks in the middle of the glass. This is one of the benefits of motorized draperies; large spans can be covered by single draperies pushed by one or two motors. Knowing the fabric weight, usually expressed as lbs. or oz. per yard in improvement allows for proper determination, configuration and motor selection. (observe: light sheer fiber do not have the same weight issues as other fabric materials).

There are other factors aside from those listed above. However, being informed as to the intended mounting kind, pleat style, opening side and estimated stacking and fabric weight will go a long way to ensuring that any motorized curtain project is a success.

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