One of the most popular styles of window coverings right now in my area (Northern Nevada, Reno & Lake Tahoe) area is horizontal blinds. Some people call them “mini blinds”, others call them “2” blinds,” some call them “wood blinds” and there are other names out there too. But I think you get the idea of what we are talking about.
Standard Routing – The normal way to run the cording for horizontal blinds is from your hand, up through the headrail, down through holes punched into the slats and down to the bottom rail where the cord is tied into a knot. This way, when you pull the cord down, it pulls the bottom rail up, towards the headrail. If this sounds confusing, then don’t fret because it is the way you are used to seeing a blind operate. You just don’t have to think about it because you are so familiar with how they work. The thing that we want to focus on though is how the cord gets from the headrail to the bottom rail.
As I mentioned, the cording goes THROUGH the slats via punches that are usually oval shaped. This is a very functional solution for the standard blind because as the cord goes through the slat, it keeps the slat from drifting laterally. Therefore, punching holes in the slat keeps everything pretty neat. There are a couple of negatives though to consider. One is that the holes that are cut into the slats allow light to come directly into your space as they are literally HOLES. You have probably noticed this drawback at some time in the past where the sun is behind the blind, and even though the blinds are closed, the light streams through those rout holes directly into your eyes. Not a huge issue, but a nuisance.
The other drawback is that the cords running through rout holes make it more difficult to close blinds completely using the louvers. This is because the cord is pulled taut by gravity. The weight at the bottom of the blind is straightening the cord that runs through the slats. As you attempt to louver (turn) the slats, you are actually creating a huge deflection in the shape of the cord, which by nature wants to be straight. Therefore, as you turn the slats toward the closed position, the slat is fighting the cord for the same space. The cord keeps the slat from completely closing and therefore you don’t get as much light blockage as you had hoped.
Punchless Routing – Another option available to consumers is something that I am calling punchless routing. It is known by other names as well. Hunter Douglas calls it “de-light”, Graber calls it “noholes”, Levolor calls it “Lightmaster”. Whatever name you give it, the premise is the same: instead of holes being punched through the middle of the slat material, usually notches are cut into the front and/or back of the slat allowing the lift cording to pull the slat up by surrounding the slat on the front and back with two cords, instead of the standard one cord up the center of the slat. There are some advantages to this style of routing, and some disadvantages as well.
If you read the two negatives to the standard routing section, punchless routing avoids both of them. There are no holes in the blinds for the sun to poke through, and there are no cords up the center of the blind to restrict tilt. Usually, a punchless routed blind will close more tightly than its counterpart. Another positive is that the punchless rout blinds are more aesthetically pleasing to most consumers as the rout holes on a traditional blind add another geometric line to the visual palette.
As far as negatives go, the punchless rout blinds have nothing to prevent children or other mayhem causers from removing slats from your blinds and losing or damaging them. This, on the other hand, makes slats easier to replace if they are damaged, for example by a pet chewing or clawing them. Also, some clients who need extreme order in their lives do not like the lack of symmetry in stacking blinds that have punchless routing. Due to the absence of the cord down the center of the blind, when one stacks the slats, they take the path of least resistance, which most often is a bit more sloppy than when the cord keeps everything in line. Also, the lift cords on the front of the blind can easily be dislodged, causing a bit of a disheveled look for someone who is a perfectionist about these things. Also, because there are two cords causing the lifting, and not one, there is a bit more to go wrong with the whole lift assembly process.
Whether you’re looking for mini blinds, wood blinds, horizontal blinds, horizontal mini blinds, 2” blinds or whatever you call them, clearly you have choices when it comes to routing in horizontal blinds. If cost is your biggest factor, choose the standard routing option as it is usually available for a lower cost than the punchless variety. If you felt like any of the advantages of the punchless routing suited your needs, then be prepared for an up charge of anywhere from 0-20% depending on the manufacturer. Both products are good and current, but only one will be the perfect fit for you. I will be happy to help you to decide which one will be best for you if you contact my company, Kempler Design.