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Wide Roller Shades for Patio Sliders

In today’s blog post, we are going to talk about doing railroaded super wide roller shades. Roller Shade fabric is one type of material that is made pretty wide. There are all kinds of widths available. Some as narrow as 70” and some as wide as 128”. Being able to do a shade at 128” or so covers a lot of large windows as well as patio doors and sliders. But, often times, people need roller shades that are even larger. In this case, our client wanted their shades to be 151” wide. In order to do this, we needed to “railroad’ the use of the material.

What Does Railroading Mean?

There are different definitions given in the fabric industry, so I will explain to you how it relates to your fabric choices. Like I show in the video, the fabric has an actual width on a roll. In this case the width of the fabric is 118”. Instead of putting it on a roll at 3 panels of around 50” to cover the tube with 3 separate panels, we turn the fabric 90 degrees, and run the roll of fabric all 151” and then attach it to the tube. This allows us to have 1 piece of material covering the entire window.

When material is turned sideways when railroaded, it allows for very wide windows to be covered, but it also has a couple of issues that you need to be aware of.

Ripple Effect on Railroaded Fabric

Not all fabrics can be railroaded. You need to check the specifications with the fabricator to make sure that the fabric has the ability to be turned 90 degrees. In this case even, the manufacturer of the fabric does not recommend that it be railroaded, but the team who builds them is comfortable with doing it. I also gave my consent based on the look of the material and the stability of the fabric.

When you railroad a fabric, you have a material that is not as comfortable as it would be if it was hanging in the direction that it spent resting on the original fabric roll. Due to the 90 degree difference in direction, the material can be prone to a couple of things. One is that you can get a subtle curving at the edge of the fabric as it runs down from the top to the bottom of the shade. The other thing that happens is that some materials can get a rippling effect. Take a look at the photo to see what that looks like.

What Choice Should You Make?

This is the big question. When we work with you on your project, we get all the information that helps us guide you through the process. When we worked with this couple on their patio sliding door, we talked for a couple of hours. This allowed us to go over every single option. By doing so, we made sure that we covered every detail in helping them choose not only the function of their sliding glass door window covering, but also helping them get the style that they love. We help you to do the same thing. Please reach out if we can assist you.

About Us

Kempler Design is located in Reno NV and serves the northern Nevada and Lake Tahoe regions with a mobile design showroom. Paul Kempler, its founder is considered a window fashions expert. Kempler Design has been featured in many prestigious projects, including the HGTV dream home in Lake Tahoe. Kempler Design works with homeowners as well as interior design firms looking for a local contact in the Reno/Tahoe area or is available for travel

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