Window Blinds - Bali, Levolor, Hunter Douglas

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joppy
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Window Blinds - Bali, Levolor, Hunter Douglas

Postby joppy » Sun Apr 14, 2013 9:09 pm

New to this home ownership shindig, and have to figure out what kind of blinds to get. In terms of brands, I want something that will not have a cheap, rickety mechanism that gets stuck and causes annoyance. Otherwise want relatively plain vanilla blinds that are inexpensive and reliable. Home Depot has Bali and Levolor and some other blind stores promote Hunter Douglas, which appears to be the "premium" brand. The pricing spans almost a factor of 20 from the cheapest ($30/window) to the most expensive I looked at ($600/window). It goes higher than that, but that ($600/window) was already too rich for my taste.

Question: What price-point and brand should I be looking at for a good tradeoff between quality and price?

Thanks,
Joppy

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6miths
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Re: Window Blinds - Bali, Levolor, Hunter Douglas

Postby 6miths » Sun Apr 14, 2013 9:22 pm

We've got both Hunter Douglas and Levolor (and others). I'm not sure where they have all come from. The Hunter Douglas seem to be higher quality but the blinds that we have from Home Depot have held up well and were much less expensive. On the venetians the weak point in the design seems to be the connection between the wand that controls the louvre angle and its mechanism.
'It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so!' Mark Twain

cbeck
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Re: Window Blinds - Bali, Levolor, Hunter Douglas

Postby cbeck » Sun Apr 14, 2013 10:11 pm

The last time I bought blinds was online from this company:
http://www.justblinds.com/

They were much cheaper than name brands and otherwise just as good.

Khanmots
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Re: Window Blinds - Bali, Levolor, Hunter Douglas

Postby Khanmots » Sun Apr 14, 2013 10:27 pm

I ordered blinds from Select Blinds when I purchased my house 3 years ago. Note that at least at that time they always had some sale going on... so their "normal" prices were anything but. Anyways, I measured all my windows, put in my order and everything showed up cut to the correct width and the correct height. Haven't had any issues with them yet.

mud
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Re: Window Blinds - Bali, Levolor, Hunter Douglas

Postby mud » Sun Apr 14, 2013 10:54 pm

I had great results with blinds.com just a few months ago. we did 6 windows...and we went with their house brand double-cell blinds (3 light filtering, and 3 blackout). They've been fantastic with customer support when needed, and while their prices weren't bottom of the barrel, I feel like we got what we paid for. And they tend to always have sales, so watch for deals on the ones you want.

ieee488
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Re: Window Blinds - Bali, Levolor, Hunter Douglas

Postby ieee488 » Mon Apr 15, 2013 9:51 am

My downstairs windows were big so I hired BudgetBlinds to do it.
The blinds were made overseas, and the installation was excellent.

For the upstairs I bought two faux wood miniblinds from a local Blinds to Go store, three honeycomb/cellular blinds from one online website, and six faux wood miniblinds from a second online website. I chose the slightly more expensive made-in-USA blinds.
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cheapskate
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Re: Window Blinds - Bali, Levolor, Hunter Douglas

Postby cheapskate » Mon Apr 15, 2013 10:02 am

ieee488 wrote:My downstairs windows were big so I hired BudgetBlinds to do it.
The blinds were made overseas, and the installation was excellent.


I want to second Budget Blinds. I stumbled upon them googling. Saw excellent Yelp reviews for the local franchises. And had blinds for 1/2 the house done by them.

I am very happy with the decision. They come out to your home, measure, show you the choices. Once you place the order and the product comes in, they come in and install.

I did not do price comparison shopping, because the reviewers on Yelp indicated that the pricing is very competitive.

Rupert
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Re: Window Blinds - Bali, Levolor, Hunter Douglas

Postby Rupert » Mon Apr 15, 2013 10:09 am

I've ordered Levolor blinds through the Home Depot website before (it's cheaper to do it through Home Depot than directly from Levolor, btw). I've been very satisfied.

bungalow10
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Re: Window Blinds - Bali, Levolor, Hunter Douglas

Postby bungalow10 » Mon Apr 15, 2013 10:36 am

We've been happy with Blinds.com. We've used them for our rentals (which is awesome, just to be able to store the dimensions with them and reorder when we need to), and our home. We've purchased lots of cheap miniblinds for our rental that have held up as well as or better than hardware store blinds, as well as nicer blinds for our home.

I'm in love with their cheap cord-free miniblinds for my kids' rooms. They work so well, are easy to clean, and there's no cord or wants to break or be a safety hazard (or eyesore). We have their bottom-up cellular shades for our room and are very happy with those too.

We have had to have some blinds remade, but the process has been painless -just a phone call and they send out the new blinds. No shipping the old ones back.
An elephant for a dime is only a good deal if you need an elephant and have a dime.

Mudpuppy
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Re: Window Blinds - Bali, Levolor, Hunter Douglas

Postby Mudpuppy » Mon Apr 15, 2013 12:27 pm

Don't skimp on the installation. It's clear the previous owner went for mid-priced vertical blinds but budget installation. The reason why that is clear is because several of the blinds have fallen out of the windows over the years I have owned the house. Each one that has fallen out has had signs of sloppy installation (mostly wrong screws or not enough brackets for the length of the window). It's now on my list of things to address during my vacation this summer.

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OAG
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Re: Window Blinds - Bali, Levolor, Hunter Douglas

Postby OAG » Mon Apr 15, 2013 12:52 pm

Used budget blinds 7+years ago. Vertical style and they still look and operate like new. Did every window in the house (25). Cheapest available.
OAG=Old Army Guy. Retired CW4 USA (US Army) in 1979.

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serbeer
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Re: Window Blinds - Bali, Levolor, Hunter Douglas

Postby serbeer » Mon Apr 15, 2013 1:51 pm

Bought my blinds at HomeDepot. Got wide vertical style. They custom cut it for your window/balcony door size right there in the store, and installation is easy. They served me well for nearly 10 years now.

EagertoLearnMore
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Re: Window Blinds - Bali, Levolor, Hunter Douglas

Postby EagertoLearnMore » Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:15 am

Have used Hunter Douglas in the past and IMO there was nothing superior about them other than the price. This past time we used "Budget Blinds" and they measured and installed too. We were very pleased with the selection as well as the workmanship. It is a franchise so that may depend on the location.

ndchamp
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Re: Window Blinds - Bali, Levolor, Hunter Douglas

Postby ndchamp » Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:40 am

Another vote for Budget Blinds.
Great quality, easy installation. Even if you don't go with them, they will probably provide some options that you hadn't thought of. :idea:
Very professional work.

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Wading Ashore
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Hunter Douglas

Postby Wading Ashore » Tue Apr 16, 2013 6:50 pm

EagertoLearnMore wrote:Have used Hunter Douglas in the past and IMO there was nothing superior about them other than the price.


Definitely agree. Had two bad experiences with Hunter-Douglas, at two different stores. Products delivered were way off the sample color, but HD was unresponsive and uncooperative.

Most recently, they pushed a "program" they call "Right Choice Promise" in which they maintain you just didn't like the color and they'll give you a different one - for an extra fee. Bottom line - they mess up, you wind up with something you didn't originally want, you pay extra for it, and you have no guarantee that it will be any better than the first product! Left quite a bad taste.
Last edited by Wading Ashore on Mon Apr 22, 2013 3:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Jack shall have Jill, nought shall go ill, the man shall have his mare again, and all will be well.

redlbj01
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Re: Window Blinds - Bali, Levolor, Hunter Douglas

Postby redlbj01 » Sat Apr 20, 2013 10:33 pm

joppy wrote:New to this home ownership shindig, and have to figure out what kind of blinds to get. In terms of brands, I want something that will not have a cheap, rickety mechanism that gets stuck and causes annoyance. Otherwise want relatively plain vanilla blinds that are inexpensive and reliable. Home Depot has Bali and Levolor and some other blind stores promote Hunter Douglas, which appears to be the "premium" brand. The pricing spans almost a factor of 20 from the cheapest ($30/window) to the most expensive I looked at ($600/window). It goes higher than that, but that ($600/window) was already too rich for my taste.

Question: What price-point and brand should I be looking at for a good tradeoff between quality and price?

Thanks,
Joppy


I actually work for one of the 3 companies you listed as a Regional Sales Rep (I won't mention which). As unbiased as I can be, it really comes to the following:

(1) Your Budget
(2) Your need for a specific finish/color
(3) Options and upgrades you may wish to have (cordless for example is very popular).

I would avoid the "cut in store" blinds as they tend to have very cheap internal mechanisms (you get what you pay for in that regard). When you go the "custom" route, it truly comes down to which look you like the best, brand has very little to do with it overall. However, in specific categories (real wood, roman shades, etc), brands tend to outshine others.
(1) Real Wood: Bali, Levolor, HD are all good here
(2) Roman: Bali and HD have nice selection.
(3) Natural: Bali, HD, and Levolor good here
(4) Cellular: Levolor tends to lead the pack here due to superior fabrics and price point, but Bali does good in this category to.
(5) Silhouettes: HD's proprietary product. GORGEOUS, but expensive. You always tend to see this on this home remodel shows on DIY network...

I would suggest you do some research on the "type" of blind you are looking for and what function it's supposed to give you:

Blinds
(1) Real Wood: The most stains available (typically furniture quality), and the lightest in the "wood blind" category (real, faux, composite). Also tends to have the most options, BUT has a higher price point. Can bow in high moisture areas, so be careful here. Lots of nice options to...
(2) Faux Wood: Good value compared to the real wood. Since it's just PVC, no issues with moisture like a real wood. BUT be wary of putting these in high heat windows, as they bow VERY easily. Also, if you plan on lifting these up a lot, they tend to be very very heavy.
(3) Composite Wood: MIxture of the above 2 styles. Moisture resistant, and wont bow as easy. Tend to be very durable, but can feel fake and "plasticky". Price point is in between faux and real wood. Limited options.
(4) Metal: Inexpensive option. Metal slats can bend/crimp easily if you get a lower gauge (8 gauge is better than 6). Some nicer models can have a few bell and whistles.
(5) Vinyl: Lots of colors. Cheap. But can break easy.
(6) Vertical: Typically for sliding glass door. Good value for the square footage. But, not as trendy as it used to be. Unless you live in FL that is....

Shades
(1) Cellular: Great price. Best insulator in the marketplace. Lots of options, fabrics, colors. VERY popular.
(2) Roman: Can be pricey. Lots of fabrics, and options to choose from.
(3) Natural: Very trendy, but pricey. Since a natural product, will change color over time.
(4) Roller: Making a come back in terms of style. Lots of higher end fabrics. Has a small "stack" compared to other shades.

Installation:
(1) if you are a DIYer, then installation tends to be very easy.

Width: 3 spots, measure frame to frame for Inside Mounts. Take the smallest
Height: 2 spots, measure top to bottom. Take the longest.
Depth: VERY IMPORTANT. Most people forget this one. How deep is the frame that the blind will be sitting in? If it is to thin, expect the blind to project out. Can be an issue with a couple of products. Wood Blinds can still look sharp in thin windows, but I'd suggest ordering an Outside Mount valance, but Inside Mount blind.

(2) Hire a professional Installer
Ask for references... VERY IMPORTANT. Be wary of the Big Box installers. They make very little from Big box customers, and the service is very hit or miss I've found in the years I've had to clean up their mistakes... I tend to suggest going with an independent installer for the measure and install. The only problem is, they tend to expect you to buy the blinds from them.
Ask for any credentials in the industry.
If you want higher end options, the best will know how to hard wire motorized shades.

Best of luck. Any other questions, let me know.

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Wading Ashore
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Re: Window Blinds - Bali, Levolor, Hunter Douglas

Postby Wading Ashore » Sat Apr 20, 2013 11:13 pm

5) Silhouettes: HD's proprietary product. GORGEOUS, but expensive. You always tend to see this on this home remodel shows on DIY network...


The two shades I got from HD were anything but "gorgeous," although they were certainly expensive.

The first was a pale pink that was delivered in an orange color, and the second was a linen beige that was delivered in a sickening greenish color. They obviously save the quality control for TV jobs.
Last edited by Wading Ashore on Mon Apr 22, 2013 3:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Jack shall have Jill, nought shall go ill, the man shall have his mare again, and all will be well.

joppy
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Re: Window Blinds - Bali, Levolor, Hunter Douglas

Postby joppy » Mon Apr 22, 2013 1:10 am

Thank you so much, all of you for your comments. Special thanks to redlbj01 --- I really appreciate getting this "insider" view. I had a few follow up questions:

1. How deep a window is necessary for Roman Blinds?

2. For roller blinds made from white linen, the documentation claims "light filtering" and "moderate privacy". What does "moderate privacy" mean? Are these appropriate for bedrooms?

3. What about light filtering cellular shades? Are these appropriate for a bedroom?

4. What are the best window coverings for maximum light and maximum privacy simultaneously? I know these two desires are mutually contradictory.

5. I am probably going to be buying from a big box retailer and was planning on using their installer. Should I be asking for references from their installer? What questions should I ask of the references? How would I know whether or not to use their installer? And if the installer fails the reference check, how do I find an alternate installer to install the blinds/shades from the big box retailer?

Thanks again,
Joppy

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EternalOptimist
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Re: Window Blinds - Bali, Levolor, Hunter Douglas

Postby EternalOptimist » Mon Apr 22, 2013 2:45 pm

I've had Levolor for over 30 years and they still look good.
"When nothing goes right....go left"

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Go Blue 99
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Re: Window Blinds - Bali, Levolor, Hunter Douglas

Postby Go Blue 99 » Sun Jul 16, 2017 8:59 pm

redlbj01 wrote:
joppy wrote:New to this home ownership shindig, and have to figure out what kind of blinds to get. In terms of brands, I want something that will not have a cheap, rickety mechanism that gets stuck and causes annoyance. Otherwise want relatively plain vanilla blinds that are inexpensive and reliable. Home Depot has Bali and Levolor and some other blind stores promote Hunter Douglas, which appears to be the "premium" brand. The pricing spans almost a factor of 20 from the cheapest ($30/window) to the most expensive I looked at ($600/window). It goes higher than that, but that ($600/window) was already too rich for my taste.

Question: What price-point and brand should I be looking at for a good tradeoff between quality and price?

Thanks,
Joppy


I actually work for one of the 3 companies you listed as a Regional Sales Rep (I won't mention which). As unbiased as I can be, it really comes to the following:

(1) Your Budget
(2) Your need for a specific finish/color
(3) Options and upgrades you may wish to have (cordless for example is very popular).

I would avoid the "cut in store" blinds as they tend to have very cheap internal mechanisms (you get what you pay for in that regard). When you go the "custom" route, it truly comes down to which look you like the best, brand has very little to do with it overall. However, in specific categories (real wood, roman shades, etc), brands tend to outshine others.
(1) Real Wood: Bali, Levolor, HD are all good here
(2) Roman: Bali and HD have nice selection.
(3) Natural: Bali, HD, and Levolor good here
(4) Cellular: Levolor tends to lead the pack here due to superior fabrics and price point, but Bali does good in this category to.
(5) Silhouettes: HD's proprietary product. GORGEOUS, but expensive. You always tend to see this on this home remodel shows on DIY network...

I would suggest you do some research on the "type" of blind you are looking for and what function it's supposed to give you:

Blinds
(1) Real Wood: The most stains available (typically furniture quality), and the lightest in the "wood blind" category (real, faux, composite). Also tends to have the most options, BUT has a higher price point. Can bow in high moisture areas, so be careful here. Lots of nice options to...
(2) Faux Wood: Good value compared to the real wood. Since it's just PVC, no issues with moisture like a real wood. BUT be wary of putting these in high heat windows, as they bow VERY easily. Also, if you plan on lifting these up a lot, they tend to be very very heavy.
(3) Composite Wood: MIxture of the above 2 styles. Moisture resistant, and wont bow as easy. Tend to be very durable, but can feel fake and "plasticky". Price point is in between faux and real wood. Limited options.
(4) Metal: Inexpensive option. Metal slats can bend/crimp easily if you get a lower gauge (8 gauge is better than 6). Some nicer models can have a few bell and whistles.
(5) Vinyl: Lots of colors. Cheap. But can break easy.
(6) Vertical: Typically for sliding glass door. Good value for the square footage. But, not as trendy as it used to be. Unless you live in FL that is....

Shades
(1) Cellular: Great price. Best insulator in the marketplace. Lots of options, fabrics, colors. VERY popular.
(2) Roman: Can be pricey. Lots of fabrics, and options to choose from.
(3) Natural: Very trendy, but pricey. Since a natural product, will change color over time.
(4) Roller: Making a come back in terms of style. Lots of higher end fabrics. Has a small "stack" compared to other shades.

Installation:
(1) if you are a DIYer, then installation tends to be very easy.

Width: 3 spots, measure frame to frame for Inside Mounts. Take the smallest
Height: 2 spots, measure top to bottom. Take the longest.
Depth: VERY IMPORTANT. Most people forget this one. How deep is the frame that the blind will be sitting in? If it is to thin, expect the blind to project out. Can be an issue with a couple of products. Wood Blinds can still look sharp in thin windows, but I'd suggest ordering an Outside Mount valance, but Inside Mount blind.

(2) Hire a professional Installer
Ask for references... VERY IMPORTANT. Be wary of the Big Box installers. They make very little from Big box customers, and the service is very hit or miss I've found in the years I've had to clean up their mistakes... I tend to suggest going with an independent installer for the measure and install. The only problem is, they tend to expect you to buy the blinds from them.
Ask for any credentials in the industry.
If you want higher end options, the best will know how to hard wire motorized shades.

Best of luck. Any other questions, let me know.


Thanks for the detailed summary. Are there any revisions you would make to this since you posted?

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gunn_show
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Re: Window Blinds - Bali, Levolor, Hunter Douglas

Postby gunn_show » Mon Jul 17, 2017 6:41 pm

6miths wrote:We've got both Hunter Douglas and Levolor (and others). I'm not sure where they have all come from. The Hunter Douglas seem to be higher quality but the blinds that we have from Home Depot have held up well and were much less expensive. On the venetians the weak point in the design seems to be the connection between the wand that controls the louvre angle and its mechanism.


+1 ... Levolor through HD and waited for the (several-times-per-year) 20-25% off sales to outfit most of my home. Had one 90" cellular black-out shade bust in the up/down mechanism, had a new one free within 1-2 weeks without much argument from HD. No complaints at all.

The remaining 3 bedrooms we remodeled later, and got a bid for matching faux-wood shutter blinds from 3 day blinds, and they are Hunter Douglas, and the price was cheaper using one of those Wednesday spam mailer coupons. Excellent quality, no complaints, look just like the Levolor, and I believe they were cheaper. I can't tell any difference between the brands, so I would get several bids and go with the best price. But give 3-D-B a call. The sales guy was so nice and helpful and not-pushy that I left a Yelp review recommendation for him. Total pro.
"I love competition. And I want to win." R. Murdoch

stm
Posts: 37
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Re: Window Blinds - Bali, Levolor, Hunter Douglas

Postby stm » Tue Jul 18, 2017 1:13 pm

Went through Lowe's, waited for a 20% off sale on Bali and then used a 10% mover's coupon and 12-15% discounted gift cards. Did real wood and nice valences on the first floor, and same color fake wood on 2nd floor and bathrooms. Still ended up spending $5-6K but can say the window treatments look really nice.


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