Patio Blind FAQs

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Patio Blind FAQs

Contents

Which type of blind would suit my needs best?

What are the pros and cons of each blind system?

How much does a typical Patio Blind cost?

Can I install them myself to save money?

What is the process of buying a blind through Straitline®?

How long will my blinds last?

How long before I get my blinds?

Clear PVC or Outdoor 3000 Mesh: which is best for me?

How is each blind system mounted?

How will my blinds handle wind?

What are the requirements for the posts in my outdoor area?

Solutions to common issues

Why do my Clear PVC Blinds look wrinkly?

Are there any known issues with Clear PVC blinds?

How will my blinds cope with rain?

How big are the flush rings (fold flat rings) on Tension and Gearbox blinds?

Can I have a pelmet box on my Ziptrak blinds?

I have a plaster house. Can I still have blinds?

How do Straitline® Patio Blinds compare to ‘off-the-shelf’ ready-made blinds?

Do Straitline® Patio Blinds have a warranty?

If I have an issue, will you fix it?

When are patio blinds NOT required?

Do patio blinds have other names?

 

Which type of blind would suit my needs best?

These are the most common needs that have been presented to us over the years, you may fit into one of the following categories:

  • High wind zone: Tension
  • Ease of use: Ziptrak
  • Superior weather seal: Zip
  • Extra large gap: Ziptrak or Tension
  • No top beam: Ziptrak or Gearbox
  • Disabled or elderly user: Ziptrak
  • Angled top beam: Tension or Zip
  • High use/doorway: Ziptrak
  • On a budget: Zip, Tension or Fixed
  • Louvre roof: Ziptrak or Tension
  • Grass/dirt floor/pavers: Zip or Ziptrak
  • Plaster house wall: Tension or Gearbox

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What are the pros and cons of each blind system?

Zip: cheaper, simple, easy to use, best weather seal, max width of 3.5m, bit clunky in the wind.

Tension: cheaper, strongest blind, storm proof, makes the fabric look the best, does not require side fixings, max width 6.5m, most difficult blind to operate.

Gearbox: does not require side fixings, easy to operate, level top, large gaps on sides, max width 3.5m, can mount just about anywhere, more expensive.

Ziptrak: easiest and fastest blinds to operate, no bending over or stretching required to operate, decent weather seal, no top or floor mounting required, level top, max width 5.5m, does not hold fabric under much tension which creates large amount of movement in the wind, difficult to install, most expensive system, can be left at half retraction.

Fixed: Cheapest blind, cannot be rolled up, usually have a superior weather seal (depending on bottom fixing), usually enables longest lifespan of fabric.

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How much does a typical Patio Blind cost?

Pricing is varied by many factors, including:

  • Which system you choose
  • Blind size
  • DIY or professional installation (DIY not available for Ziptrak)
  • Number of blinds purchased at the same time

On average you will be looking at $1,200.00 incl. GST for Zip or Tension, and $2,000.00 incl. GST for Gearbox or Ziptrak. Please note these are very rough estimates. We will always give you a firm quote before you purchase blinds.

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Can I install them myself to save money?

Yes you can! Zip, Tension, and Fixed are very simple to install with basic tools and our installation instructions. Gearbox is bit more difficult, but very doable if you have some DIY experience.

Ziptrak blinds are very tricky to install, so we strongly advise against attempting to install them yourself.

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What is the process of buying a blind through Straitline®?

Like all things these days, it usually starts with a google search and a browse through our website. After that you can contact us through the website, call us, or pop into our showroom for a play with our full sized demo blinds and flick through our fabric swatches. 

Our office staff will give you pricing if you bring them measurements. If you need advice on what blind would suit best bring a picture of the gap you want to fill with you. We will give you pricing while you wait in our showroom, and also email it so you have it in writing.

Once you agree and are happy with the price, we will email you an invoice for a 40% deposit to confirm your order. Next, one of our Shades & Blinds team will get in touch to set an appointment for an onsite measure up (unless you are SUPER confident in your measurements). When they are onsite they will measure each gap, advise on how each blind will mount to your outdoor area and explain how we expect each blind to work. They will also have fabric swatches and mini demo blinds with them, so you can go over the choices you have made in further detail. 

After the measure up is complete your blinds will be put into production. If you are installing them yourself (not available for Ziptrak), the office will call you to let you know when they are ready for collection. If we are installing them, our install team will contact you to arrange installation when the blinds are ready. Our install team will not need access to inside your house and seldom requires power, as we use battery operated tooling (if we need to do a lot of concrete drilling sometimes a power outlet is preferred). So, please don’t feel like you need to be available for them to complete their work – we just need access to your outdoor area.

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How long will my blinds last?

Patio blinds last 8-10 years if well maintained and protected from extreme weather events. Ziptrak hardware is expected to last beyond 10 years (which is the maximum life of the blind skin if well maintained). Please note Clear PVC will start to show its age after 5-6 years through accumulative scratches, crinkles and moisture absorption (if left rolled up for periods of time).

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How long before I get my blinds?

Our usual turnaround time for Patio Blinds is 4 weeks. Christmas time usually blows out to 6 weeks. We had to stop taking orders for completion in 2021 in late October, so if we are really busy lead times can and do change. We recommend you ask our customer services team when you order blinds – they will be able to explain how busy we currently are. We really appreciate the confidence the local (and beyond) community puts in our service and product through a constant stream of enquiry.

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Clear PVC or Outdoor 3000 Mesh: which is best for me?

Outdoor 3000 does not suffer from any of the issues as described above, it is stronger, dimensionally stable, does not scratch easily, does not wrinkle to the same degree, does not crease as easily, is lighter and does not go cloudy. There are only two reasons why you would choose Clear PVC over Outdoor 3000 Mesh (and these two reasons are strong enough that despite all its draw backs, Clear PVC is still the most popular blind fabric):

  1. Clear PVC is more like glass, it does not distort your field of view like Outdoor 3000 Mesh does.
  2. Clear PVC is fully waterproof. Outdoor 3000 Mesh is mostly waterproof, but does let a fine mist through in a driving rain.

To explain further on the mesh distorting your field of vision: in our experience we have found the mesh to behave a lot like net curtains inside your house; very effective at giving privacy and seeing through unless there is significantly more light inside the outdoor area than outside. During the daylight hours, you should be able to see your kids in the backyard, distinguish who is approaching or enjoy your view. Also, we have found that the darker the colour you go for, the easier it is to see through the mesh (not a huge difference, but still a difference). If your outdoor area has a clear-lite roof (especially with no or light tint) and you choose a lighter colour of Outdoor 3000 Mesh, then you may have trouble with visibility.

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How is each blind system mounted?

Zip Blinds: continuous mounting top and sides, nothing fixed to floor.

Tension Blinds: continuous mounting along top, 2-6 flush rings (fold flat rings) on the floor depending on blind size.

Gearbox Blinds: 1x bracket on each end of the roller tube of the top (which can be side mounted, top mounted or face mounted) and 2x flush rings (fold flat rings) on the floor.

Ziptrak blinds: tracks and brackets mount to the sides of the gap (on either the inside or face of the gap), nothing fixes on the top or floor.

Fixed Blinds: typically the same as Zip Blinds, but do have the option of continuous floor mounting if required.

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How will my blinds handle wind?

Manawatu consistently has some of the strongest winds in the country (especially during spring) which has ultimately led to the development of our very own Tension Blind system. The tension blind system can be left down in all weather conditions: all it requires is that you ensure it is nice and tight. So, if you live in a high wind zone and want some permanent relief then this is the product for you. 

An average sized Ziptrak blind has been tested in a wind tunnel and can cope with winds of up to 80km/h (this is dependent on total surface area of the blind and length of the roller tube/bottom bar, basically the smaller the better). When we compared how Ziptrak deals with the wind compared to our Tension blind system however there is a big difference. The fabric in a Ziptrak Blind is not held under much tension so you can expect movement and noise. Tension blinds on the other hand hold the fabric so tightly that movement and noise is kept to a minimum (hence why we named it Tension). 

Zip and Gearbox Systems can’t cope with the wind as well as Ziptrak and Tension Systems which is why we limit the total width to 3.5m. 

The Fixed System is the dark horse here, Fixed blinds are typically small and often odd shaped (very popular for a gable end) and thus have a high success rate in high wind zones. If we were to make a full-sized Fixed Blind in place of a Tension Blind, it certainly would have more fabric movement and not withstand strong storm winds. Without any way to easily take Fixed blinds down it would be irresponsible of us to manufacture and sell blinds that would be set up to fail (so we don’t).

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What are the requirements for the posts in my outdoor area?

Zip, Fixed and Ziptrak require full height mounting on each side of the gap. Gearbox and Tension blinds do not attach on the sides, so do not require any kind of post at all to operate. If you are planning on having Ziptrak blinds on both the front and sides of your outdoor area, it is strongly recommended you go with a 130mm square post at a minimum size. This is to allow enough room for the roller tube brackets to mount without clashing with the perpendicular (end gap) blind.

Laminated timber posts are our preference as they are easy to mount to and do not warp over time, but we can and have mounted our blinds to just about everything, be it twisted timber posts, 10mm thick i-beams, bricks, aluminium posts, round posts, telephone poles, concrete walls, you name it we have done it! What we cannot fix to plaster over polystyrene, schist and caged rock pillars – in these instances a small timber post should be installed by your builder to give your blinds a good mounting point.

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Solutions to common issues

  • Ziptrak gets jammed or is difficult to roll up: clean and lubricate the tracks with the cleaner and lubricant provided with your blinds. If you have run out, you can order more from our website: www.straitline.co.nz/shadesblindsparts Alternatively this could be caused by the wind blowing into your blind which increases friction in the side tracks, to combat this push the blind in the centre to try and equalise the wind pressure as you lift the bottom bar.
  • Zip blind clunks in the wind: check placement of supplied foam pads, screw bottom bar to post, roll up blind during windy times when outdoor area is not in use.
  • Dog chewed the side of my blind (yes this is more common than you might think): call Straitline® to get it repaired!

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Why do my Clear PVC Blinds look wrinkly?

Sometimes clear PVC can look a bit wrinkly. Usually, this is expected and there are several reasons why it can happen: 

  1. Clear PVC is not dimensionally stable, so it stretches/relaxes in the heat and shrinks/hardens in the cold. Because it is not dimensionally stable, clear plastic requires a border or frame to support it (otherwise it could loose its shape completely). The combination of the stable border or frame and unstable Clear PVC centre panel is exactly what creates wrinkles. If the clear plastic shrinks the border tends to wrinkle, if it stretches the Clear PVC tends to wrinkle.
  2. Clear PVC is susceptible to heat damage. We have found that leaving a blind rolled up (especially on a steel tube) and left outside on the floor in the sun is a very bad idea! The heat from the sun gets trapped between the layers of clear plastic and heats up the tube in an infinite loop until the clear plastic starts to melt. If it gets too hot the clear plastic can get a permanent stippled effect, if it completely overheats it can burn and turn black. The good news is that under normal circumstances this will never happen to a properly designed and installed patio blind. It’s because of our experience seeing a few burnt blinds that we now know exactly what to look out for moving forward. We always try to mount the blinds so that they are protected from the sun when retraced/rolled up. When this is not possible, we strongly recommend an exterior mounted Ziptrak blind with a fully enclosed pelmet box or to go with our outdoor mesh fabric instead.
  3. Unlike the fabric clothes are made from, heavy duty PVC blinds can have permanent wrinkles or crease marks that will never come out. If the fabric gets folded hard over onto itself it will create a permanent crease mark. Fortunately with normal use of the blinds this should never happen. This is why care should be taken when rolling up manually wound Zip and Tension blinds, to ensure the fabric rolls nice and evenly. This is also why Gearbox and Ziptrak blinds are the preferred option if you intend to leave your blinds up for long periods of time (because the fabric is automatically stored in a nice and even manner on their roller tubes).

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Are there any known issues with Clear PVC blinds?

Clear PVC has a couple more common draw backs which I also want to address:

  • Clear PVC scratches and marks easily. It is soft enough to permanently dent with your fingernail, so if it is left to rub on something (e.g. back of a chair) for any extended period of time, you can expect a cloudy patch of scratches which will not buff out.
  • Clear PVC can absorb water vapour. If your blind is rolled up wet this can cause the clear PVC to become opaque, as the water inside the roll evaporates the clear PVC will absorb it as it can’t escape to the atmosphere.  This opaqueness will clear if you roll the blind down and leave it in the sun for a few days. Note as the clear PVC ages it will naturally harden, and the harder it becomes the less likely the blind will recover from becoming opaque.  This situation can usually be avoided by either waiting to roll the blind up when it is dry or getting the blind back down as soon as possible to dry out.

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How will my blinds cope with rain?

Zip and Fixed blinds offer the best rain protection. They are screwed on to each gap on both sides and along the top. A thick 40mm flap under the bottom of the blind folds flat onto the floor, so there is very little opportunity for water to get through.

Ziptrak has aluminium tracks which are screwed on each side of the gap. It has a 15mm or 40mm soft rubber seal on the bottom of the bottom bar and a flashing along the top. Generally speaking, they are very effective at keep water out, but we have had feedback that a puddle can form under the bottom bar when the rain and wind situation is just right.

Tension and Gearbox systems both have sides that do not fix to the sides of the gap. Depending on how wonky the sides of your gaps are (please think of a schist pillar or old warped timber post) there can be significant gaps which will let some rain through. We aim for a 10mm gap on the sides of a Tension blind (which in reality does not let enough rain or wind through to make your outdoor area unusable in bad weather), and an average Gearbox Blind will have about 40mm gaps on the sides (which does let a significant amount of rain and wind through).

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How big are the flush rings (fold flat rings) on Tension and Gearbox blinds?

Our customers are often concerned about having fold flat rings on their floor as a trip hazard. We have sourced the smallest stainless steel fold flat rings we can find that are up to the job. They are less than 10mm high when folded flat and have a footprint of 35mm wide and 55mm long. After manufacturing and installing countless numbers of Tension and Gearbox Blinds with these rings we have never had a single complaint about them.

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Can I have a pelmet box on my Ziptrak blinds?

Yes, we have a fully enclosed pelmet box available. It usually adds 30-40% to the cost of the blind, often the aesthetic benefit does not outweigh the cost. We do recommend their use in a situation where a Ziptrak blind must be mounted on the outside of a gap, which exposes the roller tube to the sun (the most common causes for outside mount include brackets holding your pergola together, small posts which cause corner blinds to clash, louvre roof winders and deck balustrades).

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I have a plaster house. Can I still have blinds?

Unfortunately, we cannot fix a blind to a plaster over polystyrene house. The leaky home risk of drilling holes in that type of exterior cladding is just too high to justify.  A timber post installed along the wall is strongly recommended (and if we are installing your blinds then installing a post is your only option).

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How do Straitline® Patio Blinds compare to ‘off-the-shelf’ ready-made blinds?

Comparing an off the shelf blind with a custom made blind is like comparing a Moped to a Mercedes! When the cheaply made blinds first hit the market we knew we could not compete on price, so we ensured our point of difference (high quality, custom fitting blinds) was strong. We have tested fabrics from all around the world to ensure we are using the best fabric we can get our hands on. We chose the Japanese made Archilles clear PVC as we have had a huge level of success with clarity, longevity, strength and useability, Austrian made Sattler PVC for the border fabric (which we import ourselves in vast quantities, it is our go to fabric for all sorts of applications) and German made Mehler Outdoor 3000 mesh (which we also import) as it has a very high UV resistance, strength and quality. Through vast amounts of trial and error we developed our patio blind systems into our current line up, we can confidently fill 99% of gaps with a high quality blind that will always fit.

Off the shelf blinds seldom fit your gap, are often made out of cheap or inferior quality fabric, have poor clarity in their clear plastic and do not have a very long lifespan. We do understand that not everyone has the budget to enclose their area in our blinds, we wish that they didn’t have to be so expensive but we cannot compromise on quality.  We choose to not service the budget end of the market because the multinational department store giants have it all tied up. At the end of the day we are proud to be able to offer such a high-end product!!

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Do Straitline® Patio Blinds have a warranty?

We do not have a formal warranty set up for our products, however if something goes wrong because of a faulty component or if we got something wrong in the manufacture/install process then we will sort it out for you!! There is no need to worry, we do not leave any of our customers hanging.

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If I have an issue, will you fix it?

Unfortunately sometimes we have issues with our blinds, we are a team of humans and humans make mistakes from time to time!! If your blind is a different size to what we agreed it should be, or if some component fails due to poor workmanship, we will repair or replace it to ensure you get the quality you have paid for.

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When are patio blinds NOT required?

A lot of our customers get focused on fully enclosing their outdoor area. Generally speaking if you just block the prevailing wind (usually the westerly) your outdoor area will become 90% more usable. Half the blinds will equal more money to throw that big BBQ!!

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Do Patio Blinds have other names?

Yes, patio blinds can be called a wide variety of names:

  • Clear screens
  • Clear blinds
  • Outdoor blinds
  • Outdoor roller blinds
  • Deck canvases
  • Outdoor dropdown awnings

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Patio Blind FAQs — Contact Straitline

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Zip Patio Blinds

Zip system manual patio blinds, custom designed for New Zealand weather.

Tension Patio Blinds

Tension system manual patio blinds, custom designed for New Zealand weather.

Gearbox Patio Blinds

Gearbox Patio Blinds, custom designed for New Zealand weather. Easy to use and cost-effective.

Ziptrak® Patio Blinds

Ziptrak® Patio Blinds, spring-loaded for ultimate ease of use. Slides in side tracks for a better seal.

Patio Blind FAQs

Got a question about Patio Blinds? Wondering if they are right for your area? Read our Frequently Asked Questions to find out more.