Thermal Drapes or Blackout Curtains?

Why would you consider choosing either Thermal Drapes or Blackout Curtains?

  • Energy Loss reduction
  • Sun Fade Protection for your upholstered pieces & wood floors
  • Summertime cooler room temperatures

Both blackout curtains and thermal drapes offer all of these benefits.  Unique advantages and disadvantages are offered by each and determining which is most appropriate for your application is your challenge.  Start with the knowledge that a curtain is a one-layer window treatment, and a drape has at least two layers. Decide what you need your window coverings to do for you, and then choose the type of treatment that best meets your needs.

Blackout Curtains

  • Advantages: Blackout curtains offer complete privacy when closed. The blackout functionality is manufactured into the fabric…consequently, these fabrics tend to be thicker. Having one layer of fabric makes the construction of the curtain easier, because there is no lining layer to contend with. This also decreases the overall cost of the window treatment, but blackout fabrics also tend to be more expensive than regular drapery fabric. Blackout curtains do not allow light to pass through into the room, thereby protecting any sun fade-susceptible surface and reducing cooling energy costs.
  • Disadvantages:  Polyester (prone to static buildup) is most often the blackout component of blackout fabric.  Often, the bottom edges of curtains to flare, almost as if the folds repel each other. Adding lining can alleviate some of the flare, but there is no certainty that it will work, and this increases the cost and weight of the window treatment. Often the only solution is attaching a chain across the back of the curtains at hem level. Fabric color and print choices may be more limited with blackout fabric, and the polyester component affects the type of fabric available.

Thermal Drapes

  • Advantages:  Most often, thermal drapes have two layers: (1) a drapery fabric layer and (2) an insulating thermal lining.  A third layer…the (3) thermal lining component,  is often sandwiched between a regular drapery lining and the drapery fabric. Thermal drapes used in conjunction with valances and installed with a few technical tips can decrease energy loss through a window by up to 25 percent. If the thermal lining is either black flannel, as used in interlined drapes, or a blackout thermal lining, the drapes add blackout functionality to the window treatment.
  • Disadvantages: Because they’re heavy and need sturdy hardware to anchor Thermal drapes safely & securely to the wall…they can be can be a bit more cumbersome with some additional expense.  The sewing difficulty level is also higher than normal…lending itself to being manufactured by a professional custom drapery maker. Blackout and thermal lining fabric tends be unsuitable for dry-cleaning, and drapery fabric is typically not washable, so care needs to be taken in choosing the appropriate fabric combinations. With the added layers of interlining or just the thermal lining, these drapes occupy 15 to 30 percent more window space when in the open position than do curtains.

A third option to drapes & curtains is a select group of Hunter Douglas wood and metal blinds with maximum light-blocking qualities.  Uniquely designed to minimize light gaps, seams and rout holes…known as the de-Light™ feature.

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