Winter Cafe PVC Blinds: The Good, the Bad & the Ugly
Clear and Tinted PVC Cafe Blinds are a popular winter product. They can be used in a Zipscreen, Ziptrak, or Zip Roll Up style Cafe Blind. Some companies call them Bistro Blinds. Customers like them because they effectively stop wind and rain without reducing the view. This creates an enclosed outdoor living/entertaining area.
About Clear PVC Blinds
PVC is used extensively for outdoor blinds and the marine industry. There are three types for the market; calendared, extruded, or pressed, each type named after its form of manufacture. All three are identical in composition but differ in the quality of surface finish, which determines the degree of visual clarity.
The most commonly used product in the blind industry is calendared as it combines rigidity, thickness, and cost-effectiveness. Some companies market Marine grade™ PVC blinds which use the extruded process. The Marine grade clarity is greater especially when looking through on an angle but it is chemically identical. Stan Bond offers but does not recommend, Marine grade/extruded PVC as an option because it degrades at the same rate as other Clear PVC’s and is more expensive.
Clear PVC is highly susceptible to degradation due to exposure to ultra-violet light and pollutants in the atmosphere. Over time it will turn yellow, milky, and brittle. UV inhibitors are added during the manufacturing process but blinds left down in sunny positions will have a life of around 5 years. Stan Bond uses the best supply chains available to secure High Quality Japanese Clear PVC but we find this still occurs even on our blinds.
To see what we mean by this check out blinds on cafes along Melbourne St, Gouger St, or Glenelg.
Shrinkage / Bagging
PVC based products often have a great deal of stretch/shrink in them. This means if the blind is manufactured in Summer it may be tight in the winter time, and vice versa, if made in Winter it will be baggy on a hot day.
As one of the main manufacturers in Adelaide, we are often called on to repair Zip Roll Up Blinds made by companies that are no longer trading. Commonly the blinds have been made too small and pulled tight to give the impression of a nice flat product. Over time this tension breaks the stitching or zippers requiring repairs.
PVC can create a glass house effect which on sunny days can make the blinds too hot to have down. Dark Tint or Mesh based fabrics are often better suited for openings that will be exposed to significant direct sunlight.
Clear PVC has a soft surface and is prone to scratching during its manufacture, installation, or lifetime. Small light surface scratches are unavoidable and can spoil the glass view of new Clear PVC Blinds. This is less of an issue on tinted products. Scratching can be reduced by good cleaning practices.
Manufacturing and selling Plastic Blinds is a mixed blessing. There is no doubt that in some situations Clear or Tinted PVC blinds are the best product choice. This is especially where the blinds are not too large, 100% wind and rain block is required and the blind is on a southern facing. However, in many cases, customers are hoping for PVC blinds to achieve a result that is just not possible for the product. Remember Clear PVC is not Glass!
For better results, we generally recommend customers use 95% Mesh-Based fabric such as Outlook Mode which still provides significant protection from Wind & Rain without many of the risks associated with PVC blinds.
Check Out our Range of Blinds
Ziptrak Blinds – Great for enclosing outdoor areas from the weather.
Straight Drop Blinds – The simplest form of Clear PVC Bistro Blind.
Zipscreen Blinds – Often not recommended for Clear PVC but can be perfect for smaller drops.