“Which blinds last the longest” is an important question and for many of us, directly proportional to how much we might be willing to spend on buying blinds as a result. The average lifespan of a window blind can be really variable if you’re just looking for hard figures, which doesn’t help; think a couple of years at the bottom end, up to a couple of decades at the top!
However, this does not mean that how long blinds last is just luck of the draw and you pays your money and takes your chances; there are a couple of variables that, when you know them, can allow you to make a reasonable estimate of the lifespan of blinds.
Read on to find out which blinds last the longest, and the average lifespan of blinds of different types (and why).
As a broad average, which blinds last the longest?
Right, let’s start with a broad answer to the question of which blinds last the longest. In order of the average longevity of a set of made-to-measure blinds of different types, we have:
- Vertical blinds
- Roman blinds
- Venetian blinds
- Faux wood blinds*
- Wooden blinds*
- Roller blinds
*Technically, wooden blinds and faux-wood blinds should last for around the same length of time in a regular room like a living room, and when handled and cared for properly.
However, I have given faux-wood blinds the edge here for two reasons; they’re a little more robust when faced with potential challenges like kids, plus they are waterproof and so, won’t die of inadvertent contact with water or humidity in the air.
Ultimately though when it comes to how long should blinds last on average, any good quality made-to-measure blind should last for at least a decade and quite possibly considerably longer.
In fact, part of the challenge for us in giving a really firm answer to the question of “how long should blinds last,” despite having been in business since the 1980s, is that folk that come to us for replacement blinds are usually seeking new ones because they want to redecorate in a new style rather than because their old blinds are falling apart!
How long should blinds last? Factors to consider
Basically, there are two things that in combination let you (or perhaps more to the point, us in the blinds trade) work out roughly how long blinds should last. These are the quality of the blind, and the type of blind it is too.
Quality-wise, the great schism in Blindsville is basically the divergence between the quality of made-to-measure blinds (any reputable company’s blinds, not just ours – although mainly ours, obvs) versus readymade blinds. Readymade blinds are far cheaper to buy, but they absolutely cannot hold a candle to made-to-measure blinds in terms of quality and so, longevity.
This is for a number of checkable reasons that I could expound on at great length, but in order to not bore you to death, I will simply summarise as the following:
Readymade blinds are mass-produced (usually overseas) with cheaper materials and poorer quality control protocols, they’re made down to a price not up to a standard, and they’re usually created in standard sizes that are designed to be cut down at home by the end buyer in order to make them fit the window.
This latter aspect alone goes a long way towards ensuring that the quality of a readymade blind by nature won’t match that of a made-to-measure one. Readymade blind fabrics and hard fixings and fittings need to be able to be doctored by their buyer with basic tools and skills, and this means they’re far flimsier than blinds that are made for a specific window and finished accordingly.
Even the structural integrity of the headrail of readymade blinds can suffer due to the need to allow for alteration after sale, before we start looking at the quality of the fabrics and mechanisms themselves.
In terms of general quality benchmarks, virtually all made-to-measure blinds are made with UV protection build in, are designed to insulate and resist marks and stains, and some are specifically developed to be highly fire-retardant such as faux wood blinds; all areas in which readymade blinds do the bare minimum required in accordance with the law, with a view to you replacing them a couple of years down the line.
I have kind of banged on a little more there than I intended to, and have still only scratched the surface. But in terms of which blinds last the longest out of readymade versus made-to-measure, made-to-measure are going to lap readymades several times in as near to a like-for-like comparison as can be made when it comes to their environment and handling.
Naturally, there can be a high degree of variance in the quality of any two readymade blinds with each other and any two made-to-measure blinds with each other; but readymade vs made-to-measure is the first big factor to take into account in quality terms and so, to determine how long should blinds last based on their pedigree and provenance.
How long should blinds last if you treat them with respect?
As I said in the intro, how long blinds last isn’t a lottery, and it very much starts with an understanding of the blind’s quality and the blind’s type.
However, when you’ve got your blinds home, how you treat them is integral to enabling them to potentially reach the higher end of their theoretical lifespan… Much like a pet rabbit or hamster.
You can extend the lifespan of any blind (or on the flipside, cause its early demise if you do the opposite) by ensuring it is hung properly in the first instance, and operated in a reasonable manner.
Now, to clarify that, no blind should be flimsy or require you to wear kid gloves to operate it, nor to tell the actual kids that we’re not opening the living room blinds today because they need a rest.
But if you’re very heavy handed, or particularly if kids consider the blinds as important characters in their battle re-enactments, your blinds are probably not going to live as long as they otherwise would. Cats that want to climb your blinds or batter them about have some culpability in this respect too, mine being worthy of his own slot on Crimewatch, should there be such a show made specifically for cats.
Something else that may not exactly fill the average blinds buyer with joy is the knowledge that cleaning your blinds regularly can and does ensure that they reach their full potential lifespan too. This helps to avoid all manner of problems like marks and staining becoming fixed, the controls starting to stick, or the operating mechanisms becoming furred up with dust and squeaking or jamming up when in use.
The good news here is that your average blind of any type just needs a light dusting every couple of weeks and potentially, a little squirt of WD40 in the mechanism if something starts to squeak or stick.
Finally, making sure you’re using the right blind for the job is important too; which essentially means using waterproof blinds in environments that are likely to result in contact with water or even a reasonable level of atmospheric humidity. This usually applies to blinds in kitchens and bathrooms, and if you want a quick primer on what type of blinds you can safely choose in this respect, have a look here.
Next then, I’ll look at how long different types or styles of blinds will last on average, and why.
How long do wooden blinds last?
If you’re talking about made-to-measure wooden blinds that you look after properly, the minimum lifespan of real wood blinds should be in the region of 7-8 years, and potentially 10-15 years if you’re particularly houseproud and attentive to their needs.
Wood is of course a natural product that is designed to be hardwearing and to look good for the long term, but like any other form of wooden furniture, it doesn’t suit all types of environments and applications. Used appropriately (which largely means operating them like an adult and not a heavy-handed kid, cleaning them regularly, and not using them in humid environments) you’re far more likely to get sick of the sight of them and want to replace them because you’re bored than because they’re on their last legs.
However, when it comes to the lifespan of readymade wooden blinds, these tend to fall at the lower end of the average lifespan for readymade blinds all told, often as little as 2 years before they start falling apart on you.
How long do faux wood blinds last?
Faux wood blinds are designed to handle water and humidity without hassle, and they’re also just sturdy in general (more so than real wood blinds to be fair), meaning that they can be used in kitchens and bathrooms without incident, and that they’re also going to be somewhat more forgiving of the occasional encounter with a toddler’s drumstick (either the percussion kind or the lollipop kind; faux wood blinds have you covered).
Made-to-measure faux wood blinds that are properly cared for and cleaned and that only have the occasional kid-sized assault upon their persons will easily last 7-8 years showing absolutely no signs of wear and tear, and potentially well into their mid to late teens in some cases too.
For readymade faux wood blinds, their lifespan can range between 2-5 years but other than if the wood veneer itself is of a particularly poor quality and starts to peel or acquire damage, will tend to last 3-5 years before requiring replacement.
How long do Venetian blinds last?
Venetian blinds are made from aluminium, which is lightweight, flexible, and won’t rust, crack, fade, or warp through exposure to moisture. This again makes them viable candidates for kitchens and bathrooms, and once more, made-to-measure Venetian blinds are highly likely to survive beyond your appreciation for them and end up being replaced because you want to redecorate rather than because they’ve borked on you.
In most cases, made-to-measure Venetian blinds will last for upwards of 12 years in good order; albeit if they’re handled roughly and/or beaten about by pets or children, this might herald their early demise.
Readymade Venetian blinds will last more in the ballpark of 3-5 years if properly cared for and operated with respect.
How long do roller blinds last?
Roller blinds have simplicity of design and operation in their “pros” column, which means that there’s not much that can functionally go wrong with them. On the “cons” side though, the quality of the fabric itself can let your blind down if you buy them readymade or on the cheap.
There are some functional issues that can go wrong with roller blinds too as they get older or if they were not that supersonic to start with, generally pertaining to roller blinds with a spring-operated design, which isn’t really commonly used in quality blinds today.
This can often be fixed though, as we’ve covered here, and if you do have an issue with the sidewinder operation (this being less common) your blind might get stiff to operate, which we’ve explained how to fix here.
Cutting to the chase then, how long do roller blinds last? Made-to-measure roller blinds will easily last 10 years plus, assuming you haven’t inadvertently chosen a non-waterproof roller blind for a watery or humid-y environment.
However, readymade roller blinds tend to be the cheapest blinds of all, and so have an average intended lifespan of 2-5 years that in reality, falls nearer to the 2 end in most cases.
How long do vertical blinds last?
Vertical blinds might look a little fey with all of their long fabric louvres swaying about in the breeze from an open window, and a great many of us who have worked in office-based roles have probably seen a set that were falling apart at the bottom where the chain connects the weights.
However, don’t let this fool you; made-to-measure vertical blinds are actually very robust, and sets that are visibly damaged will almost certainly have got well into double figures before that happened.
Vertical blinds can get a bit stiff to operate after a few years, but literally just a quick blast with the WD40 will sort that out.
How long do vertical blinds last then? Made-to-measure vertical blinds commonly last 15 years plus. Readymade vertical blinds don’t come close to this, but will potentially last up to around 5 years.
How long do Roman blinds last?
Finally, Roman blinds are like-for-like the priciest blinds in any given range of offerings, and so if you’re investing in a set you will probably be anxious to get your money’s worth.
When it comes to made-to-measure Roman blinds, these are luxury offerings made to a very high standard and from premium fabrics, and they are likely to last for 12-15 years with no hassle.
Readymade Roman blinds will tend to stand or fall on the quality of their mechanisms, with reasonable lifespans ranging in the ballpark of 3-5 years.