Vertical blinds have been around for a long time, and so have many individual sets of them; if you’ve seen a rather dated, tired-looking set in an office (which might have put you off them entirely) there’s a good chance said blinds have been in situ for a couple of decades and cannot be held personally responsible for the impact of aging and changing fashions!
Today, vertical blinds are starting to become more popular in homes as well as workplaces, as they’re comparatively inexpensive, come in a wide range of colours and finishes, and are a good pick for very large windows or sliding doors.
So, how long do vertical blinds last? Well, while they’re probably the type of blinds you’re most likely to see hanging around and working properly a solid decade or more after their initial purchase date, a number of different factors go towards contributing to how long any given set of vertical blinds might live for.
This article will tell you the potential life expectancy of vertical blinds based on the usual variables they’ll need to deal with in their lifetimes. Read on to learn more.
Quality is important
The quality of both the materials and workmanship of your vertical blind is the first and main factor that will dictate how long they will last, and all vertical blinds are not created equal!
High-quality made-to-measure vertical blinds will last far longer than a cheap, mass-produced set that’s half the price. Even the fact that readymade mass-produced vertical blinds are usually designed to be cut to size at home can shorten their ultimate lifespan – because in order to ensure that the average Joe can indeed cut them down at home with basic DIY tools, the fittings aren’t as sturdy and don’t come with the reinforcement that made-to-measure blinds do.
How long do vertical blinds last if you buy good quality made-to-measure ones? Anything from 15-20 years, and in many offices where words like “refurbishment” and “modernisation” are topics likely to result in nothing more tangible than peals of laughter from the finance department, even longer!
How long do cheap vertical blinds last? Mass-produced cut-to-size or ready-made vertical blinds, on the other hand, could at a push last up to five years of everyday use, if you handle them with care.
Comparing these two benchmarks then, your slightly costlier (and definitely better-looking) made-to-measure vertical blinds are actually apt to work out cheaper in the long term.
In fact, when it comes to made-to-measure vertical blinds for homes, the desire to redecorate and change the style of a room heralds the end of the life of more sets of good quality verticals than actual functional or cosmetic issues do.
The fabric choice and what your blinds are exposed to can also affect their lifespan
Vertical blinds can be made in a few different fabrics, being PVC, vinyl, and polyester respectively. PVC and vinyl vertical blinds are both waterproof, and this tends to mean they last for longer than polyester vertical blinds, for a few reasons.
The main one is that waterproof vertical blinds won’t absorb stains and marks, and are also easier to clean without risking water stains or destroying the starch solution that helps polyester vertical blinds to hang properly.
Also, if your blinds are made of polyester and are exposed to humidity or moisture in the air or in direct contact with them (such as if they’re hung in a kitchen or bathroom, over a window that condensates a lot, or in a room that otherwise gets damp or humid; or if they come into direct contact with water) they will eventually begin to look tired, hang poorly, and possibly disintegrate.
Exposure to damp may also result in mould or mildew growth on a polyester blind, which will weaken the fibres and also make the blind look (and possibly smell) pretty nasty.
None of this will happen overnight, but if you choose a polyester vertical blind for a room or environment it’s not well suited to, this will greatly reduce its lifespan.
What is the life expectancy of vertical blinds in normal day to day use?
Good quality made-to-measure vertical blinds are designed to live a full life of 10, 15, or even 20 years of being opened, closed, and adjusted multiple times a day, and don’t require particularly delicate handling; but they won’t last for as long if they’re handled very roughly or operated incorrectly.
“How long do cheap blinds last” is a bit of a different matter though, and some cheaper vertical blinds may begin to fail within just a year or two if adjusted frequently.
Of course, if you’re particularly heavy-handed or you have kids that seem to think that the blinds are part of their repertoire of entertainment options, adjust your lifespan assessments accordingly.
The impact of light exposure on vertical blinds
Blinds are kind of exposed to the sun by design; “doing stuff” to alter or block light is their main role in life, and this means that exposure to UV is part of the package.
Historically, this used to eventually lead to yellowing of the fabric of white and light-coloured vertical blinds and colour fading in darker ones; and while this does nothing to affect their functionality, it can make them look a bit jaded, to the point that you might want rid of them as a result.
However, this process still usually takes years, and generally only rooms that get a lot of very bright sun for the majority of the day are those that will potentially lead to yellowing or fading of any blind.
Also, good quality modern vertical blinds are treated with a protective solution to minimise or even fully negate this problem.
Fabric choice can again partially dictate whether a blind will discolour/fade and how long this might take; PVC and vinyl tending to be less prone to the issue, but even so, polyester is pretty robust in this respect too, being as it is a synthetic fibre.
Can you extend the life of your vertical blinds?
Yes, and actually the easiest way to do this is to clean them regularly, which just takes the form of a quick dusting to ensure that the operating mechanism don’t get furred up, with a more thorough cleaning (which itself will generally just mean a wipe-down) a couple of times a year.
I’ve covered how to clean vertical blinds in more detail here if you want to find out more.
If you do start to notice your blind sticking, becoming a bit more challenging to operate, or developing a little squeak, just spraying a little WD-40 into the mechanisms within the headrail will usually sort this out; being sure to avoid the fabric of polyester blinds to prevent staining.