Home Project Tip 6 – Hanging Blinds

 

Another home project tip from Javabird.com

 

A friend of mine emailed the other day.  To save some money, she asked if I would hang up a new set of blinds in her condo in exchange for a home-cooked meal.  Having hung blinds in my home before, I was happy to agree as I knew this was going to relatively easy.  In fact, my wife came along and we made it a party.

 

More Fun With Friends

 

Don't drink while you work.

Doing it with friends is fun, but be smart. Have that drink only after you’re done.

Working with friends on home projects is really a great way to go.  If you gather enough people, someone in the group is bound to have experience or has hired a contractor and knows the score.  Either can be extremely helpful.  Plus, an extra set of hands to steady a ladder or hand off a tool can make a job safer and easier.

 

Too Bright

 

My friend was having trouble sleeping and wanted to reduce the amount of light streaming into her bedroom.  When I arrived, I found her window already had regular mini-blinds on it, and she wanted me to hang up new special “light-blocking” blinds in their place.  For this installation she chose a cloth blind made by Levolor.   Many people are convinced Levolor sets the standard when it comes to blinds.  However, their reputation means they come at a premium.

 

Measure the inside dimensions of the window frame.

These Levolor blinds were special ordered.

First Step

 

The first step in this process was already done for me.  My friend had measured her window and had pre-ordered the blinds so all I needed to do was hang them.  A variety of blinds are readily available at stores like Home Depot and Lowes.  You can also find them online at companies like Steve’s Blinds and Wallpaper.  I’ve ordered from Steve’s in the past and was satisfied with the quality and service.  No matter who you end up buying from, watch the mail for ads as it’s pretty common to see someone offering a discount.

 

 

Did you get what you ordered?

The new blinds should have instructions, brackets and screws for installation.

Once you have an idea where you’re getting blinds, check the company’s website or ask a sales clerk for the specifics on how to measure for their blinds.  Some blinds are mounted inside the window frame so the blinds will need to be a quarter to half inch shorter than the inside of the frame.  Other blinds are hung outside the window frame so may extend beyond the frame.  You’ll need to decide which way you want to go and then be able to provide measurements when you make your order.  And don’t forget to measure the height of your window as well.  If you order blinds, you can have the company adjust them for height.  Please believe me: That’s much easier than doing it yourself.

 

Blind brackets do vary.

These old brackets were designed to swing up as shown.

The Process

 

This install went pretty fast.  First, we removed the old blinds.  Blinds are typically held by brackets.  In this case, we just had to take a look to see what we were up against.  The old bracket on my friend’s window had a little flap designed to swing up.  Once it was up, I was able to pull the blinds out.  Having done this before, I opened the blinds all the way first (i.e. pulled them all the way up).  This made them easier to handle once I removed them.  One note: Many blinds are held in by one or more clips.  You’ll need to locate them to figure out to release them.

 

With the blinds out, taking the old brackets off was as simple as pulling out a screwdriver and loosening the screws that held them in place.  If you have a little putty, this is also a good time to fill in any holes.  One note:  Check the brackets that came with your new blinds before you take off the old ones.  If they’re the same, then there’s no need to replace them unless they look worn.

 

Take the time to get your measurements right.

Measure over to locate where to put the new brackets.

To install the new brackets, check the directions first.  Again, whether you hang the blinds inside or outside of the window frame makes a difference.  Also, some brackets may pinch or interfere with the cords built into the blinds if they are improperly located—just make sure to get it right.

 

Use a drill bit slightly smaller than the diameter of your screws.

After you mark it, go ahead and drill.

This project required me to set one bracket an inch or two from each side of the window frame and one in the middle.  I also needed to set the back of the brackets 2¼ inches from the front of the frame.  Taking care to get this right will make your job look more professional—you’ll want the front of your blinds to be “flush” with the window frame.

 

Set the bracket in place.

Back off on your drill speed as the screw head closes in on the bracket.

Once I marked the bracket locations, I made some marks for drilling.  Then after I drilled, all I had to do was screw on my brackets.  If you have a power drill with a screw tip, slow the speed of the drill down as the head of the screw nears contact with the bracket.  Many drills are so powerful it’s easy to strip out the screw hole, or to twist the head of the screw right off.

 

After the brackets are in you are nearly done.

Set the inside of the rail on the tab and then swing the rail back until the unit snaps into place.

With my brackets installed, the next step was to “snap” the new blinds into place.  First, I set the inside lip of the front rail onto the protruding tabs of the brackets.  Then I used those tabs as a pivot point and swung the rail back toward the window, until the whole unit snapped into place.  Check your directions to see how this step may be different for you.  Also, this is one part in the process where an extra set of hands if very helpful.  On my first attempt, I tried this process solo and only managed to get the blinds properly set on 2 out of the 3 brackets.  On the second attempt, I had my friend hold one end and we were able to jointly snap the unit into place without a hitch.

 

One final note:  The blinds on this project were cordless and I had to snap a couple tabs on the upper and lower rails to complete the installation.  However, many blinds come with cords and you’ll want to adjust the length of the cords to avoid a choking hazard.  See the instructions that come with your blinds for specific recommendations.

 

Slow Roast

 

Install any additional "tabs" or other hardware.

My friends new blinds are great. They are much darker and are “double hung” so go both up and down.

We spent about 30 minutes on this project overall—just enough to work up a sweat.  It was only one set of blinds, but we had to gather the tools, set up the ladder, pull the old blinds out and then install the new ones.  Plus, there was a whole lot of “catching up” to do in the process.  And by the way…my friend made a delicious pot roast for dinner.  Yum!

 

For more projects tips, be sure to visit again soon.

If you enjoyed today’s tip, you may also want to read:
Home Project Tip 5 – Cabinet Pullouts

 

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