Blackout: Side Channels and Sill Angles

Blackout shades are known for their ability to keep the sun out of any room. But even the hardiest of blackout shades may not hold up to the complete darkness you might want for a certain room. Motorized blackout shades with side channels are a great way to keep a room dark without having to worry about the sunlight coming in through the sides of your blackout shades. Blackout shades are usually used to “blackout” a room and keep the sun from coming in.

For example, you wanted a room to sleep in, but the afternoon sun is beating down on your home and it seems to come in right through the window. Blackout fabrics are especially vital in such situations since they block all incoming direct sunlight.

One of the greatest luxuries that you can pair with blackout shades is automated motorization. The ability to turn off the sun with a single button is a surprisingly powerful gesture you might enjoy on a sunny morning. Picture the dread of having to come home during an especially stuffy afternoon and just flipping a switch to close your shades, as well. With a touch of a button on your smartphone, you can handle that task remotely and easily.

Side channels on your blackout shades offer additional possible venues that will help you save money on cooling costs in the summer, which can be quite prohibitive. One thing to consider with these shades would be the smart motorized feature. With smart motorized blackout blinds, you’ll find that you can raise and lower your blinds from anywhere in or out of your home with just your smartphone and an internet connection.

In this space Side and Sill Channel become a must. They are essential pieces of shaped metal installed along the side and sill of a window that holds the roller shade fabric or covers the space between the window edge and roller shade edge. These elements are usually installed directly into the sheetrock and therefore block all light leakage. 

L Channel

L Channel is typically used as Sill Channel. Because of its “L” shape, the roller shade comes to rest behind the channel, and light is blocked from coming in through the crack that is sometimes formed between the roller shade hem bar and the sill of the window. L Channel is easy to install and comes in multiple colors. It allows the roller shade fabric to move backward and away from the channel and therefore the potential for light leakage should be considered slightly greater than with the U Channel. 

U Channel

U Channel is typically used as Side Channel and is truly a channel through which the roller shade edges move. U Channel is installed directly into the window edges or may be installed outside the window. Either way, roller shade edges are matched up and inserted within the ‘U’ and therefore all light is blocked in this seal. U Channel does require for the roller shade to be precisely lined up with the channel and when this does not happen, it may cause slight problems. U Channel is incompatible with fabric-wrapped hem bars (they are too thick to fit within the U). U Channel can also be used as Sill Channel if requested although it is not recommended due to the preciseness in which the roller shade would need to fit into the channel. 

Helpful Tips and Things to Remember:

Oftentimes windows may be treated with only a Side Channel, especially when an external or fabric-wrapped hem bar is specified as the ‘bulkiness’ of the hem bar creates a light seal as it rests on the window sill.

When Side Channel is being used with a dual system, it is recommended that the blackout shade be located behind the sheer shade. That way Side and Sill Channels will be installed closest to the window and will not interfere with the operating of either shade. 

If a dual system is being used and the blackout is specified as the shade closest to the room (with sheer behind) then a Side Channel of any kind should not be used as the functioning of the sheer would be blocked by the Side Channel. If Side Channel is a must then only L Channel should be used.

An alternative to Side and Sill Channel would be to couple roller shades with drapery. For example, an inside mount blackout roller shade coupled with side panels that overlap the edges of the window would create a light fast environment inside the guestroom. A sheer roller shade coupled with a blackout drapery that can cover the window completely would do the same. 

Schedule an Appointment Today

If you’re interested in seeing our expertise at work in real windows come by our showroom in Buckhead. We take appointments and drop-ins Monday through Friday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturdays from 10:30 am to 5 p.m.

Talk to one of our automation experts at our state-of-the-art Atlanta showroom.

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