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Conservatory blinds - come hither and discuss

21 replies

FellatioNelson · 07/06/2010 09:58

Can anyone tell me their experiences of conservatory blind buying?

I know what I want (I think) is pinoleums, or wooden slatted. Very expensive, but I have no choice really - the room is just so hot we can't use it in summer at all. There are cheaper more modern styles, like the pleated sort, or rollers, but they wouldn't look right in my house.

Does anyone have electric ones, and is it worth it? Do you actually bother to open them very often on the roof?

What about the 'sails'? Wonder if they
actually keep out enough heat.

I'm hoping to avoid one of those big companies that has a permanent sale or '3 for 2' offer, and spends tons on national advertising and pushy salesmen, but I don't know many small companies that sell what I want.

Any advice gratefully received.

OP posts:
Housemum · 07/06/2010 16:11

I'll bump this for you as I'm interested too! Why do you think the pleated sort would look wrong, I'd have thought they'd match most styles? We were given a rough figure by an independent company in Reading of £1500 for side window blinds for a 20' x 9' conservatory in the Intu pleated blinds, if that's any help (conservatory not yet built so can't get proper quotes and Sandersons/Hillarys won't talk rough prices ever)

FellatioNelson · 07/06/2010 20:20

That's because they work like Moben kitchens and Doplhin bathrooms, and Sharps bedrooms. In other words:

They pay commission to the salesman, who knows what his base price for the kit is, and what percentage he aims to make in commission on the final sale price.

He'll come in with a stupidly inflated figure first, then flatter you by talking about special deals if you sign today, etc, so that by the time you've haggled a bit, you'll think you've got a bargain, and he's not been squeezed too hard on his margin.

I can't stand companies like that. I just want to know what a fair price is for the stuff I'm buying, and the labour to fit it, so I can do a proper cost/service comparison.

I've got nothing against the pleated blinds BTW, I've just seen other styles which would suit my furniture/decor better, that's all! Given that none of them are cheap, I may as well pay for what I like the best.

OP posts:
Deux · 07/06/2010 23:13

I got my blinds from the concession in John Lewis. I can't remember but I think the company is Oakwood. They were fantastic, really good service. Mine are pleated though. Conservatory is about 4m x 5m and 'Victorian' style (I hate it but that's a whole other thread). Cost was around £2k.

We do open and close the blinds but it tends to be on a seasonal basis. We didn't go for motorised due to cost but I think it would have given us more functionality. Down-side about closing them is the reduced light into the rest of the rear of the house. They do help control the heat, but only a little. It's more glare-control. Was 38 degrees in there recently ..... with the windows and doors open and it wasn't even a hot day.

If we were keeping the conservatory we would have air-con installed. It's the only realistic solution to reduce the heat. The glass in ours doesn't have any thermal properties though.

We did have Sandersons round. Hysterical, she quoted £12k. Must have thought we were stupid. Then reduced to £9k, then £6k, then £4k...

FellatioNelson · 08/06/2010 06:48

My point exactly! I forgot about JL! I think they will be my first port of call now.

Actually air-con is a very good idea - I hadn't thought of that. We have a couple of friends who have air con businesses. I might ask them. There is plenty of room for a unit on the outside of the wall. Would still need blinds for glare though.

We use ours as our main dining room and even in winter when the temp is lovely, the glare can be horrendous. I've eaten Christmas lunch in my sunglasses before now!

OP posts:
Alouiseg · 08/06/2010 07:31

I've just had amdega in for a measure up and they do something called comfort glass which stabilizes temperature and reduces glare.

Changing the glass is a bit drastic though, I expect blinds are the sensible option.

AlaskaNebraska · 08/06/2010 07:35

Munpoint alwys about this is are you sitting In your conserv on a roasting hot day ?! Best thing we had was automatic roof vent temp and rain activated. Never use fan just open door are sw gdcing

FellatioNelson · 08/06/2010 11:03

I did have a company come round last year who did a glare and heat reduction film that you apply to the glass, but even that was 7k, (for stick-on film!!!) and they couldn't guarantee it wouldn't show, or eventually peel at the edges. I actually really like the look of pinoleum blinds, (I love that colonial look) but I'm just scared of the price!

OP posts:
Alouiseg · 08/06/2010 11:29

Fark! 7k for a bit of cling film. Wankers. Laura Ashley do the pinoleum blinds too.

FellatioNelson · 08/06/2010 11:45

Really? Didn't know that.

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Housemum · 08/06/2010 13:11

Amdega? Ouch re prices! When I said our budget was £25k they wouldn't come out to see us

I've heard so many conflicting comments re air con - one of my friends said it was so expensive she doesn't use it and just got fans for cooling and a portable electric heater. According to Which, one of their best buys costs 26p per day for 3 hours use. We might get it in ours - the company recommended a 5kW/18000 BTU model for heating/cooling, costs somewhere around £1000 - £1500 installed.

Have you tried googling pinoleum and your county, to see what independent companies come up on the search?

Alouiseg · 08/06/2010 13:35

We got the Amdega man round for ideas, we already have a builder and architect on the case.

We are very cheeky, and he was a very nice Amdega man so it wasn't too stressful.

FellatioNelson · 08/06/2010 14:09

I suppose for the amount of use it would get an air-con unit on wheels from CostCo or somewhere might be sufficient, versus fitting costs of a fixed one. Aftera ll, in the evening it's cooler, had loads of windows, double door, and in the summer we tend to eat in the garden if we are entertaining, and we barbecue on Sundays. It's the rest of the year, when the sun is too bright to have lunch in there, but it's not warm enough to go outside.

Not tried the googling. Will do, but I wanted experiences as well as suppliers!

OP posts:
aglaranna · 14/06/2010 10:58

I work for one of these companies - don't worry - I'm not going to advertise for them, or anything like that.

The big companies won't do prices over the phone - each conservatory is bespoke and there are so many different blind types/operations/colours etc that it would be impossible to give a ball-park figure.

Besides, if they told you £x over the phone then turned up and said £xxx, you'd show them the door.

The national company I work for will give you a free no-obligation design consultation - the sales reps are not pushy.
So you can ask as many questions that you may think sound stupid, but really aren't and get an honest answer.
It's not in their interests to sell you something you don't want or need, or even to push the most expensive product - because they won't make the sale.
I can't comment on other companies.

All I'm doing is giving you some advice.

I recommend you call the 'big ones' and get them all in for advice and quotes. Don't forget to find out about guarantees/warranties.

Even with smaller companies, ask to see display blinds in-situ somewhere, or visit some garden centres/design exhibitions/local shows to have a look for yourself - it gives you a greater idea of what you could do.

And don't forget - the cheapest is not necessarily the best.

The only other advice I would give is that if you think you won't need blinds because you bought some fancy glass when you bought your conservatory - you are possibly in for a big surprise next time there's a heat-wave.

Oh and as for sales reps & commissions - all the 'big ones' are done differently.

sparkle1977 · 16/06/2010 11:50

Hi there,

Just thought I'd add my two penneth worth. We have a large conservatory and have got roman blinds on all the windows which to be honest I don't really think help control the heat whatsoever. I have no experience of the "sails" that you talk about but I doubt that anything seriously works short of air-con.

We had our blinds put in about 7 years ago now by Hillarys and it cost about £1k I think.

I just tend to keep all windows and doors open, open the top roof window and get the ceiling fan on. Better than nothing but it still gets roasting in there.

To be brutally honest I wish we had never had the conservatory put on and wish we had just had a brick extension instead but n'mind, we live and learn.

JP40 · 23/06/2010 14:43

I ordered our pinoleum blinds through Appeal ( and my experience of them was excellent.

biryani · 23/06/2010 20:25

I've got white wooden venetions - rather nice, but gather dust terribly!! Cost-about a grand for a conservatory with two glass walls and measuring 15x13 foot. Don't keep out the heat, though, or much of the sun. Had inserts in polycarbonate roof that eventually did the trick. Have you thought of frosting the glass with (wash off) spray? Cheaper than blinds, anyway!! Good luck - hope you make right decision; sure pinol;eums will look lovely.

haweser · 09/10/2010 23:22

A ceiling alternative to blinds in a conservatory

windowsandwalls · 10/10/2010 23:10

i LOVE that idea haweser, how much was it, if you don't mind me asking please.

windowsandwalls · 10/10/2010 23:14

oh, and while I am here, has anyone got any pics of the 'sails' idea?

reptile · 11/10/2010 07:26

Our conservatory is east facing and we have never used the blinds on the north facing part of the roof, so we could have halved the price in a stroke.
They are pleated cream from Hillarys, and after 10 years look fairly manky as flies get stuck behind them and you have to be disaplined to unhook the blinds and clean them regularly. You are given an option of whether to have them fitted so they unhitch for cleaning at the top or at the bottom. Do not choose top as it's a fiddly job and not one you want to do standing at the top of a step ladder - hence our stained blinds.

Mateko · 25/06/2018 18:15

Expandable rods from Dunelm. Voile from Dunelm. Make your own roof blinds.
Cheap to buy. Look good. Cost negligible. Keep them up six months of the year.
Temp in Conservatory is only 4C more than outside on a hot day, doors and windows open.

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