Without a doubt, this is the question that gets asked the most in the window coverings business. As recent as 10 or more years ago, faux (pronounced foe) wood blinds tended to look like plastic and certainly did not make a good substitute for wood blinds. In the past 10 years with developments in fabrication, often it is hard to differentiate between a faux wood blind and a real wood blind visually from as close as a few feet. Certainly from the street you would not notice a difference. There is a significant difference visually for stained wood blinds compared to stained (really painted) faux wood blinds, but since 90% or more blinds are a shade of white, the visual difference is negligible.
Be very cautious of very cheap vinyl blinds. Most stock (pre-fabricated sizes) programs at large home improvement stores are a type of foam. The materials in the headrail (the top part that contains the pulley and other hardware) often have cheap plastic components that tend to degrade quickly over time. The primary issue with the cheap ones is their tendency to turn yellow and fade within a couple of years. They also tend to become brittle and harden over time and eventually break.
Pros and Cons
Faux are often cheaper to produce than wood blinds
Faux Wood stains often look fake
Faux are more moisture and humidity resistant
Wood blinds are much lighter than faux blinds
Faux are more durable in homes with children/pets
So which is the right solution for your home? In my personal opinion, I would suggest faux wood blinds unless you are planning to go with a stain (cherry, mahogany, pine or other wood tone). If you are planning to use any shade of white, I would recommend faux wood for its hardiness, value and durability. Even if you choose to go with real wood, consider using faux wood in areas where moisture and humidity might be a factor such as bathrooms, kitchens, attics and garages.
A couple of considerations before making your purchase is to consider how long you plan to live in the house. The type of blinds in your home normally will not affect the valuation of your home. Also, you may need to consider your homeowner covenants. Some home owners associations require that all window treatments be a shade of white facing the street. It is rare, but we have run into this often. Lastly, consider using a local professional company to get your products from. Often they will measure and install for a price comparable to doing it yourself by purchasing at a home improvement store.
KevinL Moore is the owner of a window treatments company in Birmingham Alabama. AccuBlinds specializes in selling and installing window blinds, plantation shutters and window shades. For a sales consultation for Birmingham blinds visit his website.
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