Window Treatments FAQ | SunCoast Blinds Podcast EP#2

Window Treatments FAQ

Bigger Bolder Brighter Podcast – Episode #2




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Charlie McDermott 
Hey, This is Charlie McDermott back as a producer of the show and once again I’m inside the SunCoast Blinds studio. Ben, How are you doing?

Ben Crotteau – SunCoast Blinds 
Great, yourself Charlie?


What are window treatments?


A living room with dark wooden blinds in windows

Charlie McDermott
Good thanks. Alright, so in this episode, let’s go broad here. Let’s talk about window treatments. They’re really important in Florida. I mean, back where I came from in Pennsylvania, you didn’t mind the neighbors looking and you could get away with it most of the time. But geez in Florida, you need the window treatments. There are problems. But let’s start Ben. Please explain window treatments; what are they and what kind of styles there are?

Ben Crotteau – SunCoast Blinds 
I think starting, as you mentioned, on the broad side of things.  The very general definition of window treatments.

It’s going to be anything on typically the interior side of your window that stops whatever’s outside from getting whatever’s inside. That can be sound, it can be light, it can be somebody’s peeping eyes. It can be any variety of factors that are outside that you don’t want to get inside. That’s where I come in with window treatments or window fashions, as I prefer to call them.

Technically, tin foil, scotch tape, and white paper could qualify as a window treatment. But we try to elevate it a little bit beyond that with something more custom. So, our basic job in this world is to stop that thing from outside from coming in. We’re going to do it with plantation shutters, which are still very popular in 2022 as well as automated shadings that are extremely popular nowadays. They’re starting to become the number one window treatment out there.

You’ve also got your blinds, silhouette, luminettes and shadings, you know, all that kind of stuff.

It’s something on your window that we’re going to put there, hopefully with some kind of style, to keep Florida’s elements out. You mentioned about up north, the distance between houses can be acres. So when privacy isn’t that important you treat them differently. The same applies to the different temperatures and humidities and so on.

Here, you can have a $4 million house and you’re six feet away from your neighbor. Our treatments take on a different role on Southwest Florida soil than they do in a lot of other places. So we are important.


What kind of window treatments are in style?



Charlie McDermott
Good point. Let’s talk about style.
I mean, you’ve been doing this since the 90s. You grew up in the business, as we talked about in the first episode.
How often do styles change? What have you seen over the years?

Ben Crotteau – SunCoast Blinds 
Unfortunately, style in the window treatment industry as a whole is kind of like turning around a cruise ship, it’s going to be a slow rolling turn. It’s more of an evolution.

So plantation shutters have been around since the mid-14th century. They’ve been around a long time. But they evolve, they don’t completely change. It’s still going to be a louvered device in your window space that you’re going to use to control light and heat. But instead of going from grandma’s plantation shutters that were this wide, which is about an inch and a quarter. They were made of wood and were teeny tiny, little panels. That’s a plantation shutter too, you know, it’s legitimately the same thing we’re doing today. Except for, instead of this wide, we go to four and a half inches wide with your louvers.

They’re made out of better higher quality materials, they last longer and they function completely differently. But it’s that evolution of the product line, not the complete change and shift. As the couple I alluded to in episode one, that was in our studio for the first time in 20 years. At the end of the day, window treatments or window fashions aren’t something that you’re going to cycle through every four to five years. The fashion change is much slower because your cycle of repeat is slower. We probably buy new cars five times over before we’re gonna buy new window fashions. So that style is a slower evolution, but it is an evolution nonetheless.


Bedroom with shutters



Where should I use plantation shutters vs shades?



Charlie McDermott
That’s good to know. So you talk about plantation shutters.
Let’s talk about the best way to use them.
Where do I put them? You know, are there certain windows that we should consider shutters versus shade, and so forth?

Ben Crotteau – SunCoast Blinds 
So your plantation shutters are going to be a fine fit and finish for most all windows. Not necessarily sliding glass doors, they’re a little bit cumbersome when it comes to sliding glass doors, although we can execute that.

Your plantation shutter is going to be a window where you’re going to want to have some degree of light while still getting your privacy. So not a room darkening.

But they’re a fitted, finished, and final product. It’s the last thing you have to put on your window. You’re not going to put top treatments above it, it’s going to be the last thing you do to that window ever. It’s done. So, for your no-maintenance homes, the clients that don’t want to fuss around worrying about their window fashions or when they’re seasonal going back and forth.

Plantation shutters are a good kind of “set it and forget it”- a type of window treatment. It doesn’t require any maintenance and still gives a nice furniture look to your windows. Then there is your shadings.


Room darkening Shade in bedroom


Shadings of any variety are a very popular segment for us. But they act differently. That’s something that you’re going to want to get out of your way. So you’ve got a completely free and clear view. And when you need privacy or light control, at the push of a button, you’ve dropped that shade down, and it’s still retaining your view.

So you ideally can have a nice view through but now you’ve given yourself privacy, light, or heat control. Whatever it is that you need.

So they’re two completely different product lines, for two completely different scenarios. But yet, we can use them together in harmony. Shutters over here, shades over there, and it still feels organic and well thought out to the home.

Charlie McDermott
I would imagine that’s something you could probably do in your sleep, you know, walk through a home and say yeah, shades here, shutters there, and where I might botch it up.

That said, let’s get right back to them with the shutters. Back up north, we only got sun certain times a year. And even then it wasn’t as intense as it is here. I would imagine the makeup of the shutters is really important when it comes to the kind of sun penetration they get.


What material is best for plantation shutters?

What’s the difference between Wood and Poly resin shutters?



Ben Crotteau – SunCoast Blinds 

So you’ve got three distinctly different product materials that you can make shutters out of and in each one of those three different tiers, you’re going to have higher quality materials and lower quality materials.

For the sake of time and saving our ears, we’re not going to talk about the lower-quality stuff. That’s not what I procure. So we’re gonna forget about that. And we’re not going to talk about composite shutter, which is not a plastic shutter, it’s an entirely different product line. That’s a Chinese situation, I don’t deal with that.

So we’ll deal specifically with wood, and specifically with poly resin, which is our preferred line.

The difference between those two isn’t really what you mentioned. A lot of people like to scare people away from wood because of the swelling, the expansion, the warping, and those sorts of things. And typically, that’s not going to be true. A proper wood shutter is going to be cured and finished so that it’s going to stay the same shape that you bought it.

But you do have a paint finish on that piece of wood. And that paint finish is going to require a different level of maintenance than a poly resin shutter. So if you’re a client who needs a blue shutter, we’re going to give you a wood shutter because of the set paint.

So you’re just going to be more careful than when you deal with poly resin. Poly resin shutters come in three shades of white. It’s the perfect shutter. You have no cause, no concern, there’s no wear and tear and there’s no maintenance. You don’t have to worry about rings, watches, and bracelets bumping up against them. We can do everything with a  poly resin shutter except for making it a special color or very special shapes.

Charlie McDermott
So, just to summarize. The wood shutters are when you want to get customized with the colors, right?
The cost differences between the two. I’m sure you’ve been asked this a few times. What do the different shutters cost?

Ben Crotteau – SunCoast Blinds 
So buckle in on this one.
Polyresin shutters versus wood shutters.

The material the poly resin shutters are made out of is twice as expensive as the materials we make wood shutters out. But, because of the manufacturing times, it’s a considerably longer process to make wood shutters. You’ve got sanding, painting, finishing, and all those sorts of things. So that end retail price the client pays is paying for man hours not a better quality material. That differentiation in price is generally somewhere between 10 and 20-25% depending on your option set.


Stained wood shutters



Do plantation shutters add value to your home?



Charlie McDermott
Is there one type over another that contributes more value to your home?

Ben Crotteau – SunCoast Blinds 
Properly designed shutters will add value to your home, regardless of the material that they’re made out of.

So you can go into older design shutters and it makes your home look older. If you go back 20 years, we were doing shutters a little differently back then than we’re doing them now. So, as long as your shutters are designed well, by today’s standards, with the right technology, they’re going to provide an equal uplift of value to your home.

It doesn’t matter what material your shutters are made out of. If you design them wrong, they’re gonna look old and backward. And the first thing a homeowner is going to do is throw them out and start from scratch.

Charlie McDermott
Right. When you say design. Do you talk about the actual installation part or the actual choice of the design of the shutter?

Ben Crotteau – SunCoast Blinds 
Oh, sure, both I mean those are both hand-in-glove situations.

So first, you’ve got to design it correctly. Shutters are the only window treatment of all the things that we do that are considered an architectural product. They should feel built with the house, not as an add-on to it. So that’s the design side. That’s when I come out and I do my song and dance in your house. We look at stuff and we figure it out. We make the shutters work for your home.

The second part is what you just alluded to the execution. When my team comes out and we do the installation, again, you can take the best shutter in the world or the worst shutter in the world and the installation makes that difference. I just saw a client yesterday. His comment to me was: “You know that last person in your house is who leaves the biggest impression”. It doesn’t matter what a good job I do. My team is out there doing what they do, they’re the ones that leave that impression. It helps drive our business because the end user is comfortable from start to finish. And that makes a difference.


How long is the process from order to installation?



Charlie McDermott
What’s the timing for an install? How long does the average job take?

Ben Crotteau – SunCoast Blinds 
For most everything we’re going to do, we’re going to execute. it’s in about a month.

So from order to install day, we try to hit that 30-day mark. That’s regardless of if we’re in season or not. We try to stay at that number even in season so your February-March clients get treated the same as your August-September clients, which by the way, are two completely different people.



How do I clean my shutters?



Charlie McDermott
All right, cleaning the shutters fills us in what’s involved there?

Ben Crotteau – SunCoast Blinds 
Well, it goes back to what material we’re talking about.

So if you’re talking about wood, you got to use a little bit more care because you’re dealing with a painted face. So that’s going to be a soap and water-only situation. Anything harder than that you’re going to put yourself into a situation. You can’t use bleach or hard cleaners on wood because again, that paint finish needs to be treated like a paint finish. And it’s in a window so it’s subjected to extra wear and tear through the UV rays and those sorts of things.


Yellow cleaning glove


Anything short of a baseball bat can be used to clean your poly resin shutters. People tend to use a Swiffer because it has a super smooth finish. So Swiffer is going to take care of your daily wear and tear items. You can use a magic eraser with the poly resin to remove marks. You can take Steel Wool and buff the surface of the material out. So, for example: you’ve got Sharpie markers on them or you know somebody hit it with a ring or a watch and left a slight scratch in it. So when we say it’s indestructible, you’ve got to be pretty violent and intentional to make us come out and fix something.



Can I put roller shades outdoors?



Charlie McDermott
So Ben, how about outdoor shades? Do you use roller shades outdoors?

Ben Crotteau – SunCoast Blinds 
So outdoor shading systems are a bit tricky. There are a lot of vendors out there that will do interior-rated shades and just throw them outdoors because they can get by with it for a little while. We stopped doing that a couple of years ago. Our exterior shading systems are systems, right? They’re going to be motorized, we can do them either with a lithium-ion rechargeable battery system, or we can hardwire them in.

It’s very important to put the proper product outside because it’s subjecting itself to all those exterior elements in Southwest Florida, which can be kind of extreme. So we’re going to give you a shade that is rated for up to 85-mile-an-hour winds. If somebody is out there trying to buy a shade for the outdoors and isn’t getting something with a similar rating, you’re buying the wrong product. It’s just a recipe for disaster. It might look good now but it’s going to cause you a raft of problems going on in the future.

You can go to Costco and buy a cooler room for 100 bucks and call it done. If that’s the product that you want and the fit and finish you want, that’s fine. But if you want a shade that can rebuy you your outdoor space then you’ve got to get the right kind of system.

We do it all day long. We can go up to 30 feet wide in one shade. So we can do some pretty impressive stuff. It comes at a price point, but if you need to save that outdoor space and it’s useless without shade, then it’s worth it.


Outdoor shades on White House with pool


Charlie McDermott
So what would be a good setting for that? Is it an outdoor porch that you just want to shade from the sun certain times of the day?

Ben Crotteau – SunCoast Blinds 
Yes. A very typical use case scenario is condos up and down the beach that got the sunset. Instead of being inside with your interior shadings, you want to be out on your lanai having dinner. Whatever it is that sun is just killing it. So without an exterior shading system to make your exterior life more appealing, that space is useless. You might have a penthouse on the Gulf of Mexico and an outdoor patio that you just can’t use until you call us and we fix that space for you. That’s a pretty typical use-case scenario.

Charlie McDermott
Awesome! Shutters, shades, window treatments. I think we covered it all Ben.

Ben Crotteau – SunCoast Blinds 
Pretty good round about it. Yeah, we got we got some stuff left for episode three. We didn’t cover it all.

Charlie McDermott
Well speaking, episode three, right around the corner for now. Great job. Congrats on Episode Two, and I’ll see you in the next one.

Ben Crotteau – SunCoast Blinds 
Have a great day. Thank you.


SunCoast Blinds logoThanks for listening to a Bigger, Bolder, and Brighter Podcast with SunCoast Blinds.
To learn more about our company or our products, go to SunCoast
Call 239-495-6558
or stop by our studio at:
3634-A Bonita Beach Road, Bonita Springs, Florida.

1 thought on “Window Treatments FAQ | SunCoast Blinds Podcast EP#2”

  1. I saw an advertisement that displayed children’s window coverings that appeared to be chalkboard paint and as if they may be able to be drawn on. Is that really an option?

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