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Which Shading Systems to Choose? Roller shutters, blinds, shutters, sunblades

06 March 2024

Choosing shading systems may seem like a trivial choice, but it is important to understand the difference between the different elements in order to adopt the one that best suits your needs. This article explains which shading systems to choose, delving into the features and functions of shutters, roller shutters and sunblades.

When building a house or renovating its curtain wall, one of the many choices to be made carefully concerns the type of shading system best able to meet one’s needs. A special article explained what a shading system is, but in this case we will make a more precise distinction between the most common shading systems available: shutters, roller shutters and sunblades.

What is a shading system how does it work

To summarise the article mentioned above, a shading system can be said to be any element that is used to create a barrier.

A distinction can be made between external shading systems, i.e. outside the window and door and applied to the façade of the house, such as shutters and blinds, and internal shading systems, such as Venetian blinds or curtains that are located inside the house. In each case, all shading systems can be made of different materials and different finishes.

While all of them provide a more or less refined modulation of the passage of light, depending on their design, shading systems can also perform various additional functions:

  • thermic insulation, preventing heat transmission and fresh air from the inside of the house to the outside and vice versa, thus ensuring significant energy savings;
  • sound insulation, providing a barrier to noise from outside and thus ensuring good living comfort;
  • anti-burglary security, providing an additional barrier for burglars to break into the home;
  • privacy, as they provide protection from prying eyes;
  • additional protection, hindering the action of sun irradiation / radiation, rain, wind and other atmospheric agents, as well as air pollution, dirt, moisture and seepage.

Which shading systems to choose: the comparison

Interior blinds, sun awnings, Venetian blinds, window films; there are many shading systems on the market and they all try to meet different needs, but it is undeniable that shutters, blinds and roller shutters are still the most common options. In addition to these, there are sunshades, a more recent but very interesting technology in terms of functionality.

Shutters

Also known as the ‘gelosia’, the shutter is the most widespread and traditional form of shading system in Italy. It is made up of one or two vents, which generally open casement-style; however, the opening can also be folding – with the casements folding to the sides – or sliding, with the casements sliding along a track. Shutters are always located on the outside of the window, providing protection from the weather and pollution.

The main features of shutters are their slats, which may be fixed or movable. In the first case, which is the most classic, the slats are parallel to each other and tilted by about 30 degrees: this allows them to let through a controlled amount of light and air, while maintaining privacy. Movable slats are even more versatile, as their sloping can be adjusted from 0 up to 180 degrees. In this way, the shutter can be completely closed, or more light and air can be obtained according to one’s daily needs.

Shutters can be made from the materials commonly used for windows and doors, i.e. wood, aluminium and PVC.

Although wood is often preferred for its value, this material requires a certain amount of routine maintenance, especially for shutter systems that are located outdoors and have to deal with a variety of weather and pollutants. Aluminium is by far the best material for modern and functional shutters. It is a solid and extremely resistant material that requires zero maintenance and a very simple and quick cleaning process. In addition, this material can be customised in a wide range of colours and finishes, making shutters perfectly integrated into the context of the case even in the presence of landscape or condominium constraints.

METRA Building offers a wide choice of shutters made of aluminium to meet any requirement. In fact, it is possible to choose between different types of opening: casement, folding or sliding; the latter can also take on large dimensions, making it ideal for protecting curtain walls. The slats can be fixed or adjustable. Aluminium accessories are a plus: hinges, concealed hinges, reinforced bolts. In all, aluminium guarantees excellent water and air tightness but also against saltiness in the case of homes located in marine environments.

Blinds

Blinds can be considered to be a special type of shutter. In fact, they have the same supporting structure, but are not made of oriented or adjustable slats, but of continuous panels that can be made of fixed horizontal or vertical staves joined together. The main function of the blind is to ensure maximum darkness in internal environments, thus facilitating sleep at night and guaranteeing total privacy.

A very special type of blinds is the so-called “scuretto”. These are panels that are applied directly to the window, in its most internal part. Their task is to darken the glass surface of the window, when necessary, thus allowing the desired lighting to be obtained without necessarily having to open the window.

In the case of blinds, aluminium has many advantages as a solid, resistant and maintenance-free material. METRA Building presents the aluminium Blinds line, with horizontal or vertical staves and classic or modern lines, ideal for adapting to any architectural style.

Roller shutters

Also known as roller shutters, roller shutters consist of horizontal staves hinged to each other that wrap around themselves inside a box placed above the window. Between the hinges connecting the staves are drilled holes for a minimum passage of light and air.

These are therefore shading systems that do not have frames or sashes, but slide on lateral guides. They can be made of different materials – of which aluminium is certainly the most resistant – and ensure good thermic and acoustic insulation, as well as good protection of the window from the weather. They can be opened and closed from the inside of the room, without the need to open windows.

Classic roller shutters open and close manually, through the use of a crank or belt. Lately, roller shutters with electric opening and closing have become very popular. They are much more convenient to operate and can be combined with domotics systems without any problems.

Sunblades

Sunblades are the latest generation of shading systems, born from the desire to screen homes from solar irradiation. They are shading devices that can be positioned externally or internally not only on windows, but also on the walls of a building, responding to the need to control solar radiation and, therefore, the thermal load on the building itself, especially on south-facing walls in particularly sunny locations.

Shading sunblades is therefore part of environmental sustainability and efficient energy use, because it contributes to maintaining a correct micro-climate inside the home. Sunblades prevent internal environments from overheating, thus limiting the need for air conditioning. All this, however, without having to give up the comfort guaranteed by an adequate passage of air and natural light.

Sunblades are shading systems that can be made in different shapes and materials, although aluminium remains the preferred one in many respects as has already been demonstrated. METRA Building’s aluminium sunblades are even more special because they incorporate small photovoltaic panels inside the blades of the sunblades themselves, thus producing clean energy with low environmental impact. Naturally, they can be customised to match the windows and doors in terms of shape, colour and finishing, and can be combined with the home automation system.

Shutters, blind, roller shutters, sunblades: which shading systems should you choose?

The choice of the best shading system will depend on the effect you want to achieve and the functions you prioritise.

For example, blinds and roller shutters are generally preferable to shutters if better thermic insulation and acoustic insulation of the house is desired. This, however, may not be necessary if good quality windows and doors have been chosen, perhaps in thermal break aluminium to eliminate heat transmission, fresh air and noise.

Shutters and roller shutters, on the other hand, have the disadvantage of not allowing precise modulation of the passage of air and light from outside to inside. Shutters tend to be either closed or open, so air and light either pass through unfiltered or not at all. Roller shutters may only be open a few or several centimetres, but this modulation is certainly not precise. Shutters with fixed slats do not allow any modulation at all – apart from when they are opened or closed -, but the sloping of the slats is designed specifically to ensure optimal light and air passage.

If shutters with adjustable slats are chosen, a perfect modulation of the passage of light and air is achieved, as the sloping of the slats can be adjusted according to one’s preferences. Finally, sunblades are ideal for modulating the passage of sunlight (light and heat) into the home.

The aluminium shading systems offered by METRA Building

Aluminium is a ductile and light material that can therefore also be used in thin profiles for modern, sophisticated and design-oriented shading systems. At the same time, however, its solidity makes it extremely suitable for resisting atmospheric agents and pollutants, even in the most aggressive situations, even in the unfortunate case of burglary attempts, and without losing any quality over time. It also requires no maintenance, unlike more delicate materials such as wood.

METRA Building exploits all the exceptional features of aluminium with wisdom and experience, using this material in the production not only of windows and doors, but also of high-performance and aesthetically impeccable shading systems.

Two features of METRA Building shading systems that should not be underestimated are:

  • maximum customisation capacity in terms of shapes, colours, finishing, accessories, details, openings and closings. Shading systems can be combined with METRA Building windows and doors for aesthetic continuity and, in any case, satisfy any need and preference. Aluminium is ideal for shading systems that embellish curtain walls of modern, minimalist and refined homes but, thanks to its enormous versatility, it is well suited to homes with a more classic or country soul.
  • the extreme focus on eco-sustainability and low environmental impact. METRA Building’s aluminium shading systems are manufactured in eco-friendly environments and processes, and with a continuous focus on efficient energy use.