THE SAGE: Accordion Shades



We saw an accordion shade basically turned on its side and it hangs from a track on a sliding glass door. Do you have those and how much? Our door is 80 inches high and 109 inches wide

sageavatar2THE SAGE

Your description resembles a product called Vertiglide™. Its manufacturer is Hunter Douglas, a longtime leader in the window coverings industry. To view a video demonstrating its use click here.

Vertiglide™ is a traversing honeycomb shade (sometimes called accordion, or cell shade), made up of vertically oriented pleats. It could in fact be described as a honeycomb shade turned on its side, but a more complex operating system is required.

Base pricing has been sent to the email provided when you posted your question (includes installation). It reflects your stated dimensions, which would need to be confirmed with a visit from an ADVANCED ON-SITE representative.

The base product can be ordered to stack on either the left or right side of the opening. Additional surcharges apply if split stack, traveling center stack, or Duolite™ design options are desired. Likewise, expanded color pallets, patterns, fabric types and pleat sizes can be obtained through additional charges.

Please use the comment form at the bottom of this page if you have additional questions. Should you wish to move forward with ordering and installation please respond with a daytime telephone number to the email mentioned above.

Thank you for your submission.

NOTE: ADVANCED ON-SITE‘s specialty is drapery and shade cleaning, though we offer a range of other services, related to window coverings. Contact us to discuss your needs.

Job Photo – 09/22/15

Requested Service: Cleaning


Customer at Woodfied CC, Boca Raton was so impressed with our ability to remove dog urine from these lined drapes, we were called back for a second service. This time, smudged feces was also present. It didn’t seem appropriate to ask how it happened, but the mental images were quite entertaining.

ADVANCED ON-SITE‘s specialty is drapery and shade cleaning, though we offer a range of other services related to window coverings. Contact us to discuss your needs.

Job Photo – 09/11/15

Requested Service: Installation


That’s right! We install plantation shutters!

Pictured, is one of our more elaborate installations involving four very large units at the private Alicante community in Juno Beach. Two of them could not have been more complicated, given their arched shapes and the fact that they reached as high as 14 feet in the air.

The unit at upper right qualifies as our most complicated ever, due to its modular construction and the need to hoist it into place already assembled. Boy, if that wasn’t a tricky operation.

Know what was even more tricky? The preliminary measurements and calculations that went into ensuring the best possible fit in an opening with all sorts of issues. Not only was it badly out of square, but the wall on which it was located had a big nasty bow at the point where the top of its left “ear” portion intersected the left leg of its “eyebrow” (arched) portion.

Bear in mind that a shutter’s frame must be perfectly square and plumb, on all planes, in order for the panels to function properly when installed. This requires the ability to plan in advance for adjustments that can be executed only during installation. 

Don’t trust this to just anyone. ADVANCED ON-SITE is equal to the task.

Our specialty is drapery and shade cleaning, though we offer a range of other services related to window coverings. Contact us to discuss your needs.

Avoiding Damage to Plantation Shutters

Perhaps as much as eighty percent of all plantation shutters sold in the past ten years utilize a “rear tilt” (left) method, rather than the traditional “tilt bar” (right) they were originally known for.

While both are connected to each and every louver, the “tilt bar” is typically made of the same material and located on the front center of the panel. “Rear tilt” can be either metal or plastic and located on the rear of the panel, usually at the same end of the louvers as its hinges.

This post focuses on the traditional tilt bar. Some aficionados still insist upon it, though many do not properly understand its purpose.

It is NOT intended as a handle for moving the louvers, so let’s clear that up right away. In fact, you should never touch it!

The correct way to open and close louvers is to grasp one in each hand, as far apart, both vertically and horizontally, as you can. When you begin to move them, the tilt bar’s true purpose becomes evident. Namely, to ensure that all the louvers move in unison. That’s it! There’s no other reason for its existence.

When the tilt bar is used as a handle, its connectors are subjected to undue stress. This dramatically reduces their life expectancy.

Wooden and composite shutters most often use opposing wire staples. These are prone to rust and corrosion, not to mention fatigue. Polyvinyl shutters use various types of plastic connectors, which dry out and become brittle as a result of the constant heat inside a window opening.

In either case, connectors are not easily replaced. Where vinyl shutters are concerned, there’s the matter of, first, determining who the manufacturer was. This can be surprisingly difficult, as most do not place their name anywhere on the product.

Manufacturers of polyvinyl shutters often use their own proprietary connectors. If a homeowner is unable to recall where their shutters were purchased, he or she may end up with a very expensive piece of junk covering the window.

Wood shutter connectors are generally easier to replace, but there are occasional exceptions.

ADVANCED ON-SITE‘s specialty is drapery and shade cleaning, though we offer a range of other services, including shutter installation & repair. Contact us to discuss your needs.

Luminette®: What You Should Know

Luminette - wide shot

Luminette® Deconstructed

In 1996 the Hunter Douglas corporation unveiled its latest in a series of innovative window fashions. Luminette® privacy sheers combined the soft look of traditional sheer draperies with the function of a vertical blind, and its ability to control light and privacy. This proved to be nothing short of groundbreaking.

Drapery-like Folds of a Luminette
Graceful drapery-like folds of Luminette

It was not the first attempt at such a marriage, but it was the first to employ “solid state” characteristics. Whereas other products consisted of a vertical blind with sheer fabric attached to, or interwoven among its PVC vanes, this new product utilized semi-rigid fabric vanes permanently affixed to machined creases in the sheer.

There was no stitching! Through a process involving heat activated adhesives the sheer and its vanes effectively became individual components of a larger whole.

Handling Do’s and Don’ts

Fabric vanes put less stress on supporting track components than their much heavier PVC counterparts. That’s a distinct advantage when you consider the fact that sunlight and heat weaken plastic carrier assemblies over time.

 Never drape Luminette fabric over a table or bed
Never drape Luminette fabric over a table or bed

However, semi-rigid vanes fused to a supple sheer can just as easily become a disadvantage when certain product requirements go unheeded. Chief among these is proper handling.

A common mistake is when Luminette® is taken down and lain across a bed or table. Rather than flowing uniformly, as the sheer is intended to do when hanging vertically, the rigidity of the vanes forces it to rumple in places. The fabric’s “memory” then retains this characteristic after re-installation. Steaming cannot be guaranteed to return it to its original condition.

Worse still are creases the vanes can easily sustain during take down, or when the fabric is stored improperly. They’re considered permanent damage, and will also result in unsightly rumpling and drawing of the sheer.

Luminette rolled onto shipping tube, for proper storage
Luminette rolled onto shipping tube, for proper storage

There is only one way to prevent such condition issues. In the process of removing Luminette® from an opening, one must roll the fabric back onto its original shipping core – a cardboard tube similar to the type carpets are rolled onto, only larger in diameter. Painter’s tape is used to hold the last vane in place.

The additional step of placing the rolled fabric inside something known as “drapery tubing” is commonly taken. It’s a lightweight plastic covering capable of being sealed at each end. This protects the fabric from construction dust and other contaminants.

Freedom of Movement

It is important to remember that Luminette® protrudes significantly farther into a room than a vertical blind does. From 4½ inches farther in it’s “Classic” incarnation, to 6½ inches when ordered with the larger “Quintette” vane size.

Therefore any top treatment or side panel must be mounted far enough from the opening to leave ample room for Luminette® to traverse, and for its vanes to tilt without coming into contact with one of those other treatments. Likewise, if Luminette® is to be mounted inside a vertically recessed header, that recess must provide ample room. This may all seem obvious at the outset, but it’s shocking how often these rules go unobserved.

 Luminette forced to interact with other treatment
Luminette forced to interact with other treatment

For example, enthusiastic decorators sometimes try to pull off layered treatments where there is simply not enough space. Depending on the treatment types, as well as how they are mounted, a four layer configuration can protrude as much as 15 inches into a room! Taking up that much floor space in a 2,000 square foot room is one thing. In an 800 square foot room it can look like an elephant.

Aware of this, decorators will often instruct the installer to “make it all happen within 10 inches of the opening.” The experienced and principled installer will decline such a directive. He or she understands the implications. Any resistance met by a drape or shade as it moves through a confined area means additional force must be exerted on control cords. In turn, components like tensioners and brackets are stressed beyond their limits. Not to mention the wear and tear that occurs when fabrics repeatedly drag across each other’s surfaces.

Luminette® is an Island

Luminette® can develop condition issues stemming from anything which prevents its fabric from hanging freely. For instance, its semi-rigid vanes will bend if they touch the floor. Or anything on it. As discussed, this influences the appearance of the sheer fabric. And remember, Luminette® fabrics retain bad memories.

So-called “fish mouth buckles” prevent folds from stacking uniformly

To illustrate just how important it is for Luminette® to enjoy complete separation from anything in close proximity, consider the visual at left. What you’re seeing is a snapshot of a section of Luminette®, drawn across the opening so all its vanes stack to one side. Next to it, the same section is shown partially inverted so as to highlight the circled condition issues.

This Luminette® was custom made and installed to clear the floor. Not the interior door mat the homeowner later placed just inside and near the center of the sliding glass array it was meant to cover. The thickness of the mat brought it into contact with the Luminette’s vanes, pushing them up slightly. Not enough to alarm the homeowner, but enough to buckle the folds of the sheer.

Note that only the folds left spanning the mat, when the fabric was drawn closed across the opening, were affected. The rest were stacked neatly and proportionally as they should be. It’s the buckles that prevent this.

For safe and effective cleaning of a Luminette, call: 561-644-4091
For safe and effective cleaning of Luminette, call: 561-644-4091

The Conclusion of the Matter

A Luminette® retaining its fresh from the factory appearance after many years of use, is one that has come into contact with only three things,

  1. its original shipping core
  2. the carriers it hangs from when installed
  3. a cleaning head in the hands of a professional who knows how to use it

In addition to cleaning, ADVANCED ON-SITE is specially trained and equipped to take down Luminette® should painting, or other modifications to its surroundings become necessary.

Job Photo – 08/22/15

cleaned silhouette

Requested Service: Cleaning

Fabric window coverings suffer most in the kitchen. Food spatter, greasy cooking film, barbecue fingerprints and the inevitable traffic to the grill just outside, fouled these shades but good.

No problem. Clean as the day they were born, after our injection/extraction treatment.

ADVANCED ON-SITE‘s specialty is drapery and shade cleaning, though we offer a range of other services related to window coverings. Contact us to discuss your needs.

Job Photo – 08/21/15

Requested Service: Installation


A “before and after” shot. Shows how much a minimalist approach can transform a space with limited possibilities.

Customer’s selection of Silhouette® shadings was clearly the best option, considering that others would either project further into the room or completely block the lovely view.

ADVANCED ON-SITE‘s specialty is drapery and shade cleaning, though we offer a range of other services related to window coverings. Contact us to discuss your needs.

Black Soot: Bane of Household Fabrics

candle flame

A History of Black Soot

Before modern marvels like the light bulb and central heating, homes were plagued for centuries by black soot from open flames. Candles, oil lamps, fireplaces – they all spew microscopic carbon particles, easily carried along on even the most feeble air currents.

The problem reached critical mass during the industrial revolution when outdoor air quality, too, was threatened by soot-belching factories and locomotives. Just as dirt found its way into homes during the Dust Bowl, Londoners learned that “the black” knew no barriers.

The soot hangs on the curtains, the books and the little cracks of the ceiling; and the ladies wonder how it is that they cannot keep their finger ends clean.”   – Dirty Old London: The Victorian Fight Against Filth

As they had for millennia, wool and linen remained the most widely used textiles of the time. With its loose weave and high absorbency, linen, especially, trapped the tiny black particles like a filter feeding sea fern traps plankton. Hopelessly locked in its fibers, as much as twenty percent of the stuff defied attempts at removal.

Times Changed, Black Soot Remained

Air quality standards and environmental regulations have drastically reduced the amount of black soot in our lives. But it hasn’t disappeared from the home, completely.

The warm, rosy glow of candles is an irresistible diversion to some, who often do not realize that even modern fabric blends with stain resistant properties can be tainted by their emissions.

As stated in an article by BEC Engineering, a leader in indoor air quality services, certain widely available candles can produce as much as 100 times more black soot that others. These include aromatic varieties poured into glass or ceramic containers, candles containing unsaturated hydrocarbons (most soft wax varieties), and any candle placed in an air draft caused by a fan, air conditioning vent, open window or other source.

In addition to avoiding the foregoing, the article goes on to suggest that users consider burning candles with thin, braided wicks trimmed to ¼” before each use. Further, they should be snuffed after an hour and allowed to cool before re-use.

Other sources claim that candles made with bee’s wax, or vegetable oils produce significantly less black soot than those with petroleum bases. It is, however, important to remember that all candles produce some black soot, a natural byproduct of the incomplete combustion that occurs in a yellow flame.

Black soot, DURING and AFTER removal
Black soot, DURING and AFTER removal

What We Can Do for You

Thankfully, ADVANCED ON-SITE‘s exclusive cleaning process is capable of removing black soot from draperies and shades, where they’re often deposited most heavily through a process called convection. Still, one should be aware that there can be no guarantee of complete removal from certain materials such as those found in Graber Crystal Pleat® honeycomb shades and the vertical vanes of Luminette® shadings by Hunter Douglas.

Curious Case of the “Rush Job”

Luminette Damage

By way of expanding on an earlier post, we see in the photo just one result of a failure to observe details when placing window coverings.

The homeowner in this case purchased an $800 motorized Luminette® by Hunter Douglas. Then, after it was installed she commissioned a top treatment to conceal its track and associated hardware. The new upholstered valance covered the entire header above the opening as well. Meaning that it extended all the way up to the ceiling, which was not level.

In such cases shim material is often placed above one of the valance’s mounting brackets (pictured) in order to align it with the ceiling. Alternatively, in tight spaces the bracket’s position on the cornice can be moved. But that’s more work, so the individual installing the valance shimmed it instead. This left a mere sixteenth of an inch between the bracket and the Luminette’s traversing mechanism.

Now, though they were not touching at the time, when the shade was later drawn, torque from its motor caused just enough vertical movement to bring its plastic components into contact with the unforgiving metal bracket. Several snap tabs holding carriers in position sheared off, jamming the scissor drive and separating five or six carriers from the main body. The expensive window shading was rendered utterly useless.

Fortunately, ADVANCED ON-SITE has the parts and the know-how to correct such issues. The Luminette was repaired and the valance bracket adjusted so the shim could be eliminated. But the homeowner had already been terribly inconvenienced.

When purchasing window coverings, it’s okay to insist that the dealer’s installer be present to measure for them. In this way you can observe his or her manner before the sale. Do they seem hurried? They may place more importance on the sheer volume of installations they can perform, than on customer satisfaction with the quality of their work. Do they seem harried? Well then, maybe the dealer is putting pressure on to increase production in the interest of more profit. Either way, it can add up to heartache for you.

And by all means, have the installer demonstrate that everything functions correctly when the installation is complete. In the aforementioned case, the installer of the valance clearly did not test for freedom of movement before the Luminette’s mechanism failed on the homeowner’s very next attempt to operate it. Alas, by then the installer was long gone.

Correct Control Cord Use (Retractable)

Cord Connector

Never let go of a cord until you know it has come to rest. Shades and blinds with modern retractable mechanisms typically use control cord assemblies. These incorporate hard connectors (pictured) capable of damaging delicate components on impact.

Additionally, an unchecked recoil may cause the cord to jump one or more contact points inside the headrail. Some are inaccessible, and may require costly factory repairs to restore functionality.

With traditional cord-lock mechanisms, the cord should not be released until its “catch” is engaged. This prevents the bottom-heavy shade from crashing down onto the sill.

For long life, correct operation of functional window coverings is the most important factor. But they will eventually fail. When they do, ADVANCED ON-SITE provides a full compliment of drapery and shade services, including repair.