What Is It?
The Lustron Corporation provided venetian-style aluminum blinds for all windows as part of its overall sales package. Small metal brackets to hold the blinds were installed on the interior of the window heads at the factory. Options included an additional set of brackets to accept curtain rods for fabric curtains.
The blind “unit” consists of a header which houses the mechanical equipment for the blind, two cloth “ladders” to which the aluminum slats are attached and a system of narrow cotton rope pulls which operate two pulleys.
How Do They Work?A large metal “header” for each blind houses the mechanical elements, including the gears and pulleys for the blinds. The header is held in the pre-installed brackets by a small hinged door that flips up, allowing the blinds to be inserted or removed. The “blinds” are two -inch wide, white aluminums slats suspended from two -inch wide cloth “ladder tapes.” A series of ropes, threaded through the horizontal metal slats, work in tandem with the ladder tapes and the pulley system to control the blinds.
The rope cords, (see diagram) operate two pulleys: the tilt pulley and the control pulley. The tilt pulley tilts the blinds open or closed providing privacy or sun shielding. The control pulley allows users to raise or lower the entire blind.
Common Problems and Repairs and Simple Solutions:
As with all the recommended solutions, start simple and remember, to prevent problems before they start regular cleaning takes few minutes, so clean one set every time you dust to avoid that miserable buildup.
My slats need to be cleaned.
Suffering from dirty slats? Like any horizontal surface in your home, the metal slats tend to accumulate dust. Simply wiping both surfaces of the slats regularly with a lightly damp cloth should keep them relatively clean over the long term.
My slats Still need to be cleaned
If your blinds are near a location that has a high level of humidity, such as the bathroom or kitchen, moisture or cooking oils can trap dust in multiple layers that are firmly adhered to the surface of the slats. Over time this can significantly alter the appearance and texture of the blinds, making them dark and dull.
If a simple dusting does not work, try filling a clean spray bottle half full with water and add a squirt or tow of a gentle dish soap such as Ivory Liquid. Spray on a lint-free towel, turn the slats toward you and wipe down, being careful not to bend the slats. Reverse the slats and repeat on the other side.
Blind Removal for Cleaning
If your blinds have reached the Cape of No Hope (i.e. really, really dirty), removal becomes necessary. To remove your blinds, pull up the tabs on each end and slide the blinds out, towards you. If the blind refuses to slide out, heat the tabs with a hair dryer for a few minutes. The heat expands the metal and they pull right out. Work early in the morning or later in the evening to avoid water-spotting problems. Hang the blinds from two nails affixed to a stable surface (not the side of your Lustron). Spray a small test area of the blinds with a foaming bathroom cleaner (like Dow), if this does the job, spray the remaining slats and wipe clean. Spray the pull cords with shaving cream. When the dirt has left the scene of the grime flip the blind over, reverse the slats and spray again. Wipe with a clean very damp sponge and dry on a large bath towel.
Blind Cleaning Services
Blind cleaning services use a special ionizing process to remove heavier layers of accumulation. Contact a local blind retailer to determine if there is a cleaner near you.
My original metal blinds are missing.
It is possible that some original blinds might be available through salvage. Visit Buy/Sell for hints and tips on tracking down hard to find Lustron parts.
If you cannot find original blinds, you may be able to purchase new blinds that are a close approximation of the originals. The two -inch slat is popular again and can be ordered through some retailers. Consult a local blind retailer or search on-line to find new metal aluminum that match the originals in color (white), materials (aluminum slats and cotton tape ladders), and dimensions (two -inch slats and two -inch ladder tapes). It might help to print a copy of this photograph to take with you when you shop. Remember to base the size of your blinds on the interior dimension of the window opening.
Since blinds that are manufactured today will most likely utilize a bracket system that is different than the one design for the Luston blinds, you may need to remove the original brackets and install the new set. If you need to install new brackets, remove the original bracket by unscrewing the installation screws and save them for reuse or sale to another Lustron owner. If you are installing a large number of blinds, it might be faster to make a simple cardboard template of the bracket to help mark the installation holes on the location where you are installing the new blinds. To minimize the impact of the new brackets, drill the fewest number of holes possible and use a drill bit designed for porcelain surfaces. Ask your local hardware professional or home improvement store assistant to locate the proper drill bit to utilize on the porcelain surface. Install the blinds in the same fashion as the original, off-set inside the window.
My blinds can’t be raised or lowered/won’t tilt.The most likely cause is dirt and dust inside the gears, which makes them very difficult to operate. Another possibility is that friction plates inside the gears are soiled and can no longer hold the cloth ladders in place. To fix these problems, remove the blind from the window by opening the doors on the front of the brackets and sliding the header out.
The top of the blind header, giving you access to the gears and friction mechanism. Check the cotton pulls inside to see if they frayed or broken are broken. If they are damaged, they should be removed and replaced. That process is described in the Advanced Solutions below.
If the pulls are in good condition, simply lubricate the gears and friction mechanism with a lubricating solution like WD-40 or similar. Protect the cloth tapes by covering with a rag to keep from getting the lubricating oil on the cloth. Once clean, lightly lubricate the mechanisms with a petroleum-based aerosol lubricant, wiping off any overspray. Reinstall the blinds in the brackets and test.
The cloth strings and/or ladders need to be replaced.
Cloth will become brittle over time as a result of wear and exposure to ultraviolet rays in sunlight. It is no surprise that the blinds installed in 1949 are in need of new cloth ladders and strings. With a little practice and a bit of patience, you should be able to do this repair on yourself. Contact a local blind retailer to determine if they carry supplies for repairs. Take a sample of your ladder and ropes to help them match the materials and sizes as closely as possible. In addition to local retailers, several websites offer instructions and the supplies necessary to successfully complete this repair. If you are interested in learning more about repairing your blinds, here are just a few of the helpful websites that can get you started(these sites are provided as a courtesy to our Web site users and do not constitute an endorsement of the company or their products):
- How Stuff Works-How to Fix Venetian Blinds
- Fix My Blinds-Restring Your Blinds Kit
- Airlight Venetian Blind Company - Parts, Repair, Cleaning and Sales
If you do not want to attempt this project on your own, contact a blind retailer to determine if they can do the repairs for you, or can recommend someone for this service.
My slats are scratched, stained, or corroded.
Since you will be need to completely disassemble the blinds in order to insert new ladder tapes and pulls, this would be an excellent opportunity to clean the slats, or repaint them, if necessary. Sanding each slat, priming, and painting will return them to nearly new condition. Lay out each slat on a flat surface and wipe any excess dirt, oil, or dust from both sides with a cotton cloth and a mild cleaning solution. Rinse and allow to air dry before sanding both sides of the slats with a 100-grit sandpaper. You can either employ a simple sanding block or a hand sander. Be careful not to bend the slats while handling them. Clean them well with a tack cloth to create smooth surface. Prime both sides with a spray-on primer designed for metal surfaces, before spraying the slats with two coats of simi-gloss paint. Lightly sand between coats and wipe the surface with a tack cloth to remove any dust and overspray.
Once completely dry, reassembly the slats using the same instructions provided for installing new ladder tapes and pulls above.