What are roller shutters for?

I decided to write an article about roller shutters not so much on the instructions of the editorial board, but rather at the behest of my heart. This topic is especially relevant for me, because for 20 years of my difficult life I lived in an apartment on the first floor. The torment that I and my family experienced daily cannot be conveyed in words. Those who are in trouble, like me, that is, the residents of the first floors, understand what this is about. But I also advise higher-rise citizens to read this article. You never know how life will turn out?

Our apartment is generally located extremely poorly – next to the front door to the entrance. This slack and creaky foolishness served us as a kind of alarm clock: every morning we woke up together at about six, when the tenants of our house began a working day and they, loudly slamming the door, went to work.

The street noise and the curious glances of passers-by bothered us no less. They perceived our windows as a TV screen, and ourselves as characters from the Little Things in Life series. The whole block knew what ornament I had on my apron, how many buttons on my mother’s dressing gown, who I had tea with in the kitchen, what furniture was in the living room and what we were preparing for dinner. I distinguished neighbors (and their dogs and dogs) by their voices, knew their daily routine, was aware of their personal, I would even say intimate, life, which was continuously discussed (and sometimes, excuse me, happened) literally under my windows.

And thieves, these itinerant burglars! What did it cost them to get into an apartment like ours ?! And the boys, carelessly chasing the ball in front of our windows! How many times did we have to insert broken glass because of another inaccurate pass! In short, what is there to tell, and so it is clear. Not life, but hard labor.

And then one fine day our nerves broke down and we put iron bars on the windows. Of course, in the sense of intruders it became calmer, but the feeling that we live on the street, and the street lives among us, did not leave. With the advent of plastic windows, we made a second attempt to solve the sore problem. With a light heart, we parted with old wooden frames, replacing them with cute plastic profiles with double-glazed windows. Finally, the apartment is warm and quiet. Daily “political information” and other outrages outside the window now did not disturb our peace. At least, if we saw something like that, then at least we didn’t hear it. But persecution mania was still a family disease. And if not for an accidental coincidence, the direct road would be dear to us to the psychoanalyst. Or even worse – to an institution that is popularly called shortly, but capaciously – to a madhouse.

Accident is already a pattern!

Once I was returning home, I saw – outside, in front of the window of my neighbor (according to rumors, a wealthy man), some man was looming. The first impulse was to shout: “Help! robbing! ” And call the police. But, looking closely, I realized – it somehow does not look like a robbery. But just in case, I vigilantly decided to go to a neighbor and find out what was the matter. I ring the doorbell – it leaves. Focused, businesslike. In costume. The tie is silk, at first impression it is clearly not Korean. A good watch flashed languidly on his hand. He offered to come in, have tea and coffee. Talked.

It turned out that the man outside the window, whom I took for a robber, was installing roller shutters. The neighbor explained to me how he knew what it was. Then our conversation went aside, about more personal. And for more detailed information about roller shutters, he advised to contact the firm “Radial”. He said that the company is solid, has existed for a long time and produces very durable roller shutters, which, by the way, have repeatedly passed burglary tests and passed them with flying colors. It is probably no coincidence, he said, that Radial roller shutters are installed in large Russian banks. “Yeah, he’s a banker!” – I thought, – good! And she began to figure out how to make it more elegantly so that this would not be our last conversation … But I was distracted.

…Meanwhile, while we were having a nice conversation, the installer finished his job. I went to the closed window and asked the owner to open the shutters. He suggested: “Try it yourself,” and pointed to the button next to the window. (I forgot to say, we have already switched to “you”.) So, I carefully pressed the button – the shutters went up. I pressed it again and dropped it. “It’s funny!” – I thought. In general, the decision was made finally and irrevocably, and I asked for the phone number of this company. (Needless to say, the neighbor’s phone number is the same. Say, you never know, then suddenly you will need to consult about my new purchase. I meant, of course, roller shutters.)

The next day I called the firm. I was very kindly offered to come to the permanent exhibition “Rosstroyexpo” on the Frunzenskaya embankment. View, listen, choose.

Arrived. And I met Sergei Nikolaevich Sidorov and Alexander Petrovich Ivanov, representatives of the Radial firm. Yes, I forgot to say that I had previously received an editorial assignment to write an article about everything I learned..

But before I share with you, dear readers, all the details, I want to say thank you to all the employees of the companies who gave me such detailed and comprehensive information about roller shutters.

And if you’re wondering what I know now, I’m ready to share with you.

So the first thing. Roller shutters are nothing more than protective roller shutters. In principle, they are visually similar to ordinary blinds, but unlike them, roller shutters have other, more serious functions. The main purpose of roller shutters is to protect windows and doors of offices, banks, shops, trade pavilions, garages, apartments and residential buildings. As a rule, roller shutters are installed outside. This makes them harder to knock out, and it is absolutely impossible to break the glass they are supposed to protect. Because they protect the room not only from the sun’s rays and the inquisitive glances of passers-by, but also from those who do not like to walk through the door. In other words, robust shutters reliably protect against thieves.

If we talk about the “anatomy” of roller shutters, they consist of:

– a canvas, which is made of lamellas, or, in other words, profiles (horizontal strips, fastened together by hooks);
– guides along which the canvas moves up and down;
– a box into which the shutters “go away”, rolling up into a roll;
– shaft;
– bearings.

The appearance, functions and price of roller shutters depend on several factors: on the material from which they are made, on the dimensions of the parts (in particular, the width of the lamellas), on the weight of the curtain and on the control method. Let’s try to figure out these four components.

Material

Usually roller shutters, or rather the lamellas themselves, of which the canvas consists, are made of aluminum or steel. Aluminum is known to be a soft metal, but in an alloy with silicon and magnesium, for example, it becomes quite strong. With steel, everything is clear anyway – it has an “iron character”. However, steel is a “capricious” person: it must be carefully protected from scratches. Indeed, unlike aluminum, it rusts.


Aluminum profiles (lamellas): extruded and with polyurethane foam “filling”

Lamellas (profiles), aluminum and steel, come in different thicknesses and densities, depending on the manufacturing method.

For example, they take two thin sheets of aluminum (steel) and put polyurethane foam between them, and then all this is fastened with a special device resembling a press. By the way, polyurethane foam is used as heat and sound insulation. So roller shutters made in this way retain 30 – 40% of the heat in the room..

There is another method of manufacturing roller shutters. Profiles made using this technology are called extruded. Their production process resembles the preparation of minced meat. The profile of the desired shape “crawls” out of a special machine – the extruder, like meat from a meat grinder. The lamellas are thin, but more rigid than those made in the previous way. As the specialists of “Radial” have demonstrated to me, the panel can withstand more than 50 blows with a sledgehammer.

The service life of extruded aluminum roller shutters is 4 – 5 years, and of steel – 2 – 3 years.

And one more thing: roller shutters made of steel are much heavier and more expensive than aluminum ones. Indeed, for a heavy structure, a more powerful electric motor is needed, which, of course, is not cheap. In addition, steel roller shutters require perfect installation – the slightest distortion of the structure during installation will entail a load on the lamellas. This, in turn, will affect the ease of opening and closing the roller shutters. So it is possible that you will need to use the services of the repair and technical service more than once..

It is no coincidence that, according to the observations of specialists, over the past five years, aluminum roller shutters are predominantly ordered in Russia, rather than steel.

Sizes and prices

What else do you need to know about protective shutters (also called roller shutters)? Keep in mind: the durability of roller shutters directly depends on the width of the lamellas. The wider the lamella, the stronger the canvas, and vice versa. Usually the width of the aluminum profile is 37 – 77 mm. This characteristic is also reflected on the packaging. It looks like this: for example, A37 (the letter A stands for aluminum, the number 37 is the width of the lamella in mm), A40, A45, A55, A77. The price of aluminum profiles ranges from $ 70 to $ 150 per 1 / sq.m. depending on the width. The steel profile is designated, respectively, C40 (C – steel, 40 – width in mm), C55, C77. Price – from $ 100 to $ 160 per 1 / sq.m.

Roller shutter control methods

I have already said that protective blinds can be installed anywhere: indoors (in a window or doorway), outside (in a garage, in a country house, on windows). The location will not fundamentally affect the choice of control method. Because it depends primarily on the mass of the canvas. There are two ways to control roller shutters – mechanical and automatic.

Mechanical control

  • Belt control:
    The simplest and cheapest ($ 20 – $ 25), designed for lightweight aluminum construction, weighing up to 15 kg. The operating principle of the belt control is the same as the seat belt in a car. The tape box is installed inside the room next to the window. To close or open the roller shutters, the tape must be removed from the box and pulled towards you (as in conventional blinds). If you have tape-operated roller shutters, we recommend installing a mechanical lock on the lower lamella (price $ 20 – $ 40). To block the roller shutters, they must be lowered, the lock closed and the key removed..


    Belt control (left), Rope (gear) control (right)

  • Rope (gear) control:
    This method is suitable for heavier structures (15 to 25 kg). The tape here is replaced by a more durable cable (price $ 35 – $ 45). The control mechanism, as in the case of the tape version, is installed indoors. The difference is that the roller shutters are raised and lowered with a handle, which is mounted in the cable box. By rotating the gear knob (a wide toothed cylinder into which the cable is inserted and wound), you make the roller shutters move back and forth. You can also lock the structure with a mechanical lock – it is installed on the lower lamella.
  • Cardan control:
    Designed for structures weighing up to 35 kg (costs $ 60-70). As in previous cases, the box containing the control system is located by the window inside the room. Roller shutters are set in motion by turning the handle. But unlike cable control, this mechanism is more complex. A cardan joint (thin long metal rod) is attached to the gearbox. The cardan connects the handle at the bottom and the gearbox at the top. It is he who sets the canvas in motion..
  • Automatic control

    The box in the models with automatic control looks like a box in the “mechanical” versions. But the content of this “box” is different: there is an electric motor inside, thanks to which you can easily open and close the roller shutters.


    For a garage, office or a country house, it makes sense to order electrically controlled roller shutters

    In order to select the right engine, again, the weight of the web must be taken into account. A heavier design requires a more powerful and therefore more expensive engine. The most popular are electric drives of the German company “Somfy”, the price of which is from 170 to 650 $. The average cost of an engine for a structure weighing up to 18 kg is $ 180, up to 74 kg – $ 260, up to 157 kg – $ 640.

    There are two types of automatic design control: push-button and remote. Push-button control is easier and cheaper ($ 15-30). Outwardly, the control button resembles a switch, and, like a switch, is attached to the wall. By pressing the button, you can lower or raise the roller shutters. If desired, the button is equipped with a lock. In this case, it is enough just to touch the switch for the structure to go down or up. If you have chosen a push-button switch in the “non-locking” version, then in order to lower or raise the roller shutters, you must hold it until the canvas rises or falls to the end. To stop it, just remove your finger from the button.

    Remote control is the coolest and most convenient way to control roller shutters. But it is also the most expensive (350 – 400 $). You probably already guessed that the roller shutters are given commands from a remote control that resembles a TV remote control. It is enough to press one of the buttons – and the roller shutters immediately start to move. It is reasonable to use the remote control where several roller shutters are installed: to raise the protective shutters simultaneously in several rooms, on different floors. Unless, of course, you forgot to connect them to the control center.


    Automatic control (push-button or remote) is used for heavy structures weighing 35 kg

    Automatic control at the request of the client can be supplemented by an emergency system with a combined electric motor. If you have an urgent need to continuously open and close the roller shutters in the house, and the electricity is turned off very often, this system will be just a lifesaver for you. In this case, you can close or open the roller shutters manually, using a cardan, which is installed next to the box: just turn the knob and the roller shutters start moving. True, emergency control costs 1.5 – 2 times more expensive than electric. In order to block the system, you need to spend extra money and put an automatic or mechanical lock at the bottom of the canvas.

    Automatic control with sensor. First, just in case, I will explain what a sensor is. This is a device that receives, converts and transmits data of any measurements or, in other words, signals to special instruments. In fact, it looks like this: a sensor is placed on an automatically controlled roller shutter and a program is assigned to it. Depending on this program, he will give signals and lower the roller shutters at a certain time of the day..

    For what? For example, you are away from home for a long time. And your house is not bad, and this naturally attracts the attention of burglars. So that’s it. The sensor will create a “presence” effect by raising and lowering the safety shutters, say twice a day. In addition, he can “command” them to go down if the sun is hot through the window or a strong wind has risen. Very clever mechanism, I will report to you.

    “Learn to live wide”

    Having listened to all this detailed information, I, of course, fired up the idea to put such “smart” roller shutters on my windows. Moreover, the company will help you choose and install roller shutters. In general, any company, before selling protective blinds, must accurately calculate the ratio of the structure mass and the control method (for this, the roller shutters undergo serious tests) and, naturally, take into account the wishes of the buyer and his capabilities. The slightest mistake in calculations can lead to an emergency.

    Let me explain with an example. One square meter of 40 mm wide steel safety shutters weighs 9 kg. And aluminum roller shutters of the same dimensions weigh 4 kg. The main thing that is required from the customer is to indicate the exact dimensions of the openings where the roller shutters will be installed, and choose what he wants: the material (steel or aluminum) and the dimensions of the lamellas. When choosing a control method, you should take into account some nuances: the mechanical version is certainly cheaper than the automatic one. But if you decide to save money and start manually raising and lowering wide steel blinds, you will not end up with a hassle. Although it may very well be that your pumped-up biceps will soon be the envy of Schwarzenegger himself.

    On the other hand, it makes sense to order electrically controlled roller shutters for a garage, office or country house. In this case, it doesn’t matter if they are steel or aluminum. More importantly, they will greatly facilitate your life. But in an apartment it is quite possible to do with a tape or cable option.

    Personally, as a victim of the first floor, I was advised to put in a more durable roller shutter made of extruded aluminum with a wide profile. They are durable, but not heavy, do not rust and are cheaper than steel ones. Having saved money in this way, I chose push-button automatic control..

    True, before the new acquisition appeared on my windows, I had to do a fair amount of math. First, it was necessary to calculate the price of the canvas: multiply the size of the window by the cost per square meter (2.85 sq.m. x $ 100 = $ 285). Then find out how much the selected aluminum sheet weighs, and decide on the control method. It turned out that my blinds were pulled by 15 kg (1 sq. M. 55 mm wide aluminum weighs 5 kg). In principle, any control method is suitable for such shutters, starting from the simplest belt type (I have already said that it is designed for a canvas weighing up to 15 kg). The automatic version with push-button control will cost an average of about $ 200. Lower lock – another $ 30. As a result, the roller shutters cost me $ 505. To this amount, however, it is also necessary to add the cost of installation work (indoors – 15% of the order price, outside – 20%) and delivery (each company has its own prices, but the difference is small).

    As a result, all the pleasure cost me about $ 600 per window! And I have three of them. How much is the sum, count yourself. But I have no regrets. If I had not put on protective blinds, I would have lost a lot more: nerves, health, and acquired property. Yes, among other pleasures I got one more. I now communicate with our neighbor, however, in a purely friendly manner. We still turned out to be different for closer contact. And I also looked after my husband completely different, soon the wedding.

    P. S. “Discounts for delegations and women’s departments” (Ilf and Petrov).

    I forgot to tell. As a rule, when ordering several sheets of protective blinds, firms provide good discounts. In addition, discounts are valid in autumn and winter, that is, in the “off-season”.

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