- What are roller shutters or, as they are also called, roller shutters?
- Roller shutter device
- Installation and management of roller shutters
- How to choose roller shutters
- Roller shutter operating rules
In this article: what are roller shutters; how roller shutters are arranged; types and technology of production of profiles for roller shutters; what methods of installation and control of roller shutters exist; selection criteria and prices; simple operating rules for roller shutters.
Since the days of the “dashing 90s” in the countries of the post-Soviet space, it has been customary to protect their houses and apartments from the outside world with steel-clad entrance doors equipped with reliable locks. However, in addition to the openings of the entrance doors, there are also window openings, of which there are much more – what about them? About 20 years ago, the most popular way to protect windows from intruders became steel gratings, which in many cases “decorate” the window openings of houses and apartments to this day, terrifying tourists from Europe who do not understand how life behind the window bars can be comfortable. You can, of course, get used to it and look at the street through a steel lattice, or you can solve security issues in another way – by installing roller shutters on the windows.
What are roller shutters or, as they are also called, roller shutters?
The issues of home safety were especially acute in the Middle Ages, and equally in cities and in the countryside – with the onset of night, gangs of robbers were operating in the streets. The night watch was either bribed by them, or was small in number and could not provide protection for all citizens, patrolling mainly the areas where the rich and aristocrats lived. Therefore, the windows of each house were closed at night with external shutters, which were two massive doors made of wood, sometimes bound with strips of metal. Over time, the shutters were replaced by double-leaf blinds, which made it possible to simultaneously protect windows from the intrusion of burglars, in any case, to somewhat complicate their task, as well as reduce the intensity of sunlight penetrating into the rooms during the day.
Window shutters are made of profiled slats connected to each other with locks of a special design. Roller shutters move along guides, which allows them to be freely moved up and down; when lifting, the curtain is wound into a roll on a shaft hidden under a protective casing, fully or partially opening the window opening. In the “closed” position, it is extremely difficult to enter the house through the windows closed by the shutters – the gaps between the slats are too small to push a crowbar between them, besides, its use will cause a loud noise and wake up households with neighbors.
For residents of especially difficult climatic zones of our planet, roller shutters have become an ideal means of protecting window openings from gusty winds and heavy rains, the power of which ordinary double-glazed windows and swing shutters are not able to hold..
Roller shutter device
By their design, they are the same – a canvas made of lamella plates, a shaft on which the canvas is wound when lifting, guides along which the roller shutter slides. The shaft and the web wound on it hides the casing box, closed at the ends with side covers that increase its rigidity.
The lamellas from which the roller shutter curtain is formed can be plastic, aluminum and steel, the cavities inside their profile can be filled with polyurethane foam or be empty, i.e. contain air. They are made in two ways – by roller rolling (aluminum and steel lamellas) with filling the cavities with polyurethane foam and extrusion (plastic and aluminum lamellas). The width of the window slats is from 40 to 55 mm, the larger the area of the window opening, the wider the slats are needed.
Before rolling in a roller press, steel and aluminum sheets are cut into strips, pre-profiled, after which they are filled with polyurethane foam. Contrary to the advertisements of lamellas with polyurethane foam filler, it is intended not to increase thermal insulation and soundproofing properties, but to protect future lamellas from damage during profiling. Although the filler gives additional heat and sound insulation properties, they do not play a special role in the operation of roller shutters. The roller crimping press allows you to obtain light and especially bend-resistant lamellas for steel roller shutters, however, the thickness of such a leaf will be greater than that of the assembled lamellae obtained by extrusion.
A seamless profile obtained by extrusion, with a smaller thickness than that of a rolled profile, has greater rigidity due to thick walls (from 1 to 1.5 mm, as opposed to the maximum 0.5-0.8 mm for a roller profile), and also the presence of internal stiffeners. Extruded lamellas are made with and without internal cavities (the first ones are stronger), while the cavities are not filled with polyurethane foam.
The pvc lamella profile contains 2-8 inner chambers, separated by longitudinal stiffeners and filled with air. The roller shutter curtain formed by plastic lamellas has the lowest performance characteristics in comparison with aluminum and steel. The plastic profile in the composition of the roller shutter curtain is subject to thermal expansion due to the high temperatures of the summer season, which often causes it to fall out of the guides due to weakening of the structural rigidity and gusty wind. In addition, as the roller shutters are used, the surface of the plastic sheet acquires multiple mechanical damages in the form of scratches and abrasions caused by winding the sheet onto the shaft when they are lifted. The only advantage of plastic roller shutters is the lower cost than steel and aluminum models.
Aluminum roller shutters are stronger than plastic ones and lighter than steel ones, they are not subject to corrosion and therefore will serve their owners for at least 5 years. The high popularity of aluminum roller shutters, despite the lower strength compared to steel roller shutters, is explained not only by resistance to atmospheric moisture – the low weight of the aluminum lamella blade will require little effort to move it when mechanically controlled (manually) and a low-power electric motor when electrically controlled. If there is a need for a higher degree of protection of window openings, it is worth using aluminum roller shutters with a canvas of extruded lamellas – as already mentioned, they are more resistant to external influences due to internal stiffeners.
Roller shutters with a sheet of steel lamellas are the heaviest; to control them, an electric drive with a powerful motor is required. The strength of the steel sheet is superior to the sheet of aluminum roller shutters, however, despite the layer of polymer or powder paint applied to the steel lamellas in the factory, at the slightest damage to its surface and exposure of the metal, a corrosion center is formed. Steel roller shutters require constant maintenance, which is expressed in tracking damage to the paint layer and its immediate restoration, otherwise the service life of steel roller shutters will not exceed 3-4 years.
The shaft on which the roller shutter is wound is made of galvanized steel, has a rounded or octagonal shape, and is hollow inside. The protective cover, side covers and guides are usually made of the same material as the lamellas, i.e. made of plastic, aluminum or steel.
Installation and management of roller shutters
Roller shutters existing on the market are divided into two types – external installation (overhead) and built-in (into the wall above the window opening). The simplest installation of structures with an external casing, since at the same time, no reconstruction of the building facade is required – a variety of standard sizes allows you to choose the appropriate roller shutter width for any window opening.
Models with a built-in casing are completely invisible when the canvas is open, because from the outside, the casing location is finished with the same materials as the main area of the building facade, respectively, the architectural appearance of the object does not undergo any external changes. However, the installation of roller shutters with a hidden casing is permissible only when preparing cavities for them even at the stage of building a building or during reconstruction work..
From the point of view of protecting the house from intrusion, built-in roller shutters are preferable – it is much more difficult to break them than overhead ones, because and the casing with the shaft and the guides are reliably hidden inside the walls of the building, it is impossible to reach them without destroying part of the wall, and this requires significant efforts and special equipment.
Now let’s consider the types of roller shutter control. Mechanical control is divided into – belt, gear (cable), cardan and spring-inertial, as well as their subspecies.
Easiest arranged belt control, in many ways similar to the principle of operation of seat belts, which are equipped with cars. Closing or opening of the roller shutter curtain is carried out by pulling or loosening the tension of the tape brought from the casing into the room. Belt control is used for roller shutters with a small blade area, assembled from light aluminum lamellas and weighing no more than 15 kg.
Gear controlIt is similar in design to the tape one – the only difference is that instead of the tape, a strong cord is used, also led into the room from the casing installed outside the window. The roller shutter blade is moved by rotating the handle inserted into the gearbox, onto which a cable is wound during rotation. Roller shutter control of this design allows you to raise and lower a canvas weighing 15-20 kg. A subtype of this control method is cord control – instead of a cord, a metal cable is used, which allows increasing the roller shutter curtain weight up to 60 kg.
Position of the roller shutter curtain with cardan controlit is also set when the handle is rotated, only the gearbox on which the metal cable is wound is on the inside of the window at the same level with the casing installed outside – the transfer of torque from the handle is made through a long metal rod (cardan). A subtype of such a roller shutter control is a crank mechanism activated by a long gate. To lower or raise the curtain, it is necessary to place the end of the gate in the slot on the casing and rotate the handle located at its end. The maximum allowable web weight in both control options is 35 kg.
It is possible to raise and lower the roller shutter without special devices, if a torsion spring is installed on its shaft, which balances the weight of the curtain – it is necessary to give the curtain a slight acceleration in the given direction and it will lower or rise, respectively. The adjustment of the spring-inertial mechanism is carried out when installing a roller shutter equipped with it. The greatest permissible weight of the sliding door – 50 kg.
Moving on to automatic controlroller shutter canvas. Its main element is a compact electric motor housed inside a housing next to the shaft. For activation, a one- or two-key, push-button, rotary or touch switch is used, as well as a remote control. Electric motors are usually equipped with roller shutters, the weight of the curtain of which exceeds 35 kg, however, installation on curtains of less weight is allowed. It is worth noting that equipment for automatic control of roller shutters significantly increases their cost – for example, for a canvas weighing 35-40 kg, an electric motor will be needed that costs from 3300 rubles. and higher. The main advantage of automatic roller shutters is their ease of control and the ability to integrate into a single smart home system, the disadvantage is that in the absence of power supply, their canvases cannot be opened or closed. It is, of course, possible, of course, to install, in addition to the electric motor, an emergency control system with a manual drive (for example, a crank mechanism), but this will additionally increase the cost of the entire structure by at least 50%.
The curtain is fixed in the closed position using mechanical latches or a lock with a key installed on the lower lamella – such locks must be equipped with roller shutters, regardless of how they are controlled. Both locks operate according to the same principle – in the slots located in the guides, the valves are extended and the roller shutter curtain cannot move until the valves are open.
How to choose roller shutters
Since models with plastic slats should not even be considered, and steel roller shutters, with a higher degree of protection, have rather weak decorative properties and are subject to corrosion, it is necessary to choose among models with aluminum slats.
On the Russian market, with an external abundance of companies collecting roller shutters, lamellas from two manufacturing countries – Italy and Germany – are used in the construction of canvases. Italian-made lamellas, by and large, are designed to protect window openings from the sun’s rays – in Italy it is very hot and sunny in summer. German companies are guided by the climate of central and northern Europe – cool in summer, rather cold in winter – for this reason, the aluminum lamellas they produce are more massive and stronger than Italian ones, which affects their higher cost.
A roller shutter with a sheet of aluminum lamellas obtained in a roller press will cost about 1650 rubles / m2 (depending on the size of its constituent plates – the wider and thicker they are, the more expensive). If the sheet is formed by extruded aluminum lamellas without an inner chamber, its cost will be about 2300 rubles / m2, seamless lamellas with internal chambers and additional stiffeners as part of the roller shutter cloth cost about 3000 rubles / m2.
Equipping roller shutters with a mechanical drive, depending on its type, will cost from 1200 (belt, gear, inertial control) to 2300 rubles. (cardan control). The electric drive will cost about 3300 rubles, remote control of it – 4500 rubles.
It is necessary to take into account one important point – if it is planned to install a roller shutter on a window opening not higher than the 3rd floor, then you can get by with the hiring of assemblers with a ladder of sufficient length, but installation work above this floor will require the involvement of industrial climbers, because without their help, it will not work to install the roller shutter.
Roller shutter operating rules
- First of all, opening and closing the canvas is allowed only when using mechanisms designed for this – you should not use excessive physical force! If the efforts usually applied when controlling the position of the blade are not enough and it does not move, then you do not need to pull the handle with more force – there is probably a breakdown in the mechanism and you need to call a repair technician.
- To avoid damage to the control mechanism, before each opening of the roller shutter, make sure that the lock installed on the lower lamella is in the “open” position..
- When opening and closing the canvas, you should not stick your head out of the open window.
In winter, the roller shutters can freeze to the guides – in this case, you should not try to pour boiling water over them, you need to carefully inspect the mating points with the guides before opening, and if ice is found, tap the perimeter of the canvas with a hammer with a rubber impact head. And only after these measures to make attempts to bring the shutters to the “open” position.
Periodic cleaning of the roller shutter curtain from dust and dirt is carried out using a soap solution and a soft cloth, you can use ready-made cleaning agents that do not contain abrasive particles.