The Installation Guide: How to Install Mini Blinds
Mini blinds are a fantastic way to give your rooms privacy without worrying about expensive installation or remodeling. They also may help with your home’s overall energy efficiency by blocking out sunlight in the summer and retaining heat in the winter.
Installing mini blinds is simple, even if you’re trying to install multiple blinds in a day. The brackets, valance and other parts are thoughtfully designed to make installation easy while keeping the blinds secure and locked into place.
The key is to make sure you measure carefully before and after purchasing the blinds to make sure they fit perfectly. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to install mini blinds without hassle or hiring a contractor.
Measure and Assess
Installation of a single mini blind takes less than an hour, but the initial measurement should be done in advance. Make sure to take your time when measuring and double-checking measurements to avoid errors.
Mini blinds can be either inside-mounted or outside-mounted. Inside-mounting requires positioning blinds inside the window frame, so the measurements need to be exact to fit snugly. Outside-mounting is more flexible and is less likely to require custom blinds, but they also allow more light into the room due to the gap between the blinds and the window frame.
You’ll also need to assess the window’s distance from areas where children may play. Corded window blinds are a serious safety hazard for young children, so you will need to install cordless blinds in living rooms, playrooms and children’s bedrooms.
Measure the inside of the window frame for its height, depth and width. The depth is only an issue in windows with very shallow frames, in which case you may need outside-mounted blinds. Write down these measurements, refer back to them when ordering mini blinds online and keep them somewhere safe in case you need them again in the future.
Gather Your Supplies
Most blind installation projects require the following supplies in addition to the parts included in the box:
- An electric drill
- Phillips head screwdriver
- Measuring tape
You may need a specific drill bit size as indicated in the manufacturer’s instructions. Typical sizes include ¼ and 5⁄16 inches. A cordless drill and a corded drill both work, but keep in mind, a corded drill may be a hassle if the outlets are far from the window. Attempting to drill into brick or concrete requires a special masonry drill bit, preferably with a tungsten carbide tip.
In some cases, you can install mini blinds by using adhesive strips or magnets. However, this varies depending on the specifics of the mounting system. The weight of the blinds may be too much for strips or magnets. Check the specific model’s directions for warnings about using methods other than screws or nails.
You may also need to provide your own screws if you are mounting the blinds’ brackets into aluminum or concrete. Upon receiving the box containing your mini blinds, check its contents thoroughly to ensure it includes all the mounts, brackets, screws and other parts listed.
Although a level tool is optional and can be replaced by careful measurements, it may be important if you have difficulty measuring and placing the mounts evenly on both sides. If you have an older home, your windows may also be slightly crooked, affecting the final look of the blinds. A level tool may help you adjust to minor unevenness in the window frame, especially for outside-mounted blinds.Browse Our Options for the Best Mini Blinds
Installing the Brackets
For both inside-mounting and outside-mounting, start by measuring the proper placement for the brackets. The directions for your specific model may specify a minimum distance from the window, so measure the depth as well as height from the windowsill.
Once you remove the brackets from the box, you’ll need to prepare them by pressing on the bottom of the bracket. This releases the locking tab and lifts the front bracket gate so the screw holes are easily visible. Hold the prepared bracket in place and mark the screw holes with a pencil, and then repeat on the other side.
Drill the holes using the electric drill, and then loosely screw in the bracket with two of the included screws. Adjust the positioning of the bracket if needed. Repeat on the other side, and then check to make sure the blind slides into place properly. Once you’re sure of the mount and screw hole placement, tighten the remaining screws.
If additional support brackets are included, make sure to install those carefully as well. These are typically one to two U-shaped supports that go in the middle of the blinds to keep too much weight from hanging on the two end brackets. For a 60-inch blind, you may not need any support brackets, but for 60-70-inch blinds, you’ll need one support bracket placed in the center of the headrail. For blinds over 70 inches, you may need two or more support brackets.
There should be no more than 30 inches between brackets, so double-check your blinds’ length and included brackets when beginning to screw support brackets into place. Failure to use enough support brackets could result in the remaining brackets loosening quickly or damaging the window frame over time due to the weight of the blinds.
Setting the Blinds into Place
The blind headrail should slide easily into place between the two brackets. Make sure not to trap the first blind slat in the bracket along with the headrail. Keep in mind, the blinds need to be installed with the correct side up and facing outward. If you meet any significant resistance when sliding the blinds in, check the individual brackets for misalignment.
Most box brackets have small gates that swing down into place over the headrail. Flip these gates down and push firmly until they click into place. Wiggle the headrail gently to make sure it is secure before continuing to the valance installation.
The valance, or the layer that helps hide the headrail from view, is technically not a required part of the blind. However, it improves the overall aesthetics of the blind and helps it look more like a natural part of your window. This is especially important for outside-mounted blinds since they are much more visible.
Attach the valance with the included valance clips. Blinds under 36 inches in width only need two valance clips, with one at each end of the headrail, but larger household blinds may require five or more. Very wide blinds over 156 inches wide for offices and other commercial settings need seven valance clips.
Outside mounted blinds include a special valance designed to be bent to cover the ends of the headrails. Carefully bend these pieces into place after attaching it to the front of the headrail. Avoid using pliers for this task, unless specifically instructed to, since the finish on the aluminum could be damaged.
Safety Cleats and Hold-Down Brackets
Your mini blind may include a safety cleat designed to hold the cord safely out of the way. These are an essential safety tool for homes with children, even if you are installing the blind in a room children will not typically be in.
Safety cleats should be installed vertically at a height that keeps them out of the reach of small children. This typically means installing them at least four feet off the ground, but the best placement for you may vary depending on other objects on the wall nearby. Make sure to install the cleat on the correct side since corded blinds usually only have a cord on one side.
Hold-down brackets are an optional part of the installation process typically used when placing mini blinds on doors. To install these, attach them to the bottom of the blinds, pull the blinds down and mark the places where the hold-down brackets should go on the door. Raise the blind partway, and then screw the brackets into place. When you’re ready to pull the blinds down, just snap the bottom edge into place between the brackets.
Special Considerations for Installation
Typically, the difference in installation between aluminum and other materials is negligible. Aluminum is durable, and its color does not change easily in sunlight. Use caution when removing aluminum blinds from the box and installing them, as they may bend and become damaged if handled roughly.
A step stool may be necessary for the safe installation of mini blinds, especially if you aren’t tall enough to safely angle the power screwdriver for installation. Holding and trying to manage a power tool over your head is dangerous, so don’t hesitate to use a step stool or ladder. Even if you’re installing dining room blinds near furniture, avoid standing on tables or chairs, as these do not always provide adequate grip for your feet or could tip over.
Some homeowners may consider hiring a local contractor or local handyman to complete the installation. This may be a wise option for you if you are a senior citizen at risk of falling or don’t have the hand-eye coordination necessary for handling a screwdriver. It’s also worth hiring a handyman if you have small children who are likely to get in the way during the installation process if you do it yourself.
However, for most people, installing mini blinds is an easy weekend task. Even if you’re replacing most of the blinds in a house, you can knock out the job in two days or less.
Testing the Blinds
Corded blinds take some getting used to if you haven’t used them before. Remember to pull the cord at a downward left angle before moving it straight up and down to adjust its position, as this unlocks its position. To lock it in place, tug it down and to the right.
It’s normal to need a little practice using the blinds, so just because they don’t work quite like you expect doesn’t mean they’re installed incorrectly. They may even feel more tense or loose than previous mini blinds you’ve used. Upon initial installation, you should be able to raise and lower them briefly just to make sure they reach as low as you want.
Cordless blinds are easy to work with. Just push the bottom bar up to raise them and gently pull it down to lower it. You may need to tilt the bottom bar slightly to unlock it, but this will become second nature with a little practice.Our Bathroom Window Blinds Are Great for Any Size Washroom
If you did the installation correctly the first time around, you likely won’t need to touch up paint or conceal any other damage. If you had to adjust the bracket placement after incorrectly positioning them, you may need to putty and paint over small holes in the window frame to get it back to perfection.
Use wood putty instead of spackle for these deeper holes. Although wood putty does not take wood stain well, it can be painted over. You can also use wood filler. Take the opportunity to look for scratches and stray pencil marks to clean up as well.
Hold on to the instructions and spare parts that came with your mini blinds if you need replacement parts in the future.
Understanding how to clean window blinds at home is an important preventative maintenance task to prolong the life of your mini blinds. Clean your blinds regularly, two to three times per month, to prevent grime from building up. For cleaning bathroom window blinds, the risk of mold and mildew poses an additional hazard if you don’t clean them frequently enough.
Making the Most of Your Blinds
After deciding on either inside-mounted or outside-mounted blinds, the key to making them fit perfectly is to measure precisely and double-check the length and height of your windows.
Factory Direct Blinds provides high-quality blinds you can install yourself, even if you’re not DIY-savvy. Our blinds include clear instructions and durable parts to make installation and maintenance stress-free. Our blinds are a trusted solution for both home and commercial applications.
We have a selection of mini blinds, wood blinds, roller shades, vertical blinds and much more to keep you shaded and cool year-round. Since we provide your blinds factory direct, we can give you fantastic discounts without compromising quality. Count on us for your customized window treatments in every room.
Yusi el Yususi/shutterstock.com