Window Shade Glossary

There’s a ton of jargon and terminology in the window treatment industry, and we are here to help you make sense of it all. We’ve put together a list of words with definitions to help guide you through your window treatment purchasing journey. 

Arch Window:  A window with a round portion and a flat portion. These shades are often referred to as “half-moons.”

Awning Windows:  These windows are hinged on the top and can swing outward. They are usually rectangular and are wider than they are tall. 

Balcony Skylight Shade: These are manual skylight shade systems that are designed by Comfortex that feature cellular honeycomb fabric. The tension is adjustable for optimal functionality and they are reinforced by retainer tracks that are on both sides of the shade. 

Bay Window: This window extends outward from a main wall; it forms a protrusion from the exterior wall. 

Blackout: This fabric is used for blocking out light completely. 

Blinds: These window treatments feature slats that can rotate to control the light. Typically, blinds are not considered an energy efficient and insulating treatment. 

Bow Window: A curved version of a bay window. 

Bracket & Mounting Hardware: This hardware holds the shade within the window’s frame. Our brackets are made from metal and can be used for both inside and outside mount applications. 

Casement Window: A window that uses a crank to open outward. 

Cell Size: This is the height of a cell (diamond shape), which will determine the appearance of the folds on the front of the shade. 

Child Safe: Cordless and Motorized shades are the only “child safe” window treatments. We do include child safe applications in our corded shades as well, however.  (See “Cord Cleat,” “Tensioner,” for example).

Color Strip: A small strip of metal that acts as an insert in the headrail for cordless, cord loop and motorized shades to match the color of the fabric. 

Comfortrack PlusA cellular shade sidetrack system comprised of side rails that block drafts to make the shade more energy efficient. The system also blocks light gaps, making the system easier to sleep with.

Cord Cleat: This device is used for most standard shades. It helps you wrap the cord around the device to keep it out of reach for children. 

Cord Tensioner: A shade that holds a cord loop tight against a window frame or wall. It helps the operation of the shade along with keeping pets and children from becoming entangled in a loop cord.

Cordless: A shade that has no exposed cords and does not rely on handling cords for raising and lowering.  This is the safest shade option you can have if you have young children. 

Deductions: Fabric and rails will be cut narrower for inside mount and sidetrack shades. This is done so the whole unit can fit within the frame.  You do not need to take deductions from your own measurements - we take care of that in production. 

Double Cell: This is a dual honeycomb configuration that has two diamond-shaped cells or “chambers.” See the image below:

Duofold:(see Top Down/Bottom Up)

Eyebrow Window: A Window often hinged at the bottom that has a semi-circular top.

Fascia: A small wooden or metal strip that’s mounted at the top of a window to hide hardware. It can also snap into a bracket system.

Faux Wood Blinds: Horizontal blinds made primarily of a wood grain-like composite material. 

Flush Mount: A shade that’s secured within the window frame or trim (inside mount).  The shade does not protrude from the frame at all. 

French Door: A door that has rectangular panes of glass that extend the door’s full length. 

Head Rail: The top metal bar that’s on a cellular shade. These dimensions will differ depending on the shade type.

Honeycomb: Describing the chambers in the shade. This is often referred to as a “cell.”

Hybrid Shade: A shade the uses two different shade types. For example, a combination of a roman shade and a cellular shade. 

Inside Mount: This is when you secure a shade to the inner part of a window’s frame. 

Lift Options: The numerous types of ways that a shade can be ordered. For instance there’s cordless, motorized, top down bottom up, continuous cord loop and standard. 

Light Filtering: Fabric that allows light to pass through it without significant darkening.

Mini-Blind:  A non-vertical window treatment that’s produced out of long, narrow, horizontal slats that are held together by string. 

Mins & Maxs: The smallest and largest shades can be manufactured and still operate. Shades produced outside of these parameters are considered out of specifications.  

Motorized: An automated shade that can be operated by a remote, wall switch, timer, or solar battery. 

Movable Arch Shade: A half round shade that can be opened and closed, just like a fan. 

Outside Mount: A shade or window treatment that’s secured on the outside of the window frame. This lets the treatment hang over the window’s opening, rather than inside the frame. 

Pleated Sheet:   A shade fabric type that’s shaped like a zigzag when you look at it from the side. These shades differ slightly from cellular shades because they don’t have chambers. 

Railroading: Using a fabric horizontally rather than vertically.  It is generally used in roller shades to get a wider shade than the natural fabric width.

Roller Shades: These shades are vinyl and are attached to a tube. Roller shades can be motorized and may also come with spring rollers.

Roman Shades: Shades that are drawn up from the bottom. They create horizontal folds when raised and they lay flat when they cover the window. 

R-Value: A measurement of thermal resistance that’s used within the building community. This translates to insulating value. 

Shades: A treatment type that’s a continuous piece of fabric. Other treatments use slats. 

Shutters: Hinged panels that typically cover the exteriors of a home. They can be both fixed and moveable. 

Side Mount:  When you secure a shade at the end opposed to the top of the headrail. Side mount brackets are optional with most Symphony Shades. 

Sidetracks: A cellular shade system comprised of side rails that block the drafts at the side of a shade. 

Single Cell: A honeycomb configuration of one layer of cells.

Skylight: A window that’s mounted inside a roof. They are horizontal or angled. 

Smoothy Cord Loop & Continuous Cord Loop: This is a cord that has been fused into a circle. It acts like a bicycle chain for continuous hand over hand operation.  It applies to our Smoothy and Omnirise Continuous Cord Shades.

Solar Shade: a shade that’s designed to cut down on sun and heat gain. They are very similar to roller shades. 

Starburst Arch Shade: A cellular shade that’s half-moon shaped and features fabric so the pleats fan out as they radiate from the center. 

Stationary Arch Shade: A half round shade that’s in a fixed position so that it always covers up the arch window. This shade cannot be opened.  

Symphony Fabric: 3/8” double cell bonded polyester fabric made that’s made by Comfortex for the “Symphony” line of double cell shades. This comes in either light filtering or blackout fabric. 

Template: Paper that gives you the exact dimensions of an irregular window such as a trapezoid or half round arch window. These types of shades are usually purchased from a local dealer.

Trapezoid Window: A window that’s neither rectangle nor square but it isn’t round on any side.

Top Down Bottom Up: This type of shade is also known as Duofold. It can be raised up either from the bottom or the top and is available in standard cord, continuous cord, and cordless options! 

Upgrades: Options and add-ons for your shades. An example of this is cordless and top down bottom up. 

Valance: A short type of drapery, decorative board mounted at the top of the window to hide hardware and the frame. 

Venetian Blinds: These blinds are made up of either wooden or metal slats; they are attached to cloth tape and are maneuvered by cord on a pulley system. 

Verticals: These are popular for sliders or large windows. They rotate to close and may be stacked to the sides.These used to be made up of fabrics but now are produced using a variety of other materials. 

Virtuoso Fabric: ½” single cell fabric produced by Comfortex. This fabric is available in black out and light filtering types.

Window Quilt: A window treatment that incorporates quilted fabric on a roller. These window treatments have a track system.

Wood Blinds: Horizontal blinds made up of wood. They can be painted or stained.