Saturday, February 10, 2018

Replacing Our Day/Night Shades–a DIY Project…

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With our RV now 10 years and going on 11 we decided that this year would be the year we would upgrade our RV. We don’t see going off the road anytime soon and we see no reason to purchase a new motorhome so the only logical choice was to (as Sharon would say) Pimp our Ride!

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Last spring we replaced the flooring and got rid of much of the carpet. We still have some carpet left and we will replace the areas remaining with new carpet. Earlier this month I replaced all of our slide toppers because after 10 years of wear and tear it was time for them to be trashed and replaced. Next up for us was replacing our horrid day/night shades.

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After reading tons of reviews about replacement products I kept reading rave reviews for the MCD shades. After pricing them out however I decided I had better dig deeper to see what other options were out there. Spending over $2000 for window treatments was simply way over our budget! We did discover there is a small shop out of Red Bay Alabama who also does a roller day/night shade and at first we considered it because it was 1/3 less in cost. However, they explained the cornices would all have to be modified to add about 1” in depth. As a result it would be just as costly as MCD shades and we really did not want to add more width to our cornices so we rejected this option.. Was there no other alternative?


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I came across a website called Selectblinds. After reading all the product information and reviews I found a couple of honeycomb shades that seemed perfect for us at over half the cost. I chatted with an agent online and finally decided to order them. Eight replacement shades at about $100 per shade on average made it affordable.

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I ordered two types of shades. The first a classic day/night shade. Yes these still have strings in them but at no angles thus leaving less chance of breaking. They fit perfectly in our valances  so there would be no additional modifications. The second shade I ordered was a top/down bottom/up blackout shade which had a special feature in that you could open the shades from either the bottom or from the top down. We have some extra tall windows so being able to open them from the top we could have some sky views from windows we otherwise rarely used – Sweet!!!

Installation was simple and straightforward (after I figured out how the attachment clips worked). The steps I performed are below:

  1. Remove cornices by removing screws from the side braces and then those in the top or sides of the cornices. This is where an extension Phillips will be a godsend.
  2. Remove old blinds by removing the screws from the string attachments and then pressing the attachment clip releases to free the old shades from the cornice. This is an excellent time to thoroughly clean the windows and the window screens, which we did.
  3. Next I needed to remove the old attachment clips and install the new ones. These ere type “C” attachment clips and the installation guide had very poor picture of how to install them. It took me the better part of an hour to solve the riddle of how to install them so I have included pictures of how they are installed.
  4. Now all I needed to do was align the new blinds equidistance from the sides of the cornice and snap them in place. Also I  added the two plastic window lift tabs onto the new blinds and they were ready to reinstall.
  5. Before installing the blinds I had to replace the screws along the right and left side of the window to reduce the height of the screw head. Why? Because the blinds were hitting the larger screw head but not the smaller one when I replaced them.
  6. Lastly I had to  re-install the cornices the opposite way I took them off. An extra hand here helps immensely with this step. One trick here I used was to tape the screw on the extension so it wouldn’t fall off before I could get it started back in!

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I was easily able to install all eight blinds in an afternoon but I was a bit sore from having to contort myself in ways to be able to remove some of the screws from the valances. The only special tool needed here was a drill extension and long bit with a Philips head on it. The tool is pictured below for your convenience.

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So now we are enjoying our new blinds and only time will tell if these blinds are the perfect blinds for us and our RV…

NOTE: We are now in our winter home until March 1st in Bonita Springs Florida at Imperial Bonita Estates RV park and Coop.

17 comments:

  1. Paul replaced all our shades with honeycomb shades we bought at Sears. It was so cheap and easy. We love them. Good job John. You are going to have a new home before long.

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  2. We replaced ours with simple old fashioned curtains. Cheap and easy.

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    1. I like it real dark curtans wouldn't work for us...

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  3. Shades look great! Love the top down feature. Definitely more privacy and more light.

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  4. I am so glad our current motorhome has MCD shades, I will hopefully never have to do that again:)

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  5. Nice job with the reno. We still have our original metal venetian blinds that we love, Easy to clean and restring when needed. No 19 years old, but then so is the rest of our coach except the new flooring last year.

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  6. We hated those day/night shades in our last motorhome, a Coachman. When we got our Safari, it has thin metal venetian blinds that are still in great shape after 22 years. But we did put an MCD all across the front windshield and it doubles as a huge sun visor when put down part way when driving. I don't think I could afford MCD's all around, but it's nice having the one up front for now.

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  7. I am so impressed with your DIY skills! We will revisit this post when it is time to replace our blinds. Thanks for your sharing.

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  8. Nice work! I had gotten tired of restringing the day/nights, so we switched to aluminum Levelor mini-blinds. We had them custom cut at Lowe's. Fairly inexpensive and easy to care for. Just another option for folks looking to do this.

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    1. We have one of those at our kitchen window...

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  9. We had MCDs put in our Dutch Star about 8 years ago when we were in McKinney Texas!! They were wonderful. We sold that MH when we came off the road. Sure wish we had MCDs again!! We did have to put in new lambrequins because of the fit!!
    I love the top down bottom up feature!!! That will be nice and give you light and privacy!! Great job!!

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    1. the top down feature is really cool - going to get a lot of use out of those...

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  10. Great replacement jobs. Can't wait to see all the work you have done.

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  11. My 2016 Cougar 5er had MCD shades and they were great. My new Montana has a different brand. Four were replaced and have held up. Three more will be replaced under warranty. After warranty any that need replaced will be done with MCD. Never the day/night string things again ~ had them in previous units.

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    1. yep, the stringed shades get old real fast!

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