Inside Mount Vs. Outside Mount Roller Shades

As the hospitality industry continues to transition to include a greater amount of roller shades in both guestroom design and public spaces, designers, purchasing agents and hotel owners must also gain a growing understanding of the possibilities and limitations that are normative with roller shades.

In this post, we are going to take the simple concept of Inside Mount vs. Outside Mount and expound some of the issues that might arise and what you should expect from each style.

Inside Mount

Inside Mount Roller Shade

A roller shade is considered to be ‘inside mount’ when it is installed within a window frame. The brackets of a shade that is inside mounted are installed into the corners of the window frame and nearly the entire mechanism is contained with those bounds.

With an inside mounted roller shade, you can expect that a small amount of space will exist between the edge of the fabric roll and the actual window edge, as the shade band must have adequate space to move up and down freely. Usually, manufacturers try to keep this space limited to between a quarter to half an inch.


Consider Specifying Side and Sill Channels

When inside mounting a blackout roller shade, you should also specify side and sill channel due to the gap between the actual shade fabric and the window edge that was spoken of above. With side and sill channels you can ensure the blackout quality that is usually desired in guestrooms and often-times in meeting rooms as well.


Consider Specifying Fascia

Inside mount roller shades usually are specified with fascia but no end caps. Fascia is typically specified because unless a different top treatment exists and covers the bracket and tube mechanism, it accomplishes a more finished look. End caps are usually not needed as the outside face of the bracket is flush with the mullion/side of the window frame. Sometimes, part of the bracket may stick outside of the window frame, and then, an end cap can be altered to cover that area.

Knowing the width of the roller shade bracket as compared to the depth of the window frame should give you the information needed to specify end caps vs. not doing so to save some money.

All roller shade types are able to be installed inside mount (including dual, single, motorized or manual). Inside mounted roller shades will have dimensions equal to the actual window opening.

Outside Mount

Outside Mount Roller Shade

A roller shade is considered to be outside mounted whenever it is mounted on the wall over a window or at the ceiling. An outside mounted roller shade should always have dimensions that are larger than the actual window opening so that when the roller shade is drawn all the way down, the window is completely covered.

Outside mounted roller shades are available in all styles including dual, single, motorized and manual. Usually, they are not required with a side and sill channel to accomplish blackout conditions, because when a blackout roller shade is made larger than the actual window opening, most light will be covered by the overlap of fabric over the window edges.

That being said, there are a few shade manufacturers who make a side and sill channel that can be mounted outside the window. As a best practice, the side and sill channel should be mounted flush with the window edge and the shade should have an 1 ½ “ overlap on all sides.

Helpful Tips for Application

Now that we’ve discussed the differences between outside mounted and inside mounted roller shades, we can discuss specific situations when one style may be preferred or when the two styles could be used in tandem.

Inside mounted roller shades are usually the best and most often used style in public areas. When the window depth allows for inside mounted roller shades, they offer a seamless aesthetic. This is usually accentuated in public spaces where light fastness is not needed; therefore, sheer fabrics are usually used and the gap between window edge and roller shade fabric is not an issue.

Inside mounted roller shades are equally used within guestrooms but may require extra treatments or accessories to accomplish light fastness, which is essential in hotel guestrooms. If specifying inside mounted roller shades with a blackout fabric, a side and sill channel will be needed to seal the edges and keep all light out of the room. If a sheer roller shade is preferred, then a blackout drapery treatment that covers the whole of the window should be specified to accompany it.

Outside mounted roller shades can also be great in guestrooms and public areas alike. In guestrooms and when used with blackout fabrics, a side and sill channel is not necessary as the roller shade fabric should be specified to be larger than the actual window opening. If desired, there is a limited list of manufacturers who make a side and sill channel capable of being installed into the wall.