Outside edge

Issue 95 March 2024

Exterior blinds and awnings continue to evolve in line with the rigours of the Australian market and climate, writes WFA.


Thanks to the heatwaves hitting the East coast of Australia, demand for external blinds has continued to grow, says Somfy Oceania’s Marketing Manager Mary Ladu.

“Website traffic on our external blinds landing pages, search volumes and even leads we’re receiving and sharing with our Somfy Retail Expert Partners for external products started ramping up from June last year, and have continued well into February,” says Ladu.

“External blinds provide a multitude of benefits for consumers, from adding value to the home, increasing outdoor entertaining space, and creating an ‘outdoor room’ by enclosing an alfresco area.

“In addition, when external blinds are added to windows, they can block heat from entering the home before it reaches the window, easing pressure on cooling systems at a time when rising energy costs are front of mind for consumers.

“External blinds give you the opportunity to create an extra room in your current backyard, which is probably why we are seeing more external screens in retrofit or new construction projects, whether they are commercial or residential,” adds Mohamed Ourdjini, National Retail Manager for Somfy Oceania.

“The external screens also tend to be bigger, some with a span of up to 8m wide, which explains the increase we are seeing in motorisation rate.

“Connected external screens will also continue to increase in popularity, with the ability to operate them through an app or on an automated schedule.

“Somfy’s Maestria 50 RTS is the perfect solution for all types of external screens, including zip systems, and as it is available in different torques, starting from 6Nm, its innovative obstacle detection feature can work on even small screens.”

Somfy’s external blind motor, Maestria 50 RTS, provides a flexible solution for the growing external segment. 

The motor can be linked to a range of RTS automation controls including Somfy’s sun and wind sensors and Somfy’s latest connected solution, TaHoma switch.

Somfy also offers 40mm ABS wheels, available in Left-Hand and Right-Hand options.

“The solution, which was developed in response to customer feedback, allows for RTS or RS485 Ø40mm motors to be enhanced with obstacle detection, providing consumers with added peace of mind and preventing damage to their fabric zip systems,” says Nicki Beggs, Product Marketing Executive for Somfy Oceania.

When an obstacle is detected by the Ø40mm ABS wheel on the downward motion, the motor will stop, as it backs off the electronic limit switch and cuts out the motor.

The ABS wheel is suited to smaller external zip screens when installed with side channels and a head box.


In response to customer feedback Shaw’s Dayscreen external fabric has developed a durable easy to carry fabrics presentation which to present Dayscreen is now presented 

Mark Lewis, Head of division at Shaw Performance Fabrics, says the company is in the listening business. “We hear what our customers have to say about our products and the way they are presented. 

He adds that the new Dayscreen presentation is a stylish, durable easy to carry folder, with large A4 size pieces of all colours in the 5% and 1 % ranges.

“Each sample piece is removable so in the sales environment customers are given the opportunity to compare the view of the 1% and 5%. All ShawScreen products are ideal for installation with Shaw’s Dayscreen 1% and 5% external screen fabric, available in multiple widths and 17 colours.

Dayscreen is available in 18 colours 5% and seven colours 1%, new colour Monument dominates sales currently with darker colours remaining popular for their attribute of clear view to the outside.

The Dayscreen is compatible with all Shaw’s Shawscreen External Blinds program, the most popular and most innovative being ZipGrip, a low maintenance external side retention system.


The zips are neatly hidden within the elegant channels, meaning no unsightly zips or spline obstructing the view. ZipGrip design smarts include a robust, yet invisible, central locking system with handle for effortless operation when the awning is spring loaded, as an alternative to motorisation.

The mechanics of the new central lock are totally hidden from view and the harsh elements to increase longevity and style. 

It is straightforward to assemble and quick to install with no need for laser-levels on site. 

ZipGrip provides a large shading area of 5m width x 3m drop (15sqm) and will fit into and complement most modern homes. 

The Shawscreen program also includes three blind systems which suit different external installation scenarios, and compatible with Dayscreen external screen;

DeepSides, described as the ultimate in wide span exterior Blinds. The wrinkle free finish is achieved by the cleverly designed and weighty bottom bar, which locks into the channels to create tension in the fabric. 

WireSides, a wire guided blind system with a contemporary design and a minimalist edge. Stainless steel wire cables will ensure the bottom bar tracks perfectly during operation and is ideally suited to coastal areas. 

FreeSides, a minimalist, straight drop blind solution which is a perfect alternative solution in situations where DeepSides or WireSides are not practical. 

From a manufacturer’s perspective, and to create a uniform look across the ShawScreen program, Shaw utilises interchangeable components. This reduces stock holding for Shaw’s manufacturing partners which is particularly beneficial on higher value items such as cassettes and bottom rails.

The Shawscreen blind system and Dayscreen fabric program is developed to withstand the rigours of the Australian climate, shading and protecting from the elements. The program creates an all year round space providing heat and light control. Homeowners have greater capacity to work, relax and entertain at home. Invariably these installations are at ground level, so not subject to the Dayscreen is flame retardant to international standards.

Each component of the ShawScreen program has been carefully engineered to maximise the benefit to the end user, but remain simple to install, be durable and cost-effective. 

All Shaw products are supported by a nationwide network of distribution centres, a centralised call centre, warranties and a wealth of supporting manuals and specification guides. 

Ricky Richards

Ricky Richards’ New Outlook Zero Stripes is positioned as the only striped mesh in the market, “renowned for its contemporary flair,” and boasts a diverse range of solid and stripe colours that inject vibrancy into any space. Designed with modern aesthetics in mind, this collection offers a spectrum of hues that effortlessly complement a multitude of settings, from commercial establishments to residential spaces. “Whether it’s adding a pop of colour to outdoor blinds and awnings, Zero Stripes provides endless possibilities for creative expression.”

Ricky Richards

“Additionally, with features like a 10-year warranty, 100% shade cover, complete visual block-out, lead-free composition, Microban treatment, Greenguard certification, and fire retardant properties, Zero Stripes ensures unparalleled durability, safety, and peace of mind for every project.

One standout feature of Zero Stripes is its commitment to environmental sustainability through the incorporation of Ecolibrium technology, the company says.

“This innovative feature, derived from Dow Ecolibrium plasticiser, significantly reduces greenhouse gas emissions during production. By opting for Zero Stripes, customers not only enhance their spaces with vibrant colours but also contribute to a greener future. With its blend of style and eco-consciousness, Zero Stripes is the ideal choice for those seeking both aesthetic appeal and environmental responsibility in their projects.”

Weinor Australia

Simon Meyer, Managing Director of Weinor Australia confirms that the company is unveiling a groundbreaking addition to its external blind range – the Sottezza Pure. 

“Exclusively distributed in Australia by Blinds by Peter Meyer, this undermounted conservatory awning represents a leap forward in technology, design, and functionality. Notably, the well-established Sottezza II has been renamed to Sottezza Originale, emphasising the arrival of the innovative Sottezza Pure. 

“Sottezza Pure emerges as the latest gem in Weinor’s external blind range, taking the spotlight with its cutting-edge features and design.  With a maximum size 6m x 5m, Sottezza Pure is ideal for large skylight solutions as well as undermount conservatories.

Weinor Australia

Meyer notes that the range offers numerous benefits to dealers:

“Sottezza Pure, with its mature technology, sets a new quality standard in the market. Boasting a highly durable aluminium rope drum and a new front profile for a flush end position, it guarantees reliability and customer satisfaction.

“Based on the proven Sottezza rope tension technology, these awnings are pre-equipped for easy installation and service. Pre-tensioned clips upon delivery and step-by-step drag and drop installation ensure safety, easy maintenance, and low staff requirements.

“Sottezza Pure can be flexibly installed under almost all rectangular patio or conservatory roofs, even when retrofitted. This opens up new sales options for dealers.”

Overall, the introduction of Sottezza Pure completes the product program, providing a significant addition to the Weinor product portfolio and offering better sales opportunities for dealers.

“The undermounted conservatory awning is now available with both round and square cassettes, offering more selection options for all lifestyles,” Meyer says. “The proven OptiStretch system ensures a taut fabric edge with no gaps, providing complete shading under the entire roof for an attractive overall picture.”

Meanwhile, integrated LED lighting in the cassette creates a special atmosphere with warm-white light, enhancing the overall patio experience. Sottezza Pure is compatible with almost all patio roofs with a rectangular design, regardless of the material used, offering technical and visual compatibility.

The current market for external blinds is dynamic, with the Sottezza Pure targeting the need for high-quality, versatile, and aesthetically pleasing solutions. Despite travel restrictions imposed due to Covid-19, the exterior awnings business has grown, indicating a resilient market.

Challenges arise from changes to the National Construction Code, specifically Fire Regulations, impacting projects in Building Class 2 to 9. Compliance interpretations vary between states, introducing complexities in project execution. However, Weinor has successfully navigated these challenges, ensuring compliance, and even though performance solutions may be more expensive, the business has seen growth, highlighting the effectiveness of their strategy.

“Weinor’s Sottezza Pure stands as a testament to innovation and excellence in external blinds. The rebranding of Sottezza Originale underscores the arrival of this revolutionary product, demonstrating Weinor’s commitment to providing cutting-edge solutions that cater to evolving market needs. Positioned as a market leader, Sottezza Pure is set to redefine outdoor living experiences and contribute to the continued growth of the exterior awnings business. The integration of wind and solar sensors for exterior motorisation options further adds to the intelligence and convenience of Weinor’s products.”

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