Jovin Lampshades and Lighting Blog

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

The Differences between Hard Back and Silk Lampshades

When you are running a business, it's important to furnish it with lampshades that will be both functional and appealing to the eye. There are a lot of factors that will determine which types of lampshades you choose, but before you even get started, it's necessary to understand some of the basics. For instance, do you know the difference between hard back and silk lampshades? If not, here is a short guide on the subject.

Basic Construction
The main difference between these two types of shades is how each is constructed. A hard back lampshade is made by laminating a fabric onto a plastic inner liner, fitting it around two circular metal wires (for support), and then gluing the ends together. Silk shades are made using a separate fabric inner liner and outer fabric covering, both of which are stretched over a metal frame (comprised of two wire rings on opposing ends and wires that connect them). These are then sewn or glued to the fabric that will be visible on the outside of the shade.
Price Matters
The differences between these two shade types extend into their pricing. Silk shades are generally more expensive, not because they are made of silk (most aren't -- the term merely designates them as fabric shades as opposed to plastic ones), but because the process of making them takes longer and requires more expensive materials (metal wire, several types of fabric), and the resulting product often has a longer lifespan. However, because Jovin uses a heavier-duty plastic than the industry standard and goes out of its way to provide quality fabric options for its hard back lampshades, the difference between the two types is much more negligible.
Variety of Styles
Because of the method of construction, you'll have more shape options with a silk lampshade than a hard back. After all, the hard back uses stiff plastic; this makes having a curved, bell-shaped shade impossible. Hard back lampshades still offer a variety of options, though, including ovals, rectangles, and squares -- basically, anything without a slope. For companies who are furnishing an office with practical lighting, for instance, this would probably be the most cost-effective option.


Hard Back Lampshade
Silk Lampshade

Ease of Cleaning
Knowing which shades are easier to clean will help you choose the more practical option. Both types of shades can be cleaned by simply dusting and vacuuming, and usually that's all they need. However, for more extensive dirt and grime, silk shades are a lot easier to clean because they can be soaked. Hard backs have to be spot cleaned very carefully to avoid getting the glued areas wet. Neither of these options is easy, but the good news is that you can easily choose shades based on the likelihood of staining. For example, one might choose a silk shade for a single lamp on a low table in a high-traffic area. Lamps set above everyone's heads, on the other hand, are unlikely to have anything spilled on them, so hard back lampshades make perfect sense.

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