MCD Shades, October 2018

Karen and Ted
Our friends Karen and Ted who we met last winter (2018) in Texas and saw again this summer (2018) in Michigan stopped by for a visit in September, 2018. They had MCD day/night shades in their coach. These shades have a sun screen day shade and an opaque night shade. You pull them down and they stay. A little tug down and release and the slowly wind themselves back up. We saw their shades in Michigan and started thinking. The shades in our coach work OK but if the day shade is down you can’t see through it and the breeze doesn’t come through very well. We looked again when they were here in September and decided to order the MCD shades. We measured once, twice, three times and then ordered the shades.
Yes, it is all their fault. They made us do it.
MCD Shades Arrive, October 12, 2018
We got a big box from MCD Shades today. Day and night shades for every window in the coach except the windshield which we did four years ago.  The front and rear end windows in the slide need deeper frames. Got going on those today.  It should take the better part of a day to remove the window trim and old shades, install the MCD shades and refit the trim.
MCD Shades Installed, October 27, 2018

Well the MCD Shades are installed.  The old pleated day/night shades are off, vacuumed, neatly folded and wrapped up ready for a new home. What does it take to do these yourself?  Careful measuring, some time, patience, the right tools and a good helper.  Susan was wonderful as usual.  We make quite a team.

In order to replace your existing shades you need to remove them.  The vertical side trim pieces get removed first  In our coach they are held on with screws and a couple right angle brackets attached to the wall on either side of the window.  If your coach has window sills there will be a screw up from the bottom through the sill into the vertical trim.  Once all the screws are out move the bottom of the vertical trim towards the end of the sill and pull down to get it out.

Vertical Window Trim Bracket

Window Valence Screws

Window Valence Wires

Remove the screws on the wind up spools at the ends of the cords near the bottom of where the pleaded shade descend.  As soon as you loosen one screw the shade will come down all the way. 

Spool Screws

On the very top edge of the pleated shade there will be three to six screws into the wall holding the shade in place. 

Pleated Shade Screws

I have a 12″ driver extension and a six inch long phillips driver which helped get these out in the tight space under the overhead cabinets.  Once removed we lowered the upper part of the shade, folding up the pleats and then put rubber bands around them to make them easier to handle.

The MCD Shades come with mounting clips that attach with screws into the bottom cabinets. This is about 1/4″ plywood but there is hidden space so you can use up to a 3/4″ screw.  I used 1/2″ screws with a deep thread for holding strength in the plywood.  If you strip a screw move the clip to a new location. You could disassemble all of the cabinet bottoms and add a reinforcement if you wanted.  It is a lot of work.  

Each clip is spaced out from the wall.  MCD suggested 3/8″.  This makes it easier to get the shades into the clips.  We went for 1/4″ because the inside of our vertical trim is padded and the padding reduces the available space to the shade. Make each clip as uniformly spaced from the wall as possible.  Misaligned clips make the shade almost impossible to get into the clips.  

Each shade needs one clip about one inch in from each end of the shade and then more spaced in between depending on the length of the shade.  MCD sends plenty of clips.  Our biggest shades needed four, there were enough clips to have done six.  The more clips there are the harder it is to get them all lined up and clipped into place. 

Clip Layout 

Clip Installed

Shade Mounted to End Clip

Shade Mounted to Middle Clip

The shade top bar gets set in the rear part of the clip and then rotated towards the front and clipped into the front part of the clip.  It is quite positive, you will need a flat screwdriver to undo it.

Shade Installed, Ready for Trim

Reinstall the top valence.  Start the screws first before you do.  Leave one screw sticking out just a bit to help line it up where it was.  Connect the valance lighting wires, test to make sure they work.  Push the wires back up into the cabinet bottom and tuck the remaining wires out of the way as best you can.  Hold the top valence in place, line up the screw with a hole and screw it back up.  a long screw bit and a good flashlight are essential here.

Reinstall the Top Valence

The MCD Shades need about 2″ minimum clearance so that the shades operate properly.  We mounted our shade clips a bit closer to the wall to gain some room.  When we reinstalled the first set of vertical trim we discovered that the padded inside added just enough drag on the night time shade to slow it down and not roll up properly.  Our fix was to add a 3/16″x 1- 1/8″ strip of wood wrapped with an attractive brown vinyl fabric that we have been saving for more than 35 years for just such a time.  The strips got stapled to the wall side of the vertical trim, flush on the inside and about 1/4′ reveal on the outside.  We think it looks pretty nice. The vertical trim went back in, plenty of room at the top where the valence is.  At the bottom where the vertical trim sat on a sill I drilled a new hole for the bottom screw about 1/4″ further out than the original one. 

Extension Added to Vertical Trim

The screen door sun shade mounts near the middle of the door and pulls up to clips at the top of the screen door frame.  We have a door handle on the screen door (very useful) and wanted the sun screen to roll up behind it to keep the functionality.  So a couple calls back and forth with MCD got is pretty close. It could have been maybe 3/8″ wider but the MCD tolerance is +/- 1/4″.  It is in the tolerance but more towards the minus side.  The roller mounts on a custom built cherry piece to get it where I wanted it.  

Screen Door Pull Up Shade

If you have a slide the end window trim frames only have about 1-3/8″ clearance.  Back to the shop to make new frames. 

New Slide Window Frames

The existing face trim does not cover the shades when they are rolled up like the top valences so we added a vinyl covered panel to do that.  We tried to get it to line up with the bottom of the top valences, we came close.  

Slide Rear Window Trim

We will probably remake this face trim but not today.  This is one shade where we think we should have ordered it with both the sun screen and the night shade rolling down towards the window side.  It may have provided better night time coverage.  I looked at these and I think I can change the night side to roll towards the inside. A call to MCD will answer that. 

The kitchen shade has no trim and both shades roll to the window side. 

Kitchen Shade

Slide Window Shades

A Bedroom Window Shade

A Living Room Window Shade

Driver’s Side Window Shade

Actual time to remove the pleated shades and install the MCD shades was pretty close to 8 hours but it was spread out over several parts.  Practice really speeds things up.  The first windows maybe took two hours each. By the last windows we were down to about 30 minutes each. Making the vertical trim additions added about an hour and the new slide window frames maybe three or four hours.

We are especially looking forward to the daytime sun shades.  Privacy, sun blocking and they will allow the breeze to come through. Worth doing?  We think so, we did the windshield shades about four years ago and they have been perfect for us.

These projects make life in the coach better for us. That is the only reason we do them.

More Later, Much Love,

Roger and Susan