Doors and Windows

Guide to Window Shutters

Shutters are not old-fashioned, as some may think. It’s a timeless kind of window treatment that may cost more than other options, but it provides a consistent beauty, protection, and privacy for your home. It’s an attractive addition that you can add to your window, which can also enhance the financial value of your home. These are chic, sophisticated, and so stylish. It’s also practical, and provides reduced light and increased privacy without compromising on security. It somehow looks like blinds, but it’s a more permanent addition to the home. Here’s a guide to window shutters:

Types of Window Shutters

There are different shutter styles to choose from, and what you go for is often a mixture of the intended purpose of shutters, and what kind of design reflects your personal style. Here are the types of window shutters that serve various purposes:

1. Café style shutters

Sick of nosy neighbors always peeking into your home? Café style shutters can take care of that. It can cover the bottom half of the windows to maximize daylight while still giving some privacy. They are half-height shutters that provide timeless beauty with a generous dose of practicality.

Café style shutters are free of dangling cords, which makes it excellent for the kid’s room. The structure of café style shutters is also perfect for kitchens and steamy bathrooms.

2. Full-height shutters

Full height window shutters can cover the entire window and open at one unit. It’s best for taller windows. Full height shutters can have many panels, ranging from one side panel to seven or eight narrower shutters. These kinds of shutters create an open and inviting look.

There is usually a dividing rail that works either halfway up or at a natural break in the window. It enables the louvers in the top and bottom half to move independently, so you can open the top set and let the light in a while keeping the bottom shut for privacy.

3. Tier-on-tier shutters

Tier-on-tier shutters cover the whole windows, but the top and bottom can be opened independently from one another. It gives great flexibility as you can choose to have the top open and the bottom shut, or vice versa. Both can be opened or shut too.

This type of shutters is popular for angled bay windows. The only disadvantage to this kind of shutter is that it can look a bit fussy on some windows.

4. Solid shutters

Solid shutters usually stretch from top to bottom as a unit. It gives a clean look and comes with different kinds of center panels, such as raised, molded, and Shaker styles. Solid shutters have a louver panel at the top and solid panel at the bottom. It’s usually added to period homes as it helps keep out droughts. It can also suit children’s bedrooms as it is more effective than black-out blinds.

5. Tracked shutters

Tracked shutters can slide open on a track and are ideal for patio doors. It’s not suitable for windows with a sill.

Shutter Materials

Exterior French shutters

Window shutters come in a variety of designs and colors. It’s generally available in wood, wood composite, or plastic or vinyl.

1. Wood shutters

Authentic wood shutters offer a rustic charm that you can find in most country style homes. Wood shutters can be made of maple, pine, oak, alder, or any other durable wood, and it’s available in a variety of stains and finishes. These shutters can be custom-matched to both the size of the window and the color of the wood. You can paint it with any color you want, though most people pick white or a natural wood stain.

It’s timeless in its appeal and provides natural insulation from the cold winter and autumn weather while blocking the heat from the sun during the summer. If you want a classic touch to your home, go with interior wood shutters. They are beautiful and also eco-friendly. And it elevates the look of the room instantly.

However, wood shutters can tend to be expensive. Also, you have to be prepared to maintain it for repairs, as it can take the most beating due to weather.

2. Composite shutters

Composite shutters, unlike wood, are maintenance-free. These shutters are made of synthetic, durable materials that make them resistant to weather, as well as damage from pests and insects. Their ability to block harmful UV rays are suited for rooms with sun exposure.

These kinds of shutters are designed to be durable, as it can withstand high humidity areas, such as steamy bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms. They can also resist warping, peeling, or cracking.

Composite shutters are cheaper than wood, too, but it doesn’t give off the exquisite aesthetic that wood can provide.

3. Plastic or vinyl shutters

Out of the three materials, plastic and vinyl, are the cheapest. They can also be designed to imitate wood. They come in a variety of colors. If you don’t want to worry about maintenance, this is the right shutter of choice for you. It’s designed to be durable and resilient. However, don’t expect it to be as durable as the real thing.

How to Install Shutters

White shutters fitted to a bay window

You can choose to hire a contractor to install shutters, or you can do it yourself. If you want to hire a contractor, make sure that you go for reputable sources. Don’t always go for the cheapest option. Ask for the quotation of the total cost of the project, and a general timeline before signing any contract.

If you decide to do it yourself to save some money, here’s what you need to do.

1. Know the shape

First of all, look at the style and layout of your windows. If you’re installing plantation shutters, panels must always complement the window’s shapes. Shutters are a bit more flexible than other kinds of window treatments, and you can place shutters even in triangular or circular windows. It can be folded back to show off the window frame, while curtains and blinds will generally hide that part of the window.

2. Measure accurately

After deciding on the shape, measure your window before you buy it. Make sure to double-check and write down all the numbers.

For the height, it is measured from the top to bottom of the window trim three times at the left, right, and middle. Choose the smallest size from these measurements and leave around ¼ inch gap as the shutters can expand and contract due to weather. Measure the width inside the recess three times, also at the top, middle, and bottom. Again, choose the smallest size and deduct ¼ inches. Then, measure the window diagonally across the recess in both directions.

3. Have the right tools

No expert carpentry skills are required for installing shutters (unless you are making your own!). You only need to have an electric drill, a ¼ inch drill bit, a rubber mallet, hammer, shutter fasteners, pencil, and a ladder.

4. Follow instructions

Not all shutters are the same, so each comes with a different way to install it. The typical steps in installing a window shutter include:

  • Putting the shutter next to the window
  • Marking locations for the holes using a pencil
  • Drilling the holes into the shutter
  • Aligning the holes using a pencil
  • Accurately drilling through each hole into the wall, which lies around two to 2.5 inches deep
  • Pushing the shutter through the hole

This is a general guideline, but make sure to follow specific instructions that come with your shutters.

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