Storybook and Classic Shutters
Tips for Buying and Hanging Shutters
1. One of the worst historical inaccuracies is the manner in which window shutters are hung. Shutters were originally intended to be a weather barrier and ventilation device. Therefore, they are designed to “swing” like a door and close up tightly inside the window casing or frame. Shutters are hung on the inside, repeat, inside of the window casing (next to the sash). This is probably the most common mistake homeowners make. And do not lag-bolt your shutters to the clapboards. Whether you will actually ever close them is unimportant; they should look like they’re ready to go.
2. Shutters should be the same shape as the window sash that they are covering. The countryside is littered with round-head windows paired with rectangular shutters, and sashes framed with disproportionally wide or narrow shutters.
3. Authentic shutters were made of wood, preferably rot-proof red cedar or mahogany. (These should also be constructed with mortise and tenon joints, and pegged.) Today, some high-quality, operable, period-look shutters are made of composite materials that are moisture, rot, and termite resistant. Others incorporate weather-impervious, marine-grade fiberglass.
4. When measuring a window opening for shutters, take care to determine whether the opening is still truly square (it probably isn’t), the depth of the reveal, which is the thickness of the channel allotted for the shutter, and appropriate amount of clearance needed to permit the opening and closing. The shutter manufacturers are more than happy to assist the homeowner with all this preparation for ordering.
5. If you’ve chosen shutters with louvers, make sure the louvers face down and towards the house when they’re in the open position. That way, should you ever need to close them, the louvers will direct rainwater away from the window, rather than against it—a real consideration if anyone in your household tends to leave windows open during a thunderstorm!
Types of Shutters
While the most common kind of exterior shutter is the fixed louver (immobile horizontal slats), there are several other forms including:
Movable Louvers, equipped with a slender post that allows the occupant to adjust the angle of the louvers for light, privacy and ventilation.
Paneled shutters, which have solid beveled or flat planks that are occasionally embellished with cut-out patterns such as diamonds, fleurs de lys, animals, sailboats, acorns or pine trees, etc.
Board and Batten Shutters, which are long vertical strips with or without gaps between them and then secured with cross-members. A variation of this is Tongue and Groove Shutters, which have the interlocking planks similar to bead-board.
The Bermuda Shutter is another configuration: a single, full-width, louvered panel that is hinged from the top and swings out at the bottom, like older wooden storm windows.
A Word on Hardware
Hinges, pintels, and shutter dogs: the hardware that fixes your new shutters in place should be just as authentic as the shutters themselves. Strong hinges and flexible pintels (or hinge pins) look right and permit the shutter to operate in a functional and historically correct manner. Hinges should be affixed to the correct side of the shutter and casing, or they will break the glass when you close them. They are designed to allow you to lift the shutter off the pintel without the use of tools.
Exterior Shutters - Viewpoint
History of Exterior Shutters
Once upon a time, exterior house shutters were all that kept the elements out and the heat in. When glass was more expensive than the average person could afford, wooden window shutters were more practical than necessarily attractive. These days, most windows are glass and shutters are often just a decorative element in the home. The most appealing looking shutters are those that might still be functional - in other words, shutters that sit on either side of a window could and actually close and meet in the middle. Unfortunately, this is not often the actual case and the resulting look of a too narrow shutter is a little cheap looking - not the image you want when selling your home! However, a well thought-out shutter in either wood or a quality vinyl will add to the curb appeal and the ultimate value of your home.
Severe Weather Raised Panel Exterior Shutter
This traditional raised panel shutter has a naturalist wood grain, but is made from durable composite material that is warranted against cracking, peeling, rotting or flaking. Depending on the local climate, a composite or vinyl shutter provides excellent durability over a painted wooden shutter, which needs periodic repainting. The raised panel style is a very formal and traditional look that is sure to raise the style level on any home's exterior.
Composite Louvered Shutters
These fixed louver shutters come in 10 different colors and are also paintable for a custom finish. The molded copolymer construction means that the shutters won't peel and the color won't scratch off. Traditionally, louver shutters allowed for air flow and filtered light to come in through the window, but also wicked rainwater away from the house as well. These louvers are fixed in position.
Raised Panel Shutters
These traditional raised panel shutters are made from molded copolymer construction, which means that the shutters won't peel and the color won't scratch off. The raised panel style is elegant and the shutters come in eighteen different colors or can be painted to match the front door or other exterior trim. The shutters are designed with a deep wood grain to mimic the look of wood, without the added maintenance.
This very traditional board and batten style window shutter evokes thoughts of a cottage hidden in the woods or Grandmother's house. Available in thirteen different lengths, it comes standard at fourteen inches wide. Made of wood grained vinyl, this shutter comes in thirteen accent colors or is paintable to match custom colors of the home's exteriors.
Architectural Salvage Exterior Shutters
A very "green" way to go with exterior shutters is to visit an architectural salvage lot for a set of shutters that were saved from a house demolition. Usually, the fewer you need, the easier it will be to find a matching set. Salvaged shutters have the unique patina of age and history that can be a charming addition to your home. Additionally, wood shutters are easily restored and repainted as needed.
DIY Exterior Wooden Shutters
Building your own shutters isn't as difficult a project and one might think. For the handy weekend warrior with some decent wood working tools, this is a great way to achieve a beautiful custom look without breaking the bank. A simple wooden plank with beautiful hardware could be a striking addition to a country home as a sort of throwback to days gone by. Custom detailing such as cutouts or decorative carvings provide a unique look that will add to the value of the home.
History of Exterior Shutters
Once upon a time, exterior house shutters were all that kept the elements out and the heat in. When glass was more expensive than the average person could afford, wooden window shutters were more practical than necessarily attractive. These days, most windows are glass and shutters are often just...