10 questions to think about when considering plantation shutters
Plantation shutters are an investment in your home and fine furniture for your windows. Here are 10 questions to consider when deciding on shutters.
- Wood or composite: both products have advantages and disadvantages. Compound can help keep shutters on budget. Wood is lighter, allowing you in some cases to have fewer panels and offering the option of more extensive paint options, stains, and in some cases custom paints or stains.
- Paints or Stains – I am personally a huge fan of matching paints and baseboards. The paint will work in any room and really peels off the wall with a contrasting color behind it. It is also a safe option in case you sell your home. Stains allow you to see the different grains as well as adding warmth to the room.
- Interior Mount Installation or Exterior Side Mount Installation – This option can be done for you if you are short on sill space that will not fit an interior mounting frame. Square windows are hard to find these days. Manufacturers will typically include anything that is ¼ “outside the square should be moved to the OM frame. I will make windows outside of this tolerance on a case-by-case basis. If your windows are not square, then the OM frame is the logical choice. There are some dealers who prefer make OM frame when customer has ox-tip windows.
- Frame Style: While you may see shutters on the East Coast without frames because the windows already have a casing, this is a rarity on the West Coast or at least here in Arizona. The L-frame was a standard years ago and generally an exterior mount application. The L-frame gives you about 1 “of frame. I rarely use L-frames now, with the exception of French doors / doors. Decorative frames are frames that give exterior mount customers a more ornate looking frame and are typically 2 “to 3” wide. The most popular frame option is the Z frame. The Z frame is an interior mounting frame and is called a Z frame because it looks in Z. Part of the frame goes to sill and part covers exterior wall like picture. Usually 1 “to 3” wide. You should be careful when choosing a 1 “Z-frame when you have porthole windows. After taking the proper deductions to place the shutter on the window, the 1 “Z-frame will fall around the nose portion of the window. This gives a no-clean look and can also increase light gaps.
- Rack Size – Most manufacturers offer you a 2 1/2, 3 ½, and 4 ½ rack option. We rarely make 2 ½ blinds. One of the benefits of shutters is having larger slats, which means better vision and light. In some of the ranch style homes where the window height is around 24 “, the 2½ grid works. Generally, you will want the heights to be around 72” for the 4½ grid to work. The 4 ½ screen can overwhelm small windows. Like the 3 Bears, the 3 ½ rack is overall the perfect size rack. It is great for vision and light and looks good in almost all windows.
- Divider Rails – Divider rails give you the option of keeping the bottom of the panel louvers closed while providing privacy and allowing you to open the top to allow light to enter. In some cases, a divider rail will be necessary to give the panel greater strength. One downside to the divider rail is that it essentially replaces a grating and you won’t be able to see through it.
- Split Tilt Bar – For those who want the divider rail option without the divider rail, you can opt for a split tilt bar. The tilt bar will be cut off giving you the ability to control the upper and lower panel louvers separately.
- Tilt Bar / Concealed Tilt – The standard option on shutters will have a ½ “or more tilt bar down the panel connecting the louvers, allowing privacy and light control. Clean louvers you can use with a Concealed tilt system for a surcharge. Some manufacturers also offer a compensated tilt bar. This option places the tilt bar on the left or right side of the panel rather than in the middle and is also offered with overhead.
- Hinges – You have paint colored hinge options and metallic colored hinges such as bright brass, antique brass, oiled, nickel plated, and stainless steel. Some manufacturers also offer an invisible hinge option as a surcharge.
- Panel Configurations: Composite panels are typically up to 30 “wide, while wood panels can be up to 36” wide. There are a handful of manufacturers that build composite panels up to 36 “. Fewer panels will have fewer rails, more window, and allow more light. The size of the window will decide how many panels you will have. You can then decide which hinged way to open. In For some of the larger 72 “windows, you will have the option of adding a T-post which also helps with the integrity of the frame.