Shutters make a great addition and style statement to your home. However, there are a couple of questions that need answers before making that purchase and installing them.
The first question is placement. Where do you want to put them? Shutters can be placed both on the interior and/or exterior of your house.
The second question is: Will they be decorative or functional? Do they just look pretty or do they serve a purpose?
Exterior shutters can be both functional and decorative. In coastal areas where it’s necessary to board up windows when hurricanes blow, storm rated shutters can provide protection. They are also a good investment for seasonal homes such as summer houses or vacation homes. Shutters provide an additional deterrent to would-be thieves. Functional shutters should be constructed of wood or a composite material and should actually open, close, and latch. There are many styles and colors to complement every kind of house so it’s a win-win situation with exterior shutters that both work well and look good.
Decorative exterior shutters do not open, close or latch. They are cosmetic only, but do add value to a home by upping the curb appeal. Decorative exterior shutters are manufactured in wood, composite materials, and plastic. While plastic is the cheapest route and the easiest to install, a homeowner needs to consider the wisdom of placing $30 shutters on a $200,000 home. Decorative shutters are designed for aesthetic value, and cheap materials can decrease the value of your home which is oftentimes a family’s biggest investment.
Interior shutters are both decorative and functional as well. However their function is slightly different to that of exterior shutters. Interior shutters eliminate the need for window coverings such as curtains or shades. They provide privacy and sunlight that can be adjusted to your mood. They also make a dramatic decorating statement for the style conscious homeowner.
Interior shutters come in three basic forms: the café style, double hung, and full length. Café style shutters cover the bottom half of the window allowing light to come through the top half. Double hung shutters cover the entire window surface in the form of independent top and bottom sections. Double hung shutters provide the most flexibility in that the top and/or bottom panels can be fully opened or just the louvers. Full height shutters can be opened just as the café or double hung styles, but are usually left closed. In this style, the louvers are more often used to adjust the amount of light. For this reason, full height shutters have various options regarding how many of the louvers are moveable or stationary.
Wood is the recommended material and is considered superior to plastic or composites. Since wood can be painted, stained, and holds up well, it is the preferred choice. With so many varieties of wood, it’s important to get the right kind of wood for your needs. Maple and oak are extremely heavy and require heavier hardware and pre-drilling. Cedar is pretty, but soft and will scratch easily. Poplar is cheaper, but doesn’t stain well. Basswood is considered the best wood for shutters and is a renewable material. Second to basswood is alder.
After deciding on all the above, there is one last consideration. Shutters come in a variety of styles from Bahaman to Plantation to Tudor to Colonial. From there you can select Board and Batten, Louvered or Raised.
While the choices may seem endless, the perfect shutter does exist for your home. Whether you opt for interior, exterior or both kinds, it’s important to research your options and make a wise, well-considered choice. You’ll be glad you did.