Kind of Window Shutters Your Options Window shutters are covers that allow a homeowner to control the amount of natural light, as well as noise, coming into a room. They are an attractive alternative to drapes, curtains, or blinds and are actually more versatile.

Kind of Window Shutters Your Options | Kind of Window Shutters Your Options

Window Shutter Options

They can be made in panels or frames to fit window halves, for example, allowing one to have the upper half of a window with open shutters and the lower half with shutters closed for privacy. They will also fit any size window-even arches and porthole-style windows-and come with a choice of movable or fixed louvers. There are also accordion window shutters for patio doors and special storm or hurricane window shutters. Window shutters are made for both the exterior and interior of a home. In addition to controlling the amount of light, exterior shutters provide protection for the windows.

Interior vs. Exterior Window Shutters

Purchasing window shutters involves decisions surrounding the material the shutters are made from, as well as the style of louvers comprising the shutters. Interior window shutters are available in various colors to match almost any décor; they also come in primed wood that the homeowner can finish with paint or stain. Exterior window shutters are usually made of wood or vinyl. Wood shutters often look more elegant, although wood is subject to rot so must be maintained. Vinyl is the less-expensive option, but its appearance is less attractive and sometimes looks more like plastic. Some shutters are constructed of a composite polymer that has the advantages of being rot proof, more durable, and maintenance free.

Window Shutters: Louver Options

Louvers vary by width and thickness, and the louver size will impact the view out the window. Louver size also determines the style of the window shutter. Narrow-width louvers and those that are about ¾ inch thick are best for a traditional look, whereas wider louvers are a more contemporary style. Plantation shutters have the thickest and widest louvers (1-1/8 inch thick and 3-1/2" or 4-1/2" wide). If there is enough depth, interior window shutters are mounted inside the window frame or casing; otherwise, they are mounted onto hanging strips outside the window frame.

Maintenance of Exterior Window Shutters

Exterior window shutters should be mounted onto the house with hardware that is resistant to decay. Because of the possibilities of rot in exterior window shutters over time, manufacturers recommend leaving a one-half-inch space between the shutters and the building to allow more ventilation.

Wood Window Shutters for Outdoors and Indoors

When you are replacing windows, one aspect to consider is wood shutters. Shutters close over windows to block sunlight and provide privacy. They can go on the outside or the inside of your home. They are available in various types of wood and colors.

On the outside of the home, most wood shutters are simply decorative and don't close. They can improve the look of your home by dressing up your new windows. Because they attach to the outside of your home, you don't need to take them into account when planning your windows.

For the inside of the home, wood shutters are a beautiful alternative to traditional blinds. They typically open in the middle and swing or fold out to either side. They provide excellent privacy and insulate against the sun well.

Maintaining Wood Window Shutters

To increase the ease of maintaining wood shutters that are exposed to the elements, choose hard woods that have been sealed. Repaint them once a year or as needed to maintain the seal. Functional outdoor wood shutters are also available; these will provide some protection in storms, although not the same level as metal or aluminum shutters.

Tips on Installing Wood Window Shutters

When you are planning your windows, you may want to consider how deep the shutters will need to go if they are being installed inside the window-frame. Because they are available with slats as wide as three-inches, you will want to make certain that the frame allows enough room for installation. Indoor wood shutters are available in almost any stain or paint color. If you live in a humid climate, or the shutters are going to be placed in an area that is exposed to frequent steam, you should opt for the more expensive but highly durable hardwood varieties.

Advantages of Fiberglass Window Shutters

Originally, window shutters were primarily functional, allowing homeowners to secure their homes from intruders and from the elements such as wind, rain, and snow. Later, as windows improved in strength and protection, window shutters became largely decorative. In fact, many weren't even operable, and were designed purely as decoration. However, today many homeowners are looking to window shutters for added privacy and protection.

Though wood has long been the standard for window shutters, several new materials are quickly gaining popularity. One of these, fiberglass, is valued both for its strength and for its attractiveness. Fiberglass window shutters are the most expensive of the kinds of shutters available, but are also low maintenance, lasting about 20 years. They require much less care than the traditional materials used. Fiberglass window shutters are also designed to be historically accurate reproductions of architectural styles such as colonial, and so are popular for restoration and replacement of shutters in historical neighborhoods.

They come in several styles and colors designed to look like wood shutters, and can be painted to complement a home's exterior decor. Fiberglass is also popular for hurricane-prone areas, as the material is virtually indestructible, and is approved for use in storm shutters. Optional hurricane bars make the shutters even stronger. Those made with automotive quality, acrylic urethane paint and hardener help increase the shutter's life and reduce maintenance.

Types of Fiberglass Shutters

Fiberglass shutters come in several styles, including Bahama, louver, and panel.

Bahama shutters

These are moveable, and hinged at the top, so they are easy to install, and can be operated from the inside or outside of the house. They both insulate and ventilate, and are ideal for securing a home against hurricanes and storms.

Colonial outdoor shutters

These shutters have operable louvers, and either a straight or cathedral top. They create privacy, and are ideal for controlling light.

Panel shutters

Panel shutters have raised panel designs, and are made with curved or rectangular tops. There are also shutters that combine louvers and panels, and have slats and vertical stiles reinforced with aluminum tubing. Board and batten fiberglass shutters have two, three, four, or five boards, which are either joined or spaced boards. Fiberglass window shutters can also be custom-made to match any decor or architectural style.

For information on fiberglass doors see the following article from Fiberglass Doors.

Indoor Aluminum Shutters

Aluminum shutters are used both indoors and outdoors to insulate, block sunlight, provide privacy, and protect the home. Aluminum is rust-resistant, highly durable, and easy to clean and maintain, thus making it an ideal material for shutters both inside and out. Because the shutter slats can be made quite thin and still retain their strength, aluminum shutters provide the most protection against light.

Indoor aluminum shutters can be made to match almost any color scheme. When you are replacing windows, you will want to take the depth of the window frame into account if you want to mount aluminum shutters in the frame. These shutters should lower some of your utility costs, as they provide excellent protection from the sun during the summer.

Outdoor Aluminum Shutters

Outdoor aluminum shutters are used to block the sun, provide privacy, and increase the security of your home. These are available in several varieties, the most common of which are folding, or accordion-style shutters or roll-up shutters. The folding shutters open along hinges, ending up on either side of the window. Roll-up shutters roll into a small container above the window. The control for the rolling shutters can be manual or remote-control.

Aluminum Shutters as Protection

Because these shutters are made of such a strong material, they can help boost your home's resistance to break-ins by eliminating the windows as an access point. Additionally, aluminum shutters can be rated for hurricane safety. During a hurricane or heavy storm, the shutters seal over your windows, preventing them from breaking. This protects your home by keeping the pressure inside from growing too great.

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