There are many types of shutters but whatever kind you choose, note that the same four components are usually present.
1. Rails. These pieces are structural and range in height from approximately two inches to about 4.5″ depending upon the height of the panel and the size of the louver.
2. Louvers. Rotating on a pin and connected together by a tilt bar, these individual pieces can vary in size from a typical standard 1.25″ to over four inches. depending upon the material used and the type of shutter product.
3. Tilt bar. Connected to each of the individual louvers in the center, the tilt bar controls the light, privacy and ventillation associated with the shutter. Usually moves only up and down.
4. Stiles. The right and left structural pieces, which aid in holding the shutter together. Usually about two inches wide and holds the pins in place that connect to the louver.
Faux wood and vinyl shutters are moisture and fire resistant, they will not warp and can also cost much less than their wood counterpart. There are some drawbacks, of course. If you are looking for a product that looks just like wood, you may be disappointed in some of the lower end products; you may also experience some color fading over time – especially if you have ordered white shutters and they are exposed to direct sunlight; and finally, the range of color is somewhat limited, being the product cannot be painted.
Wood shutters come with their fair share of problems as well – humidity and moisture resistancy problems at the top of the list. Plus. should you decide to paint the shutter, you may find you have a problem with “sticky” louvers. Finally, there is always the potential for cracking, warping and bowing. Remember, this is a natural product that will expand and contract depending upon the environment, so don”t think for a moment that your wood will not be affected.
On the plus side, you can’t beat wood for its natural, warm beauty, high structural integrity and of course, the fact that it’s recyclable. Wood can be painted or stained to match any decor and, of course, when maintained properly, wood will last a lifetime.
There is metal, which is typically used when the shutter is used on the exterior of a home – and generally in those areas that suffer from high wind and rain. There is a product called Polycore, in which an aluminum core is inserted into the center of a solid polymer as it is being extruded. This reinforcement allows shutters to be constructed in lengths up to 36″ wide, maximizing light control. Be sure to do your homework and check out these other materials: Polywood, a synthetic wood substitute and Thermalite, a solid, non-toxic synthetic material made of a dense polymer foam.
Finally, there are so many different types of shut-ters available. Consider this short list when you are looking for your next interior shutter treatment.
– Cafe. A smaller-style shutter used to cover only the bottom half of a window, for a combination of privacy and sunshine.
– Eyebrow. A shutter that is wider than it is high and resembles the shape of an eyebrow. You will see a shutter like this used on larger windows that have a great deal of architectural emphasis.
– Panel. This is a shutter that operates on a track system. I suppose you could liken it to something you might see on a closet, only this shutter would slide in front of a glass door in order to afford privacy to the home’s occupants. It may also have an attractive insert, such as fabric, woven wood or glass.
– Plantation. With a name evoking the mansions of the southern U.S., plantation shutters have louvers over two-inches wide. Even four inches wide is appropriate. This allows for the breeze to circulate throughout the room well when the shutters are wide open, and when closed, offer a great deal of light control and privacy.
– Shutter “blinds” truly do resemble wood blinds, conbining the larger louvers of a shutter with the ease of blind operation.
– Sunburst shutters are typically constructed in the shape of an arch with louvers radiating like rays of the sun from a central point, usually on the bottom edge of the piece.