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Before You Buy
Before you make your buying decision on shutters for your home, get educated! You are in control! Shutters are available in several distinct levels of construction and finish quality, and understanding these differences is critical to your purchasing decision. The right quality shutter will last for decades, so a costly mistake is to purchase shutters that are different from what you expect as they will be there for a long time. The old adage “you get what you pay for” is quite apropos in the world of plantation shutters.
Custom Designed Shutters
Our salesmen/designers have the knowledge and experience to help you design each individual shutter panel for optimum appearance, fit, finish and function. Every element is custom so you can match your shutters to your room’s personality. The following will help you decide on choosing the correct shutter:
- What size and style of shutter louver design do you want?
We offer a wide variety of sizes and shapes. Traditional louvers are 1-1/4 inches wide and come in 2 shapes. Plantation style louvers can be Elliptical louvers, Flat louvers or Bevel faced European Louvers Plantation louvers come in sizes 1-7/8″, 2-1/2″, 3″, 3-1/2″, 4″, 4-1/2″, 5″. To decide which is best for your home, you need to take into account the look you want to achieve, the depth of the window, the view, the architecture and interior design of your home. Remember, the wider the louver, the wider the “site-line” and more “depth to glass” is needed.
- What type of finish do you want for your shutter?
We build the shutters to your exact specifications, and we finish them to your specifications too. Painted? Your shutters can be painted to custom match your trim and molding or painted with a contrasting color or you may want to paint them white to highlight the shutters. Stained? Do you want your shutters stained to match your floors, furniture or cabinetry? Smooth or Textured? Do you prefer the smooth finish or the textured sand blasted look?
- What species of wood do you want to use?
Most of our painted shutters are made from Basswood. Basswood is the “nickname” of the American Linden tree. It is by far the most widely accepted wood for interior shutters. The Basswood we use comes from Wisconsin and Michigan. The winters in the upper Midwest are severe allowing the trees to go completely dormant for a significant period of time. This produces growth rings closer together and denser wood. Our wood comes solely from State Certified Forest Lands in the Upper Midwest which comply with both FSI and FSC standards. After cutting it is then dried to very specific drying tables to remove the moisture and stabilize the wood. Basswood accepts both stain and paint very well because of the fine even texture and straight grain. Your shutters can be made from other species of wood if you wish to match the woodwork throughout you house. Because we have our own millwork facility, we often manufacture shutters from Oak, Maple, Cherry, Mahogany and Walnut. We have used Teak, Redwood and Cedar for exterior shutters. We never use engineered material, veneered, pressed or finger joint material. Only solid lumber. Our shutters are made to the same craftsmanship and attention to detail as fine wood furniture.
- How thick do you want the shutter panels to be?
This is usually dictated by the window depth. We make panels 3/4″, 1-1/8″, 1-3/8″ and 1-3/4″. The Traditional 1-1/4 louvered shutter fits best in a 3/4 thick stile and rail 1-7/8, 2-1/2 and 3″ louvers can go in a 3/4 for a “fine, delicate” look. 1-1/8 is typical for plantation shutters but we can build 1-3/8 or even 1-3/4 thick panels if you desire.
- How do you want the shutters installed?
Do you prefer a picture frame style where the shutters are mounted outside the window pocket or do you want to show your existing moldings and mount them inside the window pocket? Your decision will be influenced by the size of the louver and panel thickness that you have decided on. We have a variety of frames to choose from and we can custom mill any wood mounting strips or moulding that best suits your home. Installing outside the window pocket can open up the window more by putting the hanging strips and at least some of the stiles and rails outside the window. This removes some of the solid wood pieces from the glass area increasing your light and view area. It is also forgiving for out of square windows. Installing inside the window puts all the stiles and rails over the glass which block out light and view but keeps your shutters off your walls and inside the window. Squareness of the window becomes a factor and your shutter may need to be “pre-fit” prior to finishing.
- How big or small do you want the stiles and rails on your shutters?
Every step is custom made to your specifications. We don’t carry an inventory of ready-made panels or components. Instead, we make each shutter to your specifications and no stock pieces are used. Your stiles and rails should align with the existing window mullions. Do you prefer small stiles so as not to block light or do you need wide stiles to get the louvers clear of window cranks? Do you prefer the look of a flush rail shutter to match your French doors, a drop rail or a chamfer design. It all depends on your decor and your preference. We also offer the arched top rail shutter if that fits your home style.
- Which way will the panels open and how many panels do you want to see?
This decision is dictated by the width of the window and what surrounds it. How often are you going to fold back the panels? Is there clear wall space to both sides or only one? Is there furniture close to the window making a sliding design more manageable? Do you open the windows often? Is the door used often for egress?
- How do you want the louver string to be designed?
Do you want to see the conventional tilt bar, or do you prefer the hidden tilt bar? We have a hidden metal tilt bar for painted shutters and make a custom wood hidden bar for your stained panels. Do you want a divider rail so you can close the top and bottom sections independently? Where do you want the split? We also offer the cut tilt bar with no divider rail so that when both top and bottom louvers are in the open position, there is not a blank spot caused by a solid center rail in your line of site.
- What kind of tension system do you prefer?
We offer a tension screw, a tension pin or both. Self-lubricating nylon pins are used on all louvers to allow for smooth opening and closing
- What shutter hardware finish do you want?
Do you want the hinges to contrast with the panels, match your existing door or window hardware, or disappear with a matching color? We offer many different hinge finishes including paint, powder coated to match paint colors, antique brass, bright brass, polished chrome, nickel and oil rubbed bronze.