Everything You Need to Know About Exterior Shutters

Three shutter windows

Exterior window shutters provide both functionality and a decorative aspect to any home and have been utilized for light control, privacy, security and protection from the elements. When it comes to adding a bit of character to your home, exterior shutters provide an aesthetically pleasing appeal that adds style without distracting from the architecture and design of your home. Below we will briefly describe the types that you can choose and how to install exterior window shutters on your home this summer!

Four Types of Exterior Shutters

Paneled– this type of shutter looks similar to doors or kitchen cabinets that have single or double raised panels. Simple yet stylish, these shutters go with a variety of home styles including Victorian, Federal, Colonial, Cape Cod, Ranch and more.

Louvered– angled slats are the distinguishable design feature of louvered shutters that allow light and air to pass through. Due to their lower profile appearance, these shutters work best on homes with a casual, classic or ornate style like Italianate, Georgian, Greek Revival, Federal/Colonial second story.

Board and Batten– sometimes referred to as BnB shutters, board and batten have an Old World appearance to them. Usually, 1-3 boards that are held together with a thin cross panel that either runs horizontal or at an angle. Due to their rustic character, Mediterranean, Ranch, and French Country homes suit this style best.

Bermuda– sometimes called Bahama shutters are simply louvered shutters that are attached at the top of the window instead of the sides. While used to let air and light in, Bermuda shutters are most often found in tropical regions (obviously) to protect widows from storms. Best fitted for Cape Cod, Ranch or Cottage-style homes.

Now that we’ve addressed the common types of shutters, next comes the different materials that you can get your shutters in. Depending on your budget and climate you live in, the material you choose will have pros and cons.

  • Medium-density fiberboard (MDF) is an engineered wood product made from broken down hardwood or softwood into residual fibers. By adding wax and resin binder, these fibers are formed by extremely hot temperatures and pressures. While they look expensive, MDF shutters are a much cheaper option than others but do not hold up to water as well over time.
  • Vinyl shutters are the cheapest option, by far. These hollow, PVC shutters feature capped ends and plastic appearance that tend to yellow over time and resist cleaning.
  • Synthetic foam shutters are an extremely durable choice for those looking for a cheaper option than wood. Water-resistant and very insulating, these lead the way in the synthetic shutter category.
  • Basswood is the most popular choice of wood for shutters, even more than pine or poplar. They can be stained or painted and are very light and flexible, which make them great for a variety of designs. However, they are not water-resistant and cost more than synthetic options.

How to Install Exterior Shutters

Measuring for your exterior shutters is pretty simple. If you are adding shutters for a decorative purpose only, it is best to find a measurement that will fit and look good for all your windows to keep it uniform in appearance.

If you want it to look like your shutters will cover the width of your window and/or be operable, you should aim to get shutters that are close to 50% the width.

Depending if you want your shutters to be flushed, recessed or projected depends on your window sills and personal preference. Measuring will be the same method, just different points.

Measure your window height and width at three different places (top/middle/bottom and (left, right, middle) and take the narrowest measurement. Your windows may not be perfectly shaped due to poor construction or settling.

Typically it is best to measure ¼” smaller than your window on all sides to allow proper fitting.

Once you have your shutters and hardware necessary, follow the instructions for mounting the brackets and hinges.

How to clean exterior shutters

  • Use a medium-bristled brush to remove any dry debris but be careful to not brush too hard and remove any paint.
  • Rinse shutters to remove any remaining debris.
  • Use a very mild, colorless soap or detergent. There are special detergents made for projects like this. Rinse clean again after lightly scrubbing the dirty areas.
  • Dry by hand with a towel to remove any excess water.

The curb appeal of your home can be greatly enhanced with a simple upgrade or addition of exterior shutters. Simple to install and with a variety of materials, styles and colors to choose from, let us help you find the best choice for your home.

Next Design is Miami’s premier supplier of window treatments and shades and we would love to help you add a new flare to your home. Whether you’re looking for new blinds or an awning for your patio, let us help you. Visit https://nextdesign.us/contact-us/ to see where we’re located and stop on into our 2,000 sq. ft. showroom.

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