An Interior Window Shutters purchasing step-by-step guide
Decide Material and Construction to Buy Shutters
Shutters are currently made in a number of materials. Wood shutters are still the benchmark for furniture quality window coverings. Buy shutters constructed from solid wood that are designed to last the lifetime of your home. Synthetics have a "plastic" appearance, but are sometimes less expensive. Read our page on materials used for building window shutters.
View a sample shutter from the company where you will be purchasing your custom shutters. The company should be able to supply you with a finished sample interior shutter. This way you can view the quality of construction and finish first-hand and compare it to other shutters you may be considering. It is beneficial for you also to hold the shutter in the window to visualize how the shutters will attach and look in your house.
Select Shutter Style
There are two basic shutters styles with movable louvers are available. The traditional shutter style uses a narrow shutter panel (usually about 3/4") with 1-1/4" louvers. Traditional shutter louvers are generally wedge shaped - thicker in the front and narrower at the rear. Plantation shutters are usually about 1-18" thick with larger louvers. Plantation shutter louvers come in numerous sizes, but 2-1/2", 3-1/2", and 4-1/2" louvers are common. Plantation louvers are sometimes flat, but an elliptical louver is more resilient.
You can buy shutters made with fixed, or stationary, louvers or raised panels. These choices are seldom used, but are available.
Select Shutter Finish
Shutters can be both painted or stained. Most companies offer a number of standard paints and stain colors, and some do not. Paint colors generally include a variety of whites and lights. Stains enhance wood grains in a number of tints and tones starting from a light natural tone to almost black. Note that synthetic and wood composite shutters can not be stained.
Shutters, because of material options, come in a wide range of prices. Many shutter suppliers calculate price based on the square foot. This strategy is usually not advantageous to the customer. Sizes get rounded up, and the end consumer ends up paying for more than they received. Prices calculated based on exact window size, shutter, style, finish, and number of panels is the most effective method. You can save money by ordering shutters direct and doing the measuring and installation yourself. To estimate the cost of shutters, you can use online resources to view prices without pressure to purchase.
Decide on the unit configuration
Shutter units can use a number of panel configurations within a window. The number of panels across is determined by the shutter style, traditional or plantation, and the window width. Traditional style panels are generally narrower than plantation style and would use more panels across in a window. Each company will offer guidelines for the number of panels to be used in a window as seen here for traditional and plantation shutters. If the window is tall enough, you might consider a double-tier, or two-tier, shutter unit that uses one set of shutters on the top and one on the bottom. Each set of shutters then opens independently of the other. Another option is using a divider rail which is a horizontal bar that creates top and bottom louver sections within a single panel. It looks like the top or bottom rail and allows the louver sections to rotate independently. A divider rail is optional on most units. The final strategy is to use shutters only along the bottom of the window, called a cafe shutter unit.
Measure and Order
Follow the measuring instructions, and determine window type and installation, provided by your selected company. The directions should be detailed, yet easy to follow. The company should also provide additional verbal assistance if you have any questions. It should be necessary to provide measurements to the 1/16" for a custom-made shutter unit. It should then be fairly easy to process to buy shutters with the company. Manufacturing should require 35 working days for custom shutters, and obviously less for stock size shutters.