Home Improvement Expert Danny Lipford

Choosing Shutters for Your Home, Both Inside and Out

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Green shutters on house.

Shutters have been around for hundreds of years. Originally used on the inside of windows before glass, shutters provided protection for homeowners from pests and the elements. In the nineteenth century, shutters slowly made their way to the exterior of homes.

Shutters today are not only used for protection but also often for decoration. Shutters have come a long way and are now available in a variety of sizes, styles and finishes.

Today’s shutters can be used on the inside and outside of your home and can be painted or stained, depending on the overall look that you want to create.

Exterior Shutters

Exterior shutters are available in two styles: fixed and operable.

Fixed Shutters are those that are attached permanently to the outside of your home. Since the shutters cannot be moved, they simply serve as a decorative feature to your home. Adding this type of shutter to your home can help increase its curb appeal by adding color and architectural accents.

Operable Shutters are hinged so that they can close over the glass of your windows. This type of shutter helps ward off intruders, provides protection during storms and protects you from the glare of the sun.

When it comes to shutter materials, the options for shutters are numerous. Some of the most popular shutter materials are:

  • Wood Shutters

    Wood shutters are the most common shutters on the market. Wood shutters come in a variety of patterns that can help create the look you are seeking on the outside of your home. If you choose to use wooden outdoor shutters, they must be maintained properly for them to last.

  • Composite Shutters

    Composite shutters provide a great alternative to wood shutters. These shutters, which are virtually maintenance free, are custom manufactured from state-of-the-art PVC and thermally stable fiberglass.

  • Vinyl Shutters

    Vinyl shutters are the most reasonably priced shutters on the market. They are lightweight, easy to install and readily available in most home centers or even online.

  • Storm Shutters

    For those of you who are concerned about hurricanes or tornadoes, you may want to invest in storm shutters. These aluminum shutters protect glass from high winds and blowing debris. Storm shutters are available in several different types.

    • Colonial shutters are hinged on the side, fold into the window and lock into place.
    • Rolling shutters roll down either manually or electrically from the top of the window opening (similar to a garage door).
    • Accordian shutters consist of folding interlocking slats that move vertically on a track to cover your window opening.

Shutter Hardware

To enhance the look of your wooden or composite shutters, many homeowners add shutter hardware. This hardware has evolved over the years into stylish accessories for your shutters. Hardware is now available in many styles and finishes.

  • Shutter Dogs: This type of hardware keeps the shutters open and attached to your house
  • Ring Pulls: Pulls that allow you to close the shutters from inside your home
  • Slidebolts: Bolts that lock your shutters when they are closed

Interior Shutters

Interior shutters are becoming more popular with homeowners. Interior shutters can be either louvered or paneled.

Wooden plantation shutters with working louvers serve as interior window treatments that allow you to control both light and privacy. This type of shutter can be painted or stained and used on almost any type of window or door.

A few of the benefits of wooden plantation shutters are that they require virtually no maintenance, they enhance your home’s resale value, consist of a one time investment, and the insulation and reflecting properties of shutters help conserve heating and cooling costs.

Shutters can also be made with a flat or raised panel surrounded by a frame. While providing the ultimate in privacy, paneled shutters block all the outside light so the room will require other lighting when the shutters are closed.

Faux wood interior shutters are also available from different manufacturers across the country.

Salvaged Shutters

Many homeowners are finding clever ways of using old shutters that can be found at salvage yards. One idea is to create a room divider or screen by taking several shutters and installing small hinges that enable the shutters to fold and be freestanding.

Most of these shutters will require scraping and painting to improve their appearance. One way to accomplish this is to have a furniture refinishing company dip the shutters in a stripping solution that will remove all previous paint and/or stain. This saves lots of time and effort to provide a surface suitable for repainting or staining.



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4 Comments on “Choosing Shutters for Your Home, Both Inside and Out”

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  1. Judy Brown Says:
    May 20th, 2007 at 9:17 am

    We’ve been trying to find a source for the Rolling Shutters that roll down from the top and are positioned outside. We think they are made of vinyl but might be metal. We saw some at a distance as we drove down the road and it looked like the homeowner was lowering them by remote control standing inside the room. Any ideas what company might make these? Thanks!

  2. Window Shutters Says:
    January 21st, 2008 at 8:43 am

    There are several companies that sell rolling shutters. Here is one of my favorites: http://www.tucsonrollingshutters.com/home_owners_technical.htm Is this what you are looking for, or were u looking for the european style rolling shutters that roll into a pocket inside the wall?

  3. pat nomura Says:
    February 3rd, 2008 at 4:28 pm

    I would like to replace my linen caabinet doors w/ a door that looks like shutter doors. Can you help

  4. Outdoor Shutters Says:
    February 6th, 2008 at 7:12 pm

    I believe what you are referring to are cafe doors. Cafe doors are the type of doors that they used on saloons in the old west. Is this what you need?

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