Plantation shutters are a very desirable window treatment, due to their versatility, low expense, as well as the increase it gives to the property value on your home. The name of plantation shutter was dubbed on the style due to its popularity with plantation homes in the American South. Our guide will walk you through some of the things to look for when purchasing new plantation shutters.
Shutters traditionally were always made of wood, however as time has gone on more options for building material for shutters has become available. Solid wood is still an option, along with fiberboard a mix of wood fibers and PVC and total PVC. PVC shutters can last longer against humidity (and are a great choice for bathrooms and garages), but often try to imitate the look of wood, two very degrees of success. Would shutters will offer installation flexibility and a high-quality look, though with constant exposure to humidity, wooden shutters may warp over long periods of time. Wood may also require repainting or restaining after extended periods of time.
The louvers are what give the shutter it’s distinct appearance as well as most of its light control function. Depending on your window size, you may find smaller louvers or larger louvers to be more appealing. Using larger louvers will typically mean having fewer louvers along the panel itself. Most plantation shutter louvers range from 2 inches to 5.5 inches.
While an exterior mount is possible and certainly acceptable, mounting your plantation shutters indoors allows you more control over the shutters without having the go outside or open the window.
Shutter mounting will depend greatly on the size of the window and what is around it in the room. Traditional mounting methods include mounting the shutter on one side if only using one panel, or utilizing two panels to have the shutters open against the wall on either side of the window.
If a shutter cannot be fully opened against the wall on one side, one mounting possibility is bi-fold. The two shutter panels are hinged together and then mounted to the wall on one side. The shutters can open and fold over one another on one side of the wall. The bi-fold method is also a great choice if a window uses four shutter panels.
Hanging your plantation shutters in a “double hung” fashion provides even more customization. Much like having shutters with a mid-rail, louvers on the top halves and bottom halves operate independently from one another. However, the two pieces are also hung separately, allowing you to open the top or bottom half up entirely while leaving the other in place over the window.
Half shutters are designed to only occupy one half of the window instead of covering the entire thing. While these may offer a unique look in your home, and provide just the right amount of light control that you need, it is worth entertaining the idea of getting full length shutters, which will provide better insulation, as well as the added privacy and light control when needed. There are also other options such as opting for plantation shutters with a mid-rail or going for a “double hung” formation. It is worth noting that full length shutters are not much more expensive than half shutters, so do not select half shutters only as a cost saving tactic.
A midrail is a horizontal slat in the middle of the shutter frame. The midrail effectively divides the louvers into two sections. The sections can now operate independently of one another, which can allow you more customization and control. You can leave the bottom half closed for privacy, yet leave the top half open for extra light. A midrail is not required and is not always available, but can be a nice option for rooms in which you wish to fine-tune the light or privacy control.