How to Identify a Quality Interior Shutter
This article courtesy All About Shutters.com
Quality shutters look better, install easier and last longer. Raise your "shutter IQ" and find the best shutter deal for your home!
1. Shutters should have proper louver tension
The shutters louvers should be smooth and stay in the desired position throughout the lifetime of the shutter. Some manufacturers feature “tension screws” on the side of each shutter panel, with one tension screw required for each louver section. The problem with tension screws occurs over time, when tightening the screws becomes necessary on a regular basis. Eventually, the louvers within a single shutter unit will not have uniform tension because the louver sections adapt to the tension screw differently. Polywood, vinyl, fauxwood, and synthetic shutters usually have an extremely tight louver tension. It is then difficult to put the louvers exactly in the desired location, and the rotation of the louvers is difficult. The best technique for providing uniform tension that will remain constant is a split nylon pin tension system that requires no maintenance.
2. Shutters are built from a quality material
Wood is the most preferable material for building shutters, and not all woods are made alike. Basswood is a superior wood because it is among the straightest of hardwoods with a fine uniform texture and indistinct grain. It can be sanded and stained to a smooth finish, and it is lightweight yet very strong.
3. Shutters are purchased from reliable company
You should research the company from which you plan to purchase your shutters. They need to be a reputable, knowledgeable, support oriented, and accessible. We recommend you test their knowledge by asking questions. Check out their credibility with an organization such as the Better Business Bureau, and check to see if they have a list of customer comments or references. The company needs to be prepared to communicate all of the necessary information to you about purchasing interior shutters. They need to have a staff that is experienced and available for technical questions. It is frustrating when the only knowledgeable person is always "in the field".
4. Shutters are mortised for hinges
Mortised hinges are important to achieve a tight fit within your window opening. Without a mortised panel, a gap appears on the hanging side that allows light to break between the shutter panel and the window jamb. It should not be necessary to mortise the window jamb.
5. Shutters are rabbeted stiles between panels
Rabbeted stiles between shutter panels reduces light breaks between panels. A significant gap is created in between panels that are simply butted up against one another.
6. View a shutter sample
The shutter company should be able to supply you with a finished sample shutter. This way you can view the quality of construction and finish first-hand. 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.
7. Shutters should have quality finish
A quality paint or stain finish is essential to the overall satisfaction with your shutter purchase. A paint finish should be smooth, thick, and complete. You should be unable to feel the wood grain and it should show through the paint. A stain finish should be even with a proper top protective coat.
8. Custom built for each individual window
There are no standard windows. A proper custom shutter unit needs to be built for each individual window opening to the 1/16 inch. Any more will result in possible unnecessary gaps in the shutter unit. Do not assume that because two or more windows look the same, that they are the same. Many times proper measuring will show that each window is unique.
Bonus tutorial on shutter construction materials...
Shopping for window shutters can become confusing because of the huge variety of materials used and promoted as superior. The construction methods of a shutter unit, including the materials used, contributes greatly to the overall cost of shutters purchased. However, a well-constructed unit made out of high-quality materials will also last longer and look better than something less than ideal. Following is an outline of various woods and synthetic materials that are often used in building shutters.
Basswood Shutters (Tilia Americana Linnaeus, or the American Linden)
Synthetics, Plastics, Vinyl, Fauxwood, and Poly