Installing Interior Window Shutters
Drapes, curtains, horizontal blinds, vertical blinds and shutters too. You name it — when it comes to window coverings the choices can be endless. And don’t ask us for a recommendation, because if the choice were ours we would advocate a touch of each in every home.
Shutters were originally designed to “protect” occupants from enemy attack. Later it was discovered that they could be used to prevent damage to windows during high winter snow levels – not to mention pitting from abrasive fall sand storms. So, it doesn’t surprise us that someone finally decided to decorate with shutters. Today we continue to see shutters decorating windows inside and out.
There are three basic styles of louvered shutters: 1) false, 2) fixed, and 3) operable. False louvers are solid panels that at a glance look like louvers, but in fact are nothing more than panels of wood milled to look like operable louvers in the closed position. These are best used outside because they are durable and can take tremendous abuse from mother nature. Fixed louvers are slightly more expensive than false louvers and although they are real louvers they cannot be moved to the closed position. Fixed louvers are used outside and inside as well. As a matter of fact fixed louvered doors are also very popular – especially at closets where fresh air circulation is important. Operable louvers can be opened and closed, are the most expensive type and needless to say are most popular for use as interior window coverings. They can be closed to literally “black out” a room – what could be more solid than a shutter – and opening them to varying degrees can provide equally varying degrees of light – and privacy.
Among the most popular styles of interior window shutters are the plantation type (large louvers). We think that this results from the fact that larger louvers are the easiest to clean. At closer inspection you might note that the very finest louvers are shaped like a “comma” rather than the more recognizable “exclamation point” that we are used to seeing. The comma shape provides for a tighter interlock and a complete “black-out” when the louvers are completely closed.
By the way, a Rolling Shutters Installation is available in wood or plastic. The manufacturers cringe when we use the term plastic. The want us to say modern polymers, extruded vinyl, etc. It is all still just plastic to us. So you think we don’t like plastic. Not so. A good plastic….whoops….vinyl shutter is a breeze to clean and except for cleaning is completely maintenance free. We love them. Wood or vinyl, make sure to look for shutters supplier who provides good quality products. How can you tell? That is the easiest part…..don’t be in a rush to make a purchase from the first person you meet. Study the issue. Inspect what several people have to offer.
Shutters are installed in two ways: 1) recessed into the window opening, and 2) outside the opening on the face of the wall. In our opinion, the recessed installation is by far the more sheik looking. When a recessed installation can be used the end result is a window opening that looks as if it was designed with the shutters built-in. Unfortunately, the recessed installation is more difficult — and expensive — to install.
We once built a home that had circle top windows where we installed shutters at the lower (rectangular) portion of the window and the results were unbelievably stunning. The shutters were attached to the window frames which were trimmed with sculptured moldings. What a terrific look. In another home we built casement windows were used. Because of the window hardware we were forced to install the shutters on the wall “outside” the window opening. To give the configuration a “built-in look we surrounded the square shutter frame with sculptured molding. It’s that extra touch that turns the sow’s ear into a silk purse. When the existing window opening is out of square by a half-inch or more, or when prefabricated shutters are a size that won’t exactly fit the opening are used, it is advisable to mount shutters outside the opening.
Make opposing diagonal measurements to determine if an opening is square. For example: First, make a diagonal measurement from the lower left to upper right corner of an opening. Next, make a second diagonal measurement across the two remaining corners. Even if the sides are parallel to each other and even if the top and bottom of the opening also are parallel to each other, an opening can still be “out of square”.
Keep in mind that a perfectly square opening on a wavy wall can result in shutters that are “scissored”. A pair of shutters is considered scissored when the face of one of the shutters does not align with the face of the other where they meet at the center of the opening. This can be corrected by making minor adjustments to the hanging frame. If the top of the left door sticks out beyond the top of the right door, simply shim out the upper left corner of the hanging frame. Loosen the frame with a pry bar until the correction is made insert a shim and caulk the joint to hide the adjustment that you made. Isn’t it amazing when you know the tricks for a perfect installation! And, good luck!
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