Shutters are solid and stable interior window coverings, which usually consist of a frame with louvers. These can be either operable or fixed. Shutters are used for a variety of reasons, including controlling the amount of sunlight that enters a room, to provide privacy, to protect against weather as well as fit in to almost any decorating scheme.
These characteristics make shutters a very good window treatment choice. Depending on the application, and the construction of the window frame, shutters can be mounted to fit within the opening or to overlap the opening.
Operable louvered shutters have slats that can be opened or closed to control light, visibility and airflow. Such shutters are described using different terms such as traditional shutters, California shutters or plantation shutters, and typical of warmer climates like Florida, South Africa, Mediterranean or Australia. The different terms typically refers to the size of the louver blade.
Other interior shutters use fixed or stationary louvers, including solid panels, fabric or tinted glass inserts, or any other item that can be mounted within a frame. Shutters are configured in either a single tier unit (having only one shutter top to bottom of a window opening) or multiple rows (both horizontally or vertically). With multiple row units each feature separate shutters, which allows the different sections to be opened independently from the others. Café-type shutters only cover the lower portion of a window.
Traditionally shutters were made out of high quality solid wood. White shutters have been fashionable for the past 15 years. Today most shutters are white, but remember although all white shutters look alike, not all are of good quality, Here is what you need to consider…
Premium solid wood – This is the premium material for shutters. High quality wood will last for many years. And wood is environmentally friendly. Real beautiful wood can also be left natural and does not always have to stained or have a paint colour finish.
Wood composites (MDF and craftwood) – Traditionally this material is used for cupboard doors. It is heavy, not very strong and will absorb moisture. These are usually cheap shutters and you will probably end up replacing the shutters sooner than later.
Laminated and jointed wood off cuts – The finished product appears good and is very economical but in many cases their beauty may only be skin deep.
Thick primer/undercoats are used to cover various flaws (fill joints, cracks, splits, gum veins and knots, what woods have been glued together).
Remember to rather research the manufacturer if you are unsure of the product you are paying for is of sound quality. In many cased, buying cheap is nothing but a trick.
Plastics (PVC, polymers, Thermalite and LaPlayer) – These are a cheap alternative and should be used in small openings, as they are very flexible.
Remember that most plastics are affected by high temperatures and the louvers will warp in our harsh Namibian sun. In addition take into consideration that plastic is not environmentally friendly as the manufacturing process uses a lot of energy and is not biodegradable.
If you take the opening and closing of the shutters into consideration, they can be successfully combined with curtains and other window treatments.
I hope this information has been of assistance. Next week we will explore the use of fabric blinds.
Jana Gous Interiors