To Shutter or Not to Shutter

To Shutter or Not to Shutter

Shutters are more than a decorative accent to frame your home’s windows – they can also be a practical addition to the structure’s integrity and security. But are exterior shutters right for your home, and if so, how do you choose the style that will work best?

How Shutters Help Your Home

Shutters serve many functions for your home, depending on the type of shutter you choose, how they are installed, and how you use them. Shutters can provide…

  • Security – Wooden or aluminum shutters can be a strong barrier against break-ins.
  • Privacy – Shutters can easily keep out prying eyes to improve your home’s privacy.
  • Temperature Control – Shutters help minimize unwanted heat loss or gain to any room.
  • Energy Savings – With improved energy efficiency, shutters help lower energy bills.
  • Storm Protection – Strong shutters can protect glass against debris in violent storms.
  • Curb Appeal – Well-maintained shutters enhance the beauty and curb appeal of your home.

With so many benefits, it can certainly be a worthwhile investment to add exterior shutters to your home.

Types of Shutters

There are many shutter styles to choose from, and different styles can also be customized to reflect your personal flair and give your home individual character.

  • Louvered – Thin, horizontal slats create a classic louvered look for shutters, while wider slats offer a more relaxed, plantation-style look. This design goes well with any home architecture, but is particularly prominent for beach or tropical designs as well as Victorian structures. The shutters may be attached at the sides or the top, and could swing open or be propped at different open widths.
  • Raised Panel – Plain shutters with simple raised panels, similar to interior room or cabinetry doors, are a versatile style suitable for all architecture types. They are particularly attractive country garden cottages and similar styles.
  • Board and Batten – A more rustic style, board and batten shutters are vertical planks with shorter cross pieces providing support. This is a great style choice for farmhouse or French country architecture, and can look particularly firm and secure with wrought iron hardware and accents.
  • Cut-Out – Simple cutout patterns such as hearts, stars, or geometric shapes give shutters more personal flair. Cut-outs can be added to either panel or board-and-batten shutter styles, and could be any shape desired. A beach house, for example, may have cutouts in nautical or marine shapes, such as anchors, dolphins, or shells.
  • Storm – Storm shutters are less decorative but are designed to provide strong protection in case of hurricanes, tropical storms, tornadoes, or other storms. These shutters are more likely to be metal and often roll up or fold like an accordion when not in use. Some storm shutters may also mimic other shutter styles, such as louvered or raised panel designs.

Shutter styles can also be combined. One shutter, for example, may be louvered on top but raised panel on the bottom, with a simple cutout design for extra personalization.

Choosing Shutters for Your Home

When choosing the best shutters for your home, it is important to match architectural style so the shutters provide a seamless, coordinated accent. Shutter material can range from wood and composite to vinyl or aluminum, and should be selected based on the local climate and weather conditions that will cause wear and tear on different materials.

Shutters can be any color, and can be stained or painted to provide a coordinated palette or a contrasting pop of color to any structure. Shutters may even be painted in different colors, such as creating patterns or painting a frame to accentuate the shutter’s structure.

Regardless of the shutters chosen, they should be able to function well on the home. Shutters must open and close with ease, and be firmly fitted to the windows for the most protection and functionality. Of course, it is also important to consider the overall budget for adding shutters to a house, and many companies offer discounts or good deals based on the type of shutter or number of shutters purchased.

Tips for Maintaining Shutters

To keep your shutters performing their functions well, the shutters need proper maintenance. To keep shutters in top shape…

  • Trim plants away from the shutters to avoid scratches that could damage the finish. Larger branches or leaves could also keep shutters from opening or closing properly.
  • Check the shutters regularly to be sure they move smoothly and close firmly. If necessary, use lubricating oil to loosen hinges, and check that all screws and fasteners are firmly secured.
  • Keep shutters clean with regular washing or dusting, paying particular attention to remove insect or bird nests, spiders, or any lodged debris.
  • Consider using touch-up paint to cover any stains or scratches and keep shutters looking their best over time.

Shutters can be a great addition to your home, if you choose the right style to match your home’s structure and take steps to keep the shutters functioning well. With the proper maintenance, shutters can improve your home’s security, energy efficiency, value, and more, making them a very worthwhile investment for any homeowner.