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    The Basics of Window Shutters

    Wooden window shutters have been a popular choice for window treatments for centuries, and their appeal shows no sign of diminishing. The Spanish first introduced shutters to America, and they have been a popular window treatment ever since.
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    Window shutters provide windows with privacy, ventilation, insulation, and aesthetic appeal. To learn more about the basics of wooden window shutters, as well as other types of shutters, check out our handy guide.

    Materials for Window Shutters

    Basswood is one of the most common materials for wooden window shutters. Though slightly more expensive than other materials, it is lightweight, stable, and warp-resistant. It can be easily painted or stained to fit almost any kind of design. Alder is also an elegant, though more expensive, material for wooden window shutters.

    Besides wooden window shutters, shutters come in a few other materials as well. PVC, or vinyl, shutters are also common, and this is a low-cost choice for your shutter material. However, many homeowners dislike the "plastic" look, and vinyl also has the tendency to yellow when exposed to intense sunlight.

    Finally, MDF (medium density fiber) shutters, also known as hybrid or composite shutters, are another common shutter material. MDF is essentially a sawdust composite and closely resembles wooden window shutters. In addition to being cost effective, MDF shutters are stable and warp-resistant.

    Types of Shutters

    Louvered: Most shutters today are horizontal louvers, either fixed or operable. These feature overlapping slats in a rectangular frame that, if operable, can be adjusted to let in more or less sunlight and ventilation.

    Plantation: Though expensive, this is one of the most popular and elegant styles. Plantation shutters use wider louvered slats that can be adjusted to provide extra sunlight and ventilation. Plantation wooden window shutters provide a relaxed, southern-style design and can be used inside or outside your home.

    Café: Café shutters only cover the bottom half of windows and make excellent additions to windows in kitchens or breakfast nooks.

    Shaker (Solid): Mostly used on the interior, shaker, or solid, wooden window shutters feature flat, solid panels to block out bad weather and bright light.

    Hurricane: Hurricane, or storm shutters, protect windows and doors against high winds, rain, and flying debris during storms. They can also provide extra security.

    Raised Panel: Raised panel shutters use solid rectangles of wood, rather than louvered slats, that rest on either side of a window. Decorated with raised vertical panels, these shutters are used solely for decoration on the exterior of a home.


    Full-height plantation wooden window shutters | © CC BY 2.0 flickr.com / Plantation Shutters

    Costs of Shutters

    For interior wooden window shutters, expect to spend about $60-$100, although exceptionally expensive interior shutters can cost as much as $300. For exterior shutters, expect to spend about $40-$80, although it is common for exterior shutters to also cost as much as $200. Vinyl and MDF shutters tend to cost less than wooden window shutters.

    Repairs and Maintenance for Wooden Window Shutters

    To maximize the lifespan of your wooden window shutters, it’s important to follow a basic maintenance routine. Dust your shutters regularly with a soft cloth or a vacuum cleaner with the suction on a gentle setting. Also, avoid using soap and water or all-purpose cleaners, as these can lead to discoloration. Instead, apply a small amount of wood polish onto the wood slats with a rag.

    It is crucial that your shutters are installed properly. Improper shutter installation can make a beautiful house appear cheap or ugly. To find professional help, use HomeAdvancement's convenient database of local contractors.


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