How to Identify a Quality Interior ShutterWritten by Brian Wright
1. Shutters have proper louver tension The shutters louvers should be smooth and stay in desired position throughout lifetime of shutter. Some manufacturers feature “tension screws” on side of each shutter panel, with one tension screw required for each louver section. The problem with tension screws occurs over time, when tightening screws becomes necessary on a regular basis. Eventually, louvers within a single shutter unit will not have uniform tension because louver sections adapt to tension screw differently. Polywood, vinyl, fauxwood, and synthetic shutters usually have an extremely tight louver tension. It is then difficult to put louvers exactly in desired location, and rotation of 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 most preferable material for building shutters, and not all woods are made alike. Basswood is a superior wood because it is among 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 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 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 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 only knowledgeable person is always "in field."
How to Select Exterior ShuttersWritten by Sarah Vande Krol
Installing exterior shutters is a relatively quick way to add style and color to outside of a house. Historical and modern houses alike benefit from timeless style of shutters. As with any home improvements, quality and longevity of an addition should be evaluated before proceeding.
Exterior shutters are available in many shapes and materials. Vinyl shutters are easily available at most home improvement stores, and they can be a cost-effective option. However, vinyl shutters often look like plastic, they are not useful as operable shutters, and they cannot be stained.
Shutters are also made out of many types of wood. The best wood for exterior use is cedar because of its outstanding durability and resistance to decay. Cedar gives long service with little maintenance in applications such as mud sills, window sashes, sheathing under stucco or brick veneer construction, greenhouse benches, fencing, poles, trellises, and exterior shutters. Cedar is also used extensively for exterior siding because it is dimensionally stable and holds paint well, in addition to being a deterrent to bugs.
The tannin (oil) in incense cedar is what makes it such a good wood for exterior shutters. It helps prevent moisture penetration and bugs hate it. However, shutters should not be left unprotected. Rather, it is best to finish shutters before installation so all surfaces can be fully covered. While paint can be brushed, it is recommended that it be sprayed. Most house painters will spray shutters with their airless spray systems for latex paint.
The best base is a primer coat of an oil-based primer tinted as close to final color as possible. The oil penetrates into wood, offering better protection. It can be applied in a much finer mist, thereby reaching between and around louvers and into seams, joints and corners. The top two coats should be a premium-grade exterior latex paint. A topcoat of exterior latex paint will not chalk or fade like an oil-based paint. If shutter caps will be used, paint them as well since top edge of shutters is most vulnerable to moisture penetration.