Materials for Building Window Shutters

Shopping for window shutters can become confusing because of the huge variety of materials used and promoted as superior. The construction methods of a shutter unit, including the materials used, contributes greatly to the overall cost of shutters purchased. However, a well-constructed unit made out of high-quality materials will also last longer and look better than something less than ideal. Following is an outline of various woods and synthetic materials that are often used in building shutters.

Basswood Shutters

(Tilia Americana Linnaeus, or the American Linden)

Basswood is absolutely the best wood for building window shutters. The Basswood tree can be found from Quebec south to Delaware and the Atlantic coast west to Eastern Kentucky with an average height of 65 feet. Basswood is a renewable resource and careful forest management ensures tree harvesting is done responsibly, balancing growth with removal. Each year the United States grows about twice as much hardwood as it harvests.

Basswood shutters are very straight and has a fine uniform texture with an indistinct grain. Basswood machines well and is easy to work, and screws and glues well and can be sanded and stained to a smooth finish. It dries fairly rapidly with little distortion. Basswood has fairly high shrinkage but good dimensional stability when dry.

Popular uses for basswood include drafting tables, broom handles, carvings, turnings, furniture, moldings, millwork, musical instruments, woodenware, food containers, and surfboards.

General Basswood shutter characteristics:

– Does not warp
– Lightweight yet very strong
– Uniform grain for a beautiful stain finish
– Low in resin and tannin which may bleed through finish
– Renewable resource which is replenished as it is harvested
– Superior gluing and finishing properties.

Oak Shutters

Oak shutters are very heavy. Oak shutters add much weight to window jambs and screws require pre-drilling. Oak shutters are not suitable for painting. Oak shutter louvers tend to warp.

Maple Shutters

Maple shutters are very heavy. Maple shutters add much weight to window jambs and screws require pre-drilling. Maple louvers are hard to tension uniformly.

Poplar Shutters

Poplar shutters mill and paints well. Mineral streaks and a green color make poplar unsuitable for staining. Poplar is moderately heavy for shutters. Poplar is widely available, but less costly. Poplar is best used for millwork and trim that is nailed in place. Popular produces a lesser quality shutter.

Cedar Shutters

Cedar shutters mill and finish nicely. However, color varies greatly for staining. Cedar is soft and can dent and scratch easily. Tilt bar staples do not hold well.

Cedar shutters work wonderfully for exterior shutters. The outstanding durability and resistance to decay of incense cedar makes it ideal for exterior use where moisture is present. This wood gives long service with little maintenance in such as mud sills, window sashes, sheathing under stucco or brick veneer construction, greenhouse benches, fencing, poles, trellises, and shutters. Incense cedar is also used extensively for exterior siding because it is dimensionally stable and holds paint well, in addition to being durable. Oh, yes, and bugs hate it!

Alder Shutters

Alder is our second choice for shutters. Alder is a smaller tree so only shorter lengths are available, thus tall shutters require finger joints.

Pine Shutters

Pine is a softwood. Many different species and grades of pine is available, so quality tends to be inconsistent.
Synthetics, Plastics, Vinyl, Fauxwood, and Poly

Many synthetics incorporate “wood” in their name, but most contain no wood – usually called faux wood or poly shutters. Made from stock size components with few, if any, custom options. Come in limited white colors, and cannot be stained. Look, feel, and sound like plastic. Relatively new product so limited customer satisfaction experience. Synthetics are less costly to manufacture. Heavy and tend to sag. All synthetics are manufactured from nonrenewable resources.

How Plantation Shutters Keep Your Home Warm And Safe

Are you looking for cost-effective ways to make your home safer and more comfortable at the same time? As nighttime falls, we want to turn up the lights as well as the heating to keep living spaces snug and comfortable.

Plantation shutters provide an attractive way to keep the heat in, while likewise preserving your privacy. This post will take a look at the benefits of plantation shutters and solid shutters to keep your house safe and cozy this season.

Plantation Shutters – a Great Choice for the Home

Plantation shutters are available in three types: café design shutters, full height shutters and tier on tier shutters. Café design shutters were initially utilised in France to create an intimate dining experience without compromising on natural light. They cover just the bottom half of the window, helping to maintain privacy while still allowing in plenty of natural light. Café style plantation shutters are an extremely wise and cost-efficient way of presenting screens in the house.

As the name indicates, full-length shutters cover the entire window and are an easy and enticing choice for the office or home. The third option, tier on tier shutters, include the full window aperture in 2 sections. These provide a versatile solution, as the louvred panels can be opened individually of one another to control lights levels and personal privacy.

Sturdy shutters were used in Victorian times to keep the heat in. Unlike plantation shutters, they include solid panels, instead of louvres and are popular today in restored period houses. Made from cedar wood, or stained or painted in a broad range of finishes, solid shutters bring the homeowner lots of advantages. For example, they insulate the house, locked out external noises and entirely block out the light. Also, solid shutters make great partitions as they can be utilised as high quality, light folding doors.

Keep Heating Bills Down with Strong Shutters and Plantation Shutters

When the weather condition turns cold outside, it can quickly affect the temperature level inside. Winds, frost and rain can rapidly decrease the temperature level prompting you to turn up the heating which in turn raises energy expenses

DIY plantation shutters help to insulate your home versus the cold, by lowering heat loss through window glass.

If you choose sturdy shutters for your house, then these can be closed completely to include a layer of wood which completely covers the window, decreasing drafts and chills. This can be particularly effective in bedrooms in the evening, where you will also benefit from deep corrective sleep triggered by the blackout effect they develop.

In other rooms, you might prefer plantation shutters. The slats can be transferred to the closed position, or partly private, to still allow some natural light. Alternatively, you could select café design shutters or tier on tier shutters to minimise drafts and heat loss through the bottom half of your window and permit light in through the top.

Retaining Privacy and Security with Strong Shutters and Plantation Shutters

Another aspect that is more vital in winter, when the nights are longer and darker, is security and personal privacy within your house. This is because when it is dark outside, and light inside makes it easier for individuals to see in. Both plantation shutters and solid shutters serve as a barrier to stop this happening. You can even opt for aluminum shutters that offer the ultimate solution for privacy and personal security.

How to Clean Wooden Venetian Blinds and Aluminium Venetian Blinds

Wood Venetian Blinds: The best way to keep wooden venetian blinds clean is to dust them on a regular basis. As the surface of the slats are smooth it’s a fairly easy job to wipe them down with a cloth or brush off the dust using a clean soft duster. Another good method is to use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment.

The only thing that is not recommended is to wash these blinds. By that I mean soaking them with water, because although these blinds are sealed, water and excessive dampness can cause the slats to warp.
You can use a damp cloth to wipe them over, just be careful not to soak them.

Another handy tip is to put a pair of cotton gloves or even an old pair of socks onto your hands and wipe the slats between your fingers. You can also use a small paintbrush to dust the slats.

Aluminium Venetian Blinds: As with wooden venetian blinds it is best to dust this type of blind on a regular basis to avoid a large build up of dust. Again brush the dust off using a clean soft duster or a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment.

Unlike the wooden blinds you can use water and some kind of detergent on aluminium venetian blinds. The best way to do this is to tilt the blinds so that the slats are flat. Then using a cloth or sponge with some water and some washing up liquid, wipe them over. Avoid being too aggressive and accidentally damaging the slats by bending them.

If the blinds are particularly dirty, for example if they are in the kitchen and have become greasy and very dusty over a period of time, you will need to take the blinds down to clean them.

This can be done in two ways. The first method is to take the blinds outside, weather permitting and hang them on a washing line or something similar. You will then need a bucket with warm soapy water and a sponge.
Wipe the blinds front and back with the sponge until you have got all the dirt off them, being careful not to scrub too hard and damage the slats.
Once you have managed to get all the dirt off you can then hose the blinds down and leave them to dry. As they are nearly dry it is a good idea to wipe them with a soft cloth or paper towel to remove any excess water.

The second method is to fill the bathtub with enough warm soapy water to cover the blinds. Then place the blinds in the water and sponge them down until you have removed all the dirt. You can them rinse them off with a shower attachment or by just running the shower. If you bathtub is separate from the shower, fill the tub with enough clean water to rinse the blinds thoroughly. You will then need to take them outside, and as before hang them on the washing line to dry.

Conclusion: If you are ever in any doubt then contact the supplier or manufacturer of the blinds or shades for advice or assistance.
As long as you follow these guidelines when cleaning your blinds or shades you should have clean and new looking blinds that will enhance the décor of your room for years to come.

How to Identify a Quality Interior Shutter

1. Shutters have proper louver tension

The shutters louvers should be smooth and stay in the desired position throughout the lifetime of the shutter. Some manufacturers feature “tension screws” on the side of each shutter panel, with one tension screw required for each louver section. The problem with tension screws occurs over time, when tightening the screws becomes necessary on a regular basis. Eventually, the louvers within a single shutter unit will not have uniform tension because the louver sections adapt to the tension screw differently. Polywood, vinyl, fauxwood, and synthetic shutters usually have an extremely tight louver tension. It is then difficult to put the louvers exactly in the desired location, and the rotation of the 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 the most preferable material for building shutters, and not all woods are made alike. Basswood is a superior wood because it is among the 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 the 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 the 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 the 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 the only knowledgeable person is always “in the field”.

4. Shutters are mortised for hinges

Mortised hinges are important to achieve a tight fit within your window opening. Without a mortised panel, a gap appears on the hanging side that allows light to break between the shutter panel and the window jamb. It should not be necessary to mortise the window jamb.

5. Shutters are rabbeted stiles between panels

Rabbeted stiles between shutter panels reduces light breaks between panels. A significant gap is created in between panels that are simply butted up against one another.

6. View a shutter sample

The shutter company should be able to supply you with a finished sample shutter. This way you can view the quality of construction and finish first-hand. It is beneficial for you also to hold the shutter in the window to visualize how the shutters will attach and look in your house.

7. Shutters should have quality finish

A quality paint or stain finish is essential to the overall satisfaction with your shutter purchase. A paint finish should be smooth, thick, and complete. You should be unable to feel the wood grain and it should show through the paint. A stain finish should be even with a proper top protective coat.

8. Custom built for each individual window

There are no standard windows. A proper custom shutter unit needs to be built for each individual window opening to the 1/16 inch. Any more will result in possible unnecessary gaps in the shutter unit. Do not assume that because two or more windows look the same, that they are the same. Many times proper measuring will show that each window is unique.