When it comes to adding a finishing touch to your home’s exterior, exterior shutters can be a great choice. But with so many types, materials, and styles available, choosing the right one can be a bit overwhelming. In this article, we’ll go through the important factors you need to consider when selecting exterior shutters for your home.
Types of Exterior Shutters
Before you begin considering any other factors, it’s important to know the different types of exterior shutters available. The most common types include:
- Louvered Shutters
- Raised Panel Shutters
- Combination Shutters (also known as Board and Batten Shutters)
- Bahama Shutters
- Colonial Shutters
Each type of shutter has its own distinct look and style, so it’s important to choose one that complements your home’s architecture and design.
It’s also important to consider the material of the shutters. Exterior shutters can be made from a variety of materials, including wood, vinyl, aluminum, and composite materials. Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to choose one that fits your needs and budget. For example, wood shutters are a popular choice for their natural beauty, but they require more maintenance than vinyl or aluminum shutters. On the other hand, vinyl shutters are low maintenance and affordable, but they may not have the same level of durability as other materials.
Materials Used in Exterior Shutters
Another important consideration when choosing exterior shutters is the type of material they are made from. The most common material types include:
Each material comes with its own advantages and disadvantages, so you’ll need to weigh these factors when making your decision.
Wooden shutters are a popular choice for their classic look and durability. They can be painted or stained to match the color of your home and are resistant to harsh weather conditions. However, they require regular maintenance to prevent rotting and warping.
Composite shutters are made from a mixture of wood and synthetic materials, making them more resistant to moisture and insects than traditional wood shutters. They are also low maintenance and can be painted or stained to match your home’s exterior. However, they may not have the same natural look as wooden shutters.
Pros and Cons of Different Materials
Here’s a quick rundown of the pros and cons of each type of material:
- Wood: Beautiful and authentic-looking, but requires the most maintenance and is prone to rot and termite infestations.
- Composite: Looks like wood but requires less maintenance. However, it can fade over time and is more expensive than some other options.
- Vinyl: Extremely low maintenance and budget-friendly, but can look cheap and doesn’t offer as many customization options as other materials.
- Aluminum: Lightweight, durable, and corrosion-resistant, but can look industrial and doesn’t provide the same level of insulation as other materials.
When choosing a material for your project, it’s important to consider the environmental impact. Wood, for example, is a renewable resource, but it can contribute to deforestation if not sourced responsibly. Composite materials often contain recycled materials, making them a more eco-friendly option. Vinyl, on the other hand, is not biodegradable and can release harmful chemicals when disposed of improperly.
Another factor to consider is the installation process. Wood and composite materials require more specialized tools and expertise, while vinyl and aluminum can be easier to install. However, improper installation can lead to issues such as warping or gaps in the material.
Factors to Consider When Choosing Exterior Shutters
Aside from the type of shutter and material you choose, there are other important factors to consider before making your decision. These include:
- Color and finish: Choose a color and finish that complements your home’s color scheme and style.
- Size: Measure your windows carefully to ensure you choose the right shutter size.
- Style: Choose a style that complements your home’s architecture and adds curb appeal.
- Functionality: Consider whether you want your shutters to be fully functional and able to open and close.
Another important factor to consider when choosing exterior shutters is the level of maintenance required. Some materials, such as vinyl, require very little maintenance, while others, such as wood, require regular upkeep to prevent rot and damage.
It’s also important to consider the climate in your area when choosing exterior shutters. If you live in an area with harsh weather conditions, such as high winds or heavy rain, you may want to choose a more durable material, such as aluminum or composite.
Measuring for Exterior Shutters
Measuring for exterior shutters can be a bit tricky, so it’s important to take careful measurements to ensure your shutters fit properly. When measuring, make sure to measure both the height and width of the window, including the trim.
It’s also important to consider the style of your shutters when measuring. Louvered shutters, for example, require a bit more space between the window and the shutter frame to allow for proper ventilation. Additionally, if you plan on installing decorative hardware, such as hinges or shutter dogs, make sure to account for their size and placement when measuring.
Another factor to consider when measuring for exterior shutters is the material they are made from. Different materials, such as wood or vinyl, may expand or contract with changes in temperature and humidity. It’s important to take these potential changes into account when measuring to ensure a proper fit year-round.
Styles of Exterior Shutters
Exterior shutters come in a wide range of styles to complement any home’s architecture. Some popular styles include:
- Raised Panel
- Board and Batten
Choose a style that complements your home’s style and adds curb appeal.
Louvered shutters are a popular choice for their classic look and functionality. They feature angled slats that allow for ventilation and light control, while also providing privacy and security. Raised panel shutters, on the other hand, have a more traditional and formal appearance. They are made with a solid panel and raised molding, adding depth and texture to the exterior of your home.
If you’re looking for a more rustic or farmhouse-style look, board and batten shutters may be the way to go. These shutters are made with vertical boards and horizontal battens, giving them a charming and simple appearance. Bahama shutters, also known as Bermuda shutters, are a popular choice for tropical or coastal homes. They are hinged at the top and swing outwards, providing shade and protection from the elements.
Popular Colors and Finishes for Exterior Shutters
There are countless color and finish options for exterior shutters. Some of the most popular include:
- Wood grain finishes
- Custom colors to match your home’s color scheme
Choose a color and finish that complements your home’s architecture and adds curb appeal.
When selecting a color for your exterior shutters, it’s important to consider the overall color scheme of your home. If your home has a neutral color palette, you may want to choose a bold color for your shutters to add visual interest. On the other hand, if your home has a more colorful exterior, you may want to opt for a more subdued color for your shutters.
In addition to color, the finish of your exterior shutters can also make a big impact on the overall look of your home. Some popular finishes include matte, glossy, and distressed. A matte finish can give your shutters a more modern and sleek look, while a distressed finish can add a rustic and vintage feel. Consider the style of your home and your personal preferences when choosing a finish for your exterior shutters.
Maintenance and Cleaning Tips for Exterior Shutters
The amount of maintenance required for your exterior shutters will depend on the material you choose. Here are some general maintenance and cleaning tips:
- Wood: Seal your shutters regularly to prevent rot and termite infestations. Refinish the shutters every few years to keep them looking their best.
- Composite: Rinse your shutters with a garden hose every few months to remove debris and dirt.
- Vinyl: Wipe down your shutters with soap and water whenever they start to look dirty.
- Aluminum: Rinse your shutters with a garden hose every few months to remove debris and dirt.
It is important to note that the location of your exterior shutters can also affect the amount of maintenance they require. If your shutters are located in an area with high humidity or frequent rain, they may require more frequent cleaning and maintenance to prevent mold and mildew growth. Additionally, if your shutters are located in an area with high winds or extreme weather conditions, you may need to inspect them more frequently for damage or wear and tear.
Another factor to consider when maintaining your exterior shutters is the hardware that holds them in place. Over time, screws and other hardware can become loose or corroded, which can affect the stability and function of your shutters. Be sure to inspect the hardware regularly and tighten or replace any screws or bolts as needed.
DIY Installation Guide for Exterior Shutters
If you’re handy, you may be able to install your exterior shutters yourself. Here’s a quick step-by-step guide:
- Attach hinges to the back of the shutters.
- Hold the shutters up against the window and mark where the hinges will go.
- Drill pilot holes for the hinges.
- Attach the hinges to the window casing.
- Attach shutter dogs to the shutters to keep them open when desired.
Before you begin the installation process, it’s important to measure your windows to ensure that you purchase the correct size shutters. You should also consider the material of the shutters, as some materials may require different installation methods.
If you’re unsure about your ability to install the shutters yourself, it’s always best to consult a professional. Improper installation can lead to damage to your shutters or even your home, so it’s important to ensure that the job is done correctly.
Hiring a Professional: What to Look for in an Installer
If you’d rather leave the installation to the professionals, here are some things to look for in an installer:
- Experience working with your chosen material type.
- Positive customer reviews and referrals.
- A licensing and insurance to protect against accidents or damage during installation.
- Warranty or guarantee on the installation work.
It’s also important to consider the cost of installation when hiring a professional. While it may be tempting to go with the cheapest option, keep in mind that quality installation work may come at a higher price. It’s worth investing in a reputable installer who will do the job right the first time, rather than having to pay for costly repairs or replacements down the line. Additionally, make sure to get a written estimate and contract before any work begins, to avoid any surprises or hidden fees.
Cost Comparison of Different Exterior Shutter Options
The cost of exterior shutters can vary widely depending on the material you choose, as well as the size and style of the shutters. Here’s a quick cost comparison of the different materials:
- Wood: $75-$500 per shutter
- Composite: $150-$700 per shutter
- Vinyl: $50-$300 per shutter
- Aluminum: $200-$600 per shutter
How to Customize Your Exterior Shutters
There are a few customization options available for exterior shutters, depending on the material you choose. Some examples include:
- Custom colors and finishes
- Hardware upgrades, such as decorative hinges or shutter dogs
- Louver size and placement
Speak to your installer or the manufacturer to learn more about your customization options.
Importance of Properly Installed and Maintained Exterior Shutters
Finally, it’s important to understand the importance of properly installed and maintained exterior shutters. When installed correctly, they can improve your home’s curb appeal, add value, and even improve energy efficiency. However, neglecting maintenance can lead to rot, termite infestations, and other issues that can be expensive and time-consuming to fix.
Top Brands and Manufacturers of Exterior Shutters
When choosing exterior shutters, it’s important to choose a reputable brand and manufacturer. Here are some of the top brands and manufacturers to consider:
- Builders Edge
- Atlantic Premium Shutters
With these important factors in mind, you’ll be well on your way to choosing the perfect exterior shutters for your home. Remember to consider everything from material and style to color and maintenance requirements, and you’ll be sure to find shutters that add beauty and function to your home for years to come.