Window shutters are an excellent choice for your home, both in terms of appearance and function. However, there are quite a few considerations to make before committing, including whether shutters are the right fit for your situation, whether you want interior or exterior shutters, and what sort of style and material would complement your home best.
Benefits of Window Shutters
The biggest and most obvious advantage of shutters is that they provide significant protection. They protect against direct sunlight and heat during summer, keeping the inside of your house much cooler than the outside. They can also protect against wind and the cold in winter, acting as an insulating force. They also provide substantial physical protection and can help keep debris out of your home during storm winds. Other options, like curtains and blinds, are much less effective at providing these benefits.
Shutters also give you a great deal of control over privacy, visibility, and air flow. You can open and close them at will, plus you can adjust them while closed to allow varying degrees of openness. Compare this range of freedom to curtains or blinds, where you can control how much of the window is covered, but you can’t control the exact degree of cover.
Security is likewise stronger with shutters, especially for setups that include a locking mechanism. This effectively doubles the security of your window, making it a much harder target for any would-be intruders. Even if they do break through the outer layer, the mere presence of an additional inner layer is often enough to scare them off and deter further intrusion.
Finally, shutters allow for a great deal of customization. There are a number of different styles and materials available, plus you can even adjust them down pretty easily if they don’t fit your windows.
If it sounds like shutters are right up your alley, then you will need to decide whether you want interior or exterior shutters.
Interior vs Exterior
The fundamental difference between the two options is that interior shutters tend to be more ornate and fragile, whereas exterior shutters often need to be much sturdier. Which one is better will come entirely down to your personal preference and the environmental conditions in question.
If you are concerned about wind and that’s one of your primary motivations for getting shutters, then exterior shutters are obviously the superior choice. They offer the protection you need and interior shutters simply won’t do. One of the main reasons for this is that exterior shutters can effectively protect your windows, whereas interior shutters will only come into play if the windows break.
If, on the other hand, you care more about the aesthetics and visibility of the shutters, then interior may be the better option. You will have more freedom in choosing your materials, with wood and synthetic both being viable options. Additionally, you’ll be able to use paints and stains that would wear off quickly if applied on exterior shutters.
That being said, you can also opt for exterior shutters even if your primary focus is aesthetics. There are many different designs that don’t offer a great deal of protection, but do make your home look better from outside. Likewise, you can get interior shutters that are more about function rather than form. They can help to regulate the temperature in your home in a way that heavy curtains aren’t capable of doing.
Styles of Shutters
There is a number of styles out there, but a few have risen above the competition and established themselves as classics.
- Louvered shutters consist of a series of overlapping wooden slats. They are popular both as interior and exterior options, thanks primarily to their uniform appearance and ease of use. Adjusting interior louvered shutters is extremely easy, while exterior louvered shutters can provide excellent contrast in your house’s overall appearance.
- Raised panel shutters are extremely simple exterior shutters that open and close with easy swinging motion. Many homeowners opt for false raised panel shutters that don’t move at all, a testament to how good they look alongside windows.
- Board and batten shutters have a distinctive look, with a layer of vertical boards crossed by several horizontal crosspieces. This creates a compelling rustic effect, the perfect choice if you want your home to look a little less modern.
- Shaker shutters are fairly similar to raised panel shutters, with the big difference being that shaker shutters are much flatter. They don’t come out of your house much at all, minimizing their impact on the appearance of your home. If you don’t want your shutters to be a strong focal point of attention, then shaker shutters might be preferable to raised panel shutters.
- Plantation shutters have particularly wide slats, creating a unique appearance. Like louvered shutters, they are easy to use and offer a unique aesthetic, with the advantage of plantation shutters being that they can let in a lot more light and air with their bigger slats and gaps.
- Scandinavian shutters are essentially board and batten shutters with the addition of intricate designs. They’re a great choice if you know exactly what kind of aesthetic you’re going for, but they can look quite out of place on the standard house.
Picking a Shutter Material
As is the case with styles, there are many great materials used in shutters, with the number growing as technology makes new materials available.
- Composite shutters are quite common thanks to their exceptionally low price. They are essentially just sawdust held together with glue and finished with vinyl and paint, allowing for a cheap and sturdy foundation while also giving you a fair bit of control over the final appearance. Composite shutters won’t necessarily have the same resilience or authentic appearance, but they can get pretty close.
- PVC shutters are another very affordable option, good for situations where you want to get a more expensive option down the road but need something in the meantime. They are fairly easy to install and very durable!
- Aluminum shutters aren’t particularly common in most homes, but they are used for their cheap sturdiness in places where wind damage is common. They don’t look all that appealing, but they can keep your windows and house safe from flying debris.
- Synthetic foam shutters tend to be between the cheaper composite and more expensive wood options. They provide excellent insulation and last a long time, but they are heavier than wood and lack the same degree of flexibility.
- Wood is often the priciest option, both in terms of upfront cost and maintenance. It doesn’t necessarily last as long as some of the synthetic options if improperly treated, meaning that you will need to make a significant initial investment to get results. There are cheaper woods like basswood and pine, with some of the more expensive options including alder and cedar.
If you are going to get window shutters, then make sure you properly plan everything out first. If you don’t have a firm idea in mind for whether you want interior or exterior shutters, then carefully consider your immediate needs and your vision for your house. Do you need protection from the environment and insulation, aesthetic appeal, or good flow of air and light? From there, you can figure out exactly what kind of style and material would best suit your tastes.