Of late, professional experts have been experimenting with window treatments like blinds and shutters to come up with creative ideas. And today we are going to walk you through one such very popular idea to add more style to your living spaces. Plantation shutters are a type of versatile window treatment; they cost less than custom draperies and consist of wood/ faux wood wide louvers mounted in a solid frame. The louvers are usually 3.5—4.5 inches wide and are manipulated by a tilt rod concealed in the middle or at the back of the shutter.
Let us have a detailed look at the plantation shutters…
Ideal for doors & windows of every space of your home—be it the bedroom, bathroom, living room or conservatory, plantation shutters originally got their name from the old plantations in Southern part of the USA. The louvers used here were wider than those of traditional shutters and these “plantation shutters” were installed on the outside of the homes. These were movable & used for decorative purposes as well as protection.
In 1950s, California homes had large glass windows for nice views. Wide louvered shutters were introduced to be installed as an interior window covering. The wide louvers, christened “California Shutters” or “Plantation Shutters” were in stark contrast with the traditional ones. These allowed people to open & close the louvers for views and privacy at their own discretion. When closed, the louvers kept the daytime heat at bay. This benefit popularized the use of plantation shutters throughout the densely populated areas of USA. Today they are generally referred to wide louvered shutters employed as an interior window covering, with white as the most popular color of the shutters.
Especially popular in the warm Southern & Western states of the USA, plantation shutters are mainly of 3 types based on their material - vinyl, composite and wood.
1. Vinyl plantation shutters cost the least; they do not contain wood but can have PVC or aluminum component for stability. Weather resistant and perfect for high-moisture areas, vinyl plantation shutters have the sub-types of hollow vinyl, structured hollow vinyl, solid vinyl, solid vinyl with aluminium insert and vinyl clad wood plantation shutters. The difference lies in the structural integrity which decides their ability to support weight of the shutter. Solid vinyl shutters are strong & stable, having a vinyl frame filled with blown PVC. Solid vinyl with aluminum offers the support of metal but with a lighter profile. Vinyl-clad wood shutters boast of a vinyl-wrapped hard wood frame; these offer the durability & strength of wood with the advantages of a vinyl coating, that increases their moisture resistance.
2. Composite plantation shutters, made of engineered wood that is MDF wrapped in a PVC or vinyl coating, are sometimes called fake wood or faux wood shutters. These are quite sturdy alongside being weather & humidity resistant. They present a more affordable alternative to wood shutters.
3. Wood plantation shuttersare, as the name suggests, made of wood. Wood can be easily worked into custom sizes & shapes, it can be stained or painted as desired. This is a huge advantage over vinyl & composite shutters that are prefabricated into colors and styles. The last word in wood plantation shutters is one made of basswood which has the highest strength-to-weight ratio, making it desirably strong yet very light.
If used properly, plantation shutters could be the most energy efficient among all window treatments. The most important thing is to keep the panels & louvers closed during the hottest & coldest times of the day. This will greatly save heat energy and you will also witness a decrease in your energy bills! The air pocket so formed between the window and the closed shutters makes an excellent insulator. When the shutter panel/ louvers are open, the insulating aspect of the air pocket is lost.
All materials composing the plantation shutters are energy efficient when the shutters are closed. However, some shutter materials are better when it comes to insulation. Examples of the best insulators are MDF, solid synthetic faux wood & PVC plastic shutters.
Plantation shutters make the best coverings for French doors. These shutters attach to the door and it seems like they were manufactured as a single unit. Effortless style indeed! Plantation shutters are generally mounted onto French doors using an outside-mount or L-frames. The frame is usually mounted on the outside of the trim which runs around the inset windows. The interior shutters add a tight bond to the French door, effectively blocking the heat & cold that comes in through the glass outside.
Oftentimes homeowners add a divider rail onto their French door shutters to allow for enhanced flexibility & more privacy. This option can also be implemented at a higher point on the plantation shutters to provide for privacy on the lower half & outside views on the upper half. What an idea!
Plantation shutters offer a great idea to cover sliding glass doors. These shutters are truly advantageous, they block light, offer privacy, and bring home an appealing & sophisticated look. But prior to the purchase, you must be mindful of the most befitting size, type & material of the shutters. There are some Dos and Don'ts:
1) Before choosing shutters for your sliding glass doors, carefully consider the available space. By-pass shutters occupy less floor space when open, but it is not possible to completely open the shutters. You can open folding shutters completely to reveal the entire glass door, but when open they require a couple feet of clear space around the door.
2) Energy efficiency is another important aspect to be taken care of; large glass doors allow a lot of air to pass through and insulated shutters help you save a lot on heating & cooling.
3) Avail the numerous options for plantation shutters. Shutters made of wood or synthetic material which can be painted or stained with different colors are a wonderful style idea to match the existing decor. Specially made shutters for uniquely shaped windows are also available.
1) Off the rack shutters to be fitted onto your standard looking sliding glass doors are a big no-no as once home, it will be quite noticeable if they come out to be an inch or two off. So, it is better to stick to custom plantation shutters to make sure that everything desirably measures up.
2) Brightly colored or off the wall shutter options may be in vogue, but quality is the key here. It is important to ensure the long term utility of the shutters rather than just heeding to its style quotient at the moment.
3) Do not get carried away by low-priced inferior quality shutters, they are quite likely to incur more expenditure in the long run. It is better to select a high quality shutter that will last long.
When looking at plantation shutters to cover the larger windows in your home, you should go for shutter brands that can build shutter panels wider than 30 inches. This is because if a particular brand offers such wider panels, it is very likely that they use the strongest materials and a great joinery system to make the shutters. Also, if they make a bigger shutter panel then their smaller shutters will also be of quite a considerable strength.
Larger & wider windows generally employ 2 or more shutter panels. Custom shutters can be easily built in a number of different configurations. It is always advisable to contact a certified shutter dealer for guidance/ help in the design process.
Did you find the idea of plantation shutters useful and appealing? Have a look at these shutter styles for more choices to take home!