5 Things You Should Look For in a Quality Shutter
1. Mortise and Tenon joints.
Shutter panels need to remain straight
and true to close and function properly. Most manufacturers use round wood
dowels and/or glue to hold the side rails (called stiles) to the top and bottom
rail. Shutters made this way will look great when new but over the years
temperature fluctuations in the window may cause the glue to dry out and fail
and the dowel to shrink. When this happens the panels don’t work properly and
may even fall apart.
and Tenon joints are more time consuming and expensive to make but the panels
will remain straight and true for a very long time. Much of the antique
furniture and many of the doors in our houses in New Orleans are made with
Mortise and Tenon joints and are still working great after 100+ years!
The stiles are the vertical sides of
the shutter panel that the louvers fit between. You’d think you would want that
stile to be a solid piece of wood, right? Well, have you ever looked at a new
fence and seen the one board that is warping? A solid piece of wood can warp,
and if that happens the shutter panel won’t close properly. An Engineered Stile
is made of multiple layers of hardwood laminated together; it won’t warp or
twist and will always remain straight and true in your window.
people that sell and install shutters have no idea what a Quarter-Sawn Louver
is or why you would want it in your shutter. Basically it is a way of cutting
the louver from the log to reduce the natural cupping and twisting inherent in
wood. It uses more wood to produce the louver but results in a tighter, more
even louver that closes uniformly.
seen what happens to a piece of antique wood furniture that is moved from New
Orleans’ humid climate to Phoenix’s arid climate? The wood dries out, splits and
cracks develop, seams separate; it’s not pretty. The reverses happens moving
furniture from Phoenix here; the wood swells with moisture, doors stick,
drawers won’t open. What’s this have to do with shutters? A good quality shutter
dries the wood to the average humidity level of the area where the shutter will
be used – we call it Prescription Wood Conditioning. This ensures the shutter
will work smoothly and properly for many years.
this is really simple it is amazing how many shutters don’t have it. Opening
and closing the louvers can cause wear on the mechanisms. If you’ve ever seen
shutters with “lazy louvers” that won’t stay in position it’s because they’ve
worn and there is no way to adjust the tension. Look for a screw in the side of
the panel to tighten them up.
shutters you choose have these basic features, like the PureVue line from
Budget Blinds, you are ½ of the way to a beautiful and functional window covering!
Unfortunately, just having a great product isn’t enough – it still has to be
installed to work properly and not void the warranty. We’ll cover installation
in another column.