Exterior makeovers are nothing new to our company. One item that always adds a quality and charming feel to a home are authentic window shutters. I am not talking about the screwed to the house variety-I mean the shutters that sit on offset hinges and come with an assortment of hold backs, properly known as “shutter dogs”. The difference in the aesthetic is easy to see when you drive by a home that has authentic hardware. The shutter stands off the home enough to see the relief in the siding which will produce a shadow line that adds extra elegance.
Something I am often asked about when we are ordering or installing shutters is the durability. My preference in New England is the historically common louvered shutter. They’re constructed with cedar and pre-painted by the shutter maker. Cedar will make the shutter last much longer than pine. Unfortunately pine is often used, in case you are wondering why you have to paint your shutters every five years, that’s probably why. Another reason I prefer cedar shutters has to do with the more authentic appearance they have close up compared to composites and their ability to accept the hardware installation.
We are also often asked if the shutters are backwards when we install them. You may notice that most homes have the bottom of each louver sloping away from the home which is usually a selection the painter makes when screwing shutters back on the house; and commonly found in the vinyl variety. However, shutters were once a necessity and had to work properly. Back when glass was so fragile and windows not so watertight, the shutters needed to be closed in advance of the storm and the louvers needed to shed water away from the window. So when opened, shutters should display with the louvers in the opposite direction draining toward the siding if you want an authentic installation.
There are some composite shutters that look nice and claim to be lower maintenance. The ones I have seen are best used for a paneled shutter- not as common in our area because the wood ones take on water at the joints easier. If you’re looking for that style, which is more appropriate on an English or French Country style home, I would suggest using composite.
If you are looking to buy shutters and are not renovating, we recommend contacting a company that specializes in this, and locally that is New England Shutter. When we are installing ourselves, we like to buy from Exterior Solutions where we can order them easily with the finish, size and hardware all in one spot. If you’re wondering what they cost, each pair will set you back about $600-$800 installed, pre-painted and with cedar.