Plantation shutters can be purchased at almost every price imaginable. If you’re not a professional in the shutter industry, how do you distinguish between high-quality and low-quality products? There are several factors you can use to compare plantation shutters before making a commitment. In this article, we will explain how to tell the good from the bad.
Only wood plantation shutters will be discussed, since curtains made from MDF, composite, and polymer materials are different enough from wood plantation shutters in design and construction as to make fair comparisons impossible.
The most accurate measure of a company’s confidence in the products it offers is the strength of its warranty. Most manufacturers of plantation shutters provide coverage for at least 10 years; many go to 25 years. A few even offer lifetime warranties (lifetime is usually defined as the original purchaser owning the house the shutters were purchased for). Because plantation shutters are typically built to last for decades, and people today move for often than in the past, a couple of companies have begun offering warranties that are transferable to the next homeowner.
There are three things to look for in a warranty. The first is the term: the longer, the better. Second, see what is covered, as some companies exclude the finish and other components. Finally, a warranty isn’t of much use if the company that backs it is not around when you need them. Make sure the company is well established so you can be confident they will be around for years to come.
Louvers on traditional plantation shutters have an elliptical profile. They’re about 1/2″ thick in the middle and taper off at the edges. Some manufacturers make louvers with a flat profile because they are much easier to work with. A flat profile is quicker to paint, sand, and stain than an elliptical one, for example.
Horizontal louvers in and of themselves are not a quality flaw, especially when they are as substantial as their elliptical counterparts. However, many plantation shutters with flat louvers are made thin and insubstantial louvers, some are only 1/4″ thick. This is thinner than even the very tip of the louvers on a quality plantation shutter.
Thinner louvers are more likely to warp. Either stay with the traditional elliptical louvers or, if you prefer flat grilles, make sure they are thick enough to last.
Tension control is the balance between how easy it is to move the louvers and how well they stay in position once adjusted. After many years of use, you may find that the louvers on a plantation shutter have loosened; the solution is to tighten the tension if you can. Traditionally, manufacturers provide a screw in one or more of the louvers to adjust the pressure. You tighten the screw to increase tension; loosen it to decrease stress.
Some manufacturers install self-tensioning nylon pins. Once installed, these pins cannot be adjusted. Although they are marketed as never needing maintenance, shutters with these pins actually need their tensioning changed about as often as shutters without them.
Manufacturers that omit tension screws are doing so for one reason: to reduce their costs. Make sure the shutters you purchase are designed to provide decades of service by giving you a way to tighten louvers as needed.
A tilt rod is the vertical piece of wood running down the middle of each shutter panel that attaches to each louver. You use a tilt rod to adjust the angle of the louvers.
Traditionally, tilt-rods are connected to the louvers by metal staples. Over time, or in a household with heavy use (such as one with small children), it’s possible for the staples to be pulled out. Metal staples are easily repaired or replaced by pushing the staple back into its hole. To help secure it in place, a drop of glue can be put into the hole first, and the excess wiped off. If you lose the staple, replacements are available at almost any hardware store, and most manufacturers will send replacements for free.
However, some manufacturers have switched to using plastic staples instead of metal ones. Not only are the plastic staples more complicated and fragile than their metal counterparts, but it is also almost impossible to find either the parts themselves or someone to fix your shutter if they are damaged.
There are literally thousands of shutters on the market today. Most of them display a mix of high-quality and lesser-quality characteristics. Buying quality is important, but buying more screens than you need is a waste of money. Hopefully, you are now armed with the information to shop knowledgeably for the quality shutters you need and want for your home and lifestyle.
Chris Longsworth is the founder of Invesca Development Group. Invesca is the best for plantation development and Strategic Planning. It can provide the best plantation and strategic planning solution.