Plantation Shutters are one of the most sought after window treatments in the window covering market. Many people think they are the most expensive treatment for their windows, but they really are not. Custom Draperies and Roman Shades can cost significantly more than the highest end shutters. Products from Hunter Douglas like Silhouettes, Pirouettes, Luminettes and Vignettes can also cost as much or more than Custom Plantation Shutters. The truth is Custom Shutters are the smartest investment you can make for your window covering needs. They are the only treatment that adds equity to your home. They are the best for resale as they have the widest appeal and are considered built-in cabinetry for your windows. They work with every style of home from Traditional to Contemporary and are one of the oldest window coverings, coming before Glass Windows. Their origins go back over 500 years to the 1500’s in England where they were made of solid wooden boards. Wood Shutters started to become popular in America in the 18th and 19th century. The South adopted this treatment into their Grand and Elegant Plantation Homes. This is where the name Plantation Shutters came from. In the 1990’s PVC Shutters entered the market place, helping reduce the cost of Shutters. Today there is a variety of materials and options to choose from. Custom Plantation Shutters are also one of the best treatments for Energy Efficiency. The thickness of the Panels and Louvers with the Frame give you a tight fit reducing your heat gain and heat loss. The construction of the frame with the Louvers won’t rattle in the wind and adding features like a Divider Rail or Split tilt gives you additional air and light control by allowing you to open and close the top set of Louvers separate from the bottom set that’s also great for privacy control. Original or Standard Shutters come with a Tilt Bar in the center of the panels connected to each Louver with staples or eyelet screws. This is the weakest part of a Shutter mostly because people over handle the Tilt Bar. The Tilt Bar’s purpose is to make all the Louvers work in unison. You should not grab the Bar to adjust the Louvers as it will loosen the staples over time. You should just grab a Louver and move it up and down to your desired angle. Moving one Louver moves them all and lessons the stress on the Tilt Bar. There is now the option of Hidden or Rear Tilt that has become very popular and what I recommend. It removes the center Tilt Bar and replaces it with a metal Bar attached to the back edge of the Louvers eliminating the ability to grab the Bar. It also gives you better view through the Louvers and makes it much easier to clean without the Tilt Bar in the middle to attract the dust.
The price for Plantation Shutters vary with the type of material and options. Most Shutters are priced per square foot. To figure your square footage and approximate price, measure the width and height of your windows in inches and multiply them together. Then divide that number by 144 and round up. Most Shutters are available in 2 ½, 3 ½, and 4 ½ inch widths. The Louver size does not affect the final price. Vinyl Shutters are usually the lowest price around $20 to $25 per sq ft. They are manufactured with hollow components and reinforced with metal rods. They are the lightest weight but can have a cheap or low quality plastic look to them with end caps plugging the ends of the Louvers that are visible.
Solid Polymer Shutters run $25 to $35 per sq ft. Top quality Poly Shutters look the most like painted wood shutters, but are more durable and energy efficient of all other materials. They are water proof, antibacrobial and wont chip, peel, or warp. Poly shutters are heavier than Vinyl or Wood Shutters and some manufactures can only make panels 30” wide before the louvers bow. To make panels 36” wide or over 72” in height, they need to be reinforced. The best Poly Shutter manufactures accrued the components with metal rods inside, giving them the strength to match the specs of Hard Wood Shutters.
Hybrid Shutters like New Style from Hunter Douglas run $30 to $40 per sq ft. They are the heaviest but more durable than painted or stained wood. They have an engineered compressed wood core with a polymer coating. They are weather resistant but can still get water damage through the exposed cut ends of the Louvers. New Style Shutters by Hunter Douglas are the only Faux Wood shutters available with a stain looking finish as an option. Painted Hard Wood Shutters run $30 to $45 per sq ft and Stained Hard Wood Shutters run $35 to $55 per sq ft. Hard Wood shutters like Bass Wood are considered Top Quality for Planation Shutters and give you unlimited options to best match your paint or stain finish. It’s important to make sure the wood is considered a hard wood. Cheaper Wood Shutter manufactures will use softer woods that can easily be dented and marred. There is also the option of Rear or Hidden Tilt that adds 10% to 15% to your Shutter total cost. The frame can also add to the final price of your finished shutters. Decorative Z-frames can add 2” to 8” to the width and height, increasing your overall square footage and price.
It’s highly recommended that you use a qualified and experienced Dealer and Installer. The accuracy of the measurements and installation are critical to a long lasting and beautiful finished treatment. I have seen in my 30 plus years of selling Shutters, many bad shutter jobs missed measured or poorly installed than good ones. If the person selling you your shutters can’t measure the job themselves, they should not be consulting or selling them to you! There are many details to address and look out for, from the operation of your windows like the new tilt-in options to the louver clearance. You want the best options available, presented to you correctly, showing you exactly how your shutters will be installed. With the clean architectural look, energy efficiency, lack or cords and ability to blend with changing styles and décor, Plantation Shutters are a smart and long lasting choice for your home.