There’s a certain affinity to southern plantation shutters. A remembrance of sunny days spent sipping ice tea while the ceiling fan cools you. Plantation shutters window treatments contemporary designs have a simple design that has survived unchanged for untold years, and are so attractive they can transform a plain window into a virtual work of art. They never go out of style.
until now the only drawback has been the high price since they ordinarily need a woodworking professional to measure each window and custom build plantation shutters. Lamentably, this is usually the reason for homeowners to settle for a “ alternate choice” for window treatments. Yes, the process to build plantation shutters is best done in the manufacturing plant by professionals who have years of experience. Using specialized tools, they can custom make each piece and provide you with an exceptional shutter. Unfortunately, this also comes with an exceptional price.
What if all the mystery was taken out concerning the steps for measuring your windows and the steps to build plantation shutters? Furthermore, what if this was done using simple instructions that don’t require specialized tools? Interested; your “first choice” for window treatments contemporary design for the price of the materials, mainly wood. You may even have most of the materials needed to construct these beautiful shutters sitting in your garage.
When you break down the process to build plantation shutters it mainly consist of
- Measuring the space where the shutter will install.
- Selecting the size of your shutter.
- Building a shutter frame using 2 horizontal pieces and 2 vertical pieces, in essence a square.
- Installing the louvers that pivot up and down inside the frame.
- Installing the piece that allows you to move the shutters up and down.
- Painting or staining the complete unit.
- Installing the shutter in your window.
Fortunately, it is possible to break these steps down so anyone can build plantation shutters that look great. It is also possible to have alternate ways to perform each step to match the tools available on hand. Yes, expensive specialized tools are used at the factory to build shutters, but the main reason for this is because they manufacture hundreds of units per day. Building a few units for your home does not require this expensive automated hardware.
And, once you learn to construct your first piece, you could duplicate the process and decorate all the windows of your home, all for the price of material. See the possibilities now? Your “first choice” for window treatments contemporary design is now affordable. Don’t be afraid to try it yourself. You may even be surprised how simple the process is.
Various types of hardwoods are used in the production of wooden window shutters. Hardwoods were the standard material long before manufacturers started making shutters from faux wood and other man-made materials.
The six types of hardwoods used are alder, basswood, cedar, maple, oak, and poplar. Pine, a soft wood, is also used to make wooden window shutters.
We asked a few experts for their professional opinion because we wanted to find out which type of wood works best. There were some interesting comments about the different types of wood, but everyone we spoke with said that basswood is the top choice for wooden window shutters for the interior of a home.
We will discuss the other woods in a moment, but we’ll start with the one getting the highest recommendation… basswood.
The basswood tree is part of a species that grows in many of the temperate climates of the northern hemisphere. In Europe and Britain, they are called lime trees, while in North America they are called basswood or linden trees. By the way, the name lime is derived from an old Middle English word and it has nothing to do with the citrus fruit called a lime.
One of the reasons that basswood is the top choice for wooden window shutters is because is has the unique characteristic of being lightweight and yet exceptionally strong and durable.
This hardwood does not warp. It has ideal properties for gluing and finishing. Basswood has a nice uniform grain although it is indistinct. The wood looks great when a stain finish is applied.
Unlike some other hardwoods, basswood is low in resin and tannin, and that’s good because resin and tannin might bleed through a stain finish.
Basswood, like many other natural materials, is a renewable resource. Careful management of hardwood forests can balance the removal, or harvesting, of wood with the growth of new wood. Thanks to responsible harvest management, the United States grows twice as hardwood as it harvests each year.
Now let’s take a look at the other woods that are used to make wooden window shutters.
Alder is also a good material for interior shutters. The experts picked alder as their second choice, right behind basswood. However, since alder trees are smaller, only shorter lengths of wood are available. This means that finger joints will be needed to join two pieces of wood for taller window shutters.
The disadvantage to cedar is that it can easily be dented and scratched. Staples meant to hold the tilt bars in place do not hold very well due to that disadvantage.
A strong advantage for cedar is that is has a high level of resistance to decay. Also, insects are repelled by cedar. That is why it such a popular wood for making hope chests.
The experts we spoke with agree that wooden window shutters made from cedar are best for the exterior of a home. This is because of the durability and the resistance to decay. Plus, it holds up well even when moisture is present.
Although oak is one of my favorite woods, the experts pointed out a few items of concern that make it less favorable for wooden window shutters. Oak is a heavy wood and it adds a lot of extra weight to window jambs and it might put too much stress on a window jamb of inferior quality.
With oak, the screw holes need to be pre-drilled, otherwise the wood has a tendency to split and splinter.
Unfortunately, the louvers on an oak shutter are more likely to warp than those made from other woods. The experts advise against painting oak shutters because when the wood warps, the paint will crack and the warping becomes more noticeable.
The comments made above about a heavy wood that adds a lot of weight to a window jamb and the screw holes needing to be pre-drilled also apply to maple. In addition, it will be a challenge to get uniform tension on maple louvers.
This is a moderately heavy wood that can cost less than other hardwoods. Poplar shutters look best when painted. Staining is not recommended due to mineral streaks and a natural greenish tint.
Pine is a soft wood that is sometimes used for wood window shutters. The main problem with using pine is that quality is not consistent because there are so many different species and grades of pine.
We hope this information comes in handy when you’re in the market for wooden window shutters. For one thing, it might help you know if the salesperson really knows what they’re talking about or if they’re just flapping their gums, as an old friend used to say.