By Steve Grainger
Most shutters, both interior and exterior, are made to look like they are wooden. Wood shutters are the most popular type of house shutters because the wooden appearance looks great. Unfortunately, especially on the outside of a house where the shutters are exposed to the elements, the wood deteriorates and the shutters are difficult to maintain.
As a result, you might want to invest in faux wooden shutters for your window exteriors. Due to advances in manufacturing, you can get faux wooden shutters that look just like real wood, so you wouldn’t be sacrificing in aesthetic; however, they would be a lot more durable and less susceptible to precipitation that can otherwise damage wood shutters and blinds, which makes them perfect for most homes.
You can even get faux wood shutters for far less money than real wood shutters can cost. However, if you insist on acquiring wooden shutters, it’s recommended by most that you get basswood, as it won’t warp nearly as easily as other types of wood, and can stand up to more punishment in general.
Fiberglass house shutters are another great option for shutters when considering getting new ones for your home. They do cost more than wooden shutters, but it’s well worth it for their durability and their lovely aesthetic. You can find most high quality shutters made of fiberglass, due to their lack of maintenance requirements, and their inability to rot. You can track down fiberglass versions of every kind of shutter imaginable, complete with 10 year warranties at least, so you know you’re protected.
When you think of exterior shutters, you might also think of vinyl. Good exterior vinyl shutters work well because of their durability and their ease of maintenance. When you put exterior shutters on your house, you want something that is going to be able to stand up to the elements. Wood is not really a good choice because it warps and cracks leaving the shutters to need constant cleaning and maintaining. With vinyl shutters you not only have something that you can install and forget about, but you also have one of the least expensive materials as well.
This article is from LancasterOnline.com
June Garber of Lancaster has a window shaped like a raised eyebrow.
But covering it didn’t have to raise her blood pressure.
She now has a custom-made removable fan-shaped, or “sunburst,” sheer fabric window treatment on the arch and a Roman shade in the same fabric on the rectangular bottom.
And she’s pleased with the result — including the sun protection provided by the window treatment.
“It’s pretty, and it’s also for privacy,” Garber said.
Dramatic windows with distinctive shapes — from ovals to arches and angles — command attention.
And they’re getting it.
Specialty-shaped windows are a growing trend in new housing construction and remodeling — about 20 percent of the total residential window space, according to the Paint and Decorating Retailers Association (www.pdra.org).
Lancaster County reflects the trend, said Dottie Martin, owner of Exciting Windows! of Martin’s Interior Design Studio in Lancaster.
But should these windows be dressed for better success? Or is covering them up more of a headache than leaving them bare?
“People want to see out, but there’s the dilemma if they want to cover it, maybe because of glare or privacy,” said Judy Hollinger, a window treatment specialist/decorator with Grauer’s Paint and Decorating Center in Lancaster, which designed Garber’s window treatment.
Geometrically shaped windows themselves may be a focal point, but early light poking in may be an issue — especially in bedrooms.
“The sun can be more problematic than anything,” said Dan Wagner, who runs a local franchise of V2K Window Decor & More.
“People don’t think about (sun control) when they are building — all they see is these beautiful windows — and then they move in and they go, ‘What am I going to do now?’ ” Martin said.
Concerns about home energy use and protection of furnishings from damaging ultraviolet light also can shed a different light on uniquely shaped windows.
Home-dwellers who want to ensure coverage, Wagner said, need to be mindful that a window treatment will alter the look of the window inside and outside.
That said, if window treatments are on the decorating agenda, there are options out there, from shutters to sheers. Although many major manufacturers are continually increasing their coverage options, treatments for challenging windows are often custom-made or can even be a do-it-yourself creation.
Cost is always a consideration, said David Shellenberger, owner of S&S Design of Lancaster.
Specialty window treatments can certainly lighten the wallet — sometimes even costing more than twice as much as “standard” window coverings.
TYPES AND TIPS
Specialty-shape windows are divided into two types.
There are windows that are rectangular on the bottom and have a specialty shape on the top, and there are those that are special shapes on their own, separated from the window or door below, according to www.the-window-treatment-expert.com, which offers tips on window treatment ideas.
Other challenging windows can include bay windows and skylights, as well as patio and French doors and sidelights.
Before exploring a treatment for a window, it’s helpful to determine its primary purpose — ventilation, light, showing off a view or adding architectural detail, said Kim Kiner, vice president of product design at Hunter Douglas.
She suggests considering the style of the room, if the window itself should be accentuated or camouflaged and if its shape should be preserved or visibly manipulated.
Do you need privacy? Sun protection? Do you want decoration? Are thermal issues a consideration? Do you want to preserve the architectural look? How about the view? Are function and convenience important?
If the window is in a hard-to-reach place, you may want to consider motorization — or perhaps a retractable pole — to operate blinds or shades.
In some cases, people may only want to cover the lower end of the windows, as in the case of extended arches, Martin said. Window film can be placed on the uncovered top. Fabric, accentuated with decorative rods or scarf hardware, can also add a pleasing look to a specialty shape.
Want to go it alone?
There are kits available to design your own window treatment, and window film is also an option for the do-it-yourselfer.
When it comes to challenging windows, no covering has to be out of reach.
TREAT THEM RIGHT
Here’s are some basic options from decorators to cover all bases with specialty-shape windows.
Prices vary considerably, Martin said. As a standard rule, fabric, her most popular request, is at the lower end of the cost spectrum, followed by mini-blinds, shutters and silhouettes.
• SHADES: Cellular and pleated shades are a good option for windows in odd sizes. The layers of pleats form air pockets, which provide another layer of insulation. Cellular shades can block direct sunlight without obstructing all natural light.
• FABRIC SUNBURST: This versatile window treatment is made with shirred fabric, pulled together in the center or a corner and spread out on the edges. A rosette from the same fabric is often used as an ornament. Opacity varies with the fabric.
• SHUTTERS: Shutters can be designed to fit every shape imaginable and include fan, horizontal or vertical slats that redirect or block light. They can have various opening operations, including hinges. The price tag on custom-designed shutters can be high.
• SILHOUETTE SHADES: These shadings have vanes, which in the open position let the light in but gently diffuse it. Silhouette window shadings are available in just about any shape and can blend with privacy sheers.
• VALANCES AND CURTAINS: Sometimes these can be custom made, and there are sewing kits available. Depending on lighting and privacy issues, custom draperies can traverse or sit stationary above or at the base of the window and enhance decor. Custom valances or cornices can be made to follow and emulate existing window shapes. This technique emphasizes and repeats the architectural detail of the room.
• BLINDS: Blinds come in various materials, from metal to wood. Depending on the style, they can be raised and lowered. Custom arched and angled blinds can be consistent with the look of the other blinds in the room. Individual slats can be positioned to redirect light.