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Plantation Shutters - timeless, efficient, beautiful, ever-evolving...
Shutters have changed so much over the years....When shutters first became popular, consumers focused on a "traditional" louver size (1 1/4"). This louver size is almost obsolete as consumers are now more focused on the amount of light that the shutters will allow. Let's talk about louver sizes
1 1/4" "Traditional" shutters - allow very little light, typically used in a bi-fold application, by far the most costly louver option.
2.5" louvered shutters - still a more traditional option as opposed to contemporary, but allows more light when the louvers are open. This louver size is complimentary when placed in conjunction with wood or faux blinds in the same room
3.5" louvered shutters - the most popular style of shutter sold today. This louver size allows a lot of light when the louvers are opened, and also provides tight closure to substantially block light.
4.5" louvered shutters - very contemporary, but allow the most amount of light when the louvers are open. These shutters look great in a lake house or beautiful golf course view application.
This picture shows the 2.5, 3.5 and 4.5" louver size
So, we've covered the louver sizes. Now, let's talk about features. Let's say you want to be able to open your louvers up on the top of your windows but leave them closed on the bottom for privacy (or, vice versa) - How can this be done?
Two ways: one is a split tilt rod. A full panel shutter has one tilt rod that controls each louver at the same time. If you have a split tilt rod, you can open the top independently of the bottom - ie you would have a push rod that controls the top, and one that controls the bottom. In this application every louver is movable.
-OR- we can add a divider rail. A divider rail is a stationary horizontal rail that separates the top section of louvers from the bottom. Typically a divider rail is placed in the middle of the shutter where your window sash would be. Some people prefer the divider rail over the split tilt because it covers the window sash from interior view when the louvers are open. It is the same function as the split tilt, but offers the non-movable rail that covers the sash.
But, you don't HAVE to have a split tilt rod or a divider rail if you want all the louvers to be controlled by a single push rod.
Don't like having a push rod on the front of the shutter? We can fix that too! We offer the hidden tilt option - these shutters have a tilt rod placed on the inside of the stile (the vertical piece that holds the louvers in the shutter). This feature allows full view when the louvers are open eliminating the push rod down the vertical center of the shutter. You can have the push rod split or not.
The picture below shows Divider Rail (Picture 1) Split Tilt rod (picture 2) and single push rod (no split, no divider)
So, we've covered the louver sizes and the options for function and light. How many panels should you choose for each of your window openings? Well, this depends on your application:
Single panels - this application calls for one single shutter in each of your window openings (up to 36" max shutter width). This allows for the most light and the least amount of wood in your window.
Open Center sets - I like to describe these as the "french door look" - two panels meet together in one window. Usually when windows are too wide for a single panel (ie a tub window perhaps) consumers opt for the open center set.
Bi-Fold sets - there are a few different bifold options. A two panel bifold is similar to the open center set but the shutters are hinged together in the CENTER and bifold either to the left or right. A tri-fold is the same concept only there are three panels in one window - configuration would be two panels to the left and one to the right, or two panels to the right and one to the left. Finally a 4-panel bifold is just that - 4 panels in one window with two bifolding right and two bifolding left, meeting together in the middle. This makes for a lot of wood in the window, but people like this configuration because it allows you to swing the left panels open and the right panels open, and they fold nicely toward the wall instead of sticking out into the room.