Shutters Buying Guide

  • Getting Started

  • There are several important factors to consider before buying shutters. With that in mind, this guide was created so that you can make an informed buying decision.

  • Why Shutters?

  • Shutters are easy to install, inexpensive and can enhance the exterior decor by adding depth and personality to your home. Shutters provide a color accent and frame windows so that they stand out. Besides, quality shutters enhance the value and appeal of any house.

  • Functional or Decorative

  • Originally, shutters were installed to protect homes from intruders and liquids. Nowadays, these functions are unnecessary. But if you want to add protection to your windows, functional exterior shutters are a great choice.

    If you're looking for a new look for your house but want shutters to be maintenance free, go for decorative options. With the proper placement and size, no one will tell its faux shutters.  

  • Types of Shutter

  • To list all shutter types and materials in the world will take hundreds of pages, so here we talk about the most common ones that you will find in many stores. So, shutters come in several main types.

    Louvered exterior shutters add a traditional detail to architecture of any home. They come in different materials and at different prices to suit everyone. The beauty of these shutters is their universal appeal. Whether you live in a rural or urban home, traditional or contemporary, these shutters are a great way to enhance windows. In addition to standard sizes and designs, you can order custom shutters that accommodate windows of all sizes. However, most of them are decorative and slats are fixed. Thus, you will need to be functional shutter hardware, hinges and swing separately. Louvered shutters are easy to install and doesn't require any special maintenance.

    Make your exterior more elegant by adding board and batten shutters. The look you'll achieve will remind you of different architectural styles combined together, especially that of coastal beach cottages and unique Northeastern brownstones. Just like wainscoting in interior design, board and batten shutters feature vertically running planks that are secured by battens.

     Mounting raised shutters add additional charm to window frames. This is a traditional, always-loved design that can be found in many homes nationwide. From an urban, huge brownstone home to a small ranch, mounting raised shutters attract more attention to windows and enhance their architectural features. They also come in different colors and design and usually made of wood or vinyl.

    Bahama shutters also known as Bermuda shutters were designed to enhance durability of windows in tropical, hot climates. Today, they are still widely used in coastal areas and states bordering Southern Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. All types of homes can benefit from natural breeze flowing through and controlling levels of sunlight, and Bahama shutters are a nice architectural element as well as an asset to temperature control.

    True to south style, these shutter hardware kits allow wind and light to pass through without obstruction of your view. They also offer more privacy, protection from direct UV lights that damage furniture, floors and draperies and enhance comfort. Bahama hardware arms can angle the shutters away from windows, allowing owners to see out, but creates a screen blocking out curious eyes.

    Custom shutters are handy if you have unusual window shape or unique home exterior design. Nowadays, it only takes several weeks to create custom made shutters that will draw attention to windows or conceal poorly sized windows.

    To make long things short, a quick overview of three main shutter types:

        •  Raised-panel shutters feature two equal panels. They add to security and provide a Colonial look.
        •  Louvered shutters have slats separated by a mullion. These are more traditional option that has proven to be an attractive exterior addition.
        •  Board and batter shutters feature vertical boards and cross battens. They are often used to enhance the cottage-style look and are known for the authentic aesthetics.

    Shutters can have different architectural differences, usually straight top, arch top or eyebrow design. Each serves certain function and gives different personality to your house. The easiest way to choose the right ones is to go with the one that matches the lines of your house.

  • Materials

  • No two wood shutters are the same, but maple, oak, poplar, alder and pine are the most popular choices. Wood shutters can be stained light or dark or painted any color to match your house. Most are ready to treat to withstand harsh conditions.

        •  Western Red Cedar is a popular wood choice. It's knot-free and has smooth grain that receptive to varnish or paint. Red Cedar has color retention, and won't become yellow and fade once coated. It has natural tannins that make it resistance to fungus, deterioration and other wood insects.

        •  Cypress has got popular recently thanks to its watertight durability and nice grain. Cypress trees make natural preservative oil that makes wood resistant to fungus, insects and decay.

    Plastic and Vinyl - Plastic and vinyl may sound artificial, but many shutters feature a wood grain look that duplicated the look of natural wood panels. Whether you choose colored plastic or vinyl, they both last longer than wood and have a color-through finish that won't chip like the paints that require yearly maintenance. 

  • How to Measure Shutters

  • There are two rules that you should follow in order to buy perfect shutters: carefully measure your windows and when you're done, measure them one more time. When it comes to adding new details to the exterior of your home, especially something that attracts attention like shutters, precision means a lot. Invest the time to get the right numbers before you buy shutters. Once you know the size you can start shopping for them.


    If possible, try to find a single width for all your windows to create a uniform look, but remember that many homes with several floors have different window sizes on different floors, so measure all of them. Width of window shutters varies from 6.8 to 33 inches and it's easy to find shutters of a proper size. Don't just blindly follow size charts you can find online - those are just suggestions and nothing else.


    Start measuring height from the top to the bottom of the trim. You may need to leave a 1/4 inch gap when installing vinyl or plastic shutters in windows with a sill because these materials will expand and contract depending on a season. When you go shopping for shutters, you'll see that their size options often come in 2-inch ranges (let's say that you have 14W and 25H windows, so you should select shutters of 24H-26H inches). Just like the width of windows, their height may vary from window to window, so you want to measure every window.

  • Questions to Consider Before Buying

  • Are your shutters UV stabilized?

    Your shutters will see a lot of sunlight. Just like you wouldn't go to the beach without a sunscreen, you shouldn't buy shutters without the UV stabilized feature. Even some expensive shutters don't have this feature, but it's definitely worth your investment. You don't want to get a product that will be warped, faded or somehow damaged by the sun.

    Do your shutters meet all child safety regulations?

    Even if you don't have kids or not planning to have them at all, finding shutters that meet the mandatory child safety regulations is important as you can have a family with children coming to you. Every year several kids die from strangulation by curtain cord. The safety regulations can be found in the instructions that come with shutters and it's better to familiarize yourself with them. You can also ask a salesperson about these regulations, and be sure they can tell you about the latest standards and the products they offer you have necessary warning labels.

    What color do you need?

    If you can't find the color of your choice in the store, ask a salesperson if they have it. Stores often don't display all versions of all their shutters. Quite often, the shutters that you see come in many different colors.

    Do you want your shutters to be made of eco-friendly materials?

    When it comes to shutters, there are many ways to be environmentally conscious. If you're going to buy wood shutters, ask the salesperson about how the wood was harvested. Another way to be eco-conscious is to search for energy efficient shutters. These shutters will reduce your carbon footprint and help safe on energy bills.

  • Cost Considerations

  • Choosing the best shutters for the best price comes down to common sense. Look for material and color that suit your window type, room decor and lifestyle. If you're overwhelmed with many different options, search for decor examples. Their price can range from $200 to $2,000 and the most expensive ones aren't necessary the best ones for the style of your home.