10 Things to Know Before Buying Plantation Shutters


Purchasing plantation shutters is a significant investment, but that investment will provide increased home value, curb appeal, interior design, functional light control and energy efficiency for years to come.  Make the most of that investment by carefully considering the options and styles available.  Let our experts guide you through the process.


10)       Louver/Slat size

These days most manufacturers carry at least four louver widths: 1 7/8”, 2 ½”, 3”, 3 ½”, and 4 ½”.  Larger louvers create panels with fewer louvers and wider views.  Do you want the classic look of a traditional shutter or are you looking for more of a contemporary feel?  We can help guide you to choose the perfect style for your home.


You may hear or see the term “plantation shutters.” Wood shutters are traditionally called plantation shutters because their size and look are often reminiscent of antebellum plantations in the American Southeast. Generally, this type of shutter is used on larger windows and has the largest louvers.

Louver sizes usually depend on the size of the window; larger windows can take larger shutters.  Our design consultants can make recommendations for you to consider based on aesthetic and your personal taste.

9)         Tilt Control

Functionality is always important, but here it blends with the overall look of the shutter.  Choices in tilt control range from standard center rod tilt (visible) to invisible tilt control.  One of the most popular upgrades in shutters is invisible tilt control.  No control rod is visible providing a clean, contemporary look.  Another popular option is split tilt.  This feature allows independent tilt in multiple zones of the panel; great for bathrooms or dining rooms!  Let’s not forget motorization either.  Perfect for those hard to reach windows.  Shutters can be programmed to open in the morning to wake one up.  They can also be programmed to close during the heat of the day to protect from harmful UV rays and heat transfer.  Check out how simple motorization can be at: www.norman.com/motorization


8)         Latches/Locks/Hinges

Small upgrades can make a huge difference in the look and convenience of the shutter.  Ask us about Panel Locks, Panel Pulls, Invisible Hinges, Raised Panels and Liberty Arches.    Consider Pulls to guard against unknowing individuals that are not aware of the proper way to open / close a shutter.  Some sample photos of these can be seen below.


7)         Colors

Plantation shutters are offered in a variety of paint colors and stains to match or accentuate any décor.  Use brushed nickel hardware finish to accent a stained wood or pure white to blend in.

6)         Frame Style

The frame style choice is important to create the desired look, however it is also critical to understand its impact on the functionality of the window.  There is the decision to inside mount or outside mount the frame.  This can affect the operation of tilt in windows, the amount of light control and how the frame matches up to an existing window sill or frame.  Our design consultants will guide you through the pros/cons of each frame so you can make the best decision.  See some of the frame styles available below.

5)         Cost vs. Quality

Understanding the cost in your area for shutters is important before you make that final investment.  We have found a good cost estimate tool for a quality shutter is through Home Wyse:  The cost provided will help you put a budget together, but nothing compares to getting a consultation and free in-home estimate specific to your house.

The worst thing that can happen is that you invest in a low-quality shutter and your investment is ruined. Plantation shutters from national manufacturers such as: Norman, Graber, Eclipse and Timber use manufacturing processes and materials that have been tested and warranted to stand up over time.

4)         Material Composition

Know the specifics about the construction of a shutter before you buy it.  What is the composition of the frame and louver? Common materials are: ABS/Poly Resin, MDF Wood Composite and  Premium Hardwoods such as Basswood and Phoenix wood.  We can help with deciding which is the right choice for you.  Ask about frame joinery (dowels or mortise and tenon), finish process and how the wood is cut and treated to prevent warps and cracks.

There are thousands of paint and finish options, but our best manufacturers use a 7-step process with some very impressive coatings like NORMAN’s polypropylene coating, that gives you the durability of a car or appliance finish (see list below).  It is a detail that you are only going to know about it if you ask.  At Made in the Shade, we pride ourselves in giving our clients all of the facts and letting them decide on the options they want.  We also provide prices in a range of options from “good-to-better-to-best.”


U.S. Patented Polypropylene Coating from NORMAN offers the following state of the art advantages:

  • Resists cracking, peeling, chipping, yellowing and heat damage
  • Medical-grade safe polypropylene coating
  • VOC-safe and CARB compliant for off-gassing
  • Never stains, easy to clean
  • Limited Lifetime Warranty

3)         Investment Return

Keep in mind, plantation shutters are the only window treatment that stays on the appraisal of your home.  That means they actually increase the value of the home because they are considered a permanent hard fixture improvement.

2)         Practical & Functional

Shutters are a great choice for those with allergies and they are easy to clean.  They can be easily wiped or dusted and will not hold an odor.

SHUTTER CLEANING GUIDE:  Use a clean, dry feather duster, cloth or vacuum with brush attachment to gently remove dust and debris.  To ensure through cleaning, wide the louvers or “slats” in the open and closed positions.  Do not immerse the product in water or use abrasive chemical solvents.  This may cause discoloration and the wood to warp.  Ultrasonic cleaning is only recommended on “Premium Polyresin 3” shutters and is not recommend on wood and faux wood plantation shutters.  For best results, use a cotton cloth dampened with water on tough dirt and stains.  Polyester cloths tend to create static that can attract more dust.

Additionally, they offer complete light control along with improved isolative efficiency.  Although windows are necessary for light, ventilation and view, they also allow up to 50% heat/cooling loss.  If installed properly, wood shutters can cut heat and cooling loss by 75-90% and provide an isolation value (R-Value) between 4.0 and 10.0. One of the best ways to reduce utility bills is to install wood shutters.

1)         Installation

Finally, professional installation is critical to getting the look, functionality and durability you deserve from your purchase.  A qualified installer that understands the manufacturer’s requirements is important for a valid warranty.   The installer should be detail oriented and should not “cut corners” to simplify the installation.  A proper installation should look great and function without pinch points, warping or an out of square frame.   Use factory certified installers to ensure you get 25-30 years of life from your new shutters.


In Summary

We make beautiful windows, simple and easy!

Call us at 941-330-7410 or schedule a free in-home consultation by clicking on the “My Free Estimate” link.


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