Consumers Guide to Plantation Shutters

Shutters 101

In this short article I will compare the different types of shutters. As a shutter expert, I have over 20 years' experience. I know your time is valuable, so I'll make this quick and straight to the point. Just so you know who I am; I measure, ordered and install shutters for a living. I'm a certified shutter installer and a certified shutter consultant. I've set up over 300 people in the shutter business.

We'll look at a six different shutters and I'll give expert testimony on each. We'll look at the Do it yourself shutter kit, Real Wood Shutters, Engineered Wood, Poly Core Shutters, Vinyl Shutters and Plastic Shutters.

Do It Yourself Shutters:

 

Pro: N/A

Con: Think Tinker toys…like when you were a kid. DIY shutters look hideous with cheap construction, press board, no shape to the louvers and plastic controls to open and close the shutter. You will pay $14.60 a sq. ft. and you have to measure for yourself, Assemble and install yourself. In 25 years I have never seen a DIY shutter job look good.

Comments from a professional: Spend a few dollars more and hire a pro and get a great shutter.

Cost for a professional to measure, order and install: Not available, only Do it Yourself Kit @ $14.60 Sq. Ft.

 

Plastic Shutters:

 

Pro: Easy to clean, easy repair and water proof. Great for outdoors.

Con: Looks like plastic shutters, cheap parts that break (I know because we get the calls for parts weekly,) yellow in the sun and they can smell. NO price advantage.

Comments from a professional: It amazes me to see reputable window covering companies sell this product. It's much better for exterior use only. They look good from a distance. However, close up they look like plastic.

Cost for a professional to measure, order and install: $21-$27 sq. ft. depending on square footage.

 

Vinyl Shutters:

 

Pro: Easy to clean, easy repair and water proof.

Con: They are made from the same material that vinyl fence post, and vinyl patio covers are made of. Then the manufacturer crams a piece of wood into the hollow parts. This make for a very heavy shutter.

Comments from a professional: We've seen them yellow in hotter areas and we've seen them break quite easily. They look like the vinyl fence post for Home Depot. NO price advantage.

Cost for a professional to measure, order and install: $19-$27 sq. ft. depending on square footage.

 

Poly Core:

 

Pro: Light weight, water proof, 25 year warranty, polymer and aluminum construction, top quality materials and finish.

Con: I honestly can't think of any.

Comments from a professional: Sunland Shutters is the leader in the market, good company with a great product. They control the manufacturing and distribution making for a high quality product installed by a professional.

Cost for a professional to measure, order and install: $18-$27 sq. ft. depending on square footage.

 

Engineered Wood:

WoodLore, by Norman Shutters,

Pro: In my opinion this is the best shutter in the world. Great price, solid construction, solid company backing it, innovative, water proof, can't fade, never needs painting and a 25 year warranty.

Con: There aren't any, I love this product!

Comments from a professional: For the past 11 years I've been selling this shutter with virtually no problems. This is the shutter I put in my own home 10 years ago and they still look new.

Cost for a professional to measure, order and install: $19-$27 sq. ft. depending on square footage.

 

Real Wood Shutters Stains/Paints:

 

Pro: Can be beautiful, elegant and there is no other window treatment that looks like a stained shutter.

Con: Pricy, many small manufacturers cannot use high quality paints (EPA Rules), so the finish is cheap looking and feels rough.

Comments from a professional: In my sample bag I carry a small stained shutter that I dripped sweat on, it ruined the satin. (Hey, I do a lot of my own installs.) I recommend you buy your stained and painted shutters from Norman Shutters or Sunland Shutters. You'll always be assured of a high quality product.

Cost for a professional to measure, order and install: $21-$37 sq. ft. depending on square footage.

 

 

Questions:

Do Brands Matter?

 

Since there are only two, Norman & Sunland, it's more about the reputation of the company and the owner.

Warrantees: There are only 2 companies I know of that have 25 year warrantees on either the Wood lore by Norman or Poly Core bu Sunland. On painted and stains the warranties are usually much less, they average 2-5 years.

Installation:

It starts with the salesperson knowing what to do. If the salesperson orders the wrong frame, wrong size, or makes a simple mistake it will ruin your order. Knowing which shutter is the best fit for your project is the key to a successful shutter installation.

True Story: Back in 1998, I sold a large job of blinds. While my installer was there, the shutter installers from another company showed up to install the "less expensive" shutters she purchased from a competitor. The shutter installers asked my blind installer how to use a nail gun. My installer called me asking if he should tell the homeowner theses installer have NO IDEA what they are doing. After the first shutter frame went up, my installer had to tell the homeowner. What a mess! She asked them to leave and fortunately my installer was able to fix the mess.

Steven Dale is the owner of decoVan Blinds and Shutters and Shutter Nation. Currently operating inOrange County,CaliforniaandSan Diego.

To contact Steven call 949-768-6695 steve@shutternation.com

 

Steven K. Dale is a Shutter Expert. Mr Dale as trained over 300 shutter consultants and operates a successful blind and shutter business inOrange County Ca.

 

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