Vinyl Window Shutters

Vinyl Window Shutters

Vinyl Window Shutters

“Operable Louvered Shutters”, louvers that are regulated by a tilt rod began to be manufactured around 1830-1840. Before this the louvers were fixed in an open position. With the advent of the exterior Storm Window in the later 1800’s, shutters were sometimes removed and stored away before the cold months and wooden storm windows would be installed. Removal was easy – all you needed to do was lift the shutter off the pin on the hinge. Exterior window shutters could also remain on the building, left in an open position. If using storm windows, please note that this was all dependent on the type and mounting of the shutter hinge. It is possible that the storm window would not be able to be inserted into the window jamb if a shutter hinge was in the way. During the warm months, the storm windows would be removed and window shutters would be closed to protect furniture from the sun and allow outside air to cool the house. At the end of the Civil War, awnings (Preservation Brief #44 – Awnings) became popular and window screens began to come into use. Screen windows were just like storm windows except they had screens in the wood frame. In addition to these screen windows, adjustable screens (The Adjustable Window Screen Company patent, 1866) still sold in hardware stores today, or lace curtains also served the purpose. Visit our page on storm windows and window screens. In some styles of architecture, exterior shutters also began to fall out of fashion. By the 1920’s, although some exterior window shutters were still used for practical reasons, most were strictly decorative. Those shutters that were purely decorative however, were still functional or had the appearance of being functional. Homeowners could operate the shutter to cool or insulate the home if they wished. There was no difference to the appearance of the house. Unfortunately, this changed during the 1950’s with the advent of Aluminum Siding and Aluminum Shutters. This is when the dreadful problem we have today began. Where Exterior Window Shutters Went Wrong The public has always been in love with the warm cozy feel of a traditional styled home. Exterior wood window shutters provide that look and feel. Aluminum siding and fake aluminum shutters started to be heavily marketed in the 1950s. To simplify installation of aluminum shutters on aluminum siding, the method of installing exterior window shutters – hanging shutters changed. Window shutters began to be installed by screwing the shutter onto the siding NEXT TO, instead of directly on top of window casing, and without the use of hinges. This was easy and required minimal intelligence. Eventually, people became more lazy, less knowledgeable, and more insensitive to the appearance of their windows and began using the wrong size shutters. Before you knew it, they were putting rectangular shutters on arched windows and whatever else you could imagine! This is where we are today. As you may or may not know, the window shutter has evolved in a grossly unfortunate way. Sadly, we too have evolved to accept this new bland look. It is now normal and what we expect to see when we look at a house with shutters. This is also what architects and builders do and what we see with many exterior window shutter companies. If you are not aware of the “bad window shutters” problem you soon will be. Read on and we will re-train your eyes to understand, see, and feel the impact of a architecturally correct and incorrect window shutter. You will be the expert. We use the term Historic Shutter to represent a visually correct, properly mounted and designed shutter, as all shutters should be, including those used with contemporary architecture. Mistakes: Exterior Shutters Today vs Historic Shutters – What is Wrong and What to do Right The goal of this website is to enable readers to make their house architecturally correct which would then be aesthetically pleasing. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of correct exterior window shutters. Think of the windows as the eyes of the house and the window shutters as the eyebrows (although to the side) to understand the impact. If the shutters are the wrong type or mounted incorrectly, they can ruin the appearance of the entire house. Yes, the money you spent on restoring that new front door or painting with authentic Victorian colors will be wasted if your window shutters are incorrectly hung (mounted). Most people look at exterior window shutters as a decorative feature with no further thought. The decorative shutters are installed and the mission is accomplished. How dreadfully wrong! The following is what you need to look for and, once you see the difference, you will pick it out every time. There are a number of points you need to understand about exterior window shutters in order to make your house look great. Louvered Shutters. On historic louvered shutters (historically called Blinds), the louvers were either Fixed Louvers or Operable Louvers. Each type represents a different period in history and provides a slightly different look. Fixed Louvered Shutters. Fixed Louvered shutters are appropriate for buildings built prior to the Civil War. Operable louvered shutters grew popular quickly although fixed louvered shutters remained in builders catalogs into the early 1900’s. The louvers are constructed in a fixed open position in order to allow a certain amount of air and light to pass through. The louvers must be fixed at an angle in an approximately 60 degree open position. (a completely closed louver would be a flat apx. 10 degrees, perfectly horizontal would be 90 degrees.) When the shutter is open the louvers angle pointing downwards towards the house. When the shutter is closed, the louvers are angled pointing downwards away from the house to shed water away from the window and block the sun’s rays from entering the room. There is an important aesthetic benefit with louvered window shutters. The louvers create shadow lines which provide texture and interest. Shadow lines are most important on a house for they create the character that bring buildings to life. Purchasing a Fixed Louvered shutter with flat closed louvers (10 degrees) as sold in home improvement stores results in a flat artificial appearance due to the lack of shadows. A historic operable louver shutter with louvers completely closed would never display the flatness fake plastic shutters have. Unfortunately this is the type of shutter you see on all houses today, no matter what the period architecture. Some shutter companies manufacture quality wood window shutters with louver’s that resemble plastic shutters. Be careful! While the shutters may be well made with quality wood the design is wrong and you will be wasting your money.
vinyl window shutters 1

Vinyl Window Shutters

Shutters for Other Types of Windows and Spaces Depending on the style of your house, each window does not have to be shuttered. This is determined mostly by architectural design and window style. For example, on a Queen Anne style house, windows in a tower may or may not be shuttered. Larger ornate or smaller sized windows can be left without shutters or may only need one shutter on one side of the window (fit to cover the entire window). Think in terms of shutter use. 1.) Back in the day, would it have been practical or useful to have shutters on this window? 2.) If not useful, would it provide balance in design or match another window with shutters? Colonial style architecture is symmetrical and you need to maintain this symmetry. A Ganged window is two windows side by side separated by a mullion (a vertical piece of wood separating the windows – part of casing). In this situation, you have a few choices (not in any order), but first look for ghost marks of earlier hinges. If the window had shutters there would be ghost marks of hinges visible. Attach a large (double size) shutter, the size of the window on each end. Mount double shutters at each end. The shutters would appear single, but actually are two hinged shutters, folded over. The shutter will close from one side for each of the two windows. The visual effect of patterns will not be disturbed. Mount four shutters in the manner you would normally if the window were not Ganged. Since there is minimal space at the mullion between the two windows, the shutters will remain in a semi-opened position and held in place with a tie-back attached to the sill, extended out to the shutter. I have seen this method in original 19th century design plans. If you find ghost lines, you have your answer. There will be other situations where a window is next to a down-spout or a wall of a house where the shutter will not be able to be parallel to the house when open. Do not omit the shutter. Here are some examples: Unless noted all examples are historically correct. Double shutters for wide or ganged windows. Use these instead of mounting shutters in the center between the windows. These shutters do not fold. Non folding wide shutters with operable louvers at the bottom. Double folding panel shutters in open position. Notice the hinges giving you the option of hanging them full or folded. An option for double or wider windows. Double folding shutters shown in folded position. Double shutters are folded in half. Side view showing folded shutter. Face mounted hinges. See Acorn snap at bottom to hold shutters together. These shutters are on a bank. They are way too wide to be single shutters. They must be folding to avoid looking dumb. Additionally they are mounted incorrectly to the face of the brick instead of the brick mold which is probably too narrow anyway. Center bay window is wider and has double shutters that do not fold but overlap. Operable shutters being used on a hot day. The way to attach shutters when windows are too close. How to mount shutters in tight places. Shutters can still be installed on a bay window. Overlapping shutters on 18th century house.

Vinyl Window Shutters

Vinyl Window Shutters
Vinyl Window Shutters
Vinyl Window Shutters
Vinyl Window Shutters
Vinyl Window Shutters



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