High Quality vs. Low Quality Wood Window Shutters: What Differentiates Them?

Written by AnonymousApril 13, 2011

Discussing the Differences Between Low and High Quality Wood Window Shutters

High-end manufacturers have two things in common: reputation and warranty. You can trust that a high-end manufacturer is skilled at constructing high quality products. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford to shop at Andersen or Pella. So before buying wood window shutters from a low-budget manufacturer, there are several things to consider including design, thickness, and construction.

Design

A high quality shutter typically has five louvers or more. Lower quality wood shutters have four or less. This means they’re cut-to-fit (made in multiple sizes that can be cut to fit your window) rather that custom made. Cut-to-fit designs are less expensive to make because they’re made to predetermined sizes with fewer louvers. Fewer louvers means less light, restricted views, and a lower quality look.

High quality wood shutters are never cut-to-fit. They’re made to fit the dimensions of a specific window. They’re carefully constructed to be in proportion with the shutter rails and louver area, resulting in a balanced shutter that allows more light and air to enter.

Thickness

Another way to determine quality is by determining stile thickness. Stiles are the vertical pieces on the sides of each panel. Stile thickness on a high quality wood shutter is anywhere from 1 to 1 1/16 inches thick, while the stiles on a low quality shutter are around 15/16 inches thick. Thicker material means the shutter is more stable, sag-proof, and less likely to warp over time.

Construction

Wood is a durable material, but if construction is poor, the wood can’t perform to its full potential. High quality wood shutters use a variety of hardware, techniques, and other materials that increase durability and life. Butt hinges, which attach the shutter to the house, are more durable and expensive than non-mortise hinges because they offer a stronger hold. Non-mortise hinges are easy to fasten and remove, so the hold is weaker.  Thin louvers are flimsy compared to thicker ones. Quality wood shutters use a joining method called rabbeting. Rabbet panels and two layers of paint or coating are also marks of a high quality shutter.

If you purchase a low quality wood shutter, it will have:

  • One coat of paint
  • Non-mortise hinges
  • Thin louvers
  • Panels joined by a method other than rabbeting

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