The general rule is the wider the slats, the more light will flow into the room. That is true but the colour of the Shutters is as important. White or shades of white is 95% the choice of most of our clients, using white will automatically make the room look lighter but at the same time will reflect more light into the room as long as the slats are directed at the right angle. If a wide slat was used with a dark stain or black custom colour the room would be darker, so as you can see in this example it is more dependent on colour rather than width of slat. After saying all of that using a 32mm slat width even in white still would not be the way to go if light is your goal. As a rule most of our clients take our advice and use a 64mm or 76mm slat in a light colour. The slat widths vary from range to range but are available in 32mm 47mm 64mm 76mm 89mm and 114mm.
When plantation shutters are installed on the window they should look uniformed from the outside and from the inside. On our travels we come across installations where a homeowner has been badly advised on their configurations. If you have four panels in your window it makes sense to put 4 shutter doors in that space, this will mean all the shutter door frames will approximately line up with your window frames. If you have three panels in your window or door, 3 shutter doors would be the used. However we have seen where people have been advised and have put 4 shutter doors into a window with three panels. This means that from outside and from inside you will see the vertical frames of the shutter doors going over the glass area and not lining up with the downward mullion frames of the window. This generally gives a messy look as there are vertical frames from the window and vertical frames from the shutter doors not lining up with each other. Most plantation shutter doors are hinged and we try where possible not to hinge more than two doors to one side. On larger installations, such as doors and long runs we install a top track system. This allows doors to all be supported as they move back and forward.
When the height of a shutter goes over certain measurements we need to insert a mid-rail. This midrail is for strength purposes but is also useful for controlling the bottom and top half of the shutters independently. If mid rails are used we try where possible to line them up with a horizontal window frame. This would mean from the outside you would not see the midrail. Its position can be quite crucial as wherever a midrail finishes will be the point where low level privacy will end.
The standard Plantation Shutter will come with a tilt rod generally in the centre of the door. By moving this tilt rod the shutters slats will open and close. As mentioned in the mid rail section when a shutter goes over a certain height we will be inserting a midrail. This will mean the door will be broken into two operating sections each section with its own tilt rod. This gives privacy at lower level and high-level combined. If you have an older property this method of tilting the shutter is the traditional way of controlling plantation shutters.
Hidden or Silent Tilt
The silent or hidden tilt system has become very popular and if you have a modern or contemporary designed property this would probably be one to go for. As it has no tilt rod, it gives a cleaner look to the front of the doors and is controlled simply by moving the slats with your hand to the desired angle. The mechanism for this tilt system is built into the side stile of the shutter door and cannot be seen. When using this system we can if required build in a zonal split point to your requirements at any point within the door. This means instead of using a midrail which would be seen going across the window we will custom make the shutters with a zonal break to give you lower level privacy and control of top and bottom halves. There is a 10% surcharge the silent tilt option.
80% of the time we fit shutters into the reveal of the window or door using one of our many frame systems, this means when the shutters are opened they will protrude into the room. This protrusion will be controlled by how wide the finished door width is. In most cases shutters are not moved back of the window on a regular basis so the issue of it stacking into the room when opened is probably not an issue at all. If however you would prefer to move the doors back on to a side wall so the window is left totally clear, this is possible using a Z frame. The shutters still fit within the recess, but are installed to the front of the recess this allows the doors to concertina back on each other and fold back on to any available wall space. There are a few pointers to remember the first being you need enough wall space to park the doors. Any sill that may have been available in front of a shutter fitted in the conventional way back in the recess will now have the spare sill behind the shutter doors and not available unless you open the doors.
T Posts allow us to achieve larger sizes in width for the plantation shutter system. Shaped similar to the letter T, this wood profile frame is inserted at different points along the mainframe. The insertion points of this T-Post frame which will run vertically, would generally line up with a vertical part of the window frame mullion. Once fitted, doors can be hinged to this post thus allowing us to create runs of 4 metres plus. The T-Post system is best used on long window openings and our product video goes through this in detail.
Plantation Shutters can transform Bay windows. When they are installed following the shape of a bay window they become a focal point of the room. Square, angled or circular bay windows can have plantation shutters and because of the options that are available light can be directed into a room where it never has before. Low level privacy control will be achieved as well as insulation values on what’s may be a draughty bay window. For far more details on bay windows take a look at our product video on this page, this will show you how we go about dealing with bay windows and the options. This is our own unique footage so take a look it will help you.
Porthole, Triangular, Obtuse, Arched and any other shape that you may have can all be dealt successfully with the plantation shutter system. Depending on the size there will always be limitations on how doors can be opened, but the finished result can be very dramatic. Shaped shutters do have a longer delivery time due to the manufacturing process.
We have a vinyl range of plantation shutters from the Luxaflex brand which are totally waterproof and virtually indestructible. They come in just three colours white, off-white and cream. They work in exactly the same way as their wood cousins and have a quick delivery time of around four weeks. When we quote on bathrooms, wet rooms etc. we always specify the use of vinyl due to its waterproof properties. The use of wood in bathrooms is not advised as warping and distortion can be an issue.
There are quite a few options on styles of shutter. The main one we use most of the time is what we call FULL HEIGHT. This means whether it’s a window or door it will run from the lowest point to the highest point of the opening. This may incorporate a midrail or zonal break which allows control of bottom halves and top halves of the shutter door independently.
Plantation Shutters generally are fitted to a lower level of the window where privacy is required and do not cover the top half of the window in any way. This reduces the square metre area which in turn reduces the cost. The main point to consider when thinking of cafe style plantation shutters is to make sure that the top of the shutters is high enough to give you the privacy you require when stood up in a room or sat down in a room.
TIER ON TIE
Sometimes things are invented and you think why. The TIER ON TIER plantation shutter system falls into that category as far as I’m concerned. With tier on tier you can open the top half and bottom half separately and if you need that specification then tier on tier may be for you. However you need to know the negatives. When the shutters are across the window you will have two horizontal frames rather than one as there is two doors meeting each other. This restricts light and looks very busy and cumbersome. Secondly there will be a light gap between the two sets of doors as they come together. And last of all when the top section is opened on its own it will stick into the room like a sore thumb. All of this is totally unnecessary as full height shutters which we use all the time, can incorporate a midrail or zonal break to do exactly the same thing a tier on tier does with the added benefits of no extra door frames across the window and no separating light gaps. The tier on tier and full height have no cost differences but I believe in being honest and the full height version wins every time when it comes down to cosmetic appearance and practical use.
TOP TRACK SYSTEM
When sizes on doors go over a certain measurement 2400mm plantation shutters will require either tracking or T Posts. This could be a wide door area or room divider. The TOP TRACK SYSTEM is made up of a three sided frame. The top frame has a track installed which the shutter panels locate into. This means that the weight of the shutter doors is all taken by the track and does not rely on the hinge system. Using this system allows us to go to much larger sizes and at the same time gives various options on how the doors will be configured. For example we could have six doors stacking to the left and all working from left to right or vice versa. You could have four doors to the right two to the left etc. Obviously there are more permutations other than these examples the only thing to remember is that you must keep an even amount of doors when deciding how many doors you need for your project. You can use two, four or six doors but you cannot use three, five or seven as this will mean the leading shutter will not be supported by the track. There is also an option to have a bottom track running adjacent to the top track, this adds even more stability but does mean a small track would be fitted across the threshold space your floor.
The final system we supply is the BYPASS. This is often used on wardrobe doors. The shutter doors are on two separate tracks which allow one door to slide behind the other. The shutter slats can have a normal tilting function as standard or they can be set at an angle which will mean they cannot be tilted.
French door cut outs
If you feel that installing Plantation Shutter doors within an existing door area will be to overpowering you can consider fitting the shutters onto the door itself so when the main door is opened the shutter goes with it. The area around the handle is called a French cut out and this allows the door to be opened and closed without any restriction from the handle. Take a look at our product video which shows this working.