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Plantation Shutters (Types & Design Guide)

Guide to the types of plantation shutters including popular designs, materials, costs, maintenance, and how to measure your windows for new plantation shutters. Master bedroom with plantation shutters Plantation shutters have louvers that can be tilted up and down similar to blinds. However, these shutters are constructed to fit to the window frame and are able to open out like doors. Unlike, the slats found on blinds that open with a pull-string, plantation shutters are open and closed by hand.

What are Plantation Shutters?

Bedroom with plantation shutters Wood, faux wood, and interior shutters are all names for plantation shutters, a window covering that provides a traditional, impressive element for many interior design applications.

These shutters come in two sections, left and right, with a frame to fit the window size and rows of slats, also called louvers that open and close.

Plantation shutters look as beautiful from the outside as they do on the inside. Whether closed or open, these window coverings offer more than just their stately appearance.

They have many benefits that help homeowners choose these durable window coverings for their windows.

Plantation shutters are iconic representations of the period in the southern United States before the Civil War began.

The antebellum, pre-Civil War period architecture, included homes with these types of shutters made of a wood frame and louvers. Southern homeowners used this type of inside shutter on large windows to provide a monarchical design for grand plantations in the south.

Since the days of southern culture, plantation shutters remain popular and made their way into window designs for homes worldwide.

Types of Plantation Shutters

Plantation shutters in bedroom There are three main types of plantation shutters, including Tier on Tier shutters, Café style shutters, and Full Height Shutters.

  • Tier on TierShutters: These plantation shutters include two sets of left and right shutters. They’re hung as two rows so top shutters can be open while the bottom shutters are closed. This provides light for the room while allowing privacy.
  • Café Style Shutters: Like Tier on Tier shutters, these plantation shutters allow light in but not as two sets of shutters. These shutters are installed on the bottom of a window at half the height. They originated in quaint cafes allowing customers to have privacy but allowing light through the top of the window.
  • Full Height Shutters: These plantation shutters are the most common and include two sides at the window’s total height.

The various types of plantation shutters allow homeowners to choose options to fit their vision for interior windows, adding a decorous atmosphere to their home.

Plantation Shutters Materials

Dining room with plantation shutters Plantation shutters include materials that include pros and cons, variations, color choices, durability, and different price points.

These modern-day choices are far from the original shutters in the south made from wood.

Wood Plantation Shutters

Western red cedar plantation shutters Wood provides its own beauty allowing the natural patterns and wood grains to create gorgeous shutters.

Different wood types provide numerous color variations and stains, especially semi-transparent stain, which offers more color choices while allowing the wood grain to show through.

Some homeowners paint their wood shutters to match inside trim and color schemes, but paint hides the organic wood.

Wood plantation shutters are durable and hold up better for large shutters with wide slats.

Other materials may warp and sag from the weight. Another advantage of wood shutters is the wood can be shaped into custom shapes such as top arches and half-circles.

These types of shutters are often made from basswood, which has the best strength-to-weight ratio.

Composite Plantation Shutters

Composite is also known as engineered wood, fake wood, or faux wood. This material is made of sawdust bound together with glue and encased in a vinyl or PVC coating.

Composite plantation shutters are sturdy and cost less than real wood, but they do not hold up to the wear actual wood can withstand.

Vinyl Plantation Shutters

The least expensive material for plantation shutters is vinyl, and the material comes in many color choices, according to the manufacturer.

These vinyl shutters often have PVC or aluminum supports to keep them from warping or sagging, and they’re suitable for areas with high moisture, such as bathrooms and kitchens. Vinyl shutters come configured as several types;

  • Solid Vinyl: Solid vinyl shutters are made from a vinyl frame filled with blown-in PVC. This provides more stability while keeping the cost down.
  • Solid Vinyl with an Aluminum Insert: To offer a more stable frame for plantation shutters, an aluminum bar is inserted to provide better stability.
  • Vinyl-clad Wood: These vinyl shutters are made from hardwood and wrapped in a vinyl casing. This protects the wood from moisture and wear and still provides the strength of real wood.
  • Hollow Vinyl: These hollow frames made from vinyl are limited by size due to the hollow frame’s weakness. Larger plantation shutters will cause sagging and warping. These are the least expensive shutters.
  • Structured Hollow Vinyl: Even though these are still categorized as hollow vinyl shutters, they include a vinyl skeleton inside the frame to prevent sagging.

Pros and Cons of Plantation Shutters

Small bathroom with green plantation shutters PROS:

  • Increase the home’s value
  • Plantation shutters never go out of style
  • Durable and can last decades
  • Easy to clean
  • Numerous options to choose from
  • Easy to operate
  • Childproof

CONS:

  • Plantation shutters cost more than traditional window coverings
  • Plantation shutters can’t be rolled up like a shade or tied back like a curtain, so they are always in sight
  • Tilt-in casement windows will work with these shutters, but they have to be mounted on the outside of the window frame, which could look awkward
  • Furniture placed in front of a window with plantation shutters would have to be lower than the window sill or placed away from the window to allow for opening the shutters

Plantation Shutters Cost

Sitting area with plantation shutters Although plantation shutters cost more than traditional window coverings, they provide many benefits.

To cover the interior windows of a home with plantation shutters averages $2,300, and most homes range from $1,450 to $3,360 for these types of shutters.

The price varies according to the material and sizes, with wood being the most expensive, composite next in cost, and vinyl costing the least.

Plantation Shutters Cost Per Window

Prefabricated shutters sell for an average of $50 each at most hardware stores. If you want custom wood shutters, it’s best to work with a custom window shutter store.

Wood shutters average $200 to $350 per window and composite $80 to $200 each.

Different types of wood cost less or more, such as pine compared to mahogany, with the mahogany shutters costing more.

The prices below are averages without including custom designs or special orders.

National Averages for Individual Plantation Windows Prices

Size/Type Wood Vinyl Composite
16” x 20” $177 $73 $39
24” x 50” $300 $200 $145
36” x 54” $497 $305 $235
36” x 60” $552 $336 $261
42” x 48” $516 $315 $243
48” x 44” $540 $327 $255

How to Measure For Plantation Shutters

Master bedroom with plantation shutters and cherry wood floors Plantation shutters are either mounted inside the window frame or on the outside. An inside mount allows for hanging curtains or other layered panels. The outside mount extends past the window frame and sits a bit off the wall.

Each manufacturer or showroom has its own form to complete when ordering plantation shutters. Always talk to the sales associate to find out the required measurements and information they need.

The first step to measuring your window for plantation shutters is to be sure the window is square:

  1. Check to see if the window is square by matching the width and height in three places
  2. Measure the glass width from the inside jamb in three places
  3. Measure the glass height from the inside jamb in three places

Inside Mount Plantation Shutters

For inside-mounted plantation shutters, use the narrowest width of all three numbers and the shortest height of all three measurements.

These numbers are the shutter size. With an inside mount, it’s essential to measure the window’s depth before choosing the size of the slat. Most slats, louvers, are 2.5″ to 4.5″ in depth.

Outside Mount Plantation Shutters

Use the method above to be sure the window is straight. Then measure the width from the outside right edge of the window frame where the plantation shutter will be mounted to the equal spacing on the left side.

Do the same for the height by measuring the top position where the shutter will be mounted to the bottom with equal spacing.

* Also, measure the surface of the window to where the slat will protrude to be sure you order the correct sized slat.

*Note: With an outside mounted plantation shutter, you can place the shutter on top of the window trim, remove the trim and use the shutter as a replacement, or mount the shutter on top of the drywall.

How to Clean Plantation Shutters

Living room with plantation shutters grey sofa Vinyl plantation shutters should be dusted first using a microfiber rag and a small brush to remove dirt from crevices.

Once clear of dirt and dust, you can wipe down the shutter frame and louvers with regular household cleaners.

Wet or damp rags or liquid cleaners and sprays should not be used on wood and composite shutters.

Instead, dust with a rag and remove dirt with a small brush. Then take a microfiber rag and lightly spray it with wood furniture polish and wipe the frame and louvers to bring out a freshly polished shine.

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