Plantation Shutters

Plantation shutters are a traditional, elegant interior window treatment. While they are aesthetically pleasing, they are also very useful. Plantation shutters typically consist of two vertical panels per window that are hinged on the side. The side hinges allow the panels to swing open to the interior of the room as would hinged double doors. The plantation shutters consist of a number of key pieces both to provide support and to block out the light.

Louvers. Louvers are the horizontal slats in each panel that tilt either up or down to block light or allow light to pass through. While louvers are available in 2½-, 3½-, and 4½-inch sizes, the 4½-inch size is very rare.

Stiles. Stiles are the side or vertical pieces of a plantation shutter panel. The louvers connect to the stiles with pins.

Rails. Rails are the top and bottom horizontal pieces of the shutter panel. They connect directly to the stiles.

Tilt rod. The tilt rod is a vertical rod that connects to the inside edge of each louver. Moving the tilt rod up or down moves all the louvers at once.

Exterior frame or hanging strip. The exterior frame is the fixed portion of the plantation shutter that is attached directly to the trim. The plantation shutter panels are hinged directly to the exterior frame. Although relatively rare, some plantation shutters are hinged directly to the existing window frame without an exterior frame or hanging strip.

Exterior frames come in two primary types: inside-mount or outside-mount. The outside-mount frame is attached to the trim surface directly adjacent to the window opening. The outside-mount frame is visible when the shutters are fully closed. However, because the frame is positioned outside the window opening, no part of the plantation shutter blocks the window opening when the shutter is fully open. This mounting design allows double-hung windows to tilt inward without obstruction.

Inside-mount exterior frames, as the name suggests, are mounted inside the window opening. Before purchasing plantation shutters, you should decide on the frame type you prefer.