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Plantation Shutters With the Pros: Atlanta’s Castleberry ShuttersOctober 1st, 2018 by
If you live in the metro-Atlanta area and have ever considered having plantation shutters installed in your home, chances are high that you’ve encountered Castleberry Shutters. Based out of an unassuming (but very busy!) workshop in Woodstock, Castleberry Shutters is a unique family business providing homeowners all over Georgia with beautiful, custom-made window treatments.
So, what makes Castleberry Shutters different from other window treatment companies? A lot! And to get the backstory on how the company originated and what sets it apart in a crowded home improvement marketplace, I talked to company owner Jeff Castleberry.
Stick around to learn more about Atlanta’s premiere plantation shutter company. And if you’re curious about what to look for in a high-quality plantation shutter, scroll to the end for a handy list of things to keep in mind!
All About Castleberry Shutters
The Castleberry family got started working with plantation shutters in 1956. “My dad started what he liked to call ‘messing with shutters’ to supplement some income from his job,” Jeff says.
“As my brother Tim and I grew up, we helped Dad paint, sand, whatever we could do to help him out. Tim and I went off in different directions, but we came back together in the 1980s, and that’s when we incorporated [Castleberry Shutters]. It just blossomed from that day forward, and we’re still here today.”
It’s not easy to keep a company going for over 60 years and maintain integrity and a stellar product, but the Castleberry family has done just that. Over the years, Castleberry Shutters has gone from a very small operation to a production team of about 25, a specialty team of 4, and 3 install crews.
“It’s grown quite a bit,” notes Jeff. “But we still hold the same values, the same quality, [and] the same service. I’ve got team members who have been here for more than 15, 20, and 25 years. They’ve stayed because they’re happy here, they do great work, and we all love our customers. It all boils down to treating people right.”
Quality above all
Plantation shutters are one of the most sought-after custom window treatments on today’s market, and they’re a rare decorative element that actually increases the market value of your home. And much like anything else related to home improvement, you get what you pay for. Plantation shutters are a great investment, and working with an established company committed to quality is important.
“The main thing we think about [in regards to our shutters] is going to somebody’s house with that product. And this is taught to every team member here. If you wouldn’t put it in your house, it’s not going out the door,” Jeff says.
Castleberry’s plantation shutters are so popular that the average time from order to installation is seven to eight weeks. “We stay busy,” Jeff notes. But a top-quality product that the homeowner will love for decades is not negotiable.
“I’d rather be late and perfect than on time and not right. We live by those kinds of rules. Treat people right; do the right thing,” Jeff says.
Another practice that sets Castleberry Shutters apart from the competition is the fact that every shutter is custom-made from scratch in the company’s Woodstock shop—no premade templates or frames—and Jeff and Tim are involved in virtually every step. “[Tim and I] know this business from the time the chainsaw hits the tree, to the time that product hits our shop, to the time [the shutters] go into your house—we’re involved in all of those processes to some extent,” Jeff says.
When you buy plantation shutters from other shutter companies or a big-box home improvement store, you’re typically not getting a custom product. “We do it all in-house,” Jeff explains. “We take you through measuring the windows, installing the shutters, and standing behind our products through the years. If your shutter breaks, we know how to fix it.”
Jeff is also proud that Castleberry’s shutters are an American-made product, starting with the raw materials. All of the company’s shutters are made from US-grown white poplar, which is a renewable resource.
“A lot of our competitors ship [wood] from China, Mexico, or Brazil—it costs them less money. But I think mine’s better. I pay a little more for it, but I will pay more for a product that is just as good or better.”
Making the process easy
Making major updates to your home isn’t always easy. And the more moving parts you have to deal with, the more likely it is that something will fall through the cracks. When a contractor is able to make your life easier and deliver a high-quality product without any major stumbles along the way, that’s a company you want to keep on your home improvement contractor short list.
Most window treatment companies make several visits to your home over the course of the entire sale: an initial visit for the salesperson to take quick measurements for a quote, another visit to get the actual measurements, and then a final visit for the installation. And that’s assuming everything goes as planned.
When you hire Castleberry Shutters, Jeff says, “We’re only going to bother you one time to measure, and that’s it. When my guys leave, you’re going to have the price.” Jeff welcomes customers to take their time deciding on whether to move forward with an order, and he honors price quotes for as long as he can—in some cases, as long as a year or two.
Standing out from the crowd
Castleberry Shutters is not the only shutter company in the Atlanta area, but they are the most established shutter company. “We’ve been here through the good times, the bad times, the busy times, and the slow times,” Jeff says. “When you buy shutters from us, you’re getting a ton of experience and people working on the product who know that product and what we expect. That’s a big plus.”
When it comes to home improvement, the peace of mind of working with a stable company that will stand behind their product is priceless. And Jeff has no plans of Castleberry Shutters going anywhere.
How to Spot High-Quality Plantation Shutters
To get the best return on your investment in plantation shutters, quality matters. Shutters made from low-quality materials simply won’t hold up for very long. The sun does a number on window treatments, and poorly made plantation shutters can crack, split, and peel after just a few years.
If you’re not sure what to look for in a well-made plantation shutter, check out these four tips to keep in mind as you shop:
1. Your shutters should be custom-made.
Plantation shutters aren’t like window blinds—they can’t be trimmed and reconfigured in an aisle at your local home improvement store. If a shutter company takes only approximate measurements of your windows or won’t accommodate windows with custom measurements, keep looking.
2. The shutters’ finish should be smooth and even.
Plantation shutters are either painted or stained. If you choose a painted finish, every part of the shutter should be painted, and you shouldn’t be able to see or feel the grain of the wood. A natural, stained finish should be evenly applied and protected with a clear top coat.
3. Louvers should move smoothly and stay where you want them.
Poorly constructed shutters or those made from inferior materials don’t work as well as high-quality shutters. You’ll likely find that the louvers on an inferior shutter only stay put in a few positions and move jerkily.
4. Your shutters should be made from a high-quality material.
Avoid faux-wood plantation shutters at all costs. They’re simply not worth it. Opt for solid-wood shutters instead. Poplar, the type of wood Castleberry Shutters uses for their products, is lightweight but strong, and it’s easy to sand smooth for a flawless finish.
When you visit a shutter company or window treatment showroom, always ask to see a sample shutter. Putting it through its paces to see how the mechanisms work is one of the best ways to determine whether you like the look and feel of the end product.
The Bottom Line
The aesthetic part of home improvement can be a lot of fun—that’s when you get to put your stamp on your home and really make it your own. But try not to get caught up in slick marketing and impressive before-and-after photos.
Quality is what matters most.
When you work with Castleberry Shutters (or any other Best Pick company), you can be sure that you’ll receive a high-quality product that you’ll love forever.
Castleberry Shutters is a Custom Shutters & Blinds Best Pick in Atlanta. While we strive to provide relevant information to all homeowners, some of the material we publish may not pertain to every area. Please contact your local Best Pick companies for any further area-specific advice.