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
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.