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Exterior, Plantation, and Storm Shutters

Protect Windows in a Hurricane and Furniture and Carpet from UV Rays

© 2011 by Kelly R. Smith

Photo of Kelly R. Smith

A home with exterior decorative shutters, photo courtesy Kelly Smith

A home with exterior decorative shutters, photo courtesy Kelly Smith

This article was updated on 05/13/21.

Your energy-efficient windows represent a sizable investment in your home. One thing to do is to dress them up from the inside using plantation shutters or on the outside with decorative types of shutters. Another useful thing to do is to install storm shutters on the outside to protect your investment from high winds and flying debris.

Back in the day your choice was limited to ordinary, boring, wooden storm protection, unless you paid for custom work. But today the window treatment industry has matured and has become a niche industry in its own right. When you combine energy-efficient low-e windows with stylish shutters you get curb appeal and functionality.

The Functionality and Popularity of Plantation Shutters

You might hear these called wooden or interior window shutters. Much of the time they just look like wood grain but are made of plastic. That keeps the price down with the same aesthetics. They’re usually put up in bedrooms, kitchens, living areas, and bathrooms, but any windows are fair game.

The chief benefit is to moderate the quantity of sunlight (and the harmful and the carpet and furniture fading UV rays) that enters your home during the daytime. A secondary benefit is to provide privacy at night. A third purpose is add a crowning touch to your room’s interior decorating theme.

In many cases these are a type of horizontal louvers operated by a vertical wand connected to the the individual louvers down the center. Alternately, they can be vertical which some people prefer because dust accumulation isn’t as much of an issue.

The work well in a sunburst arch window. These are the half-moon windows often installed over front doors and the louvers will either run horizontally or at angles that mimic the rays of the sun. This is a very popular window treatment and subdivision contractors really take advantage of that. With good reason in today's market.

Choices in Exterior Storm Shutters

When you install storm shutters on your window's outside, you can easily add accents to beautify your home and can protect your expensive windows from flying debris, hail, and high winds that come with tropical storms and hurricanes.

Some of your material choices are traditional wood, modern composites, reinforced colored vinyl, metal, and even DuPont KEVLAR™. Vinyl is a good choice if low maintenance is something you are looking for; this is especially important if your home or business is more than one story high. Wood, on the other hand, requires periodic inspections and painting but this means you can change the color.

Looking for Decorative Vinyl Shutters?

Non-reinforced vinyl shutters are usually simply decorative because although they are durable a bit durable over the short-term in moderate climes, they are not sturdy enough to offer enough protection from storms. So really, in for a dime, in for a dollar? Usually these are rectangular-shaped and are hung on your home siding or brick veneer on the right and left sides of your windows.

Common sizes are affordable running in the $20.00 to $50.00 range per window. But custom odd-sized ones for odd-shaped windows can set you back $125.00 or more per pair simply because of the labor that goes with special orders..

Looking for Wooden Shutters?

Wood was the original material and remains quite popular. The wood species used will make a difference in the price you pay. California redwood is expensive but is considered very weather-resistant.

Cedar is also an excellent species for weather-resistance standpoint. Its advantage over redwood is that it is less expensive than redwood. Pine is even cheaper because the trees grow quickly making it a common choice for homeowners who are trying to follow green, sustainable building practices. Prices for wood shutters can range as high as $225.00 to $425.00 per pair. Your selection should boil down to what you need in your climate, not what the salesman is pushing.

Modern Composites are a Good Choice

Composite is typically a medium-density fiberboard. Although it is a relative newcomer in the shutter market it offers some outstanding qualities. It’s termite proof and holds its own in a moderate storm beating.

The hardware that permits them to be closed when the weather gets nasty. They are not recommended for hurricanes, however. You can expect to pay somewhere in the $125.00 to $325.00 price range as of this writing; price fluctuates.

Storm Shutters for Hurricanes

These are some serious shutters designed specifically to protect your home, family, and your property. Traditionally they’ve been fabricated from metal, but materials like DuPont KEVLAR™ is being seen more frequently; this is the same material that protects police officers, SWAT teams, and combat troops in the military.

Two types of storm shutters are common. The first is the removable type which are designed to be put up when the hurricane is arriving, and then taken down and stored away in the aftermath. These are frequently used on storefronts. The second kind are rolling shutters and are installed permanently in a container box over the window. They’re quick to roll down and be secured.

Rolling exterior shutters with a manual crank run approximately $550.00 on the low end but if you’ve got deeper pockets you can get motorized ones from $800.00 to over $1000.00. This is a huge convenience for second floor windows.

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About the Author:

Photo of Kelly R. SmithKelly R. Smith is an Air Force veteran and was a commercial carpenter for 20 years before returning to night school at the University of Houston where he earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science. After working at NASA for a few years, he went on to develop software for the transportation, financial, and energy-trading industries. He has been writing, in one capacity or another, since he could hold a pencil. As a freelance writer now, he specializes in producing articles and blog content for a variety of clients. His personal blog is at Considered Opinions Blog where he muses on many different topics.

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