Shutter Comparisons & Technical Terms

Shutter types:

Artwood: a name for a material made of styrene. Must remain in the window frame most of the time - can't be folded open against the wall as the material will sag over time. May be toxic in fires.

Basswood: a relatively cheap timber of the poplar species harvested in China & USA.

Cedar: dacay resistant, scented wood with an attractive colour and grain. Cedar correctly refers to those trees belonging to the plant family Pinaceae.Cedar is a natural lightweight timber that provides excellent insulation. When folded against the wall for any length of time, they will not sag. The only window covering that can improve the capital value of a home.

Composite wood: a material made of plastic and wood wastes which are
bound with pressure and heat.

Cottonwood: a relatively cheap timber of the Poplar species, pale yellow colour, native to North America, Europe & Western Asia.

Craftwood: actually MDF, which is more like cardboard than timber, made from wood shavings and glue.

Customcraft: a material made of plastic and wood wastes and painted with polypropylene.

MDF: (Medium Density Fibreboard) a material made from sawdust, wax and resin. Inclined to soak up moisture and swell or bow. Can be painted and passed off as solid timber to the unwary.

Mikronwood: synthetic material for shutters and venetians.

Norman Shutters: a China origin and based shutter manufacturer incorporated in the USA.

Polyresin: PVC material.

Polywood: a polymer product used for making shutters & venetians.

Shutter Blind: a shutter frame with venetian slats.

Thermalite: a polymer material made in the US.

Vinyl: common term for PVC. (Plastic)

Western Red Cedar: the premium timber generally sourced from eco-sustainable forests in British Columbia, the most stable timber for making shutters.

A short list of things to avoid when buying shutters:

High cost for low quality: Paying way to much for shutters made of poor quality.

Deceiving product names:
Be very suspicious of shutter materials with names ending in'wood'. They are often deceiving words for polystyrene, MDF and plastic.

Mass produced shutters: Pay top dollar for shutters, thinking you are getting a unique shutter for your opening when you are really getting a mass produced shutter that will be cut down and made to fit.

Thinking Australian shutter makers are too expensive: If you make sure your quote is comparing like for like, you will probably find it is the sales tactics being used, such as conveniently omitting costs such as GST or offer you a shutter ending in the word 'wood' when it is actually just a made up brand name for a shutter made of polystyrene or plastic.

Shutter terms:

Blade: the slats that make up the centre of the shutter panel. Sometimes also referred to as louvres or slats.

Bi-fold: 2 panels hinged together so they fold onto each other.

D-Mould: a piece of timber added to the front of the shutter panel to cover a light gap.

Elliptical Blade: a gentle curve front to back of blade, like the cross section of a plane's wing. Also known as Aerofoil.

exposed to weather and pollution outside the home or building.

the surface treatment of the shutter, from natural finishes like oil to stains & paints.

Fixed Panel: doesn't open on hinges, so access to clean window etc isn't simple.

Flat Blade: unlike elliptical blades, the cross section is straight - this has a bullnose edge.

Grain: pattern of growth rings and sap deposits in the timber.

Hardware: all the bits that hold everything together, from screws to hinges to tracks and wheels.

Interior: inside protected from weather and pollution.

Mid-rail: American term for the centre rail or divider rail.

Mortice Hinge: a type of hinge which requires a chunk of the window frame to be cut out so the hinge can fit.

Non-mortice hinge: a type of hinge which folds into itself and eleminates the need to take a chunk out of the window frame.

Panel: one shutter consisting of stiles, rails, blades and rotation bar.

Rails: horizontal timber pieces that support the shutter stiles & blades.

Reveal: the inside distance of the window frame.

Rotation Bar: the shutter blades have a means of connector so they can be rotated in groups.

Sliding: panels are installed on tracks to slide across the face of the opening.

Stiles: upright timber pieces that support blades in a shutter panel.

Tensioner: a means to control the feel and operation of the blades.