Shutters of Distinction

Frequently Asked Questions

What are Interior Plantation Shutters? What are solid shutters? Can the shutters be fitted externally? Are your shutters custom-made? How much light do shutters block out when closed? Can I fit the shutters myself? How long from order will it take to get my shutters? What about maintenance? Do the shutters warp, shrink, change colour or age in any way? What wood do you use and is it Eco friendly? What louver size should I choose? How many shutter panels do I need in my window opening? What should I check for before I have a shutter survey? Can shutters be installed on any window? The louvres on my shutters do not hold their position, do they need replacing?

What are Interior Plantation Shutters?

Interior Plantation shutters are louvred panels fixed inside of windows and doors. Plantation Shutters originated in America and the West Indies and date back to before the American Civil War. The term Ante Bellum means pre-war and is used to describe a style of plantation shutters. The louvred shutters offered by Shutters of Distinction are Ante Bellum.


What are solid shutters?

These are panels that have no louvres. They were originally installed in reveal boxes in pre-Edwardian houses and were only used a couple of times a year when the owners decamped for the season. They were not designed to be opened and shut daily like our present designs and that is why so few remain today.


Can the shutters be fitted externally?

No. We only supply interior shutters. Even though our shutters are very durable it is the component parts that would weather badly, not the wood.


Are your shutters custom-made?

We only supply and fit custom-made interior plantation shutters. All window and door recesses are different so require accurate measuring. This why there is a delivery time of 6-8 weeks.


How much light do shutters block out when closed?

Both our louvred shutters and solid panel shutters are manufactured with rebated edges to minimise light lines around the perimeter of the shutters making them ideal for bedrooms. However, a 100% light block out is not possible with the louvred shutters as the nature of the louvres is to allow light through. Even so, when closed, less light is visible than a blind due to the styles and framework surrounding the shutters. In addition we use specialist frame options to block out the light further.


Can I fit the shutters myself?

You can. We are available on the phone should you require assistance.

There are various ways to fit shutters. They can be fitted inside, on the edge of or outside the reveal. The shutters are delivered pre-hinged and all framework is pre-mitred. We do not supply screws and raw plugs etc for the wall fixing as we do not know what you are fitting into. We supply magnets to hold the shutters in position, but no catches or knobs. Occasionally battens are required, rather than framework, for windows that are so out of shape.

When ordering shutters please make us aware of where the shutters will be fitted and if any handles or other obstructions are protruding in / from around the windows or doors. The opening should always be measured for shutters after plastering/tiling/flooring has been completed.

However, the quality of the fitting is dependant on the accuracy of the measurements. If you are not entirely confident with accurately measuring and fitting, we recommend that you have one of our experienced craftsmen to carry out your survey and install your shutters.


How long from order will it take to get my shutters?

Shutters are custom manufactured to fit individual openings and are ready for installation in 6 to 8 weeks from the date of the order and receipt of the deposit. For special shaped shutters, please allow 10 - 12 weeks from date of order.

We offer a Premium Service which means we can fit your shutters in approximately 2-3 weeks. Please enquire for pricing.


What about maintenance?

Shutters are easily cleaned using a feather duster, damp sponge / soft cloth or running a vacuum cleaner over them. The finish should not need repainting for many years. Our Eco shutters are totally maintenance free and cannot be repainted anyway.


Do wood shutters warp, shrink, change colour
or age in any way?

Yes, the wood products do, because they are a natural product.

Cedar can warp in very rare occurrences, like any wood, but is less prone to do so than virtually any other timber. We do give you a guarantee against significant warping. Similarly, Cedar can shrink and does, but very little and we always advise fitting tight in the first instance. Shutters can quite easily be adjusted, should this occur, but it is probably better to leave them, as they can just as easily swell again, should the humidity increase.

Wood is a natural material and with its inconsistencies delivers pleasure. We do make perfect shutters because the market today expects perfect manufacture. They will age naturally. In fact within a week or two they develop a more lived in look.


What wood do you use and is it Eco friendly?

Our Cedar Range is made from Western Red Cedar. The timber is very durable and has a most interesting grain. It is a very expensive timber but does not need to be laminated to retain stability. We buy our Cedar from The Western Red Cedar Association in Canada. It is either replanted Cedar or taken from designated forest areas where it is a managed forest. Cedar is one of the most used timbers in the world. In the USA many houses are built entirely of Cedar and it is used extensively for roofing, shingles and decking because, although a softwood, it is amazingly long-lasting and resistant to wet and rot. As a result it is farmed in very well managed forests.

Our Phoenix Range is made from a laminated constructed Phoenix wood, sometimes called Parasol. It grows in sub-tropical areas of the southern states of the USA, China and Japan. It is a very fast growing tree reaching full height in about 15 years. Ideal for farming. It is a hardwood but very light. We treat it with a special process to make it that light but it still has a very hard skin. It weighs in at almost the same as Cedar, making it ideal for shutters with wider openings.

Our Eco Range is our most eco-friendly product because no trees at all have been cut down to make this product. Made from a laminated veneered lumber core (Basswood, or other strong frame material, strips that are off cuts, not usable elsewhere, which are laminated together with epoxy making a light, strong core), LDF laid bulk and polymer sealed outer coating.


What louver size should I choose?

When making your louvre choice, consider the size of the window and the desired effect. Generally larger windows command a larger louvre size. The larger the louvre the more light but the less privacy.

If you have Georgian style windows with small window panes then we would advise using the largest louver possible or the windows can look very busy. See louvre styles.


How many shutter panels do I need in my window opening?

Our smallest panel width is 200mm and widest is 750mm, although with larger openings we do sometimes go wider, but void warp warranty with your permission. Generally a window looks best with 4 panels, two opening as pairs either way. A 3 window bay, however, will usually have 2 panels on the smaller side windows and 4 in the centre. All shutters panels will open away from the middle.

There are as many exceptions as there are norms. For instance, a long window with 3 panes of glass, i.e.; 1800mm wide and 1000mm high, would have 6 panels; three folding either way or if you are only going to open them to clean the windows you could easily have just 3 panels. The Americans never open the shutters, only the louvers so design with large panels.

You will have to consider where the shutter panels are going to fold back to and if there is enough room for this to happen. This is also true where you are fitting inside the reveal next to the window and you will not want the shutters, when open, to protrude into the room too much.

We would not recommend hanging more than 3 panels from a single batten hinged together, unless they are not going to be opened, apart from window cleaning. As the maximum recommended width of our panels is 750mm, you may say that this equates to 4500mm maximum width, but it would be asking a lot of the batten to hold panels of this width and weight without sagging at a later date. Openings over 2400mm generally need a top track. If not using a top track, we would recommend using a lighter product such as our Phoenix or Cedar Range.

For partitioning, or for large windows where tracking is needed at the top to suspend the shutter panels, you will need an even number of panels or they will look odd and not hang from the track properly. Ideally 8 panels or 12 panels for very large openings is best, although quite often it is wise to hang even 6 panels from tracking if they are quite large.

In summary, the window will normally dictate the number of shutter panels. If the window is split into two halves you would either have 2 or 4 panels and it follows that if it is three panes, then three or six panels will suffice. The vertical dividers of the windows are where the vertical stiles of the shutters should be ideally.


What should I check for before I have a shutter survey?

Before we can conduct a survey for shutters you will need to ensure that you have checked the following:

Your walls surrounding your windows do not require plastering or tiling after the survey has been completed and before the shutters will be installed (as this may render the measurements incorrect). There is no BT or aerial points obstructing where the shutters would be fitted (as they may need to be relocated prior to the survey) Your windows will not be changed after the survey has been completed (as this may render the measurements incorrect). If in doubt please contact us.


Can shutters be installed on any window?

Shutters can be installed on virtually any window, French doors or patio sliding doors. Shutters can also be used effectively as room dividers fitted on tracks. If the window/door opens inwards then the shutters can always be mounted outside of the reveal. Bi-pass tracking allows for shutter to slide past each other and is used where there are overhangs preventing the panels from swinging out.


The louvres on my shutters do not hold their position.
Do they need replacing?

No. If the louvres on your shutters are not holding their position, it is very simple to rectify. On the side of each shutter is a small hole. At the end of the hole is a screw. This is a tension screw. Simply use a screwdriver to tighten the screw and this will adjust the tension on the louvres. Do not over-tighten as this could cause damage.


Quote & Survey