Louvered exterior shutters are traditionally constructed from wood. Wood shutters are without dispute the most authentic and historically correct. Louvered shutters are not only found installed on American homes, but have been used for centuries throughout Europe. Many European shutters are fully operable, while use of functional exterior shutters in America is on the decline.
Outside shutters can be constructed with either movable louvers or fixed louvers. Movable louvers rotate to control light, visibility, and ventilation. An abundance of movable louver exterior shutters can be found in New Orleans. Movable louvers connect to the side stile with a nylon or wooden pin. This pivot point is the axis that allows movement. Rotation at that point does not allow the shutter to be fully sealed from moisture. Fixed louvers are stationary and remain positioned at a particular angle. Fixed louver shutters can be fully painted and sealed to protect the panel from the elements.
Louvered shutters, when closed, allow for air to pass through the slats for circulation of outside breezes. Raised panel and board and batten shutters and other solid window closures prevent ventilation. Correctly installed, the slats of a louvered shutter are positioned down (viewing from outside) to shed rain and other moisture.
The early morning or late afternoon can be difficult with east or west facing windows. Intense sunlight can be harsh on the eyes and fade interior fabrics. Closing wood fixed louver shutters can block direct sunlight, while allowing some to filter through the slats.
Popular styles of louvered shutters include bahama shutters, also called bermuda shutters, and colonial shutters. Bahama shutters hinge at the top of a window and open at the bottom. Using specialized exterior hardware, bahama shutters can be propped open for great visibility. This particular style is popular in the Caribbean and other tropical areas. Colonial style shutters open to the side of the window and swing closed with outdoor hinges. Colonial style shutters are more popular, but not limited to, New England and the northern states.
Louvered panels are adequate for hurricane and tropical storm protection. Louvers allow for wind to pass through the shutter and are not as stout as other hurricane shutters.
Most louvered shutters are fixed in place and are not functional. Stationary shutters are screwed directly to the building to the side of the window opening. These shutters will not close, but give the building depth and additional character. Louvered vinyl shutters do not possess the authentic charm of wood shutters, but can be used as a less expensive, or cheap, alternative. Vinyl shutters are sold in many styles, including panels with fixed louvers.
Both wood and vinyl shutters can be purchased in a style combining louvers on top and raised panel on the bottom, separated by a divider rail. This style is popular is various regions around the country, especially in the south.
Most people agree that the biggest difficulty with louvered exterior shutters is finishing, specifically painting. Wood shutters should be primed with an exterior oil based primer, after which they should be sanded. Shutters are then painted. Finishing shutters in a controlled paint booth with spray equipment is ideal, however exterior shutters are most often painted with a brush. There is little space between louvers, so sanding and painting can be somewhat troublesome. House painters are accustom to painting shutters and can be hired for a fee.
ShutterLand Louvered Exterior Shutters – Solid wood outdoor shutters in 3 louver sizes.
Ready Exterior Louvered Shutters – Vinyl outside shutters available in many colors.