Plantation shutters are louvred panels fixed either inside or outside windows and doors. They 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 louvre shutters offered by Bespoke Shutters are Ante Bellum.
These are panels that have no louvers but a solid insert.
Shutters are premium product. They are relatively expensive but are value for money. A shutter panel may look like a door or kitchen unit panel but it has to live in a totally different environment. Normally a shutter panel fixed inside a window will have to endure some quite extreme variations in heat and humidity. Quite often it may have a radiator underneath it too. In the UK the inside glass temperature reaches 55c in summer. Our shutters are tested in Arizona (69c).
The Vancouver range is made of Western Red Cedar. The timber is so durable and stable it can be left outside untreated due to its resin content. We don't have to laminate these shutters to prevent warping as cedar has a relatively straight grain and is very stable.
The Phoenix range is made from Phoenix timber, sometimes called Parasol. It is a very light hardwood and has a laminated core. The timber goes through many processes before it becomes a shutter.
Our engineered Seattle Range is made from a composite of many materials and is totally maintenance free.
The Hollywood is made of ABS and stiffened with a cedar core. ABS is the same material most "plastic" electric kettles are made of and is more expensive that premium timber, however it is very durable and heat resistant.
Apart from our Oiled Vancouver all the other finishes are carefully developed to be UV resistant and long lasting. They look almost too perfect when we install them but tone down very quickly and gain character. The cedar finishes may darken slightly. We don't use regular domestic paint, if we did you would have to repaint/varnish your shutters every couple of years. These materials inevitably cost more.
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 windowpanes then we would definitely advise using the largest louver possible or the windows can look very busy. See louvre styles.
Our smallest panel width is 200mm and widest is 750mm, although with larger louver panels 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 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. A lot of the time you will have to consider where the 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 were not going to be opened apart from window cleaning and were resting on the sill or door step. 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. So quite a lot of common sense is needed to achieve a good installation. Openings over 2200 generally need a top track, even if not using a top track at this width try to use a light panel such as Vancouver or Phoenix.
For partitioning or for large windows where tracking is needed at the top to suspend the panels you will really 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. With the heavier Seattle shutter this is clearly an option to be considered. We do not charge for tracking. In summary, the window will normally dictate the number of 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.
Yes all of these things, all wood does. Pheonix can warp in very rare occurrences like any wood but is less prone to do so than virtually any other timber we know of. We do give you a guarantee though against significant warping. See our terms and conditions. To date though we have had less than one in 2000 panels do this. Similarly Cedar can shrink and does but also very little and we always advise fitting tight in the first instance. Shutters can quite easily be adjusted should this occur as it is never that much but it is probably better to leave them as they can just as easily swell again should the humidity increase.
Within a week or two of fitting shutters they will develop a more lived in look.
Shutters can be installed on virtually any window, French door or patio sliding doors. They can also be used effectively as room dividers fitted on tracks. If the window/door opens inwards they can always be mounted outside of the reveal.
Shutters are easily cleaned using a feather duster, damp sponge/soft cloth or run a vacuum cleaner over them. The finish shouldn't need repainting for many years, indeed the Seattle shutters are totally maintenance free and cannot be re painted anyway.
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.
All products are protected against warping and defects of workmanship for a minimum 3 years from date of fitting.
There is no virtually such thing as a window that is perfectly square. If using battens the side battens are 25mm thick and can be scribed to square off the window. You have really about 20mm of play with these. If the window slants the shutters will emphasise this as they are square and we do not advise trimming them lengthwise as when opened will look very odd. Frames are used a lot now and for reveal edge fixes and outside fix are really the way to go. Inside reveal fixes are possible as long as the window is reasonably square. The new L frames we use are great and are scribable should that be necessary.