Understanding Shutter Terminology

understanding shutter terminology

Ever wonder what the installer is talking about when they are discussing your plantation shutters? Here is a short tutorial on shutter terminology.

Astragal: A strip shaped like a “T” that helps to eliminate light gaps between left and right panels when no rabbet stile exists (see rabbet stile).

Arch Top: A curved top on a shutter. Can be eyebrow, half-circle, or quarter-circle. (see specialty shapes).

Bahama Shutter: Used in exterior applications, they are usually hinged from the top and tilt out from the bottom; sometimes referred to as “hurricane” shutters.

Bi-Fold: Two panels that are connected, using a hinge.

Café Style Shutters: Panels that only cover the lower portion of the window.

Casement: The frame around a window sash.

Colonial Style Shutters: Interior shutters that are reminiscent of shutters used in the late 1700s & 1800s in the United States. Typically installed as a direct mount. Typically double hung. Usually have smaller louvers less than 2 inches wide.

Composite Shutters: Shutters that are constructed of multiple components, usually, wood fibers, resins, and glues.

Cottage Style: A two-paneled shutter in which the top is a bit smaller than the bottom. Usually a 40/60 split.

Direct Mount: Used to describe the installation technique of hanging a shutter panel without a frame directly to the side of the window casing or to the face of the window molding.

Divider Rail: A rail that adds strength to tall panels and divides them into two sections in which louvers operate independently of each other.

Double Hung: Two independently operated panels, one mounted on top of the other.

Faux Wood Shutters: Shutters that are made to look like wood shutters but are made of a different material. Some examples are vinyl shutters, composite shutters, and fiberglass shutters. Faux wood shutters are often made with a wood grain finish to make them more closely resemble wood shutters.

Fixed Louver: A louvered shutter whose louvers are not operable.

Frame: Can be comprised of two, three, or four sides. Typically T-Posts are considered part of the frame. Used to support and/or increase the window depth clearance allowing louvers on back side of panel to clear obstructions.

Hidden Tilt Bar: Tilt bar is “hidden” behind shutter panel and attached to the side of the louvers. (see Tilt-bar).

Inside Mount: A shutter mounted inside of a window opening or casement.

Jamb Mount Hinge: A hinge secured to the interior edge of a window casement. Used in a “direct mount” application.

Louvers: The movable blades (or slats) within a shutter panel that control light and privacy.

Louver Size: The width of the louvers. Most common sizes are 2-½ inch, 3-½ inch, and 4-½ inch.

Mouse Hole: A notched hole on the cross rail where the tilt rod of a movable louvered shutters rests.

Outside Mount: A shutter panel, or frame, mounted outside of the window case or on the window molding.

Overlap Rabbeting: A shutter with the wood removed on the edge of one stile and the opposite edge on the opposing stile so the closed shutters completely interlock.

Panel Configuration: The direction that the panels open as well as the location of the hinges.

Plantation Shutters: Term generally used to describe any type of shutter being installed inside the home. Usually has 2-½ inch or larger louvers.

Rabbet Stile: A profile cut into the stile which allows them to overlap. Prevents light from penetrating between the panels.

Rail: The top, bottom and center horizontal portion of a shutter that separates the panels or sections of slats.

Reveal: The window casement or molding portion that can still be seen once a shutter is installed.

Shudders: To shake or quiver from fear, anxiety, or cold. Also a common misspelling of the word shutters.

Shutter Installer: Also called a fitter in some countries. A professional who is trained in the proper assembly, installation, and if necessary, repair of plantation shutters.

Stile: The vertical side of a shutter panel, but not part of the frame; not to be confused with the term “style.”

Specialty Shapes: Any shutter that is not a square or rectangle. Can include arches, ovals, circles, trapezoids, octagons, and many other shapes. A template is usually required to order a shutter for this type of window.

T-Post: A vertical post used to support different sections of shutters in wide windows.

Tilt-Bar: Sometimes called a tilt-rod. The upright strip of wood used to operate working louvers.

Vinyl Shutters: Also known as plastic shutters, these shutters are made out of a piece of vinyl or co-polymer.

Window Depth: The distance from the surface of the wall to the closest part of the window.

Wood Shutters: Shutters that are constructed of natural wood. Wood shutters are commonly made from a number of different types of wood depending on the manufacturer and region or location. Some types of wood used include basswood, teak, and cedar.

There may be other instances of shutter terminology that have not been covered here. This is meant to be a general overview, not a definitive and complete list of all types of shutter terminology used in the industry. Hopefully, this has helped in your understanding of the terms most commonly used to describe interior (or plantation) shutters.

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