Window treatments are an essential component of every home décor, as the window treatments complement the different themes and styles of the home owners. Every type of window covering is unique and has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Window shutters are a popular window treatment, and they help create a dynamic and vibrant atmosphere in the room. They have had a rich tradition in the American culture and are representative of pre-civil war homes. They are a practical and helpful way to cover the windows to ensure that a limited amount of sunlight enters the room. In addition, they provide the owner with much-needed privacy from the gaze of the outside world.
What are window shutters and the history of window Shutters in America
Plantation shutters are window treatments that have multiple horizontal slats, which are also known as louvres. They are set in a frame, which in turn is attached to the window sill. The owner can select the angle of the slats to ensure complete window coverage or to have a fully open view. In addition, it enables the owner to control the amount of light entering the room. There are basically three types of plantation shutters. They are: tier on tier shutter, café style shutters, and full height shutters.
People usually associate wooden window shutters as a norm in the majority of American buildings. However, according to studies, window shutters were developed in Greece to protect the people from the glaring sun and also kept the rooms well ventilated. It is a widely accepted belief that the initial window shutters were made out of marble. Eventually, due to cost and functionality issues, wood replaced marble. In England, the louvred shutters became especially popular after the industrial revolution. It happened because, along with controlling the sunlight, the shutters were also capable of blocking out fast gusts of wind and heavy showers of rainfall.
In America, window shutters made an appearance through the Spanish colonization of the continent. Along with the French, Portuguese and the British built houses, the settlers added window shutters to increase the royal charm. As a result, they became trendy as they had a grand appeal along with sunlight control, privacy and good ventilation. In this age, the term plantation shutters was coined to describe the shutters installed in large cotton plantations in the Southern United States of America.
How shutters are made and constructed in North America?
The tradition of shutters constructed in America involves specific tools and raw materials. The tools required are: a Measuring tape, Drill, Miter saw, Table saw, Kreg Jig, 1 3/8″ Shank Forstner Drill Bit, 7/64″ Self Centering Drill Bit, Wood Router, Metal Snips, Router Round over Bit, Drill Bits, Skill Saw, Scratch Awl.
Likewise, the materials required to create a shutter include: one 4’ x 8’ – 3/4” wooden plank, two 4’ x 8’ – 1/2” wooden planks, metal pop rivets, 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws, 1″ Finish Nails, 8″x27″ Flat Sheet of Metal, Frameless Cabinet Hinges, Wood Glue
The following are the step involved in the construction of shutters:
- Cutting of the Frame for Louvers and Slats Using the Wooden Planks:
As a first step, the owner takes the 3/4” wooden plank and cuts the pieces. She or he uses a skill saw to cut the complete plank into four smaller pieces. The inside window frame and the frame for louvre are made using 3/4” wooden plank, but the slat, is made by using 1/2 “ planks.
- A symmetrical and sloping design of each slat:
The owner next uses a wood router to make both the ends of the slat symmetrical and rounded. She or he can select the expensive wood router designed explicitly to chamfer wooden slats or the inexpensive ones that only chamfer the edges. Finally, they are advised to give a perfect shape to the slats by using a router table.
- Trimming of the Slats:
To operate the slats, there is the need to have a control arm either on the front or on the back. This arm is a flat sheet of metal that connects and joins all the slats together. To enable the slats to close correctly, there is a need for a notch at the back. Using a table saw, make a notch at the back of the slats.
- Drilling of Holes on the Slats:
As a next step, holes are drilled precisely in the center on all the slats. If the holes are not in the center, some slats will be higher than the others, and there will be uneven gaps between them. A drill press should be used to make an evenly centered hole.
- Symmetrical and Sloping Design of the Top and Bottom Rail Boards:
The shutter frame which the louvres are attached consists of a top and a bottom rail. A table saw is typically used to cut the boards at a 45-degree angle for the top and the bottom rails.
- Making Holes in the Top and Bottom Rails:
Next, a Kreg jig is used to drill pocket holes in the chamfered top and bottom rails. It is with the help of these pocket holes that the louvre frame will be held together. The Kreg jig is set for 3/4 “ wood thickness, and holes should be drilled carefully.
- Measurement and Marking of Hole location in Stile Boards:
Next, the louvre stile pieces are picked up and beginning from the bottom of the board, a measurement of 5 and a half inches is made. This becomes the center of the first slat. Starting from this mark, a point is selected every 3” till one reaches the last spot that is 5” from the stile top.
- Attachment of the Top and Bottom Rail to the Stile Board:
As a next step, the owner begins the assembly of the louvre. The top and bottom rails are attached to the stile board with proper hinges. It should be done with 1 ¼” pocket hole screws and wood glue.
- Insertion of Slats into the Stile Boards:
The owner inserts the slat into the stile board. While doing so, they should make sure that the notch made for the control arm on the slats should face the stile boards with hinges.
- Attachment of the Second Stile board to the Louvre Frame:
Next up, the owner fits slats into the second stile board. Once she or he has inserted all the slats, the stile board is attached to the top and the bottom rail using wood glue and 1 ¼” pocket hole screws.
- Assembly of the Window Frame:
The louvre will be attached to a two and a half inches wide frame placed inside the window. First, the owner drills two pocket holes on each side on the top and bottom frame board. Next, she or he attaches the boards using wood glue and 1 ¼” pocket screws. After assembling the frame, the hinges mounting plate is attached to the frame.
- Painting and Installing the Louvres:
Before the final installation, the window frame and the louvres should be painted, preferably using a paint sprayer. Once they are painted, the frame is inserted inside the window and is screwed in. Finally, the louvre hinges are attached to the mounting plate on the frame.
- Installing a Trim Around Plantation Shutters:
When the shutters are installed, the trim boards are cut at a 45 degrees angle, and trim is attached around the louvres using a nail gun. Next, the trim is painted to give the finishing touches to the shutter.
The plantation shutters have a lot of advantages for the owner. They give the desired amount of sunlight control along with keeping the room well ventilated. By following the above discussed step by step guide, the shutters are made in North America.
Disclaimer: Please follow these instructions at your own risk. ZebraBlinds takes no liability for any issues or damaged caused through following DIY methods. Since all blinds and shades are different, we always recommend checking with your blind manufacturer or retailer first before making any modifications to your blinds. As well, if you are uncomfortable on your own, look for the help of a professional.