Understanding Shutters & Vocabulary

Understanding shutter terminology will help in comparing different types of plantation shutters. Shutter stiles, louvers and rails come in a variety of shapes and thicknesses that determine the quality of the shutter. All plantation shutters start out looking the same but over time inferior components and paint will fail. Plantation shutters are an investment in your home, make sure you invest wisely.

Shutter Vocabulary (below)

Understanding Shutters

Shutter Vocabulary

Arched or Sunburst- The upper part of the opening is arched in a half circle or lazy circle with louvers in a fan style. Full operation of individual louvers in the half circle arch and limited operation in lazy circle arches.

Arched Panels- Shutters conform to the curve at the top of the opening. Louvers are all horizontal and the upper most louvers may be fixed due to curve restrictions.

Basswood- Strong, straight, hardwood used for building shutters.

Bi-fold Shutters- When two or more panels are hinged together and fold up against each other. Used with and without track support.

Bypass Shutters - When two or more panels on overhead tracks will slide past and underneath each other. A bypass can be designed to allow louvers to be fully open or closed only in the stacked position. For the louvers to be open, the stack separation is in relation to the size of the louvers.

Cafe Type- A shutter unit that only covers the lower portion of a window.

Custom- A shutter unit that is made specifically for an individual window opening.

Divider rails/Mid rail are utilized to provide additional strength to a panel and allow separate operation of the louvers above and below the divider rail. For example, divider rails can be utilized when you want to close the lower louvers for privacy and open the louvers above the divider rail for light and ventilation control.

Double hung means two separate panels are hung vertically and can be swung open individually.

Even dimensions means that the measurements for width and height are consistent (within 3/16" of an inch) when measured in several places.

Frames, Framing. Hang Strips, "L" Mold and "Z" Mold are various frame profiles used to frame the shutter panels and provide a square and even mounting for the panels.

Finish- Painted, stained or plastic finishes on finished shutters.

Hanging strips are simple rectangular pieces that are usually mounted outside on each side of an opening. The simplest of all installations is the inside mount hang strip where the strip is recessed in the opening (must have adequate depth for louver rotation). A wraparound hinge is used to mount the panel to the hang strip.

Hinges- Provided for opening shutter panels and usually finished in bright brass, antique brass or white powder coated.

Hardwood- The wood of a dicotyledonous tree.

Height- Measurement top to bottom of the window opening according to our measuring instructions. Or, the desired panel height for café type shutters.

Hinge- A two-leaf device that connects a shutter to the mounting surface or joins two shutters together. A hanging hinge connects a shutter panel to the window jamb or hanging strip. An inter-panel hinge connects two panels together.

Inside mount- Mounting shutters within the inside of window opening.

L Frame can be utilized for inside mount or outside mount shutters. Use "L Frame" when shutter panels need to be "projected" away from the wall or window to allow louver clearance. The "L Frame" is provided in the required projection to allow clearance based on louver size.

Louvers- Louvers rotate on a nylon pin in a nylon bushing and are connected to a tilt rod that coordinates the louver rotation for control of light, privacy and ventilation. Common louver sizes: 2-1/2", 3-1/2" and 4-1/2".

Light strip is a small strip of wood installed at the edges of the inside mounts to limit light intrusion. "L Frame" and "Z Frame" molds have light strips built in.

Molding- Hang Strips, "L Frame" Mold and "Z Frame" Mold are various frame profiles used to frame the shutter panels and provide a square and even mounting for the panels.

Mouse Hole – Plantation shutters which have a regular louver tilt rod on the front of the panels have a small indentation on the top and bottom rails where the tilt rod rests when the slats are closed flat.

Mortise and Tenon Joint is utilized on high end shutters to strengthen panels.

Non-rabbeted- No light stop where shutter panels meet.

Outside mount- Mounting shutters outside of window opening.

Paint- A substance composed of solid coloring matter suspended in a liquid medium and applied as a protective and decorative coating. Most paint colors used are shades of white.

Panel- The panel is the rectangular section that is hinged to open up. It contains moveable horizontal pieces of wood (called louvers or slats).

Plantation Shutter- Shutter Style consisting of a 1-1/8 inch thick panel using 2-1/2”, 3-1/2” or 4-1/2” elliptical louvers.

Rabbet - A cut or groove along the edge of a stile between panels that allows them to form a joint to reduce light penetration.

Shutter- A panel consisting of two side stiles, a top and a bottom rail, and louvers in between.

Sill Cap – Custom cap that covers a marble sill. Better shutter companies usually have this as an option.

Split Tilt Bar – Refers to a design where the louvers tilt rod is divided at a specified point. This allows the louvers to tilt independently on the upper and lower sections of the panel.

Square opening means it is even dimensionally, not square in shape. To verify that the opening is square, measure diagonally across the opening from corner to corner. The measurements should be within 3/8" of each other.

Stain- Coloration produced by a dye that penetrates the wood.

Stiles are the structural right and left parts of a plantation shutter panel. They house the nylon bushing the louver rotates on.

Style- Plantation style or traditional style.

Traditional Shutter- Shutter Style consisting of a 3/4 inch thick panel using 1-1/4" wedge-shaped louvers.

Tilt bar controls rotation of louvers in a coordinated manner for control of light, privacy and ventilation. The front tilt bar is usually mounted on the center of the louver on the face of the panel. Hidden Tilt Bar allows for a clear view through the shutter panels.

"T" Post is used to separate multiple window installations, i.e., a triple window opening would use a "T" post at the vertical mullion where the window sections meet.

Tension system is provided on custom wood shutters to adjust the louver tension to eliminate undesirable movement of louvers.

Track is used in bi-fold and bypass installations to provide a support and guide for panels as they are moved. The track is an extruded aluminum and the carriers are nylon wheels.

Width- Measurement side to side of the window opening according to our measuring instructions.

Window Jamb- Vertical sides of the window opening. This area will be used to attach a shutter unit.

Z Frame- "Z" Frame is commonly used in drywall opening without wood casing.