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Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will find a list of the questions we are asked most often. Naturally, we would be delighted for you to contact us if your question has not been answered. We are always happy to help.

 What are Plantation Shutters?

Plantation shutters are louvred (twisting slats) panels fixed inside a shutter frame. They are fitted either inside or outside windows and doors. They originated in cotton plantations of the American “deep south” and the West Indies sugar plantations. You may hear the term “Ante Bellum Plantation Shutters” this refers to the typical style during the time pre-American Civil War and these are the style that we supply.

 What are Solid shutters?

Solid Shuttersare panels are like narrow bi-fold doors for dressing windows. They have no louvres. They were originally installed in reveal boxes in pre-Edwardian houses and were generally only used a couple of times a year, when the owners de-camped for “The Season”. They were not designed to be opened and shut daily, like our present designs and that is why so few remain today.

Solid Shutters come in a number of styles – solid raised, shaker and solid moulded; all of which are available in our Worcester and Stratford ranges.

 How long from order will it take to get my shutters?

All our shutters are manufactured and hand finished by master craftsmen to fit individual openings.  We estimate10 weeks from the date of the order and receipt of the deposit.

 Will you price match any quote?

We believe we know the shutters market really well so we hope we’ll already have given you the most competitive price. 

Naturally, we also know that other businesses make special offers and discounts so, if you’ve been offered a better price for equivalent shutters, we’ll be happy to match your written quote and ensure that you enjoy the fabulous Purely Window Shutters’ quality products, service, support and advice. 

On rare occasions there are companies whose quotes we won’t match. This is because we know that the quality of their shutters, fitting service and aftercare is simply not of the same standard as Purely Window Shutters. We appreciate that everyone would like to stretch their budget a little further but we hope you understand that we cannot match the prices of inferior products and services.

 Can I fit my shutters myself?

We always recommend that you have your shutters fitted by one of our experienced craftsman. 

You can fit yourself and we will supply you with shutters to your exact measurements.  There are many ways to fit shutters and there is no one way that is better than another. You may fit them inside the reveal, the most common way in the UK, or on the edge of the reveal or outside the reveal.

Frames are used extensively these days and they do certainly offer a number of benefits. However, UK housing stock, old or new, is generally brick, block and plastered. The plastering is never straight and batten fitting may be more suitable for out of shape openings. Frames were devised for the US market where the houses are made of timber frames which normally are a lot straighter. 

The main difference between frames and battens used to be the hiding of the magnetic catches that hold your shutters straight, however now most companies fit with hidden magnets anyway, even in the header strip battens, it’s just a different look. 

We do offer an inside mount L frame now that can be planed to take out some curve in the walls but it may still better to use battens if the curving is severe. Battens can hide a certain amount of out of squareness but they will never straighten out your walls entirely. Talk through the options with our surveyor when they come to see you.

 Shutters can seem expensive, how do you justify the price?

These days, shutters are very competitively priced and with our Warwick Range, for example, you can get a lot of shutter for your money.

Although a shutter panel may look like a door or kitchen unit panel, it has to live in a totally different environment. For example, it is quite common for a radiator to be placed under a window, so shutters will have to endure some quite extreme variations in heat and humidity.

The Stratford 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 Worcester Range is made from a timber called Parasol wood. It is a very light hardwood and has a laminated core similar to the Warwick Range. The timber goes through many processes before it becomes a shutter. Our engineered Warwick Range is made from a composite of many materials and is totally maintenance free whilst our cedar shutters may need re painting in 10 to 15 years’ time. 

All but the Stratford are laminated in some way in construction, this is actually more expensive to make than solid timbers. We do this to make a better product. We can only sell cedar for these prices because although the wood is relatively expensive it is also the cheapest to make in labour and machinery terms. (Cedar is considered the very best timber for shutters as it has some unique properties although with laminating technologies other materials can produce shutters of similar looking quality.)

Apart from our oiled Stratford, 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.

 Can shutters be installed on any window?

Shutters can be installed on virtually any style of window, French door or patio sliding doors. They can also be used effectively as room dividers when fitted on tracks. If the window/door opens inwards they can always be mounted outside of the reveal. Bi-pass tracking allows for shutter to slide past each other and is used where there are overhangs preventing the panels from swinging out.

 How do I measure my windows and doors?

For a Shutter Quick Quote just measure the width and height of the opening in inches, centimetres or millimetres.  For more detailed instructions see our guide to measuring shutters.

 What louver size should I use?

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 will enter the room, but there would be less privacy.

In the USA most shutters are made with 3.5” (89mm) louvres or larger, but here in Europe we tend to generally choose smaller louvres such as 47mm or 64mm. 32mm (available in cedar Stratford only) is used a lot in bathrooms but also looks very good when painted white and used on Café-style installations in living room windows where the street maybe very close by. 

 What colours and stains are available?

View the Shutter Colour section of this site for a full list of colours and stains that are available for each shutter range.

 What wood do you use and is it Eco friendly?

The Stratford Range is made from Western Red Cedar.  We buy our cedar from the Western Red Cedar Association in Canada. It is either replanted cedar or taken from designated forest areas in a managed forest. Cedar is one of the most used timbers in the world, in the USA a lot of houses are built entirely of cedar and it is used extensively for roofing shingles and decking because although a softwood, it is amazingly long lasting and resistant to wet and rot. As a result it is farmed in very well managed forests.

The Worcester Range is made from a laminated constructed wood, sometimes called Parasol. It grows in sub-tropical areas of the Southern States of the USA, China and Japan. It is a very fast growing tree reaching full height in about 15 years. This makes it ideal for farming. It is a hardwood but very light. We treat it with a special secret process to make it that light but it still has a very hard skin. It weighs in at almost the same as Cedar, making it ideal for shutters where the lighter the better generally applies.

Parasol wood has an interesting story that is written in ancient Chinese history, that the most famous musician of the time, lost his beautiful house in a terrible fire. In the ashes though was his harp like instrument that had survived, although it had lost it horns and now the national instrument of China is the Zither, designed by fire 3000 years ago. It is said that the Worcester Bird will only nest in a Worcester tree and eat the berries from it. This is because it is the slowest burning wood on the planet, it needs a secondary heat source to burn. In Japan it is believed that it has mystical properties.

The Warwick Range is our most eco-friendly product because no trees have been specifically cut down to make this product at all. Made from a laminated veneered lumber core (Lichfield or other strong frame materials strips that are off cuts not usable elsewhere, laminated together with epoxy making a light, strong core), LDF laid bulk and polymer sealed outer coating.

 How many shutter panels do I need in my opening??

Our smallest panel width is 200mm and widest is 750mm, although with larger louvre 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. 

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. 

Openings over 2800 generally need a top track, even if not using a top track at this width try to use a light panel such as Stratford or Worcester and fit within a 4 sided frame. 

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 Warwick shutter this is clearly an option to be considered. We do not charge for tracking, it comes in the square metre price for the opening. 

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 ideally be.

 Does wood wrap, shrink, change colour or age in any way?

Yes, it does all of those things because it’s natural. 

Cedar 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.
Similarly Cedar can shrink but it is very little slight so we always advise fitting tight in the first instance. Shutters can be adjusted quite easily should this occur. If a house has extremes of heat and humidity, it is probably better to leave them as they can just as easily swell again should the humidity increase.

Wood is a natural material and with its inconsistencies delivers pleasure. We do make perfect shutters because the market today expects perfect manufacture. Rustic looks are so because they are products made in rustic environments with basic tools and little technology, or badly/cheaply made or specifically finished to look that way. If you want an aged look then you can add it later, order it specially or just wait until it happens naturally. In fact within a week or two they develop a more lived in look and your decor adds character by proxy too.

  How should I maintain my shutters?

Shutters are easily cleaned using a feather duster, damp sponge/soft cloth or a vacuum cleaner. The finish shouldn't need repainting for many years, indeed the Warwick Range of shutters are totally maintenance free and cannot be re-painted.

 

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30 September 2017

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