Exterior windows or shutters are great to improve how the house looks from the outside. But they also provide functional protection against the elements as well as improving your home’s security.
Exterior windows come in various sizes and materials like wood, vinyl, or metal on a composite of these to match your home’s architectural styling and homeowner taste. The more common types include:
Louvered shutters use horizontal slats permanently slanted to let air in while protecting the glass of your windows.
Bahamas shutters look like louvered shutters but have narrower frames and are louvered vertically.
Raised paneled shutters look like kitchen cabinet doors and use center panels that are thicker than the rest of the shutter
Board-N-Batten shutters are slats arranged vertically and are attached to two thicker wood horizontally laid across them, each near the top and bottom of the window.
Accordion shutters protect windows from gale-force winds. They are called as such due to their accordion-like quality where you pull them from one side to the other when deploying and folding up as you open them.
Exterior window shutters are commonly believed to have started in ancient Greece to preserve ventilation while protecting its windows against the elements from its predominantly tropical clime. They were fixed marble louvers. Over time, shutters spread throughout the Mediterranean, and wood replaced marble as easier to produce and more suited for the purpose. Makers have also started producing movable louver shutters to allow varying amounts of light and air into a room.
Medieval Europe used rectangular windows with solid shutters sometimes secured shut with a large iron bar for protection. By the time of the Tudors, glass windows were introduced and because they were expensive, were used only by royalties in manors and installed in the upper half of windows while solid shutters below closed and opened windows. After the 15th century, interior shutters were used for dÈcor purposes rather than for function. The woodwork on window shutters dominated the dÈcor and styling elements in early 18th century English windows.
As wood started to be used for Victorian houses, homeowners started using exterior window shutters. The stone houses built earlier had deeply recessed windows that made it impossible to reach exterior shutters, but with thinner wooden walls, indoor access to exterior shutters was easier. As the Spanish colonized the new world, they brought shutters with them. Old South mansions used shutters and the term “plantation shutters” derived therefrom. Cotton plantation homes usually had wider louvers than shutters and they were almost always painted white.
Benefits of Exterior Windows
Apart from enhancing a home’s exterior looks, exterior windows generally perform four functions: admitting light, ventilation, and better privacy, while offering protection to the windows, especially the glass elements. Louvered shutters are the most common as they could be closed to minimize heat from the summer sun while allowing for ventilation and privacy. Louvers pointed downward also shed rainwater. Solid shutters offer more insulation and can prevent flying insects from invading the home.
Things to Consider When Buying Exterior Windows
Shopping for exterior windows can be fun with no purchase regrets by following some tips.
Colorful vinyl shutters make the best value in the market. They impart excellent aesthetic decorative value, light in weight, and are generally cheap. Their wide range of colors proves as the best decorative piece for the home.
Unless you are repainting the house exteriors, be sure the color of your exterior windows makes a good match. White or Black is neutral enough for any exterior paint color.
There are shutters made of PVC and fiberglass. Maintenance-free, these are better alternates to wood and can be finished as faux wood shutters. They are often installed in aluminum frames with rollers for easy open/shut operations.
Wooden shutters are widely popular, notably cedar wood for their natural bug-repellent tannin. Well treated, they are almost always warp-resistant and sealing protects the wood from rot and decay.
Always make comparative shopping among 3-4 shortlisted makers. Consider the warranties as well with some offering lifetime and transferable warranties.
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