Construction of Louvered Composite Shutters
The material ShutterLand uses to manufacture exterior composite shutters is called Extira. This engineered wood product is similar to high-density fiberboard, but it is manufactured to be especially durable in outdoor applications where humidity varies. It is twice as strong as traditional HDF and natural wood products. Extira is man-made from 90% sustainable wood fibers adhered with marine-grade resins. This impressive material arrives at the factory in large straight sheets which are cut into individual window shutter components.
Louvered composite shutters are made to be 1 ¼” thick, with side stiles at 2 ½” wide. Two louver sizes are available; 1” louvers at a 20° angle and 1 3/4” louvers at a 10° angle. Top rails, divider rails and bottom rails have a standard height of 2 ½”, but can be made larger on request. After components are cut to the custom size requested, they are assembled with tongue and groove joints, industrial exterior glue and 1” staples for extraordinary stability.
There is no space between louvers of composite shutters like those constructed from wood. The lack of space between louvers generally is not a distraction for most applications. The diagonally cut louvers often have a little rougher surface than the flat surfaces. This texture is noticeable when handling the shutters but imperceptible after they are installed. Historic renovation projects likely stipulate the use of natural wood shutters and restrict the use of composite panels.
Options for Louvered Composite Shutters
Composite louvered shutters can be installed to be functional or stationary. They are heavier than wood shutters and may require additional support. Composite shutters can be installed with functional shutter hinges. Generally composite shutters are not installed for daily operation because the back is flat without louvered detail and are unappealing when rotated over the window. The standard position of composite louvers is “down” to best repel water away from the structure. Even though the option is offered, we do not recommend installing composite louvered shutters with louvers in the “up” position. Because composite louvers do not have space between them, there is potential for water to sit on the grooves, diminishing the lifespan of the shutters.
Most homeowners opt to permanently secure composite shutters with outdoor grade screws to the building. Occasionally, faux hinges or shutters dogs are used with stationary panels to accentuate the shutters. A faux vertical tilt bar can be selected to further accent the louvers.
For windows with a rounded top, we offer arch top shutters. They are ordered as individual shutters, with either a left or right arch, which are not interchangeable. The dimensions of the arch can be a 1:1 ratio, for a perfect round shutter, in which the radius of the arch equals half of the window width. Or a custom configuration can be specified by providing the desired springline dimension. Review details about measuring for arch top shutters before ordering.
Louvered Composite Shutter Colors
Painting composite louvered exterior shutters both protects and adds visual appeal. Shutter are available to be shipped as unfinished, primed, or factory painted panels. Composite shutters cannot be stained because the material will not absorb the finish.
If composite louvered shutters are ordered unfinished, they need to be primed and painted on site. This is sometimes preferred for DIY projects with multiple exterior elements that can be finished at the same time. A solvent-based or water-based primer can be used, which will adequately bond with the composite material. Two or three coats of primer, with a light sanding between coats, should result in a smooth, sealed surface, ready to accept paint.
After priming (whether at home or by the factory), lightly sand the surface with 220-grit sandpaper, then remove all fine dust with a tack cloth to ensure a clean surface. The Extira composite material finishes equally well with water-based or oil-based paint. A brush, roller or spray gun can all be equally efficient in applying the paint. We typically recommend two coats of exterior paint to ensure the shutters weather well. Consult with the paint manufacturer to locate a primer and paint that bond well together.
ShutterLand offers the option of ordering factory-painted composite louvered shutters. This is a great choice for homeowners who want to receive shutters ready to install right away. After fully priming and sealing the shutters, we professionally spray two coats of PPG Break-Through paint in a satin sheen. This paint is specially designed for excellent adhesion and gives uniform coverage for a long life in outdoor conditions.
We have nine standard paint colors available based on the most popular colors selected for shutters – White, Charcoal Slate, Black, Black Forest Green, Chrome Green, Hamilton Blue, Country Redwood, Cottage Red, and Tudor Brown. If none of those options meet your needs, you may send us the name of a manufacturer and paint color you wish to match, and we will custom mix paint for an additional $180.
Whatever options you choose, composite louvered shutters from ShutterLand will provide a remarkable addition to your home’s exterior. It’s hard to beat custom exterior shutters that are made to your requested size and shipped to your door in about 3-6 weeks. Louvered composite shutters will give character and style for many years to come.