There is not a day that goes by that I do not witness another catastrophe in the world of shutters! I see shutters that if closed, would not even cover half of the window they are installed beside. There are countless louvered shutters installed on first floors of homes, and God help me if I see another pair of shutters on a bay window!
When did it become OK to have a complete disregard for shutter etiquette!? I don’t know the answer to that, but I do know a few things that we should all be cognizant of. Shutters do indeed have an intended purpose.

Solid shutters were originally utilized for security purposes and are most frequently seen on the first floors of homes. They could close and lock from the interior and kept both intruders and critters out prior to the days of the windows we so take for granted.
Louvered shutters are intended to provide protection from the elements while also allowing for ventilation. They are typically seen on the upper levels of homes where security was not as much of a concern and they almost always have fixed louvers.
There should never be a pair of shutters installed that if closed would not cover the entire window from top to bottom.

One of the more interesting things about louvered shutters is the fact that the louvers were designed so they could shed rain water away from the house when they were closed, meaning that when they are open, the louvers would direct rain water towards the house. Next time you see a pair of vinyl, louvered shutters, take a look at the louvers. You will see that if they had the ability to close, they would shed rain water into the window; brilliant!

Many people like the look of shutters and are happy with the cost of vinyl shutters as they typically run about 1/4 the cost of functional, Western Red Cedar shutters. While these costs are significantly higher, it does allow folks like myself to sleep at night knowing we are not completely abandoning the passion for home building that the great Americans before us held in such high regard.

Christopher Lux has spent the last 15 years in the residential remodeling industry and is a Design Build Consultant with Harth Builders in Spring House, PA. Chris is available for in home consultations as well as speaking engagements by calling 215-654-0364