Over the past 16 years I’ve been able to meet shutter suppliers from all over the world, and have talked with their design engineers at length so I can truly understand how their shutter is built. While there are many methods and materials used there are only a few which create a breathtakingly stunning product that can last a lifetime. There are only a few which are heirloom quality, or we like to say, functional art.
I’ve also met dozens of other shutter professionals and asked them about their journey and what they’ve learned. One thing that keeps coming up over and over with the dealers I meet is that they regret not taking the time to learn the differences between the various materials, construction methods, paint finishes, and installation processes. This article is a condensed version of a training I provide to shutter professionals so they can discern the differences and serve their clients better. This material has never been published for the general public before, so I hope you enjoy it. My goal is that by the end of this article you’ll know enough about shutter construction to be able to discern the good from the bad.
Everyone will tell you they sell the “best” shutters. Ask them to quantify this though and you’ll get some interesting responses and some circular reasoning. “Best” because it’s the quickest, the cheapest, the greenest, the best insulating, or my favorite: the best because it’s made by (insert brand name here). There is a legal term called ‘puffery’, which means advertisers and salespeople can all say their product is the best. By definition puffery is a promotional statement or claim that expresses subjective rather than objective views, which no “reasonable person” would take literally. I prefer to cut through the puffery and deal in demonstrable facts.
Let’s start with 7 questions to ask when selecting a shutter for your home. There are other questions regarding customer service and the integrity of the company you’re working with, and those are at least as important as these 7. But this article is designed to be educational about the product itself. The 7 questions are:
- From what material are the shutters made?
- How are the panels constructed?
- How is the shutter finished? (painted or stained)
- Who will be installing my shutters?
- How does the warranty work?
- How much will this cost?
- How long will this take?
In my next article I will discuss the best answers for these questions.
By Shem Isaac, Home Living Windows