Kind of like a lot of design terms, there can be multiple ways to describe the same thing and it really isn’t consistent throughout the industry, much less the country. Plantation Shutters can refer to shutters in general, and depending on the person is usually indicative of a louver (slat) size.
What is commonly referred to as traditional shutters are small louvered, small paneled. These are most common in the NE and upper midwestern United States. The louver sizes are usually anywhere from 1 1/4″ up to 1 7/8″, sometimes 2 1/2″ louvers (which we carry) are included in that description. These shutters often are built “cafe” style, meaning they cover only the bottom 1/2 to 2/3 of a window, and are very narrow (think 8-20″ wide per shutter panel)
The term plantation shutter is typically associated with the 3 1/2″ and 4 1/2″ shutters. This style is more common south of the Mason-Dixon line, and in Western United States like Arizona and California (both big shutter states). Sometimes the 4 1/2″ louver and 5 1/2″ louver (we don’t carry 5 1/2″) are referred to as California style shutters. Plantation shutters tend to be larger panels, with one shutter panel often covering an opening 36″ and up to 72″ tall.
We sell more of the plantation style, as it is more in demand and our machinery accommodates it best. However, we will sometimes do the traditional (to us that means smaller than 2 1/2″ louvered) look if a customer requests it and is willing to pay for it.
Usually these customers, in addition to wanting small louvers,
- have large projects (not a one off scenario),
- need a special wood
- have unique specifications (special panel thickness, louvers fixed at a certain angles) that other shutter companies don’t want to mess with.