Since plantation shutters are a custom product, there are many variables in their design. The Category discusses some of the options, and what makes for a great finished product.

Plantation Shutters in Architectural Shapes

Occasionally we will get a request to make a shutter shape that is quite unique.   This presents an interesting challenge to the specialties department who builds all of our plantation shutters out of different shapes.

Curved Plantation Shutter
This is not your standard treatment for a bay window.  The window and glass this unit was built for actually curved, and the client wanted curved shutters to treat it.  One of the most challenging shapes we’ve ever built, and the most unique.

curvedlouverweb

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Custom Louvered Doors

Kirtz is always doing something customized for our plantation shutters, from the finishes applied to the specs, we are very flexible about doing what it takes to meet our customers needs.

Recently 2 pair of custom doors moved through our production line with some very unusual specifications.  They were to be used as sliding pocket doors in a dining room.

The unique specs on these custom shutter doors were as follows (see photos below):

  • One stile was 5″ wide, the other 4″ wide, so that when taking into consideration the overlap inside the pocket, when they were pulled shut the doors would look symmetrical.
  • Each door was composed of an inner and outer stile.  The outside stile was 2 1/4″ thick, and the inner, drop down stile was 2″ thick with 1 3/4″ face.
  • All joints were mitered, instead of our standard butt joint.
  • Customers own, custom blended custom latex enamel was used, instead of our oil based lacquer finish.
  • Panels were 112″ high

These doors were quite different than anything else that has been through our factory before, but we were happy to contribute to this project.

If you need a shutter, louvered door or other product with unique specifications call Kirtz Shutters, we are ready to help!

Custom Louvered Doors

Custom Louvered Doors

Close up of door, showing special custom stile/rail configuration

Close up of door, showing special custom stile/rail configuration

How to Update Room Finishes with a Plantation Shutter

Although we have many clients moving into new homes, we’ve been seeing more and more clients who are choosing to stay put and update an existing home.  

A challenging update those who remodel face is how to bring in new finish colors that complement the existing mill-work, not compete with it. 

 We help clients accomplish this  with a few different suggestions.

  1. The quickest and easiest way?  Cover it up!  This can be easily done with a custom shutter and its framework mounted on top of the existing casing.   We offer several different frames profiles and clients can choose the one that they like best.
  2. If you are looking to lighten a room with dark mill-work, choose a painted shutter.   We have 18 stock variations of white, or we can custom color match to your favorite swatch.  I suggest staying away from a brilliant, bright white if you have stained wood casings.  Choose a warmer white, with  creamy undertones or even a light tan.  Then it will complement, not fight, your existing colors.
  3. Do you like your mill-work, but want to freshen it up?  Add a new, complementary stain color!  Many of our clients have replaced their flooring as a way to add a new color.  A natural way to continue this flow is by adding custom finished plantation shutters to their windows.  These two grounding elements in a room, windows and floors, and the addition of key accent pieces in a similar finish, will transform a room.

Without a doubt, new custom shutters add style and pizazz.  Whether your goal is to compliment the homes existing mill-work with a custom matched finish on your shutters, or transform it into something fresh and new, Kirtz Shutters can help.   

plantation shutters and eyebrow arch were stained to match wood flooring and other accent pieces in the home

plantation shutters and eyebrow arch were stained to match wood flooring and other accent pieces in the home

Kirtz Shutter Craftmanship; assembling a quality custom shutter

The assembly department is responsible for turning lengths of components into a plantation shutter.

First, all parts are cut to length according to the exact specifications for your custom shutter.  After parts are cut, they are placed onto a cart with job sheets that details each opening in the order.

At Kirtz we take a few extra steps during assembly before the panel comes together to make sure that your shutter is built to the highest of quality standards.

Each tilt rod is given personal attention.  We shape the top of the tilt rod in a machine we designed to give the rounded top that is unique to a Kirtz Shutter.  Then, the top of each rod is sanded smooth so it has the same quality finished look as other parts of our shutters.

tilt-rod-shaping

After shaping it is sanded smooth

After shaping it is sanded smooth

Before the shutter is put together, each louver end is burnished with a sander.  Again, this extra step allows the ends of the louvers to accept the painted finish better, and eliminates the rough ends you would typically find with louvers that are cut, but not sanded.

Burnishing louver ends

Burnishing louver ends

Next, the louvers and tilt rod are fed through a machine that attaches them together with staples and puts pins in the end of each louver, and your shutter panel is ready to be put together.

Joinery of a Kirtz Shutter

At Kirtz we use dowels to join the stiles and rails of each shutter together.   Wood glue is put into each hole that will be receiving a dowel.  Then we use dowels that are slightly larger than the hole they are inserted into.   This requires the use of a hydraulic clamp to put the stiles and rails together.  After the shutter has been clamped together, small pin nails are applied to the backside of the shutter through the dowels, giving it an extra dose of reinforcement.

This method has been used by Kirtz for many years, and we confidently stand behind the joinery of a Kirtz Shutter for a lifetime.

The shutter comes together on the clamp table and is pin nailed for extra strength

The shutter comes together on the clamp table and is pin nailed for extra strength

Framing

Just like a door hangs in a frame, many times your  hardwood shutter will be in a frame.  We have several framing options at Kirtz to accommodate a variety of decors and types of windows.    After your shutters have been assembled, the frames that surround them are built.

At Kirtz we customize many of our frames so that they fit around window cranks and lever locks.  By doing these notches in the factory when possible, the notch receives a finish coat of paint instead of touch up in the field.

For more information on notches, see my post about plantation shutters in casement windows.

This completes your shutter assembly, next stop finish department!

Painted Custom Shutters… Why Use Maple?

At Kirtz we like to do things different, not just simply for the sake of being different, but because we want to bring something above average and a little special to our customers.  In our painted plantation shutter, that something special is the wood we use.

The founder of our company was a woodworker, in fact he got his start in the industry as a trim carpenter until the economy and life took him a new direction (I’m sure a few of you can relate given the world’s present state).  So when he decided to make shutter, he picked the wood that from his experience, would the best wood for a plantation shutter– MAPLE.

Why Maple?   In one word, STRENGTH.

 Maple is about twice as dense as shutter industry standard woods such as basswood and poplar.   What does that mean for the you, the buyer?  An awful lot in the long run.  Your shutter is put together with fasteners, staples that hold the louvers into the tilt rod.  Time and use of the product stresses these fasteners.  In softer woods, such as basswood and poplar, they often come loose over time.  The result is that the shutter does not function as it was originally intended.   A Kirtz Shutter is guaranteed never to have this problem, and if it did, it would be covered by our warranty.

Have you ever had a piece of pine furniture?  Did you notice how easy it was to dent the wood if something accidently bumped or banged into it?  The same is true of a poplar or basswood shutter, they can easily dent and ding at the slightest impact, thus increasing the look of wear and tear on the shutter.

The strength of maple also gives us ultimate FLEXABILITY IN DESIGN. 

In Height:  The Kirtz Shutter does not need a midrail (also called a divider rail) until after 96″ in height.  Industry standard is 72″.  That means you can have two more feet of unobstructed louver space by using a custom shutter by Kirtz out of maple.

In Width:  With shutters warrantied up to 38″ in width, customer’s have the ultimate flexibility in designing their shutters for the best fit to their space without the constraints of industry standard shutters.

Often I meet with customers who are confused with the variety of materials that a plantation shutter can be made from and the variety of pricing that goes along with them. 

My advice to them, and to you, is this — 

Plantation Shutters are one of the largest financial investments in window treatments that you can make.    They will provide beauty and protection for many, many years.  All shutters are NOT created equal.   In an economy where every dollar counts,  we all want to make sure we spend our money wisely.  

Choose the plantation shutter that will provide you the best product experience over the life of your shutter, not just in the beginning.  And just as important, choose a company that you can trust to provide you great customer service, both before the sale and years after your shutters are installed.  That, in my life experience, is true value that pays dividends long after the check has cleared the bank. 

I’ll end this (and step off my soap box) after I share my favorite quote.  I try to live it every day, in the products I represent to the products I purchase for myself and my home.

“The bitterness of poor quality, lingers long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten.”