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Exterior Shutters for Your Columbus Home: Functional or Aesthetic Only?

Aug 08, 2018

Exterior shutters have changed over time. They used to have a functional purpose, keeping wind, rain and snow away from your windows. Now they have transformed into more of a design element on a home’s exterior. Let’s take a look at some facts about your shutters and what factors to consider if you are replacing them.

Age of Your Home

Exterior shutters came about somewhere in the mid-1700s. Their purpose was to provide privacy and to keep out the elements. Depending on when your home was built, the shutters may vary in design. Shutters that don’t match the historical accuracy of the home could have the appearance of a design flaw. Look at houses in Columbus from the same time period to see what is considered historically accurate.

Window Efficiency

Window technology is now more efficient than ever. Shutters have become more of a design element than a functional item in modern home designs. Today’s windows are usually double paned or even triple paned, reducing the need for added insulation from shutters. In areas often hit by high winds and severe storms, shutters may still protect the glass from flying debris and tree limbs.

Different Styles of Shutters

Knowing the options available to you will help you make a sound decision. Consider the following list of shutter styles:

• Louvered. Louvered shutters have angled slats, allowing light and air to pass through the design. They are more of a design element and less functional.

• Paneled. Paneled shutters typically look like cabinet doors. They are a solid construction and a low profile, making them good for a variety of home designs.

• Board and batten. Board and batten shutters consist of one-to-three boards secured together by a single board going across. They add character to the exterior of your home and Old World charm.

• Bermuda. Bermuda shutters, also known as Bahama shutters, are like louvered shutters, but located at the top of the windows instead of the sides. They are typically found in tropical areas, hence the name.


The shutter materials you choose are a matter of preference. Consider factors such as ease of installation, maintenance, and what colors are available to match your home. Some of these materials include:

• Vinyl. Vinyl shutters are the least expensive option. They are easy to install but tend to have a fake appearance, and can become discolored over time.

• Medium density fiberboard (MDF). MDF shutters are typically coated with another material like vinyl to extend their life. They look more expensive but sag and swell with too much exposure to water.

• Synthetic foam. Synthetic foam shutters look like traditional wooden shutters but cost less. They are resistant to water and fire and provide extra insulation. The downsides are they can’t be stained and are heavier than wood.

• Faux wood. Faux wood is stiffer than foam or MDF, making it a better option for taller structures. But if it is not assembled properly, the joints will fall apart over time.

• Basswood. Basswood is one of the more popular options for shutters. It is more expensive and not water resistant but can be painted or stained and is easy to install.

Shutter Maintenance

Performing a few easy maintenance tasks will keep your shutters in good condition and improve your home’s curb appeal. Here are a few simple maintenance tasks:

• Keep them clean. Use a hose or hire a professional to power wash the exterior of your home.

• Watch for peeling paint. Wooden shutters may need a fresh coat of paint every few years due to the outdoor elements.

• Keep tracks oiled. Shutters will only open and close on a well-oiled track.

• Lubricate screws. If you do not have tracks, be sure to lubricate any moving parts for functional shutters. Wind and rain take their toll on hardware, so it is important to keep up with the maintenance.

• Test shutters regularly. Check for any loose hardware, rusting tracks and hard to move shutters at least every few months.

Exterior shutters add character to Ohio your home. Consider your budget and material durability before making the final decision. Look around your Columbus neighborhood or online for more inspiration if needed. Choose something that makes sense with your design and an option you love.

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