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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I order?

You can design your own shutters using our online Shutter Design Tool or select one of our designs from the Gallery. Once you have made your selection, "Price this Shutter" button to calculate the cost and access our online shopping cart system. Remember, if you have something in mind that you can't find using the Shutter Design Tool, you can call or send us an email. Chances are we can make what you want, often for no additional cost.

How long after I place an order can I expect to receive my shutters?

The length of time it takes to receive your order depends on three factors. First, since all of our shutters are custom made, it generally takes one to two weeks to obtain all of the materials, including your choice of tile and frame material. Once we receive all of the materials, the actual construction time is about two weeks but could be longer depending on our workload at the time you place your order. This allows sufficient time for the adhesives and grout to set up prior to shipping. The final variable, shipping is beyond our control. When choosing a carrier, we consider not only delivery times, but the degree of care we have come to expect from that carrier. All other factors being equal, we would rather your order arrived intact than a day or two sooner. Please let us know if you have any special time constraints and we will do our best to accomodate you. For more information, please visit our Ordering and Shipping Information page.

Which tiles are weather resistant?

Most porcelain and glass tiles are designed for both interior and exterior applications [unless otherwise noted, all of the art tiles we offer are weather-resistant porcelain]. Talavera tiles generally carry a warning against exterior use in freezing climates. This is because they are porous and can crack if they absorb moisture and freeze. However, our construction method provides some additional security against freeze damage in that we seal the tiles before installation and use water resistant grouts and adhesives. So far, we have not had a single failure of a Talavera tile. But if you want Talavera tiles and are concerned about possible freeze damage, why not order two sets of panels: Talavera tiles for the summer months and a more weather resistant alternative for the cold season? Some Talavera designs are also available in weather-resistant porcelain at a slightly higher price. So if you see a design you like, but prefer porcelain, contact us and we'll check to see if the pattern you like is available and give you a price quote.

What about water spots and mold?

No problem. Water spots and mold are common problems with bathroom tiles and grout. Spots and deposits on tile in the bathroom are due to a combination of minerals in the water supply (e.g., hard water) and soap residues. Rain water doesn't contain these minerals, so spotting will be no more serious on your shutter tiles than it is on the outside of your windows. In addition, because the grout we use is intended for exterior applications, it contains an anti-microbial formula that resists mold, mildew and fungus.

How should I clean my shutters?

In most cases, a gentle rinse with a hose once or twice a year will keep your shutters looking new for many years. More stubborn stains can usually be removed with a sponge and a mild detergent, followed by a thorough rinse with a hose to remove any detergent residue. [Note: wait at least a month after receiving your shutters before applying any cleaners.]

Avoid using enzyme-based or "No-Rinse" cleaners and highly acidic or highly caustic industrial cleaners. Do not use a pressure washer. Do not use any kind of wood polish, wood protector, or wax on the frame as these products are generally not intended for exterior use and can yellow the finish and make it difficult to refinish if it ever becomes necessary.

Are Shutterstile shutters operable?

 Improperly mounted shutters sag over time

Shutterstile shutters are intended to be decorative, but they can be made operable if you choose the right hardware and choose the "extra thick" frame option. The best hinge systems span across the shutter, connecting both stiles (the vertical frame members). The figure illustrates the inevitable fate of any shutter that is improperly mounted. If you intend to make your shutters operable, please let us know when you place your order. We'll need to discuss various choices for the appearance of the back (non-tiled) side of the shutter, as well as frame materials. See our Mounting Instructions for more information.

Do you sell shutter mounting hardware?

We have developed a strong and simple z-bar type bracket assembly that has the advantage that there are no visible fasteners, brackets, or hinges once the installation is complete [see our accessories page to purchase]. We also offer traditional shutter hinges, including historical reproductions. Contact us for ordering information. See our Mounting Instructions for more information on the various options available for mounting your shutters.

Do you install?

Since we sell our shutters all across North America, it isn't practical for us to offer installation. Any competent contractor who has experience installing shutters should be able to do the job. If you're handy and don't mind heights, our shutters come with step-by-step instructions for the do-it-yourselfer. See our Mounting Instructions for more information.

Does shutterstile make interior shutters?

Yes. The primary difference between interior and exterior shutters is that exterior shutters are traditionally more robust to better withstand the elements. All of our designs may be used indoors or out. In fact, interior applications offer even more choices, since the frame materials and tiles won't be subjected to rain and freezing weather.

Does Shutterstile make conventional shutters without tile panels?

Absolutely! All of our original designs are available without the tile panels. In addition, we make traditional louvered shutters and raised panel shutters. We can also duplicate your existing shutters for historic restoration projects or if you just need to replace one or two damaged shutters and want to be sure to match the others.

Can I use a combination of different tiles on a single shutter?

Absolutely. Unfortunately, our Online Shutter Design Tool isn't smart enough to figure out more complicated designs. But you can use it to check out the options, then call us (804-493-1111) or send an email to tell us what you have in mind. We'll be happy to give you a quote. In general, it doesn't cost any more to use a combination of tiles, depending on the relative price of the different tiles you choose. However, more complex designs may require an additional set up fee.

What if I can't find the tile I'm looking for on your Web site?

No problem. We'll use any tile you want. Just tell us who makes it and provide the identification number and we'll get back to you with a quote. The only criteria are that we can either fit it into one of our panels or cut it down if it is larger. Of course, it's also advisable to choose a frost-resistant tile material if you live in an area where freezing is an issue.

What determines the size of the panels and the number of panels in the All Tile designs?

Basically, the panel sizes represent a balance between available tile sizes, aesthetics, and strength. Our standard sizes are equivalent to two or three rows of four-inch tiles, two tiles wide. But we can make other sizes on request The images below illustrate the standard panel configurations by height for our shutters that use multiple tiled panels. [note that many of our frame designs use only a single tiled panel, so the these configurations don't apply — you may choose either of the standard size panel in any of these frames]

27-31 inches 31-35 inches 35-39 inches 39-42 inches 42-46 inches 46-50 inches
50-55 inches 55-58 inches 58-62 inches 62-66 inches 66-70 inches 70-72 inches

For taller shutters, you can reduce the number of tiled panels by substituting a raised or flat panel that is not replaceable. This "fixed" panel can be made any height. So, for example, if you have a 70-inch shutter, you could choose to use only two tiled panels and fill the remaining space with a single raised panel.

If this all sounds a bit complicated, please keep in mind that these are only guidelines. Since all of our shutters are custom-made, we'll work with you to make your vision a reality. Just give us a call or drop us a note and tell us what you have in mind.

How do I figure out what size shutters I need?

Check out our How to Measure page.

What are the dimensions of the shutter components?

You choose the height and width of your shutters when you order (see How to Measure for more information). For shutters that will be fixed to the wall (i.e., non-operable), we will make them the width and height you choose and 1-inch thick. If you tell us that your shutters will be operable (i.e., hinge-mounted), we will make the width and height approximately 1/4-inch smaller to prevent binding when they close. Depending on the hinges you choose, it may also be necessary to make your operable shutters a different thickness. Our shutters are available in any thickness at a nominal additional cost.

The size of the individual components vary from one design to the next. Here again, since all of our shutters are custom-made, these dimensions can be modified at your request. Shortly after we receive your order, we will send you a specifications sheet describing all of the dimensions. You will have an opportunity at that time to make any changes you desire.

How hard is it to replace the panels?

It's easy. Replacing panels only takes a phillips screwdriver and a few seconds. The photos below illustrate the process. For more detail, visit our Mounting Instructions page.

         Step One: loosen mounting screw                       Step Two: lift panel out and down             Step Three: insert new panel and tighten screw

Are Shutterstile's shutters "green"?

Environmental protection is something we know more than a little about. One of our owners, John Donley, has degrees in environmental science and engineering. He is a former consultant and college professor with more than 30 years experience in the environmental industry.

Without going into a lot of detail, the term "green" has been overused and misused to the point where it has little meaning. The issues are much more complex than most companies would have you believe. For example, most consumers have been led to believe that FSC certified lumber is the responsible choice. But FSC certification is expensive and many suppliers, especially small operations, can't justify the expense. That doesn't necessarily mean that these suppliers aren't as responsible as the larger companies that can afford the certification process. To further complicate matters, some environmental groups have charged the Sustainable Forestry Initiative with "greenwashing" destructive logging practices.

So how do we know if one product is better for the environment than another? The only reliable solution is to perform a detailed life cycle analysis of the alternatives. But this is complicated and time consuming — and the necessary data are seldom readily available.

Fortunately, there are some rules-of-thumb you can follow:

  • It's usually better for the environment to use recycled or reclaimed materials, especially if those materials are obtained and available locally to reduce transportation costs. Some of these species, like old-growth cypress, are not only environmentally responsible, but superior to anything that is currently harvested from even the best managed forests. The down side is that many suppliers have taken advantage of the growing demand for reclaimed lumber and prices have skyrocketed in recent years.
  • All other factors being equal, species that are grown, harvested, processed, and sold closest to our production facility in Virginia are better for the environment than species that must be transported greater distances. So, for example, eastern red cedar is a more responsible choice than western red cedar which is grown primarily in the western parts of Canada. It becomes a bit more difficult to compare species like Spanish cedar and western red cedar since they employ different transport methods (i.e., ship versus truck or rail).
  • Longevity also plays an important role. All other factors being equal, the material that lasts the longest is better for the environment than one that will need to be replaced sooner, requiring the expenditure of more resources. This is why we don't recommend some of the woods used by our competitors — like cypress, pine, and fir — which have a relatively short life span when used outdoors. [Recycled cypress and longleaf pine are a different story, as the old growth heartwood is a much more durable choice than modern versions of the same species.]
  • Chemicals used in the manufacturing process are also important. That's why we use only low VOC, water-based adhesives and finishes.

When you choose Shutterstile, you can rest assured that we give top priority to ensuring that our products and operations protect the environment as well as the health and safety of our customers and staff.

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions about environmental issues as they relate to any of our products or other alternatives that might be available. We'll be happy to share what we know to help you make a more informed decision.

What size copper caps should I order?

In most cases, you should order caps based on the actual width and thickness of your shutters; we'll make the caps to fit. Unless you have a specific reason for doing so, we recommend that you don't order your caps larger than the thickness of the shutters. This is because we add a 1/16-inch flare to the reveal on both sides to help shed water and to reduce the chances that the caps will scratch your paint. This is illustrated below. The first photo shows how a 1-inch cap is supposed to fit on a 1-inch thick shutter. Note that the flat part of the cap is the same width as the thickness of the shutter. The second photo shows how same 1-inch cap would sit on a 1-1/8 inch thick shutter. In this case, the bottom of the cap just barely fits the 1-1/18 inch thick board due to the 1/16-inch flare on both sides of the cap.


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