Enhance your home’s look and safety with window shutters and awnings
In addition to improving the appearance of your home, shutters and awnings offer a range of benefits. Shutters can provide an extra barrier of protection from intruders or keep your home safer during storms. Awnings reduce sunlight and glare on hot days for greater energy efficiency and enable you to utilize outdoor living areas even when it's raining. This guide will help you pick the type of exterior window décor that’s best for your home.
For many homes, shutters enhance value by giving the exterior of your home a finished, distinctive look. They can also add a measure of security to ground-floor windows and, in areas of the country affected by tropical storms, protection against the elements.
- Raised-panel shutters have two equal panels that provide extra security and give your home a Colonial feel.
Louvered shutters feature two sets of slats separated by a center rail and offer a more traditional look. The slats allow air to filter through, maintaining circulation on hot summer nights.
When it comes to choosing shutter materials, vinyl or plastic shutters are economical choices, though you won't be able to stain them. Many varieties of wood are available, ranging from basswood, which is ideal for interior shutters, to cedar, which makes an excellent choice for exterior shutters because of its durability and ability to repel insects.
Shutters usually come with a standard width of 15 inches and length between 36 and 74 inches.
Raised-panel variations include straight-top and arch-top.
- Shutters can be installed indoors to give a bay window greater aesthetic appeal.
Like shutters, awnings enhance the appearance of your home. They also allow you to utilize patios and decks on gray, rainy days, reduce sunlight and glare and improve energy efficiency.
- Stationary, also called fixed, awnings install above windows and are matched to the window's height and width.
- Retractable awnings allow you to use as much or as little cover as you need and can be wall or roof-mounted. They are available in manual or motorized configurations.
Door canopies protect entranceways from rain and snow.
Awnings are available in a range of materials, including vinyl-laminated or coated polyester, coated mesh, acrylic, resin or vinyl-coated polyester and acrylic-painted cotton. You may want to keep in mind the type of weather the awning is likely to be subjected to when selecting materials to maximize durability and effectiveness.
- By installing an awning over a window, you'll considerably reduce the amount of heat that can seep in, keeping the room cooler and more pleasant.
- Awnings help prevent carpeting and furniture from fading prematurely by protecting them from prolonged exposure to sunlight.
- Blend in awning color with your home’s exterior or add colorful contrast to enhance architecture.
Lighter colors provide greater energy efficiency.
Aluminum door canopies are ideal for colder, wetter climates.
Look for shutters and awnings with features such as weather sensors and specialized hardware to personalize your home’s look.
- Awnings with weather guard covers are protected against the elements to increase durability and maintain appearance.
- Some awnings feature sensors that cause them to automatically retract when the wind picks up to prevent damage and roll out when it's particularly sunny or rainy to ensure efficient protection when you're not home.
- Motorized awnings allow you to roll out and retract them with the touch of a button for more convenient use.
A variety of hardware options enhance the effectiveness of shutters. Use weather-resistant shutter caps to protect shutters from moisture and increase longevity.
Shutter hinges provide functionality and are available in sturdy, weatherproof materials for exterior shutters.
Shutter dogs, or "tie backs," keep shutters in place when they're open.
If you plan to use your shutters to protect windows against stormy weather, shutter bolts will ensure they stay closed even when they're buffeted by fierce winds.